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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013



Atop a hill overlooking a harbour
of boats only the rich can afford,
He presides as a statue of the man
on Golgotha who was nailed to a tree

for denying Caesar's dominion over all
that moves in the streets of Jerusalem.

Isn't it a grand irony for him to preside
over the realms of the wealthy even as
the poor on the other side of the hill
wail for their daily bread where none
could be broken to nurture the hungry?

Christus Erectus, on the Nicaraguan hill,
how far have you come down from that tree
to raise your fingers in peace where there
is nothing but violence and greed? You
have come a long way from the Hill of Skulls
to tower over this pilgrim's photo-outlook
indicating the blessings first for the rulers.

How your resurrection has become a tourist
spectacle in some bricks and stones! Still.
I pray that my wobbling knee could still
make it down the hill like those drunken
praetorians who made off with your robe,
while I make off with mementoes of stones.


 (In Nicaragua at the Shrine of the Divine Merciful Redeemer. San Juan Sud, Nicaragua.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013



(For Bayani de Leon, Friend, Poet, and Music Maker+ 1942-2013)

1. Palaver on a Football Field

You said: “I shall be like cellar wine,
I will never grow stale unto dotage.
Like light, the energy in my music
will lift me up beyond all drivel
and the smallness of all that is dark
in these joyless catacombs of the ugly.
Wherever beauty is, I will be there.”

We got you drunk, while drinking
was good, and gin got you singing
sans podium sans baton sans sense
where words were the only balls
we kicked around, knowing nothing
about why all that verdant expanse
would be wider than our classrooms,
its kicking brutes even bigger heroes
than us, or was this their university?
Schools exist only for football teams.

When we staggered out into the night,
you introduced yourself to a femme
du nuit outside the gate: “I am a Hero
Of Lions”, and we chorused: So are we,
All, all heroes filled with cheap rum.
“Wherever beauty is, I will be there,”
You trolled. You got stuck there, too.

2. After All Those Years…

Imagine if all of us were caterpillars,
all inching toward that one branch
or leaf whence we spread our wings
to carry out a bounden duty of flitting
from one rose garden to a hillock
smothered by a rainbow of pansies:

Would we race to the highest branch
and shed our cocoon shackles quickly
to fulfill this raison d’etre of spreading
beauty where it is scarce or now gone?
Imagine if all that we lived for were a
task as gleeful as this godlike whimsy.

Would we not scale beyond this boot,
and swing beyond this silken thread?
Or tear through bramble or grappling
gossamer webs that drag us down
even as we crawl toward sunlit fronds
to spread our wings and get beauty done?

3.  Our Troth

Wherever beauty is, we will be there,
And if our troth be true, we will all
Be stuck there, too, spinning webs
of words, music that will outlive us all.


September 15, 2013
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada