Taming This Tyke's Voice Since 2007

Childhood

Bait

 

You are always ripples away,

The tides ever

Between us.

 

Series of hurdles

As it appears in the surface

That this meek soul

Secretly transcends beneath;

Away from the prying eyes

Of predation.

 

You are designed

For cruel intentions,

That is how the world sees you.

But for the many years

That I followed your lead,

I learned to give your purpose

A different meaning.

 

I am grateful

To the hands that keep my safety

Disguised in undulation ~

Of the sudden swell of  waves between us.

Oftentimes your absence disheartens me,

Scared of losing you to the crest of tides, 

But reassured to see you still there

When the morning after 

Calms the bubbling surfs,

That in many occasions pushed us apart.

 

I praise the hands that hold

The mysterious fishing pole

And for chosing you the bait,

And thank time, too,

For helping me understand.

You are the reason

Why I swim the extra laps;

Take another stroke,

No matter how helpless

My frail attempts ~

Against the raging currents ~

Just to be near you.

 

Reason that I doubt,

The world’s shallow definition

Of predator and prey 

Would ever come to comprehend.

 

Your lead brought me to the deeps,

You are the pivot that draws me to the blue;

A hope that keeps my buoyancy,

And not sink in the ocean,

In the heart of possibilities.

 

When are you going to consume me?

 

~

(Follow the lead of your dream, trust the hands that hold the fishing pole and His design where the bait is going to take you. ~ Jeques)

The dragonfly is always been my metaphor in following the lead of my dreams. I used to chase them in the green fileds when I was a kid, like my dreams that I continue to chase as grown up.

—–

Jeques. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection


My Genesis

~

I delight watching things from their outset,

I am soothe to see the genesis of things.

They remind me of the child, the curious eyes

Ever sparkling within.

 

I see beauty in simpleness of anything even at their lowly outset,

For they possess the genuine truth of precious purity.

They remind me of my beginnings

Like the water glorybinds(kangkong) growing wild in the marshes,

They bring back memories of the backyards

Of some houses I lived as a child.

Water glorybind, river spinach,swamp cabbage, whatever name you call it, for me its "Tangkong" Pencil, pen and ink on paper by Jeques B. Jamora, 2010

In some quiet afternoons during my untamed moments,

I would sit motionless in a corner facing the swamp in our backyard

Listening to the soothing sounds, the slightest of movements

In the still water at one o’clock

When the world in my young mind

Takes a nap with my mother on her siesta.

I would sneak out of the house through the backdoor

To celebrate the joy of my earliest  found solitude

In the company of nature ~

 

Befriending the dragonflies hovering over my head,

The birds nestling in the reeds,

The snails petiently taking thier journeys from one rock to the next,

While my mind quietly travels to the unknown future

Interrupted by occasional sightings of the gourami

That stir the still water creating tiny ripples on the surface.

 

But the highlight of the afternoon is the rare sighting of the mudfish(dalag)

Making that splash and swashing sound and wild movements

In the dense growth of the water glorybinds as it swims back to the bushes of reeds,

Where the water of the marshes is knee deep and the herons(tagak) nest.

That magical moment of brief beautiful chaos tickles purest joy of childhood madness.

 

Cherished memories from my genesis ~

My earliest form of entertainment: my humble version of television,

Or a theatre; watching a movie or a concert ~ my idea of a grand show

Happening in our backyard in an atypic stage, in a silverscreen of water glorybinds

Where the dragonflies, the frogs, the birds, the gourami, the snails, the herons, the mudfish

Are the stars, and I, their sole audience.

 

The show ends with the voice of my mother calling my name at four o’clock.

That’s when the curtains drop,

The world wakes up,

As I walk back home to the door of my genesis.

"The Dragonfly and I"

 

 —

Jeques, 2010. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies poetry collection.

 


New York: What You Mean To Me

 

The places we visit are like peepholes we take a peek, revealing parts of a bigger picture of the journeys we take. This is what New York showed me. I visited the place for the first time last year, but it felt like I was there forever.

 

Land of childhood dreams

                                  Hedged in by enormous seas

                                                                           Damselfly alights

 

Have you ever had thought so strong it follows you all through life? I have. It is incessant and tarry as the  waves to the shore that come, and go, and come back in erratic intensity of currents taking me back, up, down and forth.

Years back, I wrote this haiku piece included in my Filipino Immigration collection and  New York, I have to confess, was the place in mind when I wrote it. I had a strong feeling even then, though I didn’t know exactly when, that one day I’m going alight on to its grounds like the damselfly and walk its streets where my dream arrived ahead of me. For somebody who lived in the other side of the world, it was a dream that for years I half-believed, but after January 17, 2009, with all my heart, I now do.

i-love-new-york-134

I first saw America in a postcard, in a picture of a snowy Time Square, New York and visited the place countless times in my thoughts. I’m not sure who owned that card, or who sent it to whom and from where, but I think of it now an invitation sent by my fate from the future to come to a place. An enticement I ignored, or perhaps I turned down at some point doubting possibilities, but the invitation ever haunting.

Years after, I arrived in Chicago and saw snow for the first time. I walked the streets in many snowy days, and my thought of the christmas card would return, unreeling in waves and waves of flashback  like an old film but the picture always incomplete, not until last year, when fate put me exactly in that old picture of the postcard I once viewed as a child. My dream and I converged in Time Square where all the elements conspired, and felt the snow the way the child thought it should feel melting on my face when I  arrive to answer that long time invitation.

i-love-new-york-012

I really thought my many years of incessant thoughts of New York ended when I finally answered its invitation. But I fear, No! I left many stones unturned with my brief weekend visit last year that continue to frequent my reveries, courting me with new angles of possibility. This is what New York mean to me now. For many years, it’s something impossible and far away, and when I reached to touch its grounds, it remained mystical and distant. I felt ignored during my visit. I even wonder it  noticed my presence. Perhaps it’s my fault for ignoring the invitation too long that fate have forgotten about the christmas card and didn’t recognize me when I finally stepped into the picture to answer its long time invitation.

 

I love New York

But it didn’t love me back

 

A love that endured

Years of dreaming

And wake up

To walk its streets

For fleeting moment

And temporary bliss

That dissolves

With its rushing time.

 

I chased you

In the fast lanes

Of my recurring dreams.

I run after your affection

In the weekend

I spent with you,

Unnoticed.

 

I love New York

But it didn’t love me back.

 

I contented myself

With passing glances

A vagabond

A tourist

A spectator

A stranger

A passerby

An audience

Until the curtains dropped

And the show ended

When day light shied away

From your night lights.

But that’s when I start to dream,

Again, where you become real.

 

Only in dreams

That I belong to you

And when I trully walk your streets

And leave marks

Of my footsteps

In your heart.

 

Tomorrow,

When you wake up,

I hope you recognize

My footprints

Among the many vagabond

That walked the paths

That meet in the intersection

Where dreams alight

And don’t dissolve

With the fumes

Of your heavy traffic.

 

Only then that my dream

Would really come alive.

New York is one of the places I visited that intrigued me to fathom its relevance to my journey. It is like a hole in a lock where a key would fit one day awaiting to be turned to reveal me many things behind the shut door. I doubt the possibilities no more when fate put me in that picture and walked the streets of the postcard of long ago that gave me the preview of what was to come and in fleeting moments became a surreal reality that weekend. I know I need to come back to complete the story and when I do, I would not leave a single stone unturned.

Our dreams may reside in many different places. Places that would speak to us in many different languages, giving us messages, revealing to us secret codes that would help decipher the mysteries of our journeys.  I wish my pictures would work like the old postcard did to me and reach the eyes and hearts of dreamers to invite, to entice and reassure that dreams still come alive if we believe. And I hope you would answer that invitation soon.

 Don’t make your dreams wait too long.

i-love-new-york-0671

Jeques at Stairway to heaven. Time Square, New York, January 2009

 

 

 

 

 


Tamed

 

A free-spirited cub

Laid on the holy slab

Donned by my mother white.

A willing sacrificial lamb

To get the approval of my father.

 

He offered me to the altar

In fulfillment of a promise

To pay his dues,

And left me waif outside a shut door

Of a dome I din’t belong.

He dropped me off the road, unknown,

To a journey never understood.

A life he ordered me to live,

Without a map to follow

And lost myself along the way.

 

I strayed into the wilderness,

Cruel and unforgiving,

Like a vulnerable cub

Bullied by laughing hyenas.

There was no armor

To shield me in the battles

I didn’t expect exist

Inside the dome

That I thought was holy.

I was an easy prey

To predators in school

And the obloquies of my father

When I returned home.

 

The life raft

I thought I could cling on

In times of storm

Pushed me away,

Drifting, hitting rocks in the shores

That would not welcome me.

I sustained wounds

That bleed inside me

Nobody understood

I leaked many years in silence

To healing ~

Nursed the white cub inside me

And made myself whole again.

 

I was a reject at 13,

A loser at such a young age.

A picture of defeat,

Expelled from the dome

That many thought

Would determine my future.

