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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.

Thursday, August 26, 2010



For Cita, newly wed

Event of choice and chance
For celebration and learning
Is the manner of her union

Wherein she receives the man she loves
As power of flesh the blood of word
In landborn winds of islands

The way forest canopy covers her
Like a sevenfold benediction
And streams flow around like an oath

For self-understanding and assurance
To release her newly wed as dreams
To the struggle of shores and tide

Wherein two mountains are transformed
Into a sanctum of revolution and
Trees are candelabra of blazing orchids

And Everything is assumed by unseen
Heaven into the largeness of life
To which she and the revolution aspire

Beyond the 24th year of a civil war
Beyond waverings of proletarian leadership
At the threshold of larger unities

The manner be hours of steadfastness
To consume her stance and invention
And own surer ground of meaning

A clearer sky of purpose


At 5:26 a.m. en punto
Just as the summer
To release me
On awakened
Shores and
To breeze and soft
Pale orange and silver
Gray fusions
Of my making
Suddenly he came
Undefined unnamed
In the distance
Amazing my mind
Heart spirit awed
This Red Fighter
Standing on water
Gazing at horizon
Of ocean and sky
Gun slung on shoulder
Silent as
The Sierra Madre
Behind him
That birthed him
That owned him
That loved him
Tall and ranging
Blue and confident
Before my

* Jason Montana is the nom d'guerre of a Filipino Benedictine monk who took to the hills during the Martial Law regime of the military government established by the Philippine government at that time (ca. 1970s).
This blog has published earlier (See April 8, 2009 post) some of his Sierra Madre Poems, some of them bemoaning his disenchantment with the revolution forgotten by the Filipino people in their haste to settle down from the explosion of "people power" that toppled the martial law government.
Bonding celebrates a wedding in the hills, for these things happen there, too --- a balm against loneliness and the heart being a "lonely hunter". Some of these marriages in the bivouacs have been blessed by enduring bonds that even more prominent "returnees" from the hills find it compelling to express pride and gratitude for those bonds that were forged in the heat of war against social injustice and the poverty of the Filipino soul.
Jason Montana remains to be a hawk-like eye watching after God's children, praying, hoping that the People's Revolution will finally find its plenitude in a similar revolution waged ages ago by the Man from Galilee who marched into Israel to "free his people" that they may gain ascendancy over their lives in the City of God.
Jason Montana, like guerrilla poets before him, honour the memories of poets Emmanuel Lacaba,+ Carlos Tayag, Che Guevarra+, Yevgeny Yevtushenko+, Ding Fernandez+,  Jose Burgos+, Mila D. Aguilar, Rita Gadi, Edicio de la Torre and countless others who came down from the hills with their rifles wrapped with sheets and sheets of poetry to last the ages.
We will cherish our own "Sierra Madres" in our lifetime. Mabuhay ka, Ka Jason Montana.

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