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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Sunday, July 20, 2014




There is stillness /only when we drop to the ground, /pulling our legs in beneath us/like fingers clasping a palm /in order to become a fist. ---From “Light Year” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist, 08-24-11


It is the one place we learn too soon perhaps
to find that still point, early enough to know
stillness is easily within our grasp: grovelling.

East of Eden, could there have been any other
way to accept an edict of eviction? Hind legs
are the postulant’s crutch to stand tall again.

Was not the burning bush accepted in terror,
in quite the same suppliant surrender to rules
enslaved people must learn to struggle by?

Even a troth to die for a sovereign is still taken
on knees propped by legs beneath, like fingers
clasping a palm. Where lies the stillness there?

Did not the jubilant brave receive his infant
hunter on warm buckskin in the same position
as the homeless tramp accepting a tossed coin?

In wars waged for God and Country, a bereaved
wife, mother, father, or son are the orphaned
who -- kneeling -- must accept a hero’s carrion.

Where is the still point there? Does the lover
still offer his promise and fealty to his beloved
in that humbled, prayerful, drop to the ground?

One scours this place overcome by great wrath
descending from the skies, the oceans, the air,
fire below and fire above, fathers killing sons.

A buried miner scrounging through the bowels
of the earth for fossil to light cities and lift
warplanes off the ground, does he not crouch?

Is there any other manner, a decent mien,
to receive these wages of rebellion, a paradise
lost, not with legs curled beneath like fingers

clasping a palm to clench a fist against the sky?
Where is the stillness there? In a stilled anger,
deep in his heart where feelings are the hardest?




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