The once free-spirited cub

Suddenly became a pariah

Retiring to his digged burrows

Leaving behind no egress,

Descending farther

To a different kind of confinement.

 

I tried to mimic the hyenas

For awhile to earn my protection

From the harsh world.

A symbiosis I welcomed

Like the anemone

To a clownfish taking shelter

In its stinging tentacled folds

While I build my backbone,

Training my fins to swim

And find the lost me again.

nagpangita ko nemo  25 ginpangita man ko nemo

 It was a moment

I’m not proud about,  and remorseful.

I feel for the souls I stung with words,

For who could understand them better

But me who once was a dartboard

Of ridicules of the hyenas.

I learned to sound like their laughter

But never become them,

For caged within me was a crying cub

I  heard clearly

When I chose solitude.

 

I didn’t belong to any herd

And refused to take their colors,

For I chose to become a new breed 

That grows its claws

Not to harm, but to protect.

To weave words not to distroy,

But to re-build the broken spirits. 

 

It took me years

To understand my purpose,

Like the clownfish to survive

Free of my imaginary anemone.

It took me awhile to recognize

The true sound of my laughter

Muted by the loud hyenas.

In solitude I redeemed my voice

I once lost in my desperate attempts

To seek the approval of my father.

 

I swam the ocean, arrived in the shore 

That my creator intended me to be

And found the white cub still clad in white

His mother once donned him,

But now grown

And tamed.

 tamed original

—–

HAVE A WONDERFUL YEAR OF THE WHITE TIGER, EVERYONE!

I wish you well.

 

~ Jeques 

 

 

 


Breaking Grounds

 

Here I am pursuing

In endless circles

On and on

Wandering, wondering

Where’s this circular course

Taking me,

Where’s this ring going?

 

Like the fan blades

In the dining,

Grating, squeaking in the ceiling

Racing overhead.

 

Like the propellel

At the boat’s rear

My mother once showed me

Stuck in my memory

Of things turning

Around an axis

Aimless.

 

I did my laundry

The other day,

And lost myself

With the motion

Of my clothes spinning,

So did my head

Juggling with thoughts

As the Wheels,

And mills,

The clock running

Round in circles

But really,

Where is it going

When it ends where it begins?

 

I hear an alarm

Of high pitched signal,

My laundy is done.

The machine pukes

Fragrant vomitus:

My clothes smelling the scents

Of spring and renewal

Like my mind

Finding new meanings:

 

The fan in the dining

Brings me air

Of homey comfort

Makes beef stew rice topping

Tastes like what my mother

Used to feed me

From my distant memory of home.

 

The propellel at its rear

“Mamang” directed my young mind

In my first boat ride

Brought me faraway,

Closer to my destination.

 

As the Wheels,

And mills

The clock running

Round in circles

And me pursuing

This ring course,

Breaking grounds

Widening scope

For reasons

 

That some day,

 

My nephews and nieces

Would grow up

To understand.

 

* “Mamang” a name we call our mothers in some regions in the Philippines.

(Jeques, 2009. From his A Traveler’s Soliloquies poetry collection)

 

 


Biennial

2nd Year of Taming This Tyke’s Voice

August 16, 2009

Jeques Web Nook, Year 2

"prologue" oil on canvas 48x48 by Jeques B. Jamora

"Prologue" oil on canvas 48x48 the finale to Jeques's recent painting collection and the prologue to the next.

Today marks the second year of taming my voice as a writer and as an artist in general, in public. My web nook serves as my creative venue where I synthesize life’s inspirations, my journey, random thoughts, dreams, desperations, my share of pains in living, simple joys, bliss, life’s mirths, ponderings ~

My every day celebration for knowing that I breath and my existense is in tune with the universe’s rhymes.

It’s been two years and this nook gifted me with rich produce that I never realized I have inside me, had I not listen closely to the fragile voice that told me stories, recited me poetry, painted my life with colors.

In commemoration with Jeques web nook biennial celebration, I am proud to formally launch my bountiful harvest as an artist in My Art Portfolio. This is the produce from my continuous reconnaissance of my gift.

Follow the tracks of the waif’s journey. And may you whisper a prayer in every turn and  trail, for the waif to find his home.

Through my works, I would like to represent the displaced artists in different fields for some reasons, becoming like waifs, that I am, searching for home. I share the sentiments of artists unable to do their arts, caged in the jobs that are far from what their hearts purely desire to do. I aim as an artist to speak to that audience, to inspire them through my works and to make a statement that it is possible. Every art piece I finish is a struggle, but each is a step closer to home.  (an excerpt from “Self Portrait Of The Artist In Words” by Jeques. Complete story is found in the last page of the of the portfolio). 

PLEASE CLICK IMAGE TO FOLLOW THE TRAILS OF THE WAIF >>>

 

"waif" oil on canvas 30x30(close up view) by Jeques B. Jamora


Morning Panes(tanka/painting series)

  “Morning Panes”(Tanka and painting) series #1 of 3
   
Dreams sojourn ~
 Whimsy reflections
 On morning panes ~
 
Coquetting the mind
Crooning dormant soul.
 
"morning panes" #1 oil on canvas 30x40, by Jeques B. Jamora “morning panes” #1 oil on canvas 30×40, by Jeques B. Jamora

 

"morning panes" series #1 to 3 “morning panes” series #1 to 3
“Morning Panes” (Tanka and Painting) series #2 of 3 
  
Dormant soul
Hatching, awaiting
Dawn’s misty kiss ~
 
Artist awakens
Broods nestle on trees.
 
"morning panes" #2 oil on canvas 30x40, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009 “morning panes” #2 oil on canvas 30×40, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

 

 
morning panes
 
“Morning Panes” (Tanka and Painting) series #3 of 3
 
  
Courage ingrained
Inside broken soul’s
Callus chest ~
  
Anticipating sunrise
Awaiting to exhale.
"morning panes" #3 oil on canvas 38x48, by Jeques B. Jamora “morning panes” #3 oil on canvas 38×48, by Jeques B. Jamora
.
I have paintings conceived from poems.
 
The images of these paintings initially presented themselves to me in words. Morning Panes, a painting series of 3(at least for now, there is more to it) is one of them. It first came to me in a poem I composed in 2003. The poem visited me in a peculiar dream of a dream within a dream. I believe many of us had experienced that, dreaming in our dream, waking up still asleep. Or is it only me?
 
That dream is a tiny drop of inspiration that created ripples of poetry series. I used to write a lot, I had the freedom of time back home and I can afford to really sit down and study my thougths and dreams in my morning pages. In 2003 I wrote the poem, Images Of You. . . 

 
In my dream
I watch you in your sleep.
My heart feels glad,
My heart leaps.
  
Images of you haunt me ~
  
From the time I wake,
‘Til my sleep.

 

That dream was so vivid I immediately wrote a poem when I awake. The imagery from the dream and the words in the poem lingered in my thoughts which I first expressed visually in a drawing, My Morning Pane, Februay, 2005. It is a self-sketch of myself on bed in my room back home in the Philippines which is the original setting of the dream, the poem, the painting.
"my morning panes" pencil on paper by Jeques, 2005 
“my morning panes” pencil on paper by Jeques, 2005
 
In 2006, I wrote another poem from the same inspiration, Evanescent Romance, this poem fits well in series #2 of the painting. Note the change of the window from the previous, it represents the many rooms we sleep and the multitude of window panes we wake up with in our lifetime yet dreaming the same dreams. Here’s the poem: 
 

We are joined by our hearts’ seeking radars.
 Our souls converge at midnight’s deep blue skies.
 We talk, our words are the infinite stars.
 We feel so intimate with our closed eyes.
 Our unions are chronicled by my pen.
 The winds’ soft whistles signal your presence.
 Your image flickers through my window pane ~
 Silhouette of my dream-lover’s essence.
 In my mind I touch the face of heaven,
 When you croon to me lovesongs of silence.
   Bliss is what my thoughts of you has given.
 You illumined my lonely existence. 
Romance confined in shadows of the night. 
 ‘Tis evanescent with the morning light.

 

These are some of the few poems I wrote that ended up on canvas, in visual form, in paintings.
 
But there are also inspirations that presented themselves to me first in visual arts. They become drawings, or sketches, or paintings instantly. In these instances, my brushstrokes are my words to create imageries that frequent my thoughts.
  
To complete the circle of poems becoming paintings and paintings becoming poems, I used the painting series, “Morning Panes” as subject and inspiration to my poems for this week’s workshop on the ancient poetry form: the Tanka. It dates back to the 7th century. A poem of five lines of 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count respectively. I strictly followed this rules in the previous Tanka’s I composed but in the workshop I attend, I learned the freedom from the Tanka minimalists, and the modern american tanka which is less restricting as to the syllable count and rather focusing on the importance of expressing an emotion or deep thought in a concise manner in the five lines which is the true beauty of writing a Tanka. Shorter syllable count in each line when achieved in 19-24 or even shorter in 15 counts at the very least instead of 31 is preferred in the modern tanka.
  
