My photo
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.

Thursday, August 28, 2014






Would the tendril creeping through my hair,
crawl down my face and touch my mouth
to draw this quivering breath, a gentle whisk
of air caught in a billowing web of gossamer,
an invitingly silken grope of fingers, drawing
me, enfolding me, burning with raw desire?

Mornings are unbridled questions like these,
and will not find answers soon, until I leap
like a flame scorching your enfeebled loins
that they may dance again, quake or shiver
again and find me waiting feverishly there
where nothing moves but you amid my fire.

I, too, hanker for strength from the strong,
unquenchable hunger I could eagerly satisfy
when it finds its harbor and home in a place
I, and only I, can shape or rearrange or own,
or drink like a glass of cold water to cool me
down when I have no more need for loving.


Warm light on the back are familiar fingers
but they will not be back as caresses again.
They can only unravel bandages of wounds
that will not heal but will not feel any pain.

I am done with them. All feelings betray us
before they become clear: they sap courage,
and quickly turn into skeletons of passion.
I want to be a woman, not a chair to catch
torn and tired bodies that need mending.

I ache for your return, yet I never know when.
Like the tendril sprouting quietly in unknown
directions, will you crawl into what is warm?
Fill my eager arms? Crowd our empty room?
This primal urge throbs in me. Feel it. Fill it.

Mississauga, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014




(For Lourdes Veronica)

Summer simmers down, but it isn’t/ all gone. So drink slowly, drink/ everything, down to the thick,/ dark sludge at the bottom/ of the cup. Out in the fields,/find what remains when the grain/ has separated from the chaff.---From “Stay” by Luisa A. Igloria, Via Negativa 8-15-14


All I needed to hear: “Stay. Stay.” I have come home
Like that long absent hummingbird on your sill,
The one you said you would wait for on the trellises
That have fallen from a crowd of dead flower buds.

Take me back. Take me back. And we will retrace
those letters carved on some saplings grown tall
beyond our reach, and sing with carillon clangor
those old evensongs, brave songs. Old love songs.

We will outdo the bell choir master on the belfry,
ring them all, sing them all, hum them all until
sundown overtakes us and we hold our tremulous
voices like our stuttered promises of coming home.

I must turn around, will tarry at the street’s end,
wait for you. Must drink cold tea to its bottom sludge.
Will out-hoot the newfound owl on our lone oak tree.
Will drown rain staccato with my raunchiest halloo.

Hell will wait, heaven will not. I have some Zorba
dancing to do,  naked and happy again in this rain.


Mississauga, August 18, 2014


Monday, August 18, 2014


Today's poem (not to worry writer friend Blanca Datuin---poetry forces me out ot the woods, and heals me) is also a SMILE Trigger for me, recuperating as the dotard of a wounded old man, and you, wishing I was less stubborn/creative (?) and... just rest for a while until my heart mends (it probably would not at this rate?) Nah, no more putting it off; don't forget "domani" for tomorrow might never come.

Do you hear that rhythmic titter from the ebbtide, wee lass?
And the hiss from the sundown waves that mimics whistles
or calls of “encore”: an unbridled adoration if you ask us,
but I might just be bantering about old enchanted mortals
who have long asked whence, when, how, why, what haven,
have you come from to shower this grace on our little lives?

Dance, wee lass of all hearts. It is still the loveliest beau geste
to this sun and sea that have claimed you their own sweet child,
their bright pulsing star, their dancing laughing girl, their best
balm for all the ills of the Earth, O, our star on darkest eventide,
wee lass, to last us until the end of all that is beautiful and wild!

Mississauga, August 18, 2014
Photo by Adele Frances Casuga

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


(That They May Forgive)

There are no lessons deep enough, clear enough,
that they could hold on to or use to decipher,
or understand, or even to respond: “Of what use?”

Of what use are murmuring creeks that turn
blue when they flow into the river’s mouth
as it meanders to an open sea, itself a tributary
to all that is deep and dark and dangerous
in these untamed oceans -- beginnings and ends
of life, the vast expanse of all our explorations?

What does it matter that the moon swings low
over pine branches, or that the urgent calls
to trek back to forgotten origins are inexorable?
Old men can only counsel them enough of beauty,
because this earth makes it more often an omen
of regrets, or even an augury of faithless betrayal.

When the words they lisped---as infants turned
somnolent in old arms--come back to haunt them,
they will rush back to you and pray for strength:

“Forgive our being blind to everything beautiful.”
When that time comes, tell them: “No apologies
needed, nor did I expect them. Beauty is an omen.”


Monday, August 4, 2014

TODAY'S SMILE TRIGGER: A Mini Commencement Address

TODAY'S SMILE TRIGGER: A Mini Commencement Address to the University of Hard Knocks Class 2014 by Mme. YO DETTE, Chancellor, DA-DA-Versity, Mississauga, Ont. Canada, Fifth Line Campus.(Via Spyke, Cloud Nine Satellite)

"My dear Grads of HKC 2014, and all your invited and uninvited guests: Thank you for inviting me as your Commencement Speaker. But what can I say? This is a quick satellite feed. So, hear this. (Here goes. Beam me on.)

“Friends: Make your own mistakes, but learn from the lessons they invariably reveal to you. Look for your happiness.  “Feast on yourself” so says my poet friend Derek Walcott. You are the man or woman on the mirror. Make sure, though, that you have the equipment and the necessary learning to get to your goal without harming anyone on your journey to get there. Those behind you are doing their darndest best to climb up the ladder just as you did or are still doing. Don't step on their fingers or hands. Pull them up when they falter. They might learn to catch you when you miss a step yourself. Weren’t the Ten Commandments a Commencement Message? So asks Brodsky in his great commencement address eons ago. Yes, of course. Marching orders they were to the Chosen People. (Where are they now, by the way?  At war? Pity.)

    The Golden Rule, likewise, is normally your commencement thought when you step out of your shelters to work and achieve in a civilised world. Yes, "Do unto others what you would like others do unto you"; love begets love. But mark well: Do not do unto others what you would not like others do unto you. They will.  

“Thank you for listening or not.  
 Good Day.”

(Poster flash: Applaud. Please. Pretty Please? :(  )