Thoughts race past cobblestones.
Shadow trails behind
In the green of day,
Rapture-tinged with blooms.
The once empty lamp post
And dissolved in the air ~
Faces passed me by swiftly ~
Acquaintances sealed loosely
With fluffy smile,
And unsaid goodbyes.
There were no street lamps
To mark those encounters
Like the dandelions’
Here now in brilliant yellow
Tomorrow but fluffy seeds
Blown by the winds
To uncertainty grounds
That may welcome
Or uproot them as weeds.
Walking past cobblestones of life,
I found you in the corner
Of the road I travel
And took a single fluffy seed
Of smile from your fleeting presence
And planted it in the garden
Of my heart
Where there’s no wind
To blow your memories away,
For you are priceless.
You are the lamp
That brought light
To the once empty post
That casted shadows
In the corner of the road
I walked every day.
You are but a dandelion.
You are an invaluable
“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”
~ A. A. Milne
Jeques, 2010. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies poetry collection
Suddenly, a dike that held the ideas I searched for more than a year now, just burst open and flooded me with inspirations I was caught by the current of the gentle streams, and found myself stranded in front my easel painting again.
(“Our Eden” Oil On Canvas 24X30 By: Jeques B. Jamora, 022709)
I stopped painting in November, 2007. That was when my father was hospitalized for the last and the longest time before he died in January, 2008. My painting with the working title,”Pending Life,” is still unfinished and I decided to just leave it that way. When I went home to the Philippines for his funeral, I have planned in my head that when I return to Chicago, I will continue where I have left off but things didn’t turn out easy for me. There was a long drought of ideas, and I was just demotivated returning in front my easel.
I came back with a heap of image materials I collected from home I planned to use for my paintings, but I let them sleep in my computer. It was a year of dormancy, of distance from my arts, but I have written rich poetry and prose. The leave of absence of one passion, the working season for the other.
And then it returned, images suddenly haunt me. I tried to capture them in words at first mistaking them for poetry but they are so vivid they are tangible, I can almost touch the colors. Winter was the season of courtship with the ideas. One by one I befriend them, I tried to capture the hue, the contrasts, the idea, the images that formed in the canvas of my imagination and I listened to what it is telling me.
And then came the title, WHILE YOU ARE AWAY: Memories From Home. This is a collection of painting ideas I conceived since I was a kid, but didn’t have the resources to put them on canvas. The collection is the union of the rich ideas from childhood with my present state of mind. They use to be just dreams, and time had given me power to give them forms and shapes and colors.
This is my journey, a walk back to my art path I strayed many times.
This is the new beginning, my new frontier to my passion that appears to be new, but the road is strangely familiar like I have been here before, in my dreams, as a lost young artist, before you found me.
Have I finally stepped into our eden that I created long ago?
For us ~
While you are away.
Waiting, I sit on the city’s park-bench
And observe the busy pedestrian
Like a parade, as time moves in a cinch.
Some images conjure up memories
Bringing pain back that feels like heart pinch.
Reminding me of sad journal entries.
Some happy thoughts, too, unreel in my mind
As strangers traverse the concrete walk ways.
Evoking flashbacks like films in rewind.
People swarm the makeshift stalls of flowers
Picking colorful blooms in varied kinds.
Their petal droppings are lovely litters.
But I doubt it would be conspicuous
To the eyes of a city street sweeper
Whose life a routine and contenuous.
A grain of sweat trickles on my forehead.
My body reaction is congruous
To summer heat ~ it shines like precious bead.
The sounds of busy traffic in the street
Subdue the past’s bells ringing in my head.
Years go on, but things hasn’t changed a bit.
And then, I feel light pats on my shoulder.
I see your face, my waiting is over.
When was the last time you paid attention to the details of life? ~ Jeques
Now that my petals
Are starting to fall,
If you would still think
Of my colors
When I am gone.
Would you still recall
My sun-kissed hue
Would cover me
With its freezing blankets
Would you hold me
In my sleep
My warm thoughts
In your memory?
At spring time,
Would you wait
For my re-birth
To start life anew?
To welcome you.
Under the sun.
Bunch of buds
Of cherished moments.
The summer sun
Would be ending.
Before it sets,
Let me leave you
With lovely droppings.
May my colors
Would sustain us
‘Til next spring.
‘Til I see you again.
I have seen you before,
In countless encounters,
Crossing my path
As I walk
To the many directions
That this life
Is taking me.
But I’m not really sure about you.
You’re just a dream
Appearing to me
Now and then
In a trance,
Like a hazed mirage
Flirting with my imagination
As I travel on:
In the deserts,
And steep cliffs,
And autumn leaves-strewn sidewalks,
And snow-carpeted pavements,
And cobblestone alleys,
And floral-scented streets,
And verdant meadows
Of my life’s journey.