Using the Tanka structure, I took out pictures of my paintings and from the deepest recesses of my core extract words that would best express the brushstrokes. Series #3 of the painting fully express my sentiments as a dormant artist awaiting to exhale, an egg hatching, a seed awaiting for springtime, a child awaiting to be born.
And when I come to think of it, this circle of paintings becoming poems, and the poems’ metamorphosis becoming paintings, I come to realize that there’s really no single strand or line that separates them. When I paint, the brushstrokes are my words. When I write, the words are my brushstrokes to create imageries. Sketches and drawings are my scribbles, my drafts.
  
It is my commitment to my craft to achieve such seamless fusion of my paintings and poetry for both are conceived and born from my heart.
 
  
 *For more of my paintings, please click image to navigate to my art portfolio >>> 
 
 waif

  


Dreams Alight

The child had a vision he will arrive at this moment. He saw everything before all these happened, the images was clear in his reveries, the picture was complete in his imagination. His mind’s feet had walked this path, his mind’s senses had lived this moment. It was not easy for his young mind to understand the vision, It was not easy for his young heart to contain what he saw. All he knew then was to dream. There was a map engraved in his heart, the mind followed the direction that took him to the present.
 
The child grew up to be that man in his vision. Standing still, he look back, following the tracks of his journey back  to the child who told him many stories they weaved together: 
 
The child dreamt.
 
Him, lives. 

 

 I sketch a landscape in my mind’s canvas;
Tracing the figures using my child’s eyes.
Paint it with colors just the way it was.
I feel brimful of joy that my soul cries.

 "Rendezvous" series #1 oil on canvas 20x20, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009   "Rendezvous" series #4 oil on canvas 20x20, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

"Rendezvous series #2 oil on canvas 20x20, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009   "Rendezvous" series # 3 oil on canvas 20x20, by Jeques B. Jamora

(“Rendezvous” series 1 – 4 oil on canvas 20×20, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009)

There’s the refulgent streams of the river
Flowing beneath the bamboos’ lush bowers.
Their drowsy whistles I still remember.
When winds blow through the leaves and the boulders.

 

There’s the rock that rests on the reef of stones,
Where the tyke sits when he would go fishing.
Silence croons him with nature’s pristine tones.
When a fish pulls his bait, his heart’s dashing.

 

There’s the lily that cupped the morn’s dewdrops.
Frogs stay motionless on their giant leaves,
Until an insect strays by their tongue traps.
Their prying eyes ever alert like thieves.

 

 There’s the damselfly that hovers above
My head and the tip of my fishing rod.
A scene I always remember with love,
It never fails to cheer me when I’m sad.

"Dreams Alight" study oil on canvas 30x30, by Jeques B. Jamora

"Dreams Alight" study oil on canvas 30x30, by Jeques B. Jamora

 

 There’s the sun peeping through the verdant trees;
Casting their shimmering hued reflections
On the running waters like pageantries.
Moving me to profound contemplations.

 

Ah, idyllic landscape, ethereal arts.
We always have that child’s nook in our hearts.

(“Childhood Nook, Revisited!” From the poetry collection by: Jesus B. Jamora, 04/21/06)

  "Dreams Alight" oil on canvas 36x36, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

“Dreams Alight” oil on canvas 36X36, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

I am now  beginning to slowly understand the child’s vision that used to scare me. I am now starting to polish the rough edges of the images and lay the pictures on the frames as I translate the vision to become my breathing, throbbing realities.

I awake to the present to write on the pages the stories that the child once told me. I alight to this moment where his dreams had landed long before I arrived.

I used to think I was chasing my dreams, I now understand I did not. Like  the damselflies that alight on my palm as a kid, dreams, too, alight when I learned to open myself and keep my heart still.

 

~ Jeques


Gone Painting

 

For

 

Those

 

Wondering

 

Why

 

I

 

Have

 

Not

 

Been

 

Writing . . .

 

 

“The tyke’s gone painting”

Please click image to view my art portfolio in progress >>>

051609 013

"mystic" oil on canvas 20x20, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

 “Mystic” oil on canvas, 20×20 by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009


A Prelude To A Million Dreams

My creative muse prompts me to begin writing on a fresh page as I start a new process of knowing. This is the time of my life when I do things because I feel like doing them. Like, I write because I would like to read my thoughts tangible in words taking form written on pages, so I would get a better grasp of them.

to-the-deeps-0151

Like the damselflies of my childhood, I don’t chase my thoughts anymore now that I’m grown up. My mind, like my palms to the damdelflies, I will open so dreams and thoughts could freely alight to show me their beauty. I will befriend this elusive guests instead of running after them like I did during my reckless youth. Perhaps this way, I could encourage their frequent visits.

"to the deeps" #1, oil on canvas by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

To The Deeps

At midnight

When half the world is asleep,

The prying eyes of the nocturnal owl

Stay alert for mice dozing undergrownds.

."to the deeps" #2, oil on canvas by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

A turtle slowly prowls in a swamp

Disturbing the resting fishes

On the shallow waters.

."to the deeps" #3, oil on canvas, 20x20 by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

Somewhere, you are confined

Asleep in your room dreaming.

While I stay awake questioning.

.#to the deeps" #4, oil on canvas, 20x20, by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

Am I part of your dreams tonight?

Would I take part in your life

When you awake in the morning?

.to-the-deeps-010

The night ends

With the owl catching no mice.

The fishes has gone to The deeps,

But the turtle hasn’t reach where ’tis going.

Just like me with my doubts never fading.

."to-the-deeps" #2 and 3

But nevertheless always wishing

That one day I’d stop questioning

And to The deeps I’d just let the fishes

Swim.

"to-the-deeps" #3 and 4

Unhurried thoughts and dreams come pellucid like the reflection of the summer skies on a placid river. I aim to write my thoughts that way: to achieve such clarity. These thoughts, my dreams reflected on pages as I allow the readers to grasp them like viewing the river and the skies on a clear summer day.

But sometimes, words are just ain’t enough. There are thoughts and dreams conceived that come in defined shapes, definite forms and rich colors. So I capture them in sketches. Such thoughts and dreams come alive on pads as my pen and pencil give them skin and the ink give them blood and the images from my mind come throbbing alive in sketches.

But then again, oftentimes, I am haunted by vivid dreams and thoughts that not my pen and the pencil nor the ink are enough to breath them life, to bring them the colors like the coquettish fishes flirting my mind with their exotic dance moves in the river where my mind often hovers. They demand to be born and inhabit the canvas, and only my brush strokes could give them soul, only the pallette could bring to life their hued reflections flickering in my imagination ~

Conspicuous in light and shadows.

This is the time of my life when I am fully in touched with my creative muse and the river of my mind is on its calmest state, where any minute movements are reflected that could stir ripples of dreams, and rapture of colors like the blossoms in springtime. The pages and the pads and the canvas are like the verdant fields where my dreams bloom. They are like the river in my mind where the fishes swim to the deeps in their coquettish dance moves that preludes to a million dreams.

The damselfly is within reach – I am taking time to appreciate his beauty as he hovers and I, motionless wishing the damselfly would soon alight in my palms.

Who says that dreams are black and white?

oil on canvas 20X20 by : Jeques B. Jamora


Ingrained

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"Childhood" oil on canvas, 24x30 by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

“Childhood” oil on canvas, 24×30 by :  Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

 

Art museums and galleries are the places I often visit, and the Art Institute of Chicago is my favorite. It is like the secluded dusty paths I used to trod when I was a child pulling my carts to endless directions in circles that my young mind then imagined.

I am naturally solitary.

There are things that I grew up doing alone, and they are what I really love to do. Against all odds, I silently fought for these things and from where I stand now, I look back to claim my rewards from my little triumphs.

In one of my quiet strolls in the museum communing with the spirits of the artists gone and living, I observed young students in a group sketch session. I was deeply moved, I felt envious and sad. Some thoughts dawned in me: I always do my arts alone, closed doors, dettached from the world. My father was highly critical of my early works, he is the first battle I fought to shield my natural gift from the many forces that discouraged me and my early pursuits in finding my voice as an artist and my soul in my works. 

Watching this young students brought me back to my sketching sessions as a kid. Any empty paper and writing tools are my art materials then – give me anything I could sketch on and I could survive long hours alone away from people. I envy these kids doing there arts in the company of their classmates, enjoying art moments with their friends. When they are my age years from now, and they would stroll through this quiet room, these paintings in the wall would remind them of this moment, but more than that, the walls would echo their whispered giggles that would bring back happy memories. 

As they weave their memories unaware, I went back to my own. I visited my solitary self struggling to find meaning in what seemed to be senseless dots and lines I put together to create images that was so insignificant then. Little did I know that those dots and lines would bring me to this point, to look back and find the trails I left to guide me back to how and where my journey started.

I started sketching when I was about 3 years old before I learned how to write, when my grip was strong enough to control a pencil or a pen. The moment I first held a pencil, I knew it in my heart that this is something that I would love to do for a lifetime. And that is how my romance with the arts started, like a-love-at-first-grip kind of thing. I remember my mother was my first teacher and our first subject were flowers. She stopped teaching me when my flower sketches look nicer than the ones she taught me. I outgrew the art lessons my mother gave me quick. And then she became my first admirer, my first fan, my first follower and collector of my works. My first art exhibit was in her store as she show my drawings in the pages of her record notebook to friends. That was my version of an art institute.

