I advance onwards
Deeper, deeper into the woods.
A search for, an escape from.
To chase, or to run away.
Deeper, deeper into the woods
To try to understand. Perhaps.
I leave the familiar landscapes
Of my every day roads ~
The street signs,
The white marks, and yellow.
The lamp posts in the corner of the street,
The structures that lined my way
Like the waving of your hands
That used to beacon me home
In my every day travels,
Now fading in the background
After I let go of your grip
That changed gestures driving me away.
Tears clouded my vision
But I need to move forth
Deeper, deeper into the woods.
No turning back.
I left the compass, and the map behind,
Safe in a chest where I keep the memories.
I brought only, an empty pouch
To stock things I would collect
From places unknown,
And strings to bind together
The twigs, and pieces of woods
I come to gather,
As I journey to the territories untamed
Deeper, deeper into the woods.
I am here to forget,
And also to find a place to re-call the past clearly.
To connect the fragmented pieces
Of the quilt of the story
And to toss away what’s not needed.
To find time to sew the vignettes together.
To find out how the complete picture appears
With new eyes, how the story goes
From a different perspective. Perhaps.
Here I am, a woodsman in a modern world,
A hermit in the jungle of people,
Wandering around the untamed highways;
Lost in the towering reeds of concrete and steel
Finding refuge in the man-made caves
That cost me my savings
To pay an over-night stay ~
Even the kindly service tagged with a price. Sigh.
The discomforts I paid to purchase comfort
In my entry to the lush forest of new discoveries
Where some keys are scattered
That would open me new doors of understanding
Deeper, deeper into the woods.
In the grounds of the forest are small packages
Of seeds that encapsule wisdom.
They are gifts of the towering trees
From their fruits that mellowed with time.
They have seen both
The wider view of the lowlands,
And the best view of the heavens.
I am here to collect the seeds
To fill the pouch I carried for that purpose.
From these seeds I wanted to grow another forest
Where another wanderer from onother time
Would collect and sow them again, on and on
I trod deeper,
Deeper into the woods
Picking remnants of beauty of the past
Blending with the modern aesthetics,
Like an architecture
Built along the shore.
The reflection of its glass structure
Captured by the placid lake
At noon time
Create such a lovely contrast ~
Like a bird perched on a metal pole,
The blooms against the skyline,
A fountain in the middle of a busy street,
Like me, a waif in this streets away from home
Trying to blend in the landscape
Gathering woods in the not so common place
For a woodgatherer,
But I have used up my strings
In the bundles of woods of ideas
I gathered, enough to fuel my creations
It is time to return home.
Jeques, Milwaukee. July 30 to August 1, 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
What is there left to write,
When my sense of home has faded.
Fallen souvenirs pirouette in the air ~
Leaves dancing downwards ~ like specter.
The ink must wait, and rest til winter is over
(My spirit retires to quiescent under the covers)
Things freeze like the trees, even the lake dozes.
As wakeful hours become less and less,
Mind loses its bluntness,
The page speechless.
Distance drained my veins bloodless
Even the pulse of my pen ceases.
I’m losing grip of the eidolon of home,
It’s warmth I no longer recall.
Like the trees losing their leaves to autumn,
The hands of memories that used to lift me,
For a time, fail to save my spirit to fall.
I let the cruel wanton winds to take me;
I trust the higher will would be kind.
I write my thoughts in the palms of the season,
I trust them to come back in time.
When my sense of home fills me up again;
When revenant of home,
Jeques, 2009. From his “A Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection.
Chicago. 15th October, 2009
When I’m absent minded, please remind me. I’m sorry that I’m here but my mind is somewhere hovering in a place never known to you. Forgive me for not making you feel my presence, or if you’re ever aware I arrived. Perhaps to you, I’m just another head to add number to your dwellers. In case you don’t, it’s been three years now.
