Taming This Tyke's Voice Since 2007

“Mamang”

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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Deciphered

.
I once carefully picked
Pieces of letters from my tool box
And put them together
To form words,
Unintelligible.
.
I colored them dabs of meaning
Recollecting from lines
Of misty memories
Playing sad soundtracks
In pastel blues.
.
I put aside
Letters left unused.
They don’t strum
A single cord of sentiments
For now, there meaningless colors
Belonged to the empty space
Of the narratives,
Unintelligible,
That I left pending.

bougainvillea, unfinished drawing from home. Pencil, pen and ink on paper by Jeques B. Jamora, 2010

.
In my return,
I carefully uncover
Scribblings left unfinished
That I kept in my tool box,
To search for meaning
In the marks that brought back
Misty memories of sadness,
Unfathomed.
.
I traced back the lines
And re-called the thoughts
Behind the colors,
unraveled each pigment
Of the blue-tinged page,
Understood.
.
I carefully re-arranged the words,
Blend the dabs of colors
To find concealed happy hues awaiting to burst
Obscured by my limited understanding,
Emancipated.
.

Bougainvillea, completed drawing in Chicago. Pencil, pen and ink on paper by Jeques B. Jamora, 2010

.
You are a gift of my careful pursuits,
Transfiguring on the page 
That I patiently waited.
You are the produce from my labor~
.
Like a child to a mother
Hearing the child’s first cry,
Laid on her breast
Feeling the fragile life
Breathing, throbbing pulses
Of veins carrying pieces of her.
.
.
Like you,
Each word,
Each dab of colors,
A reflection of my soul ~
.
A tribute to my mother ~
 .
Deciphered.

"Mamang" and us, her Children(L-R): Nene Irene, Nong Jhuls, Nang Thez, Mamang and me(Jeques)

—–

Happy Mother’s Day to Mamang, my Sisters and all the mothers in the world!

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.

—–

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


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


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)

 

 


The Mother’s Lullaby

I love you my precious child, my bliss. You carry the sweetest juice of my veins. My costliest joys come from you. You deserve the fullness of my affection. The brightest and the loveliest of all the fruits I bear in my womb and grew on my branches season after season.

Even when you were just about to bloom out of the bud I conceived from a leaf I shed in october, I knew by maternal instinct, that your fate would be different. You attracted a bizarre mob of insects: bees, bugs, ants, butterflies. They all feasted on your sweet nectar. The wind stole you kisses morning and night, and along carried your fragrance too distant. Perhaps, your spirit had reached faraway lands and shores even as a tyke. You were destined to travel, you will go places.

I cling to you the longest. You mellow in my nourishement. I wanted to embrace you forever, but I know, I could not. The hardest of all my tasks is knowing that I have to let you go when I’m done with my duty with you. I fear that that day, I dread the thought. I stayed awake day and night to guard you. I loath the winds for they might snatch you out of my grip. I curse the insects for they are taking too much of you. I resent their carelessand harsh advances. Because I know, being your mother, that you would live a life far more than all that.

But you are already sturdy as the tree that you would become early on. I am relieve from all my anxieties as you surpass, surviving your initial tribulations. I am proud watching you metamorphose into a tiny precious fruit. I cherished our moments together.

We danced and flirted with the winds. At night, we counted and wished upon every stars. We revered the beauty of wild flowers and sniff their exotic perfumes that permeate the gardens and the fields. I welcome the birds that serenade you on my branches. I nourish you with crystal clear water of springs that my roots sip from the nearby streams. I catch and gathered the dew in my leaves to bathe you in the morning. We are cleansed by the cool ppristine showers of the rain. The sun keeps us warmth and dry. I ask the sun to smile at you, but at noon, I leaned over a canopy of my leaves to shield you from the scorching heat of midday rays.

We marvel at the gifts of every sunrise. The sunset blesses us with tranquility and peace. On quiet moonlit nights, I rock you on my cradle to sleep. I watch you close in you slumber, as I sung you lullabies. My soul feels glad at your existence, my heart leaps. I caress your face tenderly with my leaves. One touch, and I felt bliss.

You’re more than everything I asked for,

More than anything I need.

You are my son, my beloved.

Her lullaby fades as she kiss her angel goodnight. She closes her eyes wanting to freeze the moment, but then she, too, falls into a deep blissful sleep.

You breathe me life, so I may live,

You’re the reason that I exist.

You are my mother,

My life, to you I am indebted.

—–

To my mother and all the mothers of writers island and the world.

Happy Mothers Day!

For Writers Island prompt: “Fantasy”

http://writersisland.wordpress.com


“Mamang”

~

I call my mother “Mamang.” That’s how both my parent’s family call their mothers, and that’s how we are taught as kids to call her. It is Mamang’s Birthday today, but I called to greet her yesterday because the Philippines’ time is 12-13 hours ahead than my time here in Chicago.

She is 60 years old now and I am in her life for 35 years. Everybody know that I am my mother’s favorite, and I can safely claim that. She is a nurturing mother and that’s true of her to all her four children, even to our father. And she never failed to show this since I can remember.

It is always hard to write something for my mother. Even if I know she will never get to read this (I don’t let my family read my blog ~ they don’t even know I’m doing this). When you hold somebody dear in your heart, words are just not enough. It is my dream to write great stories about her ~ I have started writing a long narrative piece for her and it’s still in progress. I’ve been working on it since 2005, and still under way. She deserves the honor in my writings for she is my first reader, my greatest fan, my source of inspiration. She did not taught me how to write but she taught me how to tell stories. When we write, we have imagined readers in our mind and for me, my mother is one of the readers I consider when I write. That’s one of the reason maybe why I always aim for clarity in my works. My mother always like to read uncomplicated materials.

My mother is always proud in whatever I do. She’s the reason why I kept my life in the right path: I promised myself not to do anything that would make my mother less proud of me. And I have kept that promise. 

Mamang is my life.

~

You’re more than everything I asked for,

More than anything I need.

 

You are my son,

My beloved.

~

You breathe me life so I may live,

You’re the very reason I existed.

 

Mamang, you are my life.

 

To you,

 I am indebted.

~

An excerpt from the long narrative I’m writing for my mother. This is “Mother and Child,” a part, sung by the characters in that work in progress.

Happy Birthday Mamang!

In time, you will read this. And I know you will be proud of me.

 

~ Jeques