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“flowers” #1 pen and pencil on paper by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

But there was a negative energy, too, my first critic: my father. He thought my works were insignificant and told me to do other things. I think the hardest thing he did was when he forced me to use my right hand ~ I was born left handed ~ and at 16, when I was so sure of my decission to take up fine arts, he put me to a nursing school.

I was caught in the middle trying to keep my balance early on: between my encouraging, nourishing, consenting mother and my highly critical, discouraging, tormenting father.

I never had formal education in the arts. The gift is ingrained, I was born with the passion, not even my father was able to control from florishing. So in my room, close doors, alone, I had my sketching session as a kid. It was lonely. There was only one person I would seek every time I finish a piece: my mother. Her sincere appreciation of my works nourished me to keep going. But I have to admit all these years, I seek for the approval of my father which he never gave. After my father died in 2008, I thought I’m free now. I always was!

“The mind and the heart and the soul, like the birds, are meant to soar, set it free. Allow your spirit to fly!”

I walk fast many more group of young kids in drawing sessions while I brouse through the paintings on the walls that flood me with mulititude of thoughts from the past, present and future. Nothing has changed in me much, I still am the kid and art is still a solitary life for me and perhaps I would spend it that way for the rest of my life. I have come to terms with myself and solitude has become a bliss.

I, too, am still that kid who would seek my mother’s appreciation everytime I finish an art piece to get her nod and nourishing words of encouragement for me to go on. Only now I seek that appreciation from people who would chance upon my works, like my mother’s friend in the store she would show my drawings of flowers as a kid.

I still am that kid who fear the criticism of my father that made me rip many pages of my sketches, and toss away many works unfinished. Deep in my heart, I have to admit I still seek for his approval that he was so selfish to give.

I see my father’s image in people who thought my works are insignificant, I find courage in people who tell me otherwise. I still am struggling to find that balance from this opposing forces.

Deep inside this heart, ingrained, is a gift that I’m entrusted to nurture alone, close doors, away from people. I remain that waif inside my room as a child connecting senseless dots and lines to create images hoping that people would find them significant, so I could finally find my grown up version of an art institute, my home, your heart.

and like a desolate soul a lonely waif

I await for you to find me.

May your travels not take you long,

Come fast and love me ~

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“Waif” oil on canvas 18×18 by : Jeques B. Jamora


My Contribution To The Future

My eldest sister, Maritez, called me the previous day asking me to write a valedictory address for her second child, Gigi, who will be graduating Valedictorian from grade school. It was such a great moment for me. Suddenly I was a proud uncle, I believe she feels double the joy and pride I felt. Hearing my nephews’ and nieces’ accomplishments and achievements are always inspiring. It feels like I’m showered with so much positive energies, and I feel a certain feeling of high every time.

And then, I begun the composition of the speech in my mind that brought me back to the sweet memories of my early education from elementary days. It all became fresh again. All the elements came back, and I was there when it happened and the speech I wrote should have been the message I told my classmates back then, only I was not the valedictorian.

 

My Education: My Contribution To The Future

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A Valedictory Address : Angelie Jamora Escrupulo

 

I arrive today to this moment, standing facing a new frontier. Before this moment pass me by, let me take each detail, each piece of memories, each body of thoughts, the knowledge, the wisdom, the important life’s lessons, all the gifts and blessings that this moment is giving me so I could take them with me to my travel to the future. 

My dear classmates, are you taking the memories like me?

Do you still remember the first time we stepped to the grounds of this school, the Elementary School we will forever carry wherever the future takes us from here. Did you keep our shared laughters? The laughter forever sweet in our memories. Engrave them in your hearts, they are the laughter so pure we could always go back whenever we face the bitter taste of life that we are sure to stumble upon as we face the consequences of growing. Value the friendship we built here, they hold the purest elements of camaraderie and partnership that we need as we befriend the world.

Feel the comfort of the chairs where you are seated now, the floor where your feet are rested, breath the air, the scent of our dear school ~ 

If you could hold the hands of our classmates beside you, feel that gentle yet strong grip .  .  .  . 

(Note : Invite everybody at this point to hold hands and please allow some time for seatmates to enjoy the moment)

The memory of their grips will remind us that we will be forever safe wherever our futures would take us when we leave this grounds and get out of the gates of this campus that will forever hold the moments when we took our baby steps taking in the knowledge that helped form the young muscles of our minds so we would be ready.

Listen to the sounds of triumph that we all hear at this moment.

Capture all the elements that we could possibly get from here –

The scents of our notepads and erasers, of our bags, of the pencils and scented pens, when we were just learning to form the first letters, write our first words and draw our first flowers.

The many rains that showered us in our way to school and back home, and its sound as the rainfalls hit the roof of our classroom when we were just learning to count and pronounce our ABC’s

The sunlights that lit our faces, the sunshine that’s forever bright in our memories, and will forever remind us of the first exercise and dance steps we learn from our PE.

The feel of our desk, the colors of our classroom, the taste of the hundred snacks we shared.

Memorize the faces that helped pave the way for us to arrive to this victory, that made our first triumphs possible :

Our parents ~ God’s angels that built our homes and sent us to school.

Our families that supported us so we learn the basic lessons of how it is to stand and to take steps in our first walk in our journeys with life.

Our classmates and friends, who made us feel for the first time that we belong outside our homes in the safety of their company.

Our dear Teachers, our second parents in school, who fed us with all the knowledge every step of the way, from kindergarten, to grade one, to grade six, and now that this journey is about to end, as we are about to take a leap to next stage. We fear not because we are ready, they prepared us for this, to face the many battles we will face as we step to the roads to our future. Remember their voices that equipped us with the weapons and armour, these are the voices that will remind us of the power of knowledge they ingrained our young minds.  

Remember our dear Principal, who helped us build our backbones in education, wherever the paths of the academe will take us, we would always trace back our beginnings from here. We should always be grateful to our principal for designing and sending us the most basic and complete, yet non-complicated map so we would not get lost no matter how blurry the visibilities of the terrains  in the forest, and deserts, and jungles, and ocean, and prairies, and mountains, and skyscrapers of the cities of whatever profession that we will fly in our pursuits for knowledge to make the difference and make our corners of the world a better place to live.

We hold in our minds that map and if we uphold what we have learned, we will be sure to reach our destinations safe.

Remember that our parents, our teachers, our principal are once like you and I, too. They have arrived to where they are right now, and we their children, their pupils and the knowledge that they nourished us are their contribution to the the future they only thought about when they were our age dreaming about this very moment where we are now. Our triumphs and our achievements are their victories, too.

Let us thank them with our prayers, may our little voices would reach God’s ears to bless them. Let us pay them tribute and pass on their kindness by becoming the best versions of ourselves that they wanted all of us to become, nothing less. Wherever our journeys will take us, we will always trace our roots in this grounds, we are always anchored in their arms, in their hearts. Like kites we are safe in our flights because our strings are in the safety of their caring hands.

Let me read to you a poem written by my uncle, let this poem be my message to everybody who once were children, too. 

Child Once, Too

Let the child run free, uphills or down plains

Like a gazelle that gallops in prairies.

Let him swim in lakes, bathe in rains

And coquette like the mystical fairies.

Censor him not for he is free from stains

Trust not the filthy mind of the gentries.

Free the child from the restraining chains

And from the customs’ narrow boundaries.

Let him be for his generations’ gains ~

Allow the children to weave their stories.

 

And now, as we celebrate this milestones in our young life, let us celebrate this moment with grateful hearts. Our graduation today is our contribution to the future – from the seeds that we are now, will spring bright citizens of our country that will help sustain and make the difference. We will be taking different highways from this little road, we will explore the wide skies from this runway as we take off, we will reach distant shores as we leave this harbour of our elementary school as proud graduates ready to help build the future for the generations to come. 

For our friends, until we meet again.

For our guest of honor, thank you for the inspiration, may our little victory will serve as an inspiration for you, too, that you could take and share the next time you are invited to speak for a graduation ceremony.

For our Teachers and Principal, this is not goodbye, this is just asking your permission, and for your blessings as we take off – please wish us well.

For our parents and family, we offer to you our first accomplishment of the many triumphs and honors we will bring home from now.

For my dear classmates, let us open our minds and our hearts for growth. The future promises unlimited possibilities that are in our hands and are for us to seize and to hold. Always take the bright routes to the future, when the roads are seem dark in some days, take refuge and find the guidance of the little lamp post of the memories from this moment and we will never  get lost.

Let us thank God for this moment. Let us thank Him for all the people, the extension of His love, His angels that He sent to make sure all that we have now and our future will happen. It is written.

And when we reach our destinations please let us not forget to look back and send signals to our dear school, that we have reached our destinations and that we have arrived.

