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Albert B. Casuga

The Brushfire While it Lasted

1. On Top of Smokey Mountain

Dawn is pale on these waifs’ faces,
Sun rays striking their thin backs.
The colour of refuse here is bright:
Worms sepia, cans gooey, faeces black.
A country will rise from excreta.

2. Slumdogs

Rain coming through this window is warm
Slithering from hot tin gutters;
Bullet-hot roofs sizzle in the rain,
Bloated foetuses float in city waters.
“The baby’s wet! Plug the roof hole, Lakay.! ”

3.People Power

It is the hunger on brown wrinkles
lined in the irony of parched lips

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A Homecoming

Tanqui’s supreme conceit is its dread
Of withering grass in the month of the frogs
When rain, like fingers in the night, tread
The lesions gangrened on a hillock’s carrion,
Carcass of a season mourned
As the briefest of them all.

“The rain is on the hill, the dry pond
Is red with clay, the gods are back!
And so must I - shadow of a past long gone -
Weeping, running through these deserted streets,
Crouching now in mud pools of childhood fun
When songs were chanted as songs for the dance.
A dance for the grass! My limbs for the grass!
I must dance for Tanqui’s singed grass! ”

He dances hard, his body clean and gleaming,
But Tanqui’s rain is on the ashen hill.
Neither his dancing nor his lusty screaming
Will stop this dreaded withering.

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A Striving After Wind

- All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it.
(Ecclesiastes)

Malaise stamped on evenings like this ripens romance:
Wisdom becomes our sad bohemia, and we are clowns.
We laugh at what night disgorges - the gilded askance -

But night defines shadows twixt dancer and the dance;
We are cynics grown old, now satyrs of the lounge
Malaise-stamped on evenings like this. Ripens romance

When we, Simon-like, doubt wine and whore’s relevance?
They, too, have time who walk the streets, liven towns
We laugh at. What night disgorges (the gilded askance)

Hounds us, we them, arguing the grip of night and trance
Makes of us involuntary heroes but our bravura drowns,
Malaise-stamped, into evenings like this. Ripens romance.

Romance is talk of God and lady’s drink, a dash of Launce-

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