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Posts Tagged ‘magic’

His muffled voice breaks

the long stretches of silence

while his hand guided

young and untrained hands

practicing calligraphy.

 

Watchful and demanding precision

of copied texts exacting translation.

As he unbuckles the leathery tome

of secrets in a wooden chest.

Tradition, theology and religion.

Diaries, recipes, scientific notations.

 

Inventories, census, receipts.

Readings of narratives and poetry,

astrology, proverbs and magic spells.

The volumes of letters, last wills,

songs and words of blessings.

 

Spending hours and hours sitting

among the piles of pages digging

for clues and answers to mysteries.

The labyrinth of a culture. A treasure.

Each of the fragile pages a wealth

weightier than silver and the gold.

 

Piecing each fragment in a mosaic

mapping an ancient civilization

long forgotten. He believed, it was

here  in his hands lies the fiber, sinew

and muscle of generations of man-

the society is ought to remember.

 

So he became a warrior, obsessed

with the written word wielding

weapons of passion and wisdom.

With his small army of juvenile scholars

continuing an unpopular legacy.

 

Waging the classic battle against time,

earth bugs, heat, rot and decay

slowly finding its way like marauders

pillaging the essence of our humanity

into oblivion and brink of extinction.

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The sanctum smelled of incense and human sweat.

An airless space reverberating whispers of prayer.

She folded a piece of cloth with the holy verse

dipped in animal blood. This is an amulet.

For someone who is afraid of thieves.

 

She knelt across the table ready with her questions

“Do you need a husband? Do you need a wife?”

“Do you need another? Do you need a child?”

“The lines on your palm says you will be rich.”

“The card says you will find your true love.”

 

Then she brought in her candles, started

to light it with a match. She began to read

from a withered book- in its brittle leaves

filled with strange symbols of spells and magic.

Summoning wisdom from the invisible.

 

“Someone wants to harm you, better beware.”

“Keep this stone in a bottle and hide it in your closet.”

She has seen it all- customers come and go

leaving her money for that token of gratitude.

And accepting them as a way of getting by.

 

She keep on caressing the old crystal ball,

ignoring the signs of her grey and thinning hair.

She believed she has power to prevail death.

But  time slowly creeps like a thief in the night

when she can no longer be speaking about

 

the future.

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I never had a dream

in black and white.

Like the moon’s

dichotomy of faces

and the ocean’s

abysmal depth.

Mine is a crisp

flapping of maple-

leaves turning fire

in the autumn sunlight.

Or a bottle-nosed dolphin

gliding in cetacean grace.

Light refracting on water

of blue and purple magic.

 

I never had a dream

in black and white.

A monotonous photograph,

of flexed sinewed arms,

simulating sand dunes

meandering in ochre charm.

Mine is a far-away galaxy

in its celestial wonder.

Wispfully bursting show

of orange, yellow and magenta.

Or a mirrorball gyrating

flickers of crystalline.

Metamorphosing reflections

of gold and silver sheen.

 

If I ever had a dream

in black and white.

I will suppress them within.

Until  this dark room becomes

one mystical secret garden.

Invisible yet seen.

Letting my pillows

constrain the brain

like an amoeba

entrenched into blood

clotting, pools of red.

And maneuver thoughts

into a kaleidoscopic

shades of the rainbow.

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Munad is the inverted name for “danum”, which in Ilocano (a Northern Philippine dialect) means water.  Under Iwag Palattao’s direction alongside with Dato, a Baguio resident artist, they formed a visual artist group of five which included myself.  I am the youngest and the least talented, and I don’t have that great artistic talent to venture out, other than just scribbling line figures.

Julius, a great friend I remember, the leader of Munad, approached me that time and asked if I am interested to join the group.  I was taken aback. Because, in my opinion, I am not inclined to visual arts. I said I am more into creative writing stuff. He said I can try and learn from there.

The next thing I know is that I was being introduced to a bunch of bohemian looking guys. Their eyes poring at me as if they are reading something. You know artists, they have a keen interest in observing things and personalities. I think, they are filtering me through that yardstick.  If I can truly express myself artistically, in visual artform.

Then Iwag, proposed for a group exhibit that was slated then to be mounted in two month’s time.  Each of us, are required to produce five visual painting pieces, either realistic or an abstract. I chose the latter. I came up with five, but only allowed to mount three.  They said the other two lacks depth of subject.

I remember the night before the opening of the exhibit, when I was asked to gather some dried leaves in the middle of the night. I hesitated at first but eventually I obliged.  That was the time, I felt that something has been stripped off out of me in the name of the arts. And the dawning of my free-spirited life occured.

I gathered a sackfull. Of dried leaves. Then Iwag, upon seeing me carrying it, grinned. Yeah, I think, he is also thinking about my initiation. Like in a fraternity. Then, I gave it to him and watch him fashioned it out on the museum floor along with sand and rice grain to form like a Japanese rock garden. I was speechless.  I can’t believe right before my very eyes an artist who can weave art like magic out of what can be considerd rubbish. It was awesome.

Then over the years, Munad goes on in mounting two more group exhibits.  And it somehow, lifted my self-esteem.  I was so thrilled looking at people stopping by my paintings and staying there for some minutes. What a joy to see, people interacting and discussing their thoughts over the paintings as if it is like a case study in contrast. And what more fulfilling it is, in actually explaining the meaning of your paintings over a group of artistic and intellectual people.  That was an experience no other.

That was the golden time for arts in Tarlac, when Tingting Cojuangco is still the governor of the province. She espouses the flourishing of arts in Tarlac by opening up Museo de Tarlac for painting exhibits and the like. Festivities are being held. Musicals like “Alikabok” had been staged at Diwa ng Tarlak. And there was a mobile museum doing the rounds in the barrios for people to experience visual arts closer to them.

One time, an uncle told me, that he was surprised that I am into painting through one of those mobile musem exhibits.  He is the driver of that mobile van.  And I can sense how proud he is touring my painting around the province and telling stories about me as his nephew.

That was the time, I produced a number of paintings over summers of each year. I had some paintings donated after that. Some are displayed at the university.  Some are in the government offices.  Some are with my trusted friends.  The mother of all my paintings was with Gerardo. I knew he is displaying it in his home.

I must say, when Julius approached me then, its like a water drop in my sleeping universe.  I never knew that this single invitation that I  accepted has created trickles and trickles of water until my consciousness towards arts grew like a river. And other artforms ensued. Poetry, university campus writing, theater, installation art, photography and this time blogging.

True to the form, Munad has been so symbolic to me in many ways.  It has opened myself to a lot of things. It has ushered me into that door of self-discovery. That I can be capable of doing something if I will just try and not afraid of failing. And the many waters of inspiration has quenched my desire to express myself creatively. 

I owe it a lot to my Munad group, though some of them are stationed in parts of the world, I know that there will come a time that the water droplets (as they are) will be gathered and create another wave from the rivers of beautiful inspirations of art.

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