 


Meet Vreques

Meet Vreques, my car.
Yes, he has a name and you will know as I progress with this article how he got his name.
He is  a Honda Fit Sport, 2009 model. A car I fell in love with the first time I saw it, and I thought he has many features that’s very me. I guess there are just things, or places, or people we instantly feel a certain connection with in our first encounters, and that’s exactly what I felt when I first saw Vreques.
my car

my car

 What’s in the Name?

It took me some time to give him a name, I thought his name should have something to do with my life history – after all, he’s like a kid to me. And if I would be a father, I would give my son the best name and it should be coined with meaning, that his name would be poetry itself.

So I went back to my own life,  my experiences with cars from childhood and how I look at things from then to now. Vreques is the first car I bought from my hard earned income. His birth was planned. He is my first major purchase in America, and he is the first property in my signature – like a child, he carries my name.

But what was my first car, really?

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“Childhood” pencil on paper, by: Jeques, July 4, 1998

The first car I drove was a pull cart made from an empty tin can of milk and the manufacturer was my elder brother. I thought my brother could have been successful in the field of making cars as grown up if our father was just discerning enough to spot my brother’s natural gift for building. But some stories doesn’t always end with happy endings – I still wish my brother would find his way soon. In 1999, I sketched from memory my first car as shown above. This image inspired the name I gave my car, “Vreques.” As a kid, I call any moving vihicle “vroom-vroom.” And that’s also how all my tin can cars sounded. I would pull them around our backyard and I would give it sound – “vroom – vroom, vroooooom!!!

From this memory, I coined the name and I thought it sounded well combined with Jeques, “VR – EQUES” to make it my own, my first born. My child.

vreques

The first car I drove as grown up was a car given to me by the company I worked for back in the Philippines when I was still in the pharmaceutical field. And then at home, I drove our family car – an old Mitsubishi lancer model. When I came to America, I didn’t instantly planned to buy a car. My work place is a 5 minutes walk from my apartment, so it’s not really a necessity. But then I have a life after work, and with my limited time during my off days doing the errands; commuting is taking so much of my time that I don’t have enough time to really rest and relax. A car then would come in handy to lighten up my tasks during my dayoff. I am so used living alone for 2 years now, I only have a tiger as a silent companion in my apartment. But I have no complaits, I am like the tiger, I love my solitude. For the longest time, I enjoyed this life. But I need to move forward and I thought getting a car is timely.

my companion

my companion

I conceived buying a car last spring. I searched for a car that would serve best for me. I went to the process of elimination from the many cars I chose from and HONDA Fit Sport won my heart in the end. I don’t want a big car, that’s the first requirement, but I wanted a car that have enough space. I paint, and I buy big canvases, so I would need a car that have a trunk that could accomodate the big size canvas I buy for my paintings. This is where Honda Fit scored the highest for me – it is small but the trunk and the back seat could be folded to comply to my requirement.

vreques featuresvreques features

vreques features

 

It is also one of the recent models that’s very economical with gas consumption. The rising price of oil products made me find practical means when I was deciding which car to buy. These features and more of Honda Fit Sport made me love,  and worked hard for last summer to get it. My choice of color caused the delay of the delivery, but when it’s time it is really time. It was delivered and I got Vreques, October 15, 2008, the day I was celebrating my 2nd anniversary here in chicago. So I thought it’s God’s gift for my anniversary. Vreques birthday coincide with the milestone in my life as an immigrant.

Vreques came at the right time when I’m ready to get a companion, somebody who would wait for me, pick me up, take me to work and drive me home.

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Works Of My Hands From My Heart

~

Let my scribbling,

And my brush strokes

Speak ~

“Una” 2004, A Self Portrait. (but I think I embellished myself too much)

“Seed” series #1, 1998. Pen and Ink on paper 

“Seed” series# 2, 1998. Pen and Ink on paper

“Seed” series# 3, 1998. Pen and Ink on paper

“Seed” series# 4, 1998. Pen and Ink on paper

“Fish Of Mind” (Oil on canvas 30×38, By: Jeques B. Jamora, Oct. 2007)

“We depart to arrive, we leave to come home. 2005. Oil on canvas.

“Pedia”, 1998. Pencil on paper

“Fish of mind” study, 2005. 2-piece oil on canvas.

“Tamed” (the original), 2004. Oil on canvas

My apartment walls are becoming an exhibit space to hang my artworks

“Tamed”(enlarged replica) July, 2007 – This is the first painting(oil on canvas, 30×30) I completed here in Chicago.

“Nostalgia” (Oil on Canvas, 30×38, By: Jeques B. Jamora, Nov. 2007)

My living room serves as show room for my paintings

“A cut of life , 1 ~ there is some story in everything we see” 2007. Oil on canvas

“A cut of life , 2 ~ there is a cut of life in every piece of me. ” 2007. Oil on canvas

“Solitude”, 2007 – finding my solitude in Chicago. Oil on canvas, 24×30.

“Reflections” 2007 (Oil on canvas, 24×30, By: Jeques B. Jamora)

“Solitude” – anchored, 2005. Oil on canvas

“Nangita Ko Nemo”, 2007 (Oil on canvas, 20×24, By: Jeques B. Jamora)

My witty take on the animated film, Finding Nemo. “nemo” in Visayan/Ilonggo dialect means “You.

“Nangita Ko Nemo – Finding You”,

“Ginpangita Man Ko Nemo?”, 2007 (Oil on canvas, 20×24, By: Jeques B. Jamora)

My witty take on the animated film, Finding Nemo. “nemo” in Visayan/Ilonggo dialect means “You.

“Ginpangita man ko nemo? – Did you seach for me, too?”

“Love, ‘Fish,’ Hope” 2004, oil on canvas

“Childhood,” 1998, pencil on paper

“to the deeps(unfinished)” oil on canvas, 40×48(pending, nov, ‘07 to date) By: Jeques B. Jamora

“The secret garden” 2005, oil on canvas

“To the deeps(unfinished)” Oil on canvas, 40×48(pending, nov, ‘07 to date) By: Jeques B. Jamora


His Name Is Ethan

His name is Ethan

His name is Ethan

 Yes, I gave him a name and his name is Ethan.

I was called once to priesthood when I was in highschool, but I was expelled from the seminary after a year. Many are called, they said, but only a few are chosen; I was not. It was my first taste of rejection, and it was how my story with Ethan started.

 

His name is ethanI would like to tell you about my first bonsai tree, Ethan. I mentioned the seminary because I planted Ethan the summer after I was kicked out. I was 13 years old with wings broken. Nobody really cared to listen to my side of the story especially my father. My mother, as always, was there to console me ~ in silence. I was left alone in the corner to leak my own wound to heal. At that lowest point of my life, for a reason that I’m just beginning to understand now, God sent me Ethan to care. I always had some loner tendencies as a kid. That His name is Ethansummer and years after that I became withdrawn, misunderstood. Gone was the child full of life, I fell down so low I never thought I could ever rise again.

I found Ethan still a seedling just starting to grow wild under the coconut tree in our backyard. He is a rare specie from the Balete(Rubber tree) family often found only in the forests. He must be a seed from those trees brought here by birds’ droppings. My natural liking for plants His name is Ethaninstantly draw me to his 5 verdant leaves. I replanted him and his first home was an empty tin can of milk.

Quietly, I spent my summer wondering where to go, reaching the end of my road, while I watch Ethan grow new leaves. To him, I was a broken guardian; and him a soothing green that healed my broken soul.

~

What now with my broken wings?

I wonder now if I could fly again.

Will the winds of time save me from falling?

Tell me, where will I go from here?

~

What now with my wounded spirit?

I wonder now if I could rise from here.

Is there a pill that can mend this pain,

Would I ever have the courage to fight again?

~

His name is EthanMy highschool years was a mess. I lost interest in everything. Like a seedling uprooted, I drifted with the uncertain currents of my young life. I slept my way through highschool, I was in section F of our batch,  a picture of defeat at 15. Looking back now, I feel I only did one thing right those years ~ I planted Ethan. 

God always have his way to pull our strings and bring us back to shores when we lost our ways His name is Ethanin the ocean. He did and he put me in a nursing school. The least I thought I would become for a profession, but the course served me double purpose: I got a degree while I nursed my heart’s scars through college. Ethan grew into a maniature tree with dense leaves and 2 main branches by now. We practically grew up together. I trimmed his roots and leaves year after year, trained his trunk to lean to the direction it would look best, molding him into a lovely tree in a pot that he had become. While I became a nurse.

His name is EthanIt was sad to leave him home when it was time for me to go to find my place in the real world after college. But I had to do what I needed to do. And for the first time he was out of my life. I have risen and had moved on from my previous defeat. I never saw him for 5 long years. When I went home, we already moved to a new house in the city and then I remembered Ethan.

It was a sad reunion for us. He lost his beautiful form the last time I saw him. My mother cut His name is Ethanone of his main branches the previous year not knowing what to do with his uncontrolled growth. He was like an old friend with over grown mustache and beard unrecognizable when I saw him during my home-coming. He has a scar in the heart of his trunk from the branch that was cut off. I bleed inside seeing this friend who was once there for me  to soothe my pain with his green silence.