Three years of traversing your grounds trying to belong, but still get that same cold look in the eyes of your locals, like when I arrived, every time I try to find familiarity – still but a stranger struggling to blend to your intricacy, too complex for someone like me who grew up in a place where everyone I meet in the streets are relatives or at least somebody else’s I would surely know. But if you live that life too long, it’s tiring. It’s easier to get to know other people, than to delve with the person that resides in the confines of your ribs. I longed for anonymity, but when you gave it to me, I’m not sure if I would have still wanted it.
Here I am a dweller in your patch of the earth taking you in, but like the air, I just breath you to exhale again, unable to entirely assimilate you into my system. Every day remains to be like fast-moving scenes just passing, slipping my hands leaving me detached no matter how hard I try to take hold of the moment. I’m like a guest attending an event but not formally introduced to the host, if you would ever understand my kind of uneasiness being here. But I have to admit I should take much of the blame for our estrangement. You took me as a tenant, but still think of myself just a transient tourist taking snapshots that I would eventually bring home. I have to confess, I didn’t find the home I look for in your manicured fields. Your towering reeds of spires are just too much for me, I shrink to a muted element that would not fit to your structured collage and forever scares to be left out in the fast lanes of your speeding races, like a peculiar yarn in a loom afraid that your unforgiving modern living would soon prey on me and isolate me from the weave. This fear comes from my job caring for the casualties and losers in the races of your city. I can sense raw defeat in their eyes every day. I don’t want to be counted when I’m useless in a shelter awaiting for your mercy, God forbid I would be wheeled there one day against my will, like a dotard with nothing to share about my past and forgotten, leaving no signs – not even a frass – to prove that one time I walked this path to conclude my story. I asked for anonymity, but not that kind of ending. I need this brief anonymous moment to cast off some misleading marks I allowed time to grow like moss in my fecade so I could resurface defined and genuine like a gem from the dunes of myth. In that way you will not count me as just another head to add number to your dwellers, but a valued yarn in your loom that would add an interesting pattern to the elaborate colors of your city.
I have issues I need to come to terms with for my hesitance to permanently rest my anchor in your celebrated grounds, for I remain a dreamy oar sailing above your surface finding my way like in the misty lake in the morning. I think about another place. Soon I will sing to you his songs, tell you his stories. I will be showing you his doodled images I bind in the pages of my heart while I was awaiting for that day when I have to leave the same arms that pushed my frail vessel that brought me here. But for the moment, let me enjoy this while I prepare the things that I brought from home that I wanted you to see. My maker is aware I longed for anonymity, he searched a place for me and find you to conspire with – this is the fruition from that conspiracy. Forgive my torpid response when you fold your cold arms around me on my arrival, I faked my smile for I was overwhelmed, even thought of sailing back and retreat. But I am here. I should be here.
When I’m absent minded, please remind me. Forgive my shortcomings, I take the blame for my willful alienation that kept me withdrawn this past three years. I didn’t really gave you the chance. I stayed remote for my need to reconcile my past with the present to resolve internal turbulence for a dreamt smooth sailing journey ahead. I need this moment to delve with the person that resides within my ribs that took many masks imposed for him to wear to please people that made him altogether forget who he really is. I need to peel the layered superficialities accumulated over the years to uncover and pick myself out of the half-truth heaps, if I have to start it right with you.
And when I’m done with this transient anonymity, I will wear my true skin, flaws included, walk your streets and find kindred spirits in the eyes of your people I meet, because I belong.
This piece marks my 3rd year in America, my 3rd year struggling as a foreigner trying to fit in the molds of Chicago and not forgetting my roots.
Jeques, 2009. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies” collection.
Chicago, my initial attempts on Photography
By: Jeques B. Jamora
You welcomed me with your cold embrace
Showered me with leaves, like confitti, from your trees.
Their dying colors doubled my sadness.
Your quick to console me with your snow flakes kisses.
I don’t see myself growing old in a place like this.
Even in your shelter I feel homeless.
snow#1, my initial attempts on photography
Filipino Immigration (Haiku series #6 & 10)
Odd drizzling showers
Frozen waters on brown skin
Drenched soul shivering.
Carry cleaving specks of home
Brown shoe-tracks on snow.
snow#2 my initial attempts on photography.