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.

Monday, January 4, 2016


MY POEM TODAY was prompted by my envy of an artist who can work under any pressure---the street artist. Not the graffiti artist. The one who works on a painting for under 20 minutes and sell it, too. Met one at the Strip in Las Vegas. We chatted while he painted furiously. I bought his painting.


A graffiti artist? No, sir, I use spray cans not brushes. I paint. ---Las Vegas Street Artist

Is it any different, this splashing of colour
Behind a glass cage, from the wild abandon
Of defacing, disfiguring all walls and fences
That come between you and your pure anger
Cursing a dark and ugly hole you call home
In a jungle where tendrils are skyscrapers
And black trellises of filthy woven grid wires
Swollen like hissing, smugly snaking, serpents
Slithering swiftly after swallowing whores
Snagged and stoned inside gaols of penury,
A condition not of their making but of a city
Beyond repair, cursed, now beyond rebuke.
Where you would have been a midnight
Rogue spraying mangled rants of hate
On defenceless palace walls and mansions
Fenced off with forbiddingly harsh barricades
Of vulgar wealth and embarrassing splendor,
You chose a prison of art, a cage of glass,
Where you would rather spray raw beauty
On surfaces that scarcely know a raison d’etre
Of creating and spreading beauty now gone
where it ought to be, a quixotic task you share
With a craftsman in the sky who might just
Be smiling down on you in gleeful whimsy,
Because you, in utter smallness or madness,
Would rather shape beauty and be godlike.


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