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Eyes lie in wait ~
Day and night ~
Skies in surveillance
Waiting for the sign
That might be sent
From the future,
As the gentle streams of life,
And the rough currents
That ever oppose
Mold the pebbles
In the bed of stones
By the river
Adorned by some weeds
Awaiting for some hands
To pick them up.
Awaiting for some great minds
To give them names.
Unaccounted for ~
Remaining like a worthless bead
In the infinities ~
Awaiting for some gifted hands
To weave him
In the precious thread
Of chance, to adorn
Like a pendant
To rest forever
Closest to your chest.
Pick me from the infinities
And carve my fingers
With marks to define my distiction.
Paint my blank facade
With a face
And buy me a name.
Find me in the dunes.
You’d easily recognize me
Among the pebbles.
And find in my eyes
Your own reflection:
Waiting for the sign.
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The snow fall frenzy of yesterday rolled to a halt. The clouds reduced to thin layers partially covering the sun; the morning after promises a clear day. The weather seem to illustrate my present state of mind. Yesterday, I presented myself, my works and everything that I dreamed about since I was three to the right audience that understands the artist Jeques and share my passion. Yesterday was an overload of activities I tried to digest – fast-paced – clogging my system and clouding my thoughts unabsorbed but are now starting to make sense. As I gather myself together today, there are things I wanted to write to right things about what I said yesterday, to bring my thoughts to clarity on the page.
Introduction and Art Presentation
About the “Waif”
Let me invite you to a place where a waif resides, in the land that gives his artworks a sense of place.
I am Jesus B. Jamora. My Artist name is Jeques, I am the “Waif.”
This painting best represents me as an artist. The image is a self-portrait of a kid from memory, back in my country where he continue to hover giving this painting a sense of home. The image may look peculiar to most of you, so let me tell you the story behind the painting.
If you’ve ever been to the Philippines or read about it, you would know that my country is an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands. We are literally embraced by the sea. During summer, many tourists flock to our beautiful islands where you would see these children waiting in the ports for foreigners to drop some coins from the ships and they would dive in the waters to claim their prize. I haven’t done that exactly, but I felt a certain connection to these children as an artist, for just like them, I’ve also been waiting, longing, seeking for somebody to give me a chance, for a prize of home like an orphan waiting for his adoption.
Why do I feel like a waif?
I was an artist before I became a seminarian at 12, a nurse at 20, a pharmaceutical medical representative at 22, a boutique manager at 28, and an immigrant nurse at 34. I was an artist, I am. But circumstances left me lost, and strayed. I’ve been to many different fields working many different jobs but I’ve not really had the chance to do the one thing that my heart have always been longing to do. It is my faith that guided me to this path. It is my tenacity that brought me here knocking, hoping The School of the Art Institute of Chicago would open me the door of the chance I seek, to welcome me home so I could finally claim the prize I searched and offer my sense of purpose as an artist.
If I as a nurse could care for physically ill people back to health, I believe the Artist and would-be Art Therapist Jeques could touch lives to bring the tired spirits back to life.
And like a desolate soul, a lonely waif,
I wait for you to find me.
May your travels not take you long,
Come fast and love me.
It was wonderful to have the chance to mingle with many artists of differents ages, coming from different backgrounds, and races and culture; expressing arts in different forms to be one with them, to breath the same air and be a kindred spirit to other beautiful souls wanting to make the difference through our gifts. Each one of us have our individual stories we brought to tell and are our contribution as artists that created the bigger than life work of art event that was. How wonderful it was to have the opportunity to belong, like a single thread with my own unique contribution to the whole creating the colorful tapestry of the moment. For a day, I was home.
Two of the SAIC students made a sample thesis presentation and posted a question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and the other asked, : What is your dream. In silence, in my corner of the 122 S Michigan ballroom, my heart answered in whisper:
“THIS IS WHAT I’VE WANTED TO BE AND I’VE ALWAYS DREAMED ABOUT.”
I wish you well, everyone.
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To Dream is one thing, to do something for the fruition of a dream is another.
The day after tomorrow, I shall wake up and be able to tell myself I did something. And for whatever this dream may come, I shall not grow old and regret for not trying. I could face my creator head high and tell Him I never wasted the gift for I tried.
An Attempt will be made.
I am ready.
You are always ripples away,
The tides ever
Series of hurdles
As it appears in the surface
That this meek soul
Secretly transcends beneath;
Away from the prying eyes
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
How did you know I’m here?