In those many instances
It was this morning
That I saw your very soul
When I sit
To watch you closely
In the eyes
And you glanced back
To meet my soul.
In our too brief commune,
The busy streets
Rolled to a halt,
The clock stopped,
Time freezed ~
There was only
You and me
In an ackward state :
In the small forest
Of weeds and grasses and herbs
That grow their way
In a pavement’s
On my knees
Wanting to touch you
And make a tangible memory
Of this rare encounter ~
But I don’t want to scare you.
I content myself
Recording in my heart
Everything that this chance,
Offers us to have
And to hold.
I didn’t even gave in
To the thoughts
Of taking you pictures.
You gallop away
To the bushes
In a man-made garden
Of the city park,
From my sight
By taking the colors
In the place
We both inhabit ~
In a parallel universe ~
Albeit in separate spheres:
You and I
But not quite.
I didn’t attempt
To run after you.
You are free,
Yes, you are.
But In my heart,
You are always home.
I don’t know,
I am not sure,
If there would be
In my paths ahead
Of another encounter
With you ~
Would there be
Of weeds and grasses and herbs
Growing in this city
Pavements’ widening crevices?
Would there be
When time would freeze,
And there would only be
You and me
Meeting in the eyes,
As our souls commune
In the parallel universe
But for now,
I content myself
To our intangible
As I continue
Your presence ~
In the lush bushes
Now and then,
In my imagination,
In my heart.
(A poem written about my brief encounter with an untamed rabbit, in the most unusual place in the City. Chicago, 2008)
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.
I 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 summer 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 instantly 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?
My 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 in 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.
It 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 one 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.
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.
When 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 solitude, 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.
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. I’ll write about him next time.
It is summer morning,
Armed with note pads, a pen
And a mind ready for take off,
I fasten my seatbelt
In a corner
underneath the bower of trees
At our home’s secret garden.
The dainty sunshine lights my face,
And the spider webs
On the twigs in front of me.
There’s really nothing in my head to write,
So I opened the windows of my mind
And the door of my heart
To weave glossy web of thoughts
To invite and capture
Lavish summer inspirations.
I listen to the rustling sounds
Of leaves as the winds blow
Through the garden’s green roofs ~
Their reflections move on the pads
Like mystic shadows tracing my writings,
Flirting with my thoughts.
Scents of ilang-ilang flowers wafting in the air.
Enticing incessant winged bystanders ~
Bees, butterflies, grasshoppers ~
They signal summer!
Random summer thoughts swarm my mind,
So I open the draperies of my heart
And tie the curtains apart
To welcome showers of summer inspirations
Bathing my fiery soul with cool emotions.
The birds’ repertoire are unusually merry.
They seem to rejoice with my company,
Or perhaps ’tis my heart I’m hearing
In tune with the beats of summer.
Outrageous blooms of bougainvilleas
Against the white wooden verandas
Festive contrasting colors
Treat the eyes with priceless raptures
Make one crave for summer flavors ~
Buko juice, fruit shake, iced cola
Water melon, pineapple, mangoes, papaya
Garnished with flowers of gumamela.
‘Tis the season for lavish summer fiesta!
The writers island invites us to write on the prompt this week: “Outrageous,” I thought of using the word in a more positive note. Please visit http://writersisland.wordpress.com to be inspired.
And If fate would not make you any,
Then be just the soil maybe.
A fertile soil where seeds
Of herbs and weeds
And shrubs and trees would grow.
Somehow, you would live in them;
You will bring them life ~
Becoming the best that you could be.
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted or Beethoven posed music or shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here live a great street sweeper who did his job so well. ~ Martin Luther King
And when I die strew my dust-remains in the earth so trees may grow.
This week, the http://writersisland.wordpress.com prompts us to write about Persistence. I think this is how it should be.
As I draw the curtains open ~
Welcoming the lights to my room ~ in the morning,
I’m warmly greeted by ethereal scenery
From my window of the garden.
Velv’ty petals, captivating.
Ferns’ fronds waving, pruned bonsai trees, green leaves sparkling.
The morning dew trickles on the leaves, like pearls dripping.
My secret treasures, my blessings.
Along, a light soundtrack playing
Of winds whistling and birds in the background chirping.
Close eyes, I inhaled the eucalyptus essence
Wafting the air of the morning.
A breeze steals me a tender kiss
In my mind, I draw someone’s face, and lips, and wished.
Evanescence, with open eyes my wish vanished.
‘Tis gone, like a dream, leaves no trace.
Fruits mellow as I wake today.
Seeds sprout, birds perch and nestle in the mango tree.
Fishes swim in the pond, confined yet feeling free.
Tendrils cling, vines rising, like me.