Jesus “Jeques” B. Jamora, 41
Case Manager/BSN/Registered Nurse/Self-taught Artist/Poet
“Dots and lines on the right place is Art” ~ Jeques
My romance with art is a-love-at-first-grip kind of thing. The moment I first held a pencil, I knew it in my heart that it is something I would love to do for the rest of my life.
I started to draw when I was around 3 years old: creating dots, connected them with lines and then my mother taught me my first art lesson to form the dots and lines to flowers: my first subject. She stopped teaching me when I drew better flowers than she did; outgrowing her art lessons quick. She advanced and became my first fan and art collector. My first art exhibit was in her convenient store when she would show my drawings to her clients. That was my childhood version of an art gallery. My earliest art portfolio was my mother’s record books lost to time, but never in my memory.
My first art critic was my father. He thought my works were insignificant and told me to do other things. The hardest thing he asked me to do was to use my right hand, I was born left handed. It was a subtle way to suppress my gift, and then he put me in the seminary where I had my first rejection at 13 when I was expelled. I drifted like a waif, then he decided the nursing course for me, ignoring my pleas to put me in an art school in college. I could not blame him though, I was born in a third world country, the Philippines; we need to choose a career that could bring food on the table instead of joy to the heart.
I was caught in the middle trying to balance early on: between my nurturing mother and my highly critical father. I never had formal education in the art. Alone in my room, close doors, is my childhood version of an art institute where I had my art classes 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. The gift is ingrained. I was born with the passion that not even my father was able to control from flourishing.
Somebody encouraged me to join my first painting contest in college and won every competition that followed. It was a tiny spark that kept the torch of my dream lighted in my passage through the dark gorge of dormancy. It put my inner compass back to place to follow the direction that my destiny would take me.
I trod many paths from that point, connected directions that my journey took me. I arrived in Chicago, autumn of 2006 as a nurse, but my solitude nurtured and awakened the dormant artist in me sleeping for a very long time. My first attempts were paintings in words through poetry, but my inner itch intensified and found myself buying materials that my nursing profession made me afford and just started painting.
I am still that kid who would seek my mother’s appreciation every time I finish an art piece to get her nod 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, too, still am the kid who feared the criticisms of my father that made me rip many pages of my sketches, and toss away many of my earlier works unfinished. I see my father’s image in people who thought my works are insignificant. I find courage in people who tell me otherwise. But deep in my heart, I have to admit I still seek for his approval that he was so selfish to give. He died in 2008, and I thought I’m free now, I always was!
I had since come to terms with my resentments to my father. I thank him for being distant, for it brought me closer to myself, to my soul. And for that, he taught me to fight a good fight. Wherever he may be right now, I wish he look down to see I found my way.
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 gallery, a home ~ your hearts.
And like a desolate soul a lonely waif
I wait for you to find me.
May your travels not take you long,
Come fast and love me.
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.
My paintings are conceived from my poems. In poetry, the words are my brushstrokes to create imageries in those times when I still can’t afford the painting materials back in the Philippines. Poetry still serves me well now in my study for painting subjects. All my paintings are titled because they are clear in my mind’s senses before they took form on canvas. Many of my paintings complete the circle becoming poems. My brushstrokes are the words I use to conjure imagery in the mind’s senses.
And when I think of it ~ this circle of my poems becoming paintings, and the paintings’ metamorphosis to poetry ~ I am enlightened that there’s really no single strand that separates them. Sketches and drawings are my scribbling: my drafts. Each completed painting is a finished poetry.
It is my commitment to my craft to achieve such seamless fusion of my paintings and poetry, for both are conceived and born from my heart.
I wish you well.
Sleep well now.
Dream dreams and find solace in the hearth
Amidst the cold of his absence.
Shadows shall pass,
The clouding of the moment
Shall clear. Eventually.
Walk this day now.
Step your foot forward
In synch with the ticking of the clock,
For we’re part of the veinal flow of the universe
This slow procession of prolonged agony
Shall reach its end
In her chamber. Eventually.
Refuse to cede
Get up now.
Endure the inner battles that defeats you.
Holdfast to your courage
Even when the last ray of hope sets
And throws twilight on your face.
Stay awake for twilights always
Transit to dawn. Eventually.
Raise your chin
Look up now.
Aim to climb the mountains once more
Where a new summit awaits.
Cling your tendrils of faith secure
The makeshift shelter I offer may be frail,
But it could send you off
To your journey
To the stars. Eventually.
