Tuesday, July 8, 2014



Dark days will always be with us,...

but they, too, will pass, like wind
blowing through gloomy rooms:

look at her fleetingly smile at you
when you hold her to your chest,
the dove-like cooing telling you

how warm it is to curl into arms
that will always be there to hold
and enfold however cruel days

become, however bereft of grace
struggling to live becomes. Look
at her gaze at you long enough

to manage another smile before
she looks away and closes her eyes
to sleep feeling you will be there

when she opens them again still
singing her a lullaby, her smile
never once leaving her tender face.

It is when you are moved to get
down on your knees and pray
that, if this were your final day,

you would still have her cuddled
in your arms smiling at what you
have begun to doubt is still there

holding us all in his steady palms.

Albert B. Casuga

Painting by Janet Weight Reed, England, "A Baby"


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ambit's Gambit (Albert B. Casuga Literary Blog): THE PASSION

Ambit's Gambit (Albert B. Casuga Literary Blog): THE PASSION


Poem, if he had a choice. There was a time I could write any borracho under the table, I mean drink under the bridge. Is that the bromide? But whatever for? I cannot recall how and when I wrote this note on a rough, brown paper bag of music... and a pack of metaphors. Did I say music? Meta…what? Oh, I meant a pack of brew. Give it all back. Return them to senders. I am done.

(Or Send Back to Sender)

If he had his druthers, he’d rather not be given:
too little time for too much to give back on.
A keen eye to see both sides of a magic coin?
Be a magistrate then, look for the right and just.
Or a poet who sees both sides of a wall. Or mirror.
Why not a jihadist who slays both good and evil
for a master who will not see any evil in any good?

And snow now melting faster than it could fall?
What ever for? He’d rather they all blew back
to whatever skies they’ve fallen from, too late
anyway for the grandkids who prayed as hard
as the grumbling Imam now hoarse with his
praying at the muezzin. What’s a hillock for
if it is not snowbound for their tobogganing?

 He will not suffer the little ones to miss their
winter sleigh. On the other hand, this could be
a wayward winter storm giving back a late wallop
for having been given a welter of clouds and a clash
of heat and cold. Someone sent him a throne of words:
he built cathedrals of thought no one understood.
It’s poetry, mon ami! He said it’s worth a shrug,
like cold tea on a rainy day. Some tea? Bit of sugar?
Cream? Tea, Madame? Tea? Anyone?


Mississauga, July 3, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


The lullaby has a long poetic tradition. In this poem, I try to capture the rhythm of those songs that are invariably sung to put people (babies) to sleep. (How bad can they get? Or how gentle?) 


Close your eyes and fairy lights will lead you 
Away from the dark and gloom that scare you:

In your dreams, do you run through brackish snow?
Climb leafless trees or swing from a broken bough?

Where the river bends, do you gather rotting fish,
Glean carrion left from a summer’s fishing mess?

Has the snowman’s head fallen off its melting body?
Its stick hands twisted like pretzels. Arrows really.

The carrot nose has become its stabbing tooth,
Where both eyes were, now Cyclops orb is left

On a conehead of dripping snow; a crushed face
Stares blankly at a mid-day sun whose lapping rays

Forebode another season for yet another reason
To accept that what lives is also ripe for destruction.

(O, my aching heart, it aches, it hurts,
It hurts badly, it hurts to the core.
Kindly spare me your gentle nurture,
For I dread death’s coming spectre.)*

Close your eyes and let the wind rip through
Tears and cracks and cranny and broken doors, too.

Grip the tightened string on your wayward kite,
No wind could wreck nor snap it loose from flight.

You will ride the wind, my boy, and touch the sun,
Though frightful prayers plead that you must run

From the dreams that have become nightmares,
From the fallen kites; run from the fearsome snares.

Life is a trap, much like the burlap waiting downstream,
When you get there, you are enmeshed -- do not scream.

It is too late to scream. Close your eyes, shut them tight.
Life is not a waking dream. You have just begun to fight.

(O, my aching heart, it aches, it hurts,
It hurts badly, it hurts to the core.
Kindly spare me your gentle nurture,
For I dread death’s coming spectre.)*



* Annnay, pusok, annay, annay,
Nasaem, naut-ut la unay.
Itdem kaniak ta pannaranay
Ta kaasiak a maidasay.

--- Duay-ya: Dungdungwen Kanto
(A Lullaby of Love), Ilocano Lullaby Refrain

Monday, June 30, 2014


Am here where nothing is everything,

where the still point of our exploration
is exploring beginnings turned into navel
gazing, a standing still on the tip of light.

Where am I?

Am here where mornings crack into a shiver
of twilights breaking into days and nights,
songs and echoes --- whimpers of regret
or frenzied halloing achieved after couplings
of living and dying, of starting and ending,
of suns and shadows. Endings begin here.

Am in a circle at last where the hole
defines life’s next of kin. The hole is a circle.
I have come. Am here where I am going.
Been here before. But is anybody home?

Revised, June 30, 2014

From the Author’s Notebook:

In his "Life and Death: The Burden of Proof", Deepak Chopra defines zero point: "At the moment of death the ingredients of your old body and old identity disappear... You do not acquire a new soul, because the soul doesn't have content. It's not "you" but the center around which "you" coalesces, time after time. It's your zero point."

What happens if the "center" does not hold? Will life and death still come from the same fibre? Will dying still be needed to extend the energy of living? Nothing is everything here.

"...The zero point provides the starting point from which everything in the universe springs. Since matter and energy are constantly emerging and then vanishing back into the void, the zero point serves as the switching station between existence and nothingness."

Chopra invokes the principles of physics to locate this point as he postulates that life and death are from the same stream. He quotes Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita: "Folding back in on myself, I create again and again."

One does not die, therefore. One continues the journey. The homo viatorcannot come home again.

If he must come home, is there anybody there to come home to?

It is questions like this that authors like Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) exploit. Some of his fellow atheists have purchased ads in trams and transits to coyly admonish: "There probably is no God; go out and enjoy yourself tonight!" The critical word is "probably". They sound unsure about their certainty.

Because we have yet no certain way of knowing, we will maintain silence in our beds.

Saturday, June 28, 2014



The Nightmare


Halfway, between this river stone and many rocks after,
Nara shall have gone from our echoes-call.
We have wandered into a sunken mangrove and wonder:
Is it as silent there? Are there crabs there?
What quiet mood is pinching bloodless our spleens?
This is another pool –-- navel upon the earth.
Always, always, we cannot be grown men here.

After the white rocks, after the river bend,
Nara becomes the dreaded dream.
We have put off many plans of soulful revisiting ---
We will go on re-stepping beyond the white stones,
Each step becoming the startled rising
Into a darkened city farther downstream
Where we once resolved never to die in.


Do we wake up then afraid of Nara?
But rising here is the nightmare come so soon,
Treason in the daytime, maelstrom at night:

The nightmare was of cackling frogs
And serpents rending skulls and cerebrae
Of kitemakers who sing while termite logs
Burn and children, chanting the Dies Irae,
Mush brainmatter, pulling out allegory
Like unwanted white hair, stuffing black grass
Where brain was, casting tired similes
Into dirty tin cans where earthworm wastage was:

River swells drown us where, surfacing,
We wake up knowing our days have become
Termite nights and decaying metaphors.