Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ambit's Gambit (A. B. Casuga Litblog): GOING BACK

Ambit's Gambit (A. B. Casuga Litblog): GOING BACK




For Guerrilla Comrades

The nape is a natural anchor; dancers
can tell how swiftly rhythmic footwork
become gyrations close enough to know
that she will not fall from his embrace.

This is how it should have always been:
he , being led by her wide steps caught
quickly off by a frenzy of thighs playing
the evening’s tease --- They are yours,

however you want them, if you can
catch them lithely tripping the light
she, a laughing  Jezebel,
grown bold with giggles of an ingénue.

What they would give, if they could hold
on to that night they danced, absently
ignoring the high command’s summons
of storming Corregidor* at break of dawn.

He said it would be a brief encounter;
will be back before she digs her fingers
into some rough folds of a dancer’s nape,
and feels a strange tickle on her hands.

I shall keep my night lamp lit all day long,
you know which window to climb through.
But the nights never ended, the dance did.
She now idles by her window counting waves.


---Albert B. Casuga

*Corregidor -- Philippine warfront WWII. Readers may simply replace this with any place where guerrilla movements exist. The context is hospitable to all lost love.

Saturday, May 5, 2012



You wanna buy protection on that hill, old chappie?/ I knocked a girl up there one night. I got off. Pills?---Graffiti 7: Frogs and Why (from the Graffiti Series)

1.  Bench Talk

He chatted him up when the slurring hobo
with the Rudolf nose promoted his prurient
ware: Trojans, Depo-Provera, morning-afters?
Demurring, he said, his loins no longer work.

Is why you walk everrrydeh, eh? The sales
pitch suddenly sounded frightening to him.
It has been some time, since primeval tugs
like those hinted by the tramp urged him.

He did not mind sharing his bench with those
lipstick ad-graffiti-mantra: You are beautiful.
About the girl, he said, she bore my baby. Eees
why I prowl here often. I see her go uppphilll

And my babbbbeee, sssheee is headmaster
Of a nursery school, there. Lots of frogs there

2. Taking Down Notes

Why not? He said, it will be part of my notes.
The Tramp. Sounds Chaplinesque. But how?

He talks to himself when caught wordless
and unable to sustain decent conversation.

The dotard syndrome, he reminded himself.
It was the Sidney Poitier-look-alike cop
asking him if he saw anything suspicious
around this stiff  corpse of a neatly-dressed

man, red jacket, white shirt, faded blue jeans,
the stuff he remembered to give him when last
they sat on that bench. He said he liked Dean.
James Dean was my  faaavvvooorrrittt guy.

Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, East of Eden,
they almost had an a cappella. A la prochaine.

3. Death on a Bench

French for ‘later ol’ chap, he said that last time.
Now this death on the bench. There was a freshly
sprayed arrow next to the bench beauty jibe.
Sir, Sir? Do you hear me? Do you know this man?

It was the policeman again, now insistent that he
pays attention; look at the baton, he muttered. Yes.
and No. I see him peddle weed, condoms, pills,
around here. He was a graduate of Harvard

His last word jolted him. Why did he end this way?
In their penultimate bench-talk, the stiff, clean-
shaven man said he lost everything. His old folks,
his mansion, his millions, he got into the slammer

for badly invested ponzi-scam money bled out
of pensioners, seniors, his parents even. Ha-vard!

4. His Story

I tried to see her, plead with her, showed her my
bank account, I proposed to her again and again.
All she said was to be “gentle with me”, and I
thought she might forgive me. Yes, she said, she did.

It was the headmaster lady with the nursery school
who said not to see her mother again. Ever.  Savvy?
So I came to this toboggan hill every day, espying
from a distance. Every stroller with a cane was her.

But I did not forget, she told me finally, peremptory
in her tone, I am happy now, my friend, I am good.
Estoy tan llena de alegria para estar enamorado
Contigo de nuevo. Too late, my friend. Nunca jamas!*

Absently, he gingerly climbed in the direction of the
bench arrow: Seven trees with the saddest graffiti.

5. Seven Graffiti Trees

“Will| You| Marry| Me?|” and “|Be| My| Wife?|”
They formed a coven of seven pine trees, sprayed
barks on their trunks, looking hoary in the late
blaze at sundown. Downhill, children’s ditties echoed.

Sir. Listen to me, Sir. Sidney Portier called out now.
You will have to give me your home address, phone
number, and show me an ID, right now. Please
He arched an eyebrow, and said: In a minute, sir.

He thought he sounded unctuous like Peter O’Toole’s
Don Quixote de La Mancha. Under his breath now,
he gobbled: I will be glad to write a novella about him,
and his lost life and loves
. Pentecostal, it dawned on him.

Those last three trees on the toboggan hill were his last
graffiti: Will you be my wife? But he died. The bastard.

6.  A Sylvan Prayer

He came down the hillock with a weary smile for Poitier.
His hobo was being bundled then into a wailing ambulance.
Bring me to wherever they bring his ice-cold, rock-hard
carrion, and I will tell you all I know in your cop car, son

Before he entered the annoyingly blinking (G.I.)* police car,
he looked at the hill rather tiredly; there were children
gawking at this weird bier-ceremony, two women herding
them, a handsome lady with a cane, and a fetching woman

crying havoc to the nattering, wondering, puling, yelling,
little children. She ordered: Back to the nursery. Now!
He gently refused the protective palm of the black cop
covering his bald pate; he charged Quixote-like into the car.

