Taming This Tyke's Voice Since 2007

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Turn Between Two Voices

I received a text message from my mother early this morning from the Philippines. The ever warm concern in her voice is evident as I read her message half awake, asking me if I’m OK, if it’s safe where I live because if not, she would rather want me home.

What happened to the voice that ever propels me to move forward, why so sudden it calls my retreat? She must have been watching the news lately about some overseas Filipino workers in Libya trying to flee the country in siege and the worsening insurgency situation where many Filipinos are trapped and some are even held hostage in their work place calling for help. But more than that, I understand where the sudden fear of my mother coming: The recent earthquake in New Zealand left our family in deep sadness with my cousin still missing among the rubbles of the CTV building that collapsed during the February 22 Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake. We are in agony after days of waiting and still with no official confirmation if she’s been found. I feel for my Aunt. I feel for my mother who must be so scared back home thinking of my safety being away from home and alone, which made her send that message calling my retreat to return home.

I replied reassuring her I’m OK and not to worry, and rather asked her to pray that I would do well on the very important event in my journey as an artist on March 5 that would mark my first attempt in trying my chances in the Art field with my scheduled whole day appointment at  the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a group interview. My mother never made me feel she ever doubted what I’m capable of doing even as I was just starting to draw at 3 when she taught me my first art lessons at home drawing flowers. She made me believe at such a young age that my gift could send me somewhere to some doors that would open great opportunities for me. She is the voice that continue to propel me in my journey.

But today, when I read her text message, I am turned between listening to her voice that once fueled my young imagination to reach this doorstep where I am waiting for some hand to open the door for me, and the voice calling my retreat to come home. My will is being tested to move forward or withdraw from the journey I started to trod long ago when she first handed me a pencil and a paper that made me draw my way to this chance within reach.

My mother’s message shows to prove her unconditional love. Love that is not measured by how much accomplishment I take home, for more than anything, she’s more concern of my safety.

The voice of my mother remains a powerful propeller of my journey – it is the voice that sends me to distances trying every chances. But it’s also the voice that could call my retreat to return home.

I wrote this piece to understand the depth of her message. I wrote this piece to reassure my mother I am safe.

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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.

 


Caught in the Moment

 
 
Dust settled,
The beating of the drums
Faded in the distance.
Chaos succumbs
To peace.
I am here
.
Caught in the moment
 
Not a ripple in the pond ~
Waters placid ~
Bowers’  reflection
Caught in its stillness. 
I am here
.
Caught in the moment
 .
Listening to the acoustical
Silence of the white bell
Serenading me with its
Sweet charm
 

"Gift of Home, The White Bell" pen and pencil on paper made some mornings during my recent vacation. Jeques, 2010

Wires Faded
In the backdrop
Walls unnoticed
Barriers forgotten,
Heartaches freed
Echoes of old sad stories
Replaced with fresh pages
Of new chapters.
I am here, and now
.
Caught in the moment
.
Today,
The silent ringing
Of the white bell
Signals a beginning
Of stories newly born
Taking shape
To florish
To be told

The White Bell clinging, rising, blooming embellishing the wire fence home

Hope surmounts the fences
Words demolished the barricades
Joy overtakes sadness
Shortcomings forgotten
Love prevails.
I am here
.
Caught in the moment
.
Healed and blossoming
Watching the reflections
Captive on the page of my heart
Caught in its stillness
.
I am here.

"Gift of Home: The White Bell," pen and pencil on paper of the white bell in bloom I wanted to take back to chicago, but I can't, so I drew it cpative on paper to take the gift with me anywhere in the world. Jeques, 2010

—–

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


Highlights

Click images below

 

to see hightlights

 

of my recent home-coming

 

and fun-filled vacation

 

to my home land:

 

The Philippines

 

 

Click me to see more pictures of my vacation

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Click Image to see more pictures of my vacation in Baguio City, Philippines

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Around Visayas

Festivals Around Visayas in one place.
One Visayas. All the fun in one festival!

Dinagyang Costume of Iloilo during One Visayas

Around Visayas in one place


She Raised The Bar[too high]

I came home to celebrate Valentines with her. I have been thinking lately and some thoughts are worrying me being unattached too long, single since birth and loveless in my 30’s. A question frequents my thoughts recently. I once was asked this question by an old lady and I used to I find it really funny.

“What’s wrong with you?” 

But that was 3 years ago, and it’s only lately that the question really sunk in, “Is there really something wrong with me?”

So here I am, home to find out. And the way to get the accurate answer is to go back to the real roots deeply rooted to the love of my mother and here gathered some initial findings.  I maybe single, unattached and worried but one thing is sure, I am not really loveless and never been for I am loved by my family, I am especially loved by my mother. Maybe I just really have high standards set for love, and loving. And it’s my mother who raised the bar too high, I wonder if there would ever be someone who could hurdle it.

My mother and I in the hotel for our valentines dinner date

my mother and I arriving in the hotel for our valentines date

 

my mother

my mother

 

pampering moments at the hotel saloon

 

relaxing in the hotel spa

 

my mother preparing for our valentines dinner

 

valentines buffet

 

dinner date with her

dinner date with her

 

dinner time

 

she raised the bar

 

me, 30's and single


Watch Me Fly

pencil and ink on paper by Jeques

A flyer

Perched, quiet

And resigned,

Watching you coquet

With the winds

And winged-deities

Flaunting.

 

I’ve Lost you in the skies

Countless times

For reasons unknown

And I don’t question.

Content of the little attention

Of few moments,

And gone.

Leaving me

For long days

Of cold hours,

And troubling dreams

In colorless nights, awake

Waiting.

 

A flyer

Perched, quiet

And resigned

Looking at the clouds 

And beyond

For signs

Of your return,

Anticipating

 

awkward starts

 

Timid stares

 

Chats in spontaneity

 

Endings that come swiftly

 

Shy divergence

 

Brief goodbyes

 

Parting touches that hesitate.

 

A flyer

Perched, quiet

And resigned

Content in the company

Of sheltering Canopy

That consoles.

Hanging on

To fibers of memories

Finding comfort

In tiny blooms;

Their lingering fragrance soothes

The aches of longing.

Vines that bridge

The absence

‘Til you’re back

To perch beside me;

Love abiding.

pencil and ink on paper, by Jeques

A flyer

Winged to soar

And suited

Daring heights ~

 

It is time.

 

In your return,

If you don’t find me

Perched as usual,

Look up to heavens

Where I belong ~

The flyer’s gone home.

 

Watch me fly.

 

Jeques, 2010. From his “Traveler’s soliloquies” poetry and artworks collection.

Postscripts:

I will be coming home to my country this month until April 2, 2010 for a vacation. I need this time to be in-touch with the navel of my journey to get hold of the loose end of entangling thoughts I struggle to find meaning. Perhaps in coming home I would find relevance in every tangled threads of thoughts, so I could move forth climbing mountains, daring heights with found clarity. I can’t wait February 10 to be home .

I wish you well.

 

~ Jeques

 

 

 

 


Home Sick In Autumn

 

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,

Like eidolon,

Returns.

Jeques, 2009. From his “A Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection.


Transient Anonymity

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.

"child-like" oil on canvas, 30x40 by Jeques B. Jamora, 2009

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.


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)