And you send me the same sunrise
That woke my many childhood mornings.
Only now it greets me every day here
In the other side of the world.
How did you know I went here?
And you secretly filled my luggage with memories
To last me the many years that I’m away.
You equipt me with fuel,
Enough to survive me a lifetime.
How did you know I’m longing?
And you send me short notes that keep me sane
Messages brought here by the winds,
Postcards in the blossoms of flowers,
Your hand written letters in the night skies.
How did you know the things I need?
You read my heart like the open pages
You keep me in the right direction,
And when at times I drift away
You send me signals, I am safe.
How did you know about my dreams?
You give my wishes a sense of place,
All the elements in order at the right time.
You taught me to see the beauty in waiting
And hand me the key to the doors of being.
If you know all these how could I doubt you?
You made the arrangements beforetime.
I throw myself to the morrow in sweet surrender,
For I trust the guarantee of predestined schemes ~
Where the cushion of your will awaits.
If you have leafed through the pages of my soul,
Then there’s no reason for me to fear.
You know exactly this wanting I keep inside me,
Soon a name will fill the space I left blank.
The word I searched to complete my sentences is in your hand.
I welcome the impending sunset,
Knowing you would be there to sit beside me.
For now, I gather the rich harvest of my midday
Getting ready in anticipation
For the sunrise of your arrival.
I trust the will of time this way,
In sweet, sweet surrender.
Jeques, 2010. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection.
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
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 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 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
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,
I love New York
But it didn’t love me back.
I contented myself
With passing glances
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.
When you wake up,
I hope you recognize
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.
Jeques at Stairway to heaven. Time Square, New York, January 2009
I understand the books in the shelf,
Untouched. Covers gathering dusts
Pages turn yellow, words unread,
Banquet prepared by writers
Wasted to termites
Leaving disinterested heads unfed,
Hearts failed, voices neglected.
I understand the bud in the wild
That awakens at dawn,
But nobody drops a visit til midday,
Not a single butterfly, not a bee,
And wilts unnoticed at the end of day.
I understand the tree along the river
Bearing fruits all summer;
Realeases sweet odor filling the air
Inviting reapers, but nobody came.
Fruits dropping in the stream like tears,
Wasting her gifts again this year.
I understand the green patch of meadow
Hedged by dense forests, bordered by a cliff
Pruned by gazelles and deers
Year after year,
But nobody ever arrives with a mat to picnic;
Not a single soul carrying an easel reaches to paint.
Picturesque view wasted on the wilds.
I understand the sea-shells stranded
In a far-flung coast, unfrequented,
That the surf polish
And washed white by the brines
But no one comes to pick them for souvenir.
Encapsuled songs of the ocean
No one hears.
I understand the fate of weeds that grow
In the unwanted crevices
Of the concrete pavements of the city,
Sprouting to embellish her flaws
Cruelly treated, uprooted, tossed.
Seemingly, life undeserved.
I understand the child begging for mercy
Strayed in the maze of life
Without the guidance of a father.
Growing without a map to follow
With promising tomorrow to give,
But dreams wasted on vagabond.
I feel for the logs decaying in the forests;
Treasures lost in the ocean;
Shipwrecks forming rusts in the harbor.
I feel sorry for a bench
That awaits in the park
Comes sunshine or rain;
Pews empty on sundays.
Envelopes not opened,
Letters left unread, unanswered.
I understand the purity of intentions,
I feel for every little things
With so much to offer,
But are never given the chance.
Unanswered beaconing of the church bells.
When are you going to pick up
My heart’s calls?
Jeques, 2009. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection.
I turn the faucet on
But nothing comes out.
Turns it back off
There’s this thirst inside.
Sometimes I thought,
Perhaps I picked the wrong cup
To catch the down pour
That would not come.
I waited too long
To quench this wanting.
But still waited.
And forgot about my thirst.
Some other times,
I slide the sill open
Needing the sun
That’s hidden behind the walls
But what would I need rain
Those times when my heart is flooded?
Often I thought,
I should have shut it close,
But still kept the sill open
Until I slept waiting
That would not be there
I forget. And still
Wake up to another day
The water runs
From the faucet most days.
There’s rain when it’s the season.
Not all days,
But there’s the sun ~
They happen in succession
For a reason.
Dreams – nights, days – and reveries.
In your absence,
And in waiting
There’s no such thing
As a wrong cup.
It’s in how I fill it up
And with what.