His name is Ethan I started trimming, grooming, molding him again making the best out of the one branch that was left. His cecatrix added beauty to his new form. 3 years after he surprised me with abundant fruits in his branches to show me that he is a full grown tree now. He inspired me to grow more bonsai trees and he became a big brother to all of them. I was home for 8 years spending every day moments with him sitted in that quiet side of our garden with the pond under.

His name is EthanWhen I moved to Chicago in 2006, he’s one thing in my life back home that’s hard to let go. He is part of our conversations over the phone whenever I call home. I made sure my nephews and nieces are taking care of him. I left him to their care for I know it is time for him to touch their young life like he did to me.

During my home-coming, I always have a blast reunioniting with family. But in my His name is Ethansolitude, I have a silent reunion with Ethan. I spend quiet moments in the garden with him  towering over me when I’m sitted ~ God, how he has grown sturdy like a seasoned tree. I  took shelter in his canopy of green leaves, I felt the cool breeze of his breath in the wind ~ he has grown to become the guardian of my once broken soul. 

It is when the seed is almost destroyed that it is about to grow. I understand that better now with Ethan. I went through the lowest point in my life and manage to rise like a seed. Yes, our cicatrix add beauty to our forms.

Ethan and I ~ time healed our wounds and left us marks adding beauty to our forms ~ we stand firm and sturdy.


“1sts” (#3 Plant)

Some live to hunt; I came to life to plant.”

~

The first living thing I planted is a stem cutting from a “Camote”(sweet potato). My mother uses the shoot tips for her fish stew. I observe her while she’s preparing the food, when my child-like curiosity made me ask her how the vegetable is grown?

“The cuttings,” she replied.

What happened next, she picked and handed me one cutting from the waste box and there I was, 3 years old, planting my first farm of potato in a pot. I would visit my new potted friend each morning patiently waiting for any sign of life from the stem partly covered with earth. I can still recall my surprise one morning finding some changes during my regular check. It was magical to my young eyes seeing tiny greens sprouting from a seem lifeless piece of stem. The sprig grew long with the passing of day, as new leaves replaced the pared parts my mother used for her stew.

The progress are exciting source of story I told my sibling everytime they arrive from school. I have learned from them later on that the  steamed“camote” (sweet potato) we ate for snacks are “over-grown” roots of the plant. My curiousity of the leaves waned as I become more interested with the roots, observing the soil closely, digging its roots to check for any growth thinking of the sweetest potato produce from my potted farm.

My childhood curiosity killed my first plant – that same curiosity that once breath life to it. I woke up one morning finding my wilted plant, and no amount of water can bring it back to life – or perhaps I over watered it – and for the first time, I grieved for the first living thing I lost.

“You have touched its roots prematurely,” my mother told me. I know better about plants since then..

This is where my love for plants started. The garden brings back beautiful childhood memories. The passion remains in me to these days, the roots has grown deep in me. I have to mention that at thirteen, I planted my first bonsai tree, I gave it a name: Ethan. I am 35 now, which makes Ethan my 22-year old potted friend. My story with Ethan is still on going. It is crazy, but I miss my plants back home.

~

Shepherds Of Life (Senryu)

Hunters live to take

While planters exist to give

They’re shepherds of life.

~Ethan, my 22-year-old bonsai

Ethan, my 22-year-old bonsai. I’ll write about him next time.

 


Reconciling With Poetry (Reposted for WI)

     Here’s an old post that I thought perfect for Writer’s Island matinee muse this week: “Reconciliation”

       My love for poetry traces back to my childhood, When I vaguely understood what I was chanting. I started reciting poems before I learned to read or write. Memorization came not from reading, but from listening; not from understanding the words or the message of the verse with the mind, but with the heart. It was primarily the sound of its rhythmical composition, more than anything, which lured me to it. Grasping the metaphors and absorbing the meaning concealed between the lines came much later. It captured my heart before it conquered my mind. This is probably the reason for my enduring love affair with poetry.

       As a tyke, I liked listening to the rhythmic tone of my high-pitched voice as I would parrot poems – joining and winning contests – before I entered school. What sounds good to the ears of a child feels good to the heart:

…The shepherd came to worship; the tiny baby smiled.

It is an old, old story; old yet forever new.

Watch for the little star tonight;

It will shine for me and you.”

And just like most of the singers learning their first song, I, too, learned my first poem by listening.

        Poetry for me then, as it is still to me now, like love, needs no extra ordinary thoughts to touch the heart. Purity speaks the truth. I can now tell when a poem was written using blood-stained ink from the heart:

“Don’t forget me; make a shrine to hold me

Safe and warm within your faithful heart;

Weave a web of happy thoughts to fold me

In all remembrance, when we part…”

       Now, if it was not the heart of Rafael Dimayuga that wrote this lines, what could it possibly be? Those lovely words were finely entwined, undoubtedly, by love. Reading this poem leads me to the re-discovery of a treasure box I feared to open for a very long time. It was the key that re-opened something in me that I locked from the inside. It unleashed the dormant would-be poet in me, an inclination I lost with my first taste of rejection, when I was expelled from seminary at the age of thirteen. I have outgrown the trauma, but the scar remains – God knows it still hurts. The seminary produced many success stories of priests; mine was a sad story of defeat. My english teacher, a priest, dropped me from a poetry recital contest in favor of his pet student(it is a long story, I’ll wrote about that in a separate post). I felt bad, so did some of my classmates who thought I was more deserving. I lost interest in everything after that incident, my vocation included. By the end of the school year, I was kicked out.

       Something in me died. It was my lowest point that inchoate my long detachment from anything poetic. There were times when I felt it resurfaced for some brief moments, whenever something or someone whisks my heart with gentle strokes or reckless blows. My lack of the resources of language to speak my mind and the fear of confronting my too sensitive feelings quelled it even more. I was unaware, though, that I channeled my creativity into other mediums: There’s poetry in my sketches and paintings, and my bonsai in the garden. I now understand.

       Love and rejection, indeed, gets in the same route into, and out of our hearts. Rejection locked my heart once, and it was love that reopened it years later. It started with meager and petty journal entries:

… i thought we have it, but somewhere along the way we lost it. Shall we ever regain it, perhaps at least i still hope, in the end?”

Then it progressed into short vignettes;

I am forever tracing in my mind
The creases in your palms,
When you pressed it close to mine
~

Your last strong grip,
Our last hand shake ~

Then we bade goodbye.”

       Moving further,  I progressed and tried free verse:

“At night, I light a lamp

So even in the long dark hours

The little spark of my thoughts of you

Could light the moment

As I read my life’s pages back

To the times

When you were still with me.”

       I heard that strangely familiar voice of the child again. And there he was, just like the last time I heard him. Albeit mellowed, and unlike before, he now demands to deliver not somebody else’s thoughts but his own. So I listned. Listning I did in the placidity of early mornings, when silence utters messages that we can understand if we listen with an open mind and a quiet heart:

If you need a quiet place,
A perfect haven to rest;
Come let me be,
You can lie on my chest.

There you will hear a single sound,
A love song at its best;
‘Tis there that you will hear,
The whisper of my heartbeats.

Hey, stay with me
And let me be
Your quiet place to rest.

       I wrote this poem, “A Quiet Place To Rest,” just about the same time I was rediscovering my love for poetry. I wrote this then for someone who I eventually lost. But  reading it, I know now that this poem is actually for me. And that is how we reconciled, and began our journey together again.

       It was hard to believe and convince myself initially that I could write and I am a poet. But we all are. For every literate person, according to David Kirby, has it in himself to be a good poet. The good news is each of us is a poet already, or at least used to be, it’s just that most of us have gone into early retirement. It is relaxing – like a balm to the heart – to read and write poetry. I read poems to find more of its secrets and to be reminded that poems can be written. Books of poetry gives me a simple surprise that more poems are there and that the magic is available. One poet said that most of us are poets on-call because poetry only comes when it wants to. So we should always make ourselves available. E.E. Cummings also said that “a poet is only a poet during a few hours of his lifetime. The rest of the time he is a would-be poet.” So here I am reconciled with my first love. Our years apart makes a good plot for my works. I promised my self not to let go of poetry again.

       I do not know where my life’s journey with poetry is going to take me. I always have this incessant vision of me in my mind: standing on the bank of a river, I watch the waters flow, and wonder where the river came, and where life goes. I can only look as far as my eyes can see and my heart can imagine.

~ Jeques

http://writersislnd.wordpress.com


The Narrowed Road

Life taught me the hard lessons of parting early on. My first best friend was a classmate from childhood I met during my first day in grade school. I’m not sure how his name was spelled, but I remember it sounded like “Hanibal.” My memory of his name is as bleak as my memory of how he looks – I only have a blur image of a boy my age with a new haircut. But I remember the joy finding another young soul to share my thoughts when we first entered the door of education.

Our friendship begun as soon as our first class in grade one started. We met in a classroom that smelled of the mixed scents of fresh pads, newly plastic covered notebooks encased in our new school bags like our minds ready to be filled with knowledge. The smell of freshly sharpened pencil and scented eraser would always bring me back to that moment. I remember the fresh scent of soap when I bathed that morning excited for my first day in school. I forgot the color of the clothes I wore, but I still remember how my new shirt smells. The scents of these things always conjure nostalgic thoughts, reminding me of my first best friend I lost with the passing of time.  The places we reached and continually explore widen the spaces between us, and narrowed the road that once put us together at one moment in time. But in my mind we always share the desk, in that corner of our grade one classroom.

