Under your sheltering canopy
In the safety of your embrace
Beneath your reassuring grip
Like the shadow of the clouds
Passing by on a midday.
Such fleeting moments
Of alternating shadow and light:
And the silent anticipations in between
Fuel hope, keep the heart pounding
To reach another waiting shade
Along the way
Underneath your sheltering canopy.
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.
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 That summer and years after that I became withdrawn, misunderstood.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.
For more about “Ethan,” please click image below >>>
Jeques, 2010. From his Traveler’s Soliloquies poetry collection.
Watch the tides
In the bay,
From erstwhile morning,
Of blithe facets gone by.
Hush frolic thoughts,
Soothe reckless times,
Sort out tangled memories
On a drowsy midday
And be ready,
And be ready,
And be ready to get hold
Of the hand of passing time
From this moment forth.
Know which rock to hold
When the cliffs are slippery.
Climb up with certainty,
But know when to hang on
Or climb down, if necessary.
And be ready.
Lay the spirit down
On the hay
Of the harvests
From erstwhile morning,
Calm and carefree.
Watch the clouds
And Resurface fluffy
Souffle and sweet
To the tongue of memories recalled
On a dreamy midday
And be ready,
And be ready,
And be ready to confront
The inevitable streams of time
From this moment forth.
Know when to sow
And to toil night and day.
Sprinkle the earth
With blood and sweat
That trickle on the forehead ~
Let the seeds grow,
But know when to stop
And celebrate the harvest,
When it is time.
And be ready.
Come home on a rainy day
To an aged couch, old and saggy,
That kept imprints
From erstwhile morning,
Of blots of ink and paint
Red and blue
From childish blows
And gentle touches.
Trace back the stories
From stains and tears,
On a quiet midday
And be ready,
And be ready
And be ready with soothing
But sometimes harsh whisks
Of the nearing eventide
From this moment forth.
Know the terrains,
And be guarded of the stings
Of each season, but be happy.
Be accepting and resigned,
And embrace the gifts
Of each moment
To build the plinth –
With stable bricks –
Of one’s equanimity
That mellows in time.
Take a moment
To keep your thoughts hushed
And tarry like the water in the bay.
Take time to glance back
To the parting waves
Of the erstwhile morning
And listen to the silence
Of the midday.
And be reay,
And be ready,
And be ready
To watch the sunset
In the bay
Jeques, 2009. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection.
2nd Year of Taming This Tyke’s Voice
August 16, 2009
Jeques Web Nook, Year 2
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 >>>
Writing . . .
“The tyke’s gone painting”
Please click image to view my art portfolio in progress >>>
“Mystic” oil on canvas, 20×20 by : Jeques B. Jamora, 2009
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.
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
When half the world is asleep,
The prying eyes of the nocturnal owl
Stay alert for mice dozing undergrownds.
A turtle slowly prowls in a swamp
Disturbing the resting fishes
On the shallow waters.
Somewhere, you are confined
Asleep in your room dreaming.
While I stay awake questioning.
Am I part of your dreams tonight?
Would I take part in your life
When you awake in the morning?
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.
But nevertheless always wishing
That one day I’d stop questioning
And to The deeps I’d just let the fishes
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?
“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.
“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 ~
“Waif” oil on canvas 18×18 by : Jeques B. Jamora
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.
I thought of writing notes and sending you letters, but what this mind has to write? What words could my hand form with the pen or the keyboard to create the lines that would tell you exactly what I wish for this season?
I thought of buying you cards, I searched from store to store for greeting cards hoping that some minds had put my thoughts into phrases, and placed them into colorful images of the season, but no! All I see in the shelves are emptiness for nothing could have really said what I meant to say, and I could not just buy the thoughts I’d like to tell you this season.
I thought of buying you gifts, but how much does my thought really costs? Is there a gift that could equal its worth? Could I really put a tag on it and could the price really make you feel the love that comes along my gift? No! For I could ot really give a price to my precious thoughts of you.
I thought of sending you flowers, but they wilt with time. I thought of inviting you for dinner, but it’s not the stomach that I really wanted to fill with love – but your heart. I thought of calling you, and talking to you but the telephone lines are seem so cold they could not really send the warmth I wanted you to feel.
This Christmas, you need to know that you’re in every strand of my thoughts. I see your face in the gentle snowfalls I watch through my window. Please listen to the songs of my heart in every christmas carol you would hear, find my affection in the deepest scarlet red of the poinsettia, it is the star that tops a Christmas tree, it is carried by the christmas breeze along the sweet scent of the pine, When you see children, my feeling sparks like that look in the wonder of their eyes when they see things for the first time which outshines all the flares of the fireworks and the twinkling of all the christmas lights combined.
My love is like the morning star at dawn that never wanes outlasting a million seasons. At times, you would doubt its presence but it is there for not a cloud of thoughts nor cloak of doubts could ever wrap its brilliance.
This season let us give out a piece of us to the people we love and to everyone, for it is in giving away a piece of us that we could welcome and take in precious pieces from other hearts.
This Christmas, I will be wrapping my heart in every gift I am giving away. I will seal my heart in the letters and cards that I would be sending, I will give away a piece of me this chritmas, for that’s the only way I could fully tell you my thoughts and make you know how special you are.
For all the lines that I have written,
And every word that I have spoken,
A piece of me is taken.
For every time I send my greetings,
It is my heart that I am sending.
Merry Christmas , everyone!
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?
“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.
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.
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.
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.