jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

first smile (haiga8 for Rick Daddario’s challenge at19 Planets Art Blog)

haiga 8 composed on Microsoft Publisher with my sister's first baby picture at 5 mos old

first smile nothing else

I remember that early morning light, which illumines the bedroom. It could have poured in through a window facing east where deep dark leaves of a star apple tree soaked most of it, leaving a young mango sprout pale in its struggle to grow. Or perhaps it was just uncared for. And why do I now blame the more luxuriant star apple? No one could pay much attention to the mango seedling then, since the birth of my sister and only sibling.

It could have been a Saturday morning. My mother could have been home that late and didn’t leave for school across the stream a block away, a post-deduction I’m making from the angle of the light. If it were a weekend, I must have been sleeping late. It couldn’t but be a Saturday or this picture wouldn’t have been taken by an uncle who also taught at the parish school. So why am I making a fuss this late?

Because I wish I could relate a more credible story as to how that first smile was caught. I remember my sister more as fretful. She cried when she felt sleepy or couldn’t sleep. She cried when she woke up and felt hot. When I carried her, I could not hold her facing me for long; I would have to make her face outward with one arm supporting her butt as in a seat, her legs dangling, and my other arm, bracing her close to me so she would not fall forward. She hardly smiled. She seemed to size up people as if already making opinions as they talked though she still couldn’t except to say, ‘Mama’. Which is why this smile for me sparkles as a gem.

I know that hand carved wooden bed. On it, I nuzzled on my mother’s side under a crook of her arm as deep as my memory dips. I watched my sister suckled from my mother’s breast, perhaps like I did, on this bed. I remember bumping my head on the headboard against carvings of huge blooms, hearts of gardenias in a swirl of leaves leaning away as if blown by their redolence. Lying on it felt like easing into silken strands, the hand woven rattan strips, which stretched and retracted with each un-recalled movement in dreams. I know that slightly creased sheet, too, which is actually a native heavy woven cotton blanket I had dived into as a child myself. It must have been really a Saturday morning because I see no pillows, which my grandmother would have gathered to put out under the sun to disinfect and deodorize.

The story I recall of this morning has to do with impulses. An uncle who lived on the other corner of our street, apparently just happened to drop by with his camera. He just suddenly wanted to take a picture of my 5-month old sister. My sister just then was learning to turn on her side. That morning, she happened to do a full turn to lie on her belly. She just happened to smile. Or maybe I was there to clown around when my uncle clicked his Kodak Field camera. But the truth is, I remember nothing else but this first smile.

Fifty four years gape between that morning and me today. I am now an elderly woman hankering for details I missed. But then again because I have none except this moment caught, I can spin webs around it to catch any morning light, and perhaps one like that Saturday morning.

Advertisements

September 25, 2011 Posted by | haiga, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

‘Where has it all gone?’ (excerpt from “Lovers of the Interior”, my novella-in-progress for OSP)

At the far end of the tunnel, a dull roaring begins. The iron tracks tinkle in their trembling. He twitches then bolts up wide-eyed. A shadow looms ahead and a pair of white light pierces through. A ruckus has risen. The scream of steel grating against steel draws near. But what pulls him up panting from disbelief is the empty pit inside of him.

Where has the memory gone? He silently cries out through the maddening screech of the train slithering to a stop. The dazed crowd has massed up. Flexed limbs now aim at the door. He lingers on the rim of the crowd magnetized by the door, smarting from the pangs of a lost memory.

He now feels a bump from behind. The girl has stepped behind him without a word. He turns toward her. She stares at him as if he were a stranger.

The door heaves and gulps the mass. He gets pushed to the end of the aisle, into a crook between the door of the conductor’s booth and the swaying rear of the coach. He glances at the exposed limbs of the train, and then, shifting his eyes he catches Nini’s head three-arms-clutching-the-hand rail away. She seems stilled, not a hint of her missing him. He has finally lost her, he thought holding down a pent-up glee.
An excerpt from Chapter 26 of my novella-in-progress “Lovers of the Interior” posted for One Stop and the Arts–Elements of Writing at One Stop Poetry, the gathering place for poets and artists, sharing both their love for theirs and those of others’ works, and nurturing each other. Come check us out!

June 23, 2011 Posted by | excerpt, novella | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments