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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.

Monday, April 27, 2015


MY POEM TODAY WAS PROMPTED BY THE EARTHQUAKE IN NEPAL. A DISASTER BY ANY MEASURE. Cassandra's box says they will be occurring less infrequently now. Mother Earth is staggering from neglect and lack of love and care. Oil spills, forest blazes, droughts, wars, temblors, plagues --- enough for anyone to scream; Damn it, why?


(For All Who Need to Respond to the Cry of Mother Earth)

Has it gone any better? Love on this piece of terra infirma?
That’s when Mother shushed you back to sleep,
An impatient rhythm clipping away what should have been
A gently lulling melody from the Song of Ages:
"Rock-a-bye, baby on the treetop; when the wind blows,
The cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle
Will fall; and down will come baby, cradle, and all."
The bough breaks, and you scream. Too late for that.
This is not a dream. The freefall is Mother’s little slip
When she could no longer hold you still, somnolence
Finally taking over, and your cri d’couer, a scream
For help, for caress, for all the love gone from an empty room.
The cradle falls, she can’t pick it up. Exhausted and utterly
Spent, she mutters in her sleep: Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Tomorrow, if it comes, Mother will prop up --- backaches
Assault her waking days now --- will step into her plimsoll
As she would her dancing pumps, oil-soaked slippers.
She will slip and fall before anyone else wakes up.
She will yell: “Damn it, who spilled oil on the floor this time?”
(From CNN: "1900 killed in Nepal in today's earthquake.
The body count is expected to rise." So will the sun rise,
But Mother's aches make her wish more for the sunset.
"There must be some balm remaining still in the eventide",
She mutters and retrieves her pom-poms from a greasy sink.


Monday, April 13, 2015



From the stupor of a languid walk, a wounded walk,
he recalls Via Dolorosa up the hill of skulls, a Golgotha
still echoing with a cacophony of voices: Crucify Him!
He steps on squiggled graffiti on the sprung trail: "Occupy".
On this quaint mid-morning of spring on Glen Erin trail,
he shrugs the lingering cold off: "Here is my empty heart.
Occupy it." He mutters: "All I need now is a little loving,
like the ditty says: A lil' lovin', a lil' lovin', just a lil' lovin."

He trips on the branches of a fallen tree, cut off clean
into a gaping stump marked starkly with an "X", ruddy
like an eye out of its socket. Why, they've cut the trees.
A good number of them, including those where he saw
the old graffiti of a stout-hearted lover: Will you marry me?
Forestry blames a disease, "Emerald Ash Borer-infested
trunks will be cut down, whittled, burned, carted off.
Stay clear off the work area." No love here at all. No love.

Mottled trees, dead still from winter will not grow buds.
Dead trees. Not unlike those 166 Syrian children starved
in the raids on Yarmouk, the 127 gunned-down youth
in the university halls of Kenya, the massacred innocents
in Connecticut, the raped and slain lasses in Boko's Nigeria,
the decapitated men as caricatures of holy men's wrath,
accidental martyrs condemned from minarets of muezzins
barking for more beheadings for that is good. Insha Allah.

Whistling like a lad in a dark alley, he prays: Be gentle.

Mississauga, April 12, 2015