Sir, what did you say? Poitier asked impatiently. Praying,
he said. Praying she will never see the seven trees again.

05-04-12/ 05-05-12
Mississauga, Ontario

Estoy tan llena de alegria para estar enamorado/ Contigo de nuevo. Too late, my friend. Nunca jamas!*---I am so full of joy to be in love with you again. Too late, my friend.  Never ever again. (G.I.) – government issue.

This concludes the fictional element in my Graffiti  Poems which I posted earlier in my literary blog. I am delighted to have gone back to that hillock to find an additional graffiti “Be My Wife” on the seven pine trees atop the toboggan hill at Glen Erin Park, on my neighbourhood on Fifth Line West, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Next: Photos of the Graffiti prompts. (New fangled cell phone cameras permitting.)

These are May Poems #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, and #12 in my poem-a-day exercise to keep Poetry alive online. “Sonnets manqué,” because they use the 14-line format sans the rhymes in the first three quatrains and the “volta” couplet as a final strophe.---ABC

Thursday, May 3, 2012



Black sign, gutter-level./ White-lettered, centered,/ CLOSED FOR GOOD..../Squat beige building./ Street number placed /over the door, tastefully.---Hannah Stephenson, “For Good”, The Storialist (05-02-12)

How about if there are no/ children, not/ human children, just life/ forms that/ they are the stand-ins for/ who, sighing, / think, I want the old dark/energy star back.—-Hannah Stephenson, “Life Forms”, The Storialist, 05-03-12)

1. Closed

After the tsunami, the school
house on the hill is closed.
At the border ration centre,
supplies are gone. It’s closed.
No funds found for a village
orphanage? It will be closed.
Lean-to clinics for refugees
have been torched. Closed.
Mosques sheltering rebels
are collateral war damages.
Places there remain closed.
Even skies close. They’re dry.

2. Open

Elsewhere, in a busier world,
abortion abattoirs open 24-7.
Cathedrals rise with Sabbath
rake-ins, coffers remain open.
Here, infirmaries are business
opportunities, hospitals open
for insurers galore; pharmacies
at every street corner stay open
for motels that endlessly require
pills, rubbers. Banks, too, open
ATMs for gangland transfers
and late night cash. Here is open.

3. Closed for Good

What place was that with a sign
that promised it was closed for
good? Was that the dispensary
for pain killers crushed fine
into dust-looking opiates for
run-away kids? In this church-
going parish, was that dainty
bungalow a village whorehouse?
If the pastor was found castrated
there, why, pray, close it for good?
All things above and below close.
Is that for the common good?

4.  Happy then; now closed

He passed by again to make sure
he had the right house: a chapel
at season’s turn, now it’s foreclosed,
I miss the carousing of the children
singing La Cucaracha under lamps
while they tag each other under
a recondite moon with nary a river.
La cucaracha, ya no puede caminar!
Porque buracha, porque buracha,
Ya no puede caminar.* The street
is dark here and there, the lamps
burnt out, but the crabgrass grow.

---Albert B. Casuga

*La Cucaracha—the cockroach; La cucaracha, ya no puede caminar! Porque boracha, porque boracha, ya no puede caminar!—The cockroach can no longer walk! Because it is drunk, because it is drunk! It can no longer walk! (Old Mexican Band song).

These are May Poems #3, #4, #5, and #6 in my poem-a-day exercise to keep Poetry alive online. These will also be posted in and My Notes Facebook, as well as Pinoy Poetry Circle

Wednesday, May 2, 2012



Here come the waves, scrolling their bluegreen pages. The carriage rolls back at each interval:  return, return, return.---Luisa A. Igloria, “Rotary”, Via Negativa, 05-01-12

1. The Imperative

Return. To where? An imperative loses its urgency
when challenged by an aimless interrogative. Huh?
Whence come the gumption of a little boy when he
Gives his mother “the lip” at the command: Time out!

Why? What did I do? Don’t you love me anymore?

A triptych of a query, but gets shut down: ‘Coz, I said so.
Thus the impenitent lad goes to his corner, sulks
the better part of the threatening stare of the mother,
but wins the day, when he is told to go wash his hands
and get ready for dinner before father comes home.

Much like the waves scrolling wet pages, they roll back
a carriage of flotsam at ebbtide, return to an open sea
and lose what fury they need to deliver an imperative.
Return. To where? Wherever. Whenever. However.

2.  A Lingering Ache

He traces the trailing colours of the sundown hiss,
and shrugs at the lingering ache twisting in his gut:
he knows there is no going back, when no one there
would no longer care to ask who you are or from where.

There is no old country for him who had left his corner
sullenly injured for dreams that cannot come true or
questions that will never  be answered: Why have you
quickly forgotten me, when all I wish is to return
and be forgiven for wondering if you don’t love me
any more than a prodigal son who still longs for you

But like the waves, she scrolls worn-out pages forever,
and these do not return; unlike the waves, she’ll never
return to an old shore, nor care if the sun rises again
from distant horizons. She locked her doors. She’s certain.

---Albert B. Casuga