I was seated in the front row at the right side of the room next to him, a stranger just like all the other faces around me. It was fate that placed us seated next to each other, but it was our choice to become friends. The feeling of being left alone for the first time, drew us together. I feel at ease with his presence the moment we first introduced our names. We became friends before our first recess, and by the end of our first day in school, we have found in each other’s company the joy of real friendship. I cannot remember any other details of our days together, like I cannot recall anything more about him. I just know that he made my first day in school less scary to the surprise of my mother who anticipated the worse. I easily got over my separation anxieties and fear of strangers. I looked forward being back in school and always take home fun-filled stories at dinner time, telling my family about my newly found friend.

 

Morning comes and off it goes.

Like people come and (ouch!) they go.

For some brief moment they come my way,

But few are meant to stay.

Life’s lesson of letting go,

And memories remain with me.

Days passed. Our school activities progressed, school became my second home. But one day, I found myself unusually seated alone in our desk. My friend was absent when our teacher checked our attendance. I waited for him until recess, but lunch and afternoon classes came and gone without him. The same thing happened the next day and the days after. Our teacher some few weeks later changed our seating arrangement, making me vacate the desk we shared in our classroom where the emblems of our friendship vanished. I later heard their family moved to another place and he transferred to another school far away that my young mind then was incapable of reaching. I was assigned a new desk in the second row at the center aisle of the room after that and had new seatmates. From time to time I would glace to our desk wishing him back. My new seatmates are faceless and left my memory insignificant traces so were the other friends I had after we parted. I only remember one friend from my first day in school and he is my first real best friend.

 Life taught me early on that some perfect moments could go wrong. Friends come, but I could not expect them to stay, for like me, they too, have lives to live and journeys to complete. I am not sure if my friend remembers or would have the same thoughts. My friend may forget, but as long as I still know how the classroom desk smells he will always be remembered.

"Solitude" oil on canvas 24x30, by Jeques B. Jamora, 2007


Déjà vu: Seeing My Reflections In Their Eyes

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I walk the same roads I trod at eighteen,
I stand on my hometown’s pavement again.

.

In life’s transits we’re merely passengers.

As I glance upon the streaming strangers,

I feel a certain familiarity

There’s strange kinship in the locality.

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I take the same spot I took at sixteen,

I’m seated at the same station again.

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I can’t move forward with my travels blind,

Flash backs of my past trips rush in my mind.

There are story-filled structures in the streets

We are commuters to life’s immense fleets.

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I breath the same air I breathed at thirteen.

I’m home to the place of my youth again.

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‘Tis a breath of fresh air ro be around kids, especially around my nephews and nieces. I enjoyed their company during my recent home-coming. Watching them is like seeing fragments of my reflections strewn in their eyes. I see myself in them, I see strangely familiar sounds in their voices and laughter, being with them is experiencing Déjà vu as I watch their every moves. A piece of me is somewhere in their genes, each of them are my little version ~ we are connected in that way.

It is fun to see familiar moves and be reminded of how I used to be when I was their age. My eldest niece is 18 and the youngest is 5. I cherish their company, it was like watching myself from age 5 to 18, like when we were together during mealtimes, or during games, in our chats, telling stories, laughing, roaming around, seeing things or even just in simple exchanges of smiles.

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— 
They are one of the reasons for my coming to America. I want to open for them a better option in life, new possibilities, new frontiers. I would like to be an inspiration. I would like to plant in their hearts seeds of dreams. I would like to nourish what I have planted. For remnants of my dreams are ingrained somewhere in their genes, deep in their hearts. 
And as I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts: I would like to become somebody for them, that person I wish I had(but never had) when I was growing up. Please click link: https://jeques.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/becoming-somebody-i-wish-i-had/

reflections 

Child Once, Too

By: Jesus B. Jamora, 2005

~

Let the child run free, uphills or down plains

Like a gazelle that gallops in prairies.

Let him swim in lakes, bathe in rains

And coquette like the mystical fairies.

Censor him not for he is free from stains

Trust not the filthy mind of the gentries.

Free the child from the restraining chains

And from the customs’ narrow bounderies.

Let him be for his generations’ gains ~

Allow the children to weave their stories.

For Writers Island: “Déjà vu”

~


Taking Form

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My earlier paintings displayed on the walls at home in the Philippines

There is no doubt now in my heart that what I’ve been through were essential in shaping me. I feel like a stone in a river molded by its currents, its rushing waters caress me like a passionate sculptor meticulously shaping me as I take form ~

God’s masterful hands leave imprints all over me.

Yes I’m taking form, for God molds me.

I’ve been drawing since I could remember. When I was a kid, I remember it was the most comforting thing for me to do alone. Everytime I visit my earliest memories, I would always see a child with a pencil and a paper drawing. I thought I was born to do arts and I’m naturally born with the gift.

But nobody really took notice of those earliest signs, nobody in the family took my gift seriously. I was left alone to find out for myself the reasons why I draw at such a young age and to understand that there’s such a thing as passion, that there is such a thing as a gift. It is not easy growing up feeling this itch inside you and not knowing how to cure or what to do with it. I feel the craving to feed my passion, I just don’t know how, no body taught me, I don’t have the resources and I didn’t really understood.

I was born left handed, but when my father forced me to become right handed, it was also a subtle way to supress my artistry. And so I grew up the convetional way, a normal kid but inside is an itch, a craving, my soul hungry for something that it took me years to find out.

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Pencil on Paper, by Jeques B. Jamora, 1998

I continue to draw, sketch, and progressed to water colors in my own slow pace. I learned them myself as if they’re the most natural thing for me to do. The arts really didn’t leave me completely even if I was in a far away field of nursing ~ it was like being exiled in a territory not your own and your soul painfully longs for something you don’t really understand. The side spaces of my class notebooks are filled with sketches and they were instrumental for the most unexpected person to discover my gift and do something about it. He was not even my friend then, we were already 4th year college in Nursing. My closest friends knew that I draw, but it took years and for this one person that I didn’t even consider my friend to believe in what I do, to prod me to join a painting contest which I did, and to make me realize my potentials and with that, to him I am forever indebted.

I was a first timer in a painting contest, I was not really sure what I was doing but there was one voice in my head telling me I could paint – I could never forget Ronald – and that was enough to inspire me. I was 3rd place, not bad for a first timer, huh?

I thought it was just a beginners luck or something, that achievement wasn’t enough to convince me. I was just a 3rd placer anyway. But I didn’t know that that one-time thing could stir a rivalry that empowered me to fight a silent battle. The first placer from that contest(that’s his 3rd year win – unbeatable!) commented something about my work, and that I was not deserving. I was hurt in silence but I was challenged. And then there was another contest, which Ronald recommended me again to join, and I did. It was different this time, I became more competitive knowing that my rival was in that same contest. I was first place in “on the spot painting contest” category, while he won the “on the spot drawing contest” – I didn’t know we joined different categories but we were side by side during the awarding of prizes. I could sense a silent rivalry. At least now, I have proven my worth.

And then came the final battle, our school sponsored an inter-school poster making contest, with water color as medium and the only category. We both joined and the heat of the rivalry reached its peak. I was determined to win, but I was not sure how to do it. So I just painted my heart out. Our works was on display for 3 days before a decission was made for the winners. I viewed closely all the works, and study each against my piece and my rival’s. Days after, I received my treasured gold medal in a painting contest – I won first place. He got the bronze, a third placer, the spot I humbly took the first time I joined.

I won the silent battle. 

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My apartment is becoming the showroom for my paintings.

That was many years ago, I was just more than a child then. But that childish rivalry served as catalyst for me to take my gift seriously. If nobody does, then at least I should be and that is my obligation, my way of paying tribute to the true source of the gift: my creator and my God.

I didn’t stop. I continue to enrich myself, I am a self-taught artist. I remember when I arrived here, one of the first places I searched and visited was the Art Institute Of Chicago. I can’t stop my tears, I was crying watching all the artworks – now I understand what my soul is hungry for.

I started painting again, July 2007. And the first person I gave a painting many years after, is the person who unselfishly believe I could win a painting competition back in college – We are grown ups now, away from home. But I always remember that at one point in my life there was Ronald who convinced me I could do wonders with my gift.

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Fish Of Mind” Oil On Canvas 30×38, By: Jeques B. Jamora, Oct. 31, 2007. (The first painting I gave away here in Chicago to payback the first person who believed I can paint and made me join the first painting competition I joined and won).

 

 Little by little, in my own slow pace I am feeding my hunger to cure my itch. Now more than ever, I am thankful I am a nurse, this profession I loathed at first for it took me away from my arts, brought me here and made me afford the materials I need to continue my self study. 