Find solace in my meek heart.
a poem by Jeques, 2009
Of the past to the last strand
For a long time.
Until I can hold no more,
And gave in
Succumbing to the will
I once lived
That’s hard to keep my distance,
But the fine grains in the time glass
Emptied to its bottom,
So I gave in
Succumbing to the calls
Of the moment.
Where the river flowed no more
Where the springs halted
And the last puddle of hope emptied.
So I just whispered my sighs
To the mangroves
Hoping when the tides return
They would carry my muted chants
To your heart.The winds of long ago
Shall return to visit,
They will blow through the leaves of the mangroves,
The tides shall rise and recede below,
And chant the antiphons of my stories
Again and again and again
‘Til they reach you..
The pain of succumbing to the will of changes,
The acceptance that lost moments never return.
No more silent breakfast to share
That I dreamed about many mornings.
No more lazy walks in the streets and allowing my feet
Where it would take me.
No more reading, finding quietude in the crowd
In some busy coffee shops.
No more memories to weave
For the story concluded to a silent halt
Like when the last flare of the fireworks
Faded in the night skies ending my fancy
And what’s left is the fume of longing.
I gave in and endure
The pain that comes with changes.
I succumb to the over powering force
Of the inevitable end.
I awake to the dawning of tomorrow
To breath the fresh air of its promise
Of the bliss that I still have to live.
“Mailalarawan ba ang sakit ng pagpaparaya? Ibubulong ko nalang ang nararamdaman sa mga puno ng bakawan. Ang hangin ng nakalipas ay babalik at iihip sa mga dahon ng bakawan. Ang tubig dagat ay tataas at bababa. Paulit-ulit nilang aawitin ang tula ng aking mga kwento hangang ito ay umabot sa iyo.”
Today marks the fifth year anniversary of my web page, my web nook, the corner where I pour my poetic heart; the canvas of my life where the colorful palette of my soul comes home when he needs to exhale, to tell his stories, to write his verses, to compose his thoughts into songs, to share his travels and make his soliloquies be heard.
In celebration of this milestone, I now fully own the domain: Jeques.Me
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Eyes lie in wait ~
Day and night ~
Skies in surveillance
Waiting for the sign
That might be sent
From the future,
As the gentle streams of life,
And the rough currents
That ever oppose
Mold the pebbles
In the bed of stones
By the river
Adorned by some weeds
Awaiting for some hands
To pick them up.
Awaiting for some great minds
To give them names.
Unaccounted for ~
Remaining like a worthless bead
In the infinities ~
Awaiting for some gifted hands
To weave him
In the precious thread
Of chance, to adorn
Like a pendant
To rest forever
Closest to your chest.
Pick me from the infinities
And carve my fingers
With marks to define my distiction.
Paint my blank facade
With a face
And buy me a name.
Find me in the dunes.
You’d easily recognize me
Among the pebbles.
And find in my eyes
Your own reflection:
Waiting for the sign.
You are always ripples away,
The tides ever
Series of hurdles
As it appears in the surface
That this meek soul
Secretly transcends beneath;
Away from the prying eyes
You are designed
For cruel intentions,
That is how the world sees you.
But for the many years
That I followed your lead,
I learned to give your purpose
A different meaning.
I am grateful
To the hands that keep my safety
Disguised in undulation ~
Of the sudden swell of waves between us.
Oftentimes your absence disheartens me,
Scared of losing you to the crest of tides,
But reassured to see you still there
When the morning after
Calms the bubbling surfs,
That in many occasions pushed us apart.
I praise the hands that hold
The mysterious fishing pole
And for chosing you the bait,
And thank time, too,
For helping me understand.
You are the reason
Why I swim the extra laps;
Take another stroke,
No matter how helpless
My frail attempts ~
Against the raging currents ~
Just to be near you.
Reason that I doubt,
The world’s shallow definition
Of predator and prey
Would ever come to comprehend.
Your lead brought me to the deeps,
You are the pivot that draws me to the blue;
A hope that keeps my buoyancy,
And not sink in the ocean,
In the heart of possibilities.
When are you going to consume me?
(Follow the lead of your dream, trust the hands that hold the fishing pole and His design where the bait is going to take you. ~ Jeques)
The dragonfly is always been my metaphor in following the lead of my dreams. I used to chase them in the green fileds when I was a kid, like my dreams that I continue to chase as grown up.
Jeques. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies” poetry collection
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.
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.
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.
Jeques, 2010. From his “Traveler’s Soliloquies poetry collection.
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.
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