Every now and then I visit that child that draw in his loneliness and pat him on his back to reassure him he would be fine. I look back to that childish rivalry, to that contests. I treasure the medal, the achievement of winning that silent battle, but more than all that, I think the experience empowered me more than the prize.

showroom

I feel good viewing my paintings as they transform my apartment to the place I was dreaming as a child.

For more of my paintings, please click links to MY PAINTING PAGES

https://jeques.wordpress.com/while-you-are-away-2/

https://jeques.wordpress.com/my-paintings/

This week the writers island promts us to write about being “Empowered” and “Rivalry” this is my contribution.

Please visit the island, click link below to navigate to the writers island:

http://writersisland.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/prompt-link-empowered/


Pulsating Transient Inhabitant

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“Childhood” pencil on paper, 07/04/98. By: Jeques B. Jamora

I arrived not knowing what I am here for, where I came from and where I’m going.

At 4 o’clock in the morning on the last day of July, three decades and 5 years ago, another pulsating transient inhabitant came crying on his arrival seeing your light, hearing your sounds, feeling your touch, smelling your scents, and initially tasting the bitter-sweet flavors of life. Am I just another creature born from your womb and would walk the sands of time leaving footprints that would soon vanish with the tides and would be replaced by countless more who would walk your grounds not leaving any marks of our existence? Am I just like another mushroom that suddenly popped one morning from nowhere then gone tomorrow forgotten as you continue to orbit the sun? I came here clueless, just another pulsating transient inhabitant questioning, one more mouth to feed, just another dweller who would explore your every corner and exploit  your resources. 

You did not stop moving when I came. Sunrise as usual. Did you at least hear my cries from one of  the smallest isles in the orient seas where I was born? How many of us where born that day? Do you know where we are now? Do you record the distances we treck? Did you feel our first throbbing pulses in your surface? Are we in some way connected to your core?

Sunrise. Sunset. Days. Nights. I slowly began to come into awareness. I have a mother, a father, siblings ~ a family. My mother is your human manifestiation ~ nurturing. My father is the sky, distant but an authority. My life revolved in that small world I know with my siblings at home as I start to see and differentiate colors; to hear, speak and understand words that formed my thoughts. I rose from my crib crawling, learned to walk and run as I form my earliest memories of failures and falling, of triumphs and flying.

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“Unfinished Painting” Oil on canvas, 40×48, By: Jeques B. Jamora 

I started to see and appreciate your beauty. I revere the first bud I saw blooming into flowers. Your trees so tall for the small kid that I was, delighted by their leaves that change colors with the seasons. Your majestic mountain ridges where I first saw the sun rising at dawn, only to set in the other side of the ridges at dusk.  The canopy of trees in your forests filled with all the diverse forms of life I can imagine. Your grass-carpeted plains and valleys, the springs that run through them nourishing every living things, replenished by your rivers that run to the seas. Your enormous oceans that engulf my size everytime I see it. I feel so small, just a tiny speck, like the single grain of sand when I stand in your shores.

I look at the horizon where you and the sky meet and I begin to wonder what’s beyond your vast seas. That curiousity dropped a seed of dream in my heart, my spirit alight to your other side that my eyes are unable to see and my mind could only imagine. You’re supportive of my dreams. You conspire with all the apparent coincidences that let me cross the seas and live my dreams. You are a pampering mother and in all the events and turning points of my life, I commune with you in silence. Am I a favored child? Have I been a good son?

I realize now you never left me in my years of existence. You never fail to remind me of your presence. I still get surprises from you now and then. I had my first snow at 34.

Every day another bud of flower blooms for me. New seed sprouts, fruit mellows, fish swims to your heart, bird learning to fly, baby crawls from the crib, a boy’s first bath in your rain shower, in your river, in the ocean. I am loved. What have I done to deserve all these? You love all your subjects equally but only some few recognizes how enormous your love is.

And when the pulse of this transient inhabitant would stop to beat, you would welcome my return to your navel. You would embrace this mortal body warm in your breasts as my soul begins to descend to an unknown sleep. 

Click link http://writersisland.wordpress.com/ to navigate to the Writers Island and contribute to this week’s prompt: “EARTH”


My First Snow(Re-posted for Writers Island)

Merry Christmas everyone!

The writing prompt this week at http://writersisland.wordpress.com/ is “This Season.” Thoughts battled in my mind on what to write and share to the islanders this week. I’m celebrating the holiday season this year in silence, work as usual and I’m intentionally ignoring the season being alone away from home, with my father in the hospital battling with cancer back in the Philippines ~ it’s quite depressing. But I don’t want to drag everyone to my own worries. I have so much to be grateful than to complain about. So I decided to re-post my entry about my first snow last year. “This season” is for kids, my first snow is the season that the child within me patiently waited. 

1st snow.

 My first snow, December, 2006.

Year 2006 

I feel restless unable to stay focused on my review class, there is that unsettling force of a child in me that could not wait. I tried to keep my eyes and ears to the lecture reminding myself that I need this review and I need to pass the NCLEX. But the longer I stay seated the more I become uncomfortable unable to absorb the lessons. My mind is somewhere outside. 

I excused myself out, taking the heat for a reason ~ it was turned high because of the anticipated snow storm tonight. I need a fresh air to breath. I went out of the building with only my sweater on to find out what makes this child-like unsettling force in me.

My eyes sparkle, I shiver from the mix cold and excitiement. I raise my head to the heavens, I opened my palms and my arms in acceptance ~ and for the first time, the snow touched my brown skin.

That is how I’m going to remember my first snow. You just don’t understand how that feels. I was 34 when I first saw and felt my first snow touching my brown skin. The child inside me waited for that moment. It was bliss.100_00631.JPG

My first snow, December, 2006 

~

The morning after.

I draw the curtain open and from the window I saw the world around me had turned white overnight. I view it wide-eyed like a child. The images of the lovely tracks of vehicles and shoes in the snow-covered grounds was captured in mind and printed in my heart forever.  

~

Today, already an RN, I walk fast the concrete side walk, cotton soft to my steps with 5 inches of snow that carpet my path. The icy winds brush my my face with frozen kisses carrying my thoughts to distant past. I watch a child viewing a christmas card of snow dreaming of white christmas.

The child has arrived.


Scents Of Childhood (Haiku)

Smoky scent of woods

Slowly burning at sunbreak

Of my childhood lost.

.
~ooo~
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Ricefields smoldering

Scents of morning after rain

.
The sun is rising.

.
~ooo~
.

Salty ocean breeze

.
Caressing the hair and face

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Of the grown up boy.

.

~0~

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Sweet smell of cut grass

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Brings the boy back to school grounds ~

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Mirths of used to be.

~

I forgot to post this here, It’s from the thread I once created in another site.

Now, What scents remind you of childhood?


“1sts” (7. Nostalgia)

Nostalgia

“Nostalgia” (Oil on Canvas, 30×38, By: Jeques B. Jamora, Nov, 2007)

~

Rare pearls of south sea

Strewn in far off  shores

Conspicuous gems.

 (Filipino Immigration, Haiku Series #5)

 
~

I was born and grew up in one of my homeland’s scattered islands, in the heart of the Philippine Archipelago. Our country is embraced by the sea; if God is the ocean, then He must have loved the Filipinos so much. We are constantly caressed by the sea waves come high tide or low tide,  the ocean enfolds us. We are generously showered by God’s salty kisses.

The beach is one thing I miss about home ~ my walks in the sea shores, the brine touching my skin, the sand tickling the soles of my feet, the view of the open sea’s apparent horizon nourishing my dreams. I am now here “beyond that horizon,” which I just used to watch in my walks in the strands.

Sometimes, you will never really know and understand a thing until you stay away from it. I now undertand better what I love about my country, and what I miss about home. The sea is one of them.

My earliest memory of the sea are the mangroves. These dense thickest along the rivers and the tidal shores was my first view of the sea. We live in the inland, so before I saw the endless emerald green seas under the azure skies, my young eyes was already captured by this mystical greens that lined the coasts and the river banks. There is something in their verdancy that transport me back in time.

Mangroves are time machines of my nostalgia for simplier, uncomplicated life of childhood. It brings me back to the summer of my youth, of my first boat ride, of  fishing, of hunting, of swimming in the pristine river brine. My happy thoughts and bitter-sweet longing for my first sunburn.

~

The Sea, You and Me

I’ve seen how everything are connected

That somehow we are one ~ interrelated.

As I tread the sands stretching to the sea,

And my size is engulfed by its infinity,

I watch in great wonder how God links things.

And How God connected you to me~

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The seawaves gently kissing the seashores.

The shore that’s bed to the infinite sands.

The sand that reaches the roads, that lead me home.

The home inside my heart where you belong.

.

You are safe in my heart you are home now.

Today, as you open the doors, streets you will see.

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Walk the streets, it will lead you to me.

The many winding roads take you somewhere,

To the beach, maybe.

The beach where the sands are gathered

Forming the fine strands kissed by the sea.

The sea that stretches reaching me here.

The enormous sea that links you to me.

~

Thinking of the sea, painting the mangroves, feeding my nostalgia. When shall the salty sea-breeze of home ever kiss me again?

~ Jeques