Thursday, November 2, 2017

Jump In

There once was a boy who dreamt the world.

He held his dreams close to his heart, he threw them to the wind, he threw them to the ground, he even gave one to a dwarf...

And though he gave and gave, he never ran out. 

Every night, every morning, and every day, he would dream some more. 

One sunny day, a dream popped out and flew ahead of the boy. 

“Follow me,” it said. 

The boy looked curiously at the dream. At first glance it looked like all the others dreams he had dreamt before: bright, shiny, and full of hope. 

But as he stared some more, he began to feel his heart beat inside his chest. His lips started to dry, his hair stand. 

“It’s you!” He gasped with excitement and a slight reservation...

Words and photography by Joe Henson
Written: January 18, 2017 (Makati, Philippines)
Photos developed: May 22, 2010 (Georgetown, Malaysia)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Where Do I Begin

"OK", he says to himself silently. "I should get started..."

He rolls over to the edge of the bed, pulling all the sheets with him. Still clinging to the pillow he exhales and says again "OK", this time louder. He isn't speaking to his past, rather he is speaking to himself, now. Though he hasn't exactly been unproductive, there has been a conundrum feeling deep in his gut telling him to get moving, to get started.

"OKAY!", he finally sits up, eyes still closed however. "Time to start," he whispers to himself as he sits up. Walking to the bathroom he lets the water begin to run, waiting patiently for the water heater to start up. Occasionally touching the water to check its temperature he lets out a smile... things will be different this time around, he thinks. "Yes," he says aloud, this time with more conviction than before. He looks at his reflection in the mirror before finally getting into the shower.

Quickly he washes his hair, face, body, legs, then switches the water off. Grabbing the towel he wipes off, starting with his hair he makes his way to his face, chest, torso, then finally legs. He takes a breath, then exhales. "But what exactly am I going to start?" he asks.

After brushing, shaving, and dressing he makes his way to his kitchen to grab an apple. Instead, upon opening the fridge, he picks up some cheese and prepares a sandwich, completely forgetting about the apple. He pours a glass of orange juice but only takes a sip before heading out the door, sandwich in hand.

"Click" the door makes a sound when he turns the key to lock the entrance to his flat. "Hi, good morning", he waves to his neighbour Jack who is getting back from his morning run. "Good morning", Jack replies as he enters his own flat. "Ugh, way too messy. How could he live that way?" he thinks as he passes Jack and catches a glimpse of the flat. Scratching the nook of his neck, he now waits for the lift.

"Hello, good morning!" he greets Mary who is bringing her baby out for a walk, "lovely day for a walk".

"Indeed", Mary replies and returns the smile.

"I wonder if...", he begins but is cut short by Ana's sudden outburst of cries. "Oh dear, what is it now?" Mary worries as she picks Ana up from the pram and puts her on her shoulder, gently patting her on the back. "shhh, shhh", she tries to calm her down.

"Is she," he attempts to ask but is again cut short.

"Oh, I need to give her a quick change, looks like she had a little accident." Mary turns back towards her flat.

"Have a good day!" He says and walks into the lift that has arrived. There are three others in the lift, whom he acknowledges and smiles to before turning towards the entrance and finally finishes the cheese sandwich he prepared for himself earlier. Oddly, there is no music in the lift, as a result, every bite he takes is heard. Awkward, he thinks as he finally walks out unto the garage and into his Chevy.

Driving down the road, he suddenly remembers, it's a Saturday and there is nowhere he needs to be. "Hm, where am I going?" he thinks again. "To start", he remembers. "Now to figure out what it is I have to start", he grunts audibly in slight frustration.

"No matter, I'll figure it out," he assures himself and drives on.

He drives till the end of the lane, and takes a left. Then he continues on till he reaches the field at the tip of town and turns around again. He decides to switch the radio on-- but there is way too much talking and way too little music for his tastes, so instead he decides to continue his search in silence.

A couple of hours later, he finds himself back in his flat, back where he started.

Again, he exhales. Not in frustration, nor in contempt of what was not found, rather he breathes for he knows that something is about to happen; he must prepare himself. But what? he questions. He does not know. So still, he continues on.

Glamourized via Kerstin Enderlein

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Man on the street

'Two more, two more' the man screams as he leads the lady up the jeepney. Day in and day out, for hours non-stop, he 'barks' and helps people board and alight. Under the hot sun, he will sweat. Under the rain, with nothing but a bandana, or plastic, on his head to keep him dry, he will continue.

He probably hoped to study when he was younger, get a decent job as a waiter possibly; engineer if he was dreaming extra big. But life happened, the way it usually happened to people of his class: not your way.

By lunch, maybe he'll be able to afford a packet of instant coffee to pass the hunger, maybe he'll be able to afford a cup of rice with some soy sauce, if he's lucky. By the end of the day, most likely he'll go home hungry and feed his kids at home with what's left of the day's earnings. He'll lie down on an old mattress, if any at all, look up at the roof of his make-shift house, and hope it will not rain tonight-- his pillow just dried after all.

He will sleep and rise the next morning with the hope that one day things will be different. As he walks to the street corner where he works, he knows his situation won't change. This is his life: 'Pasay... Pasay' he cries. Life goes on.

Photo credits to Acayan

Friday, July 19, 2013

So I Guess Life Goes On

Earlier this week I saw families living in make-shift houses along Amorsolo Street in Makati-- I think their houses burned down or they were simply driven from their homes.  I saw mattresses on bamboo beds under tents right on the street. Along with their kids, bags and all, they hid from the rain. Cars drove by with its passengers who, like me, possibly felt sorry for a moment. But once the car turned the next corner, they were back to their own realities. Also equally likely, they ignored them altogether and did not even stop to think about why they were there. These people now in the streets, they're probably just informal settlers after all, right?

This morning on the way to work I saw a man rummaging through the trash by the side of the road less than five minutes away from my gated community where the guards keep people like him out. Maybe he was looking for food, maybe not. Or more likely, he was looking for clothes-- as obviously he didn't have any on. He could possibly just have gone mad and wasn't in his right mind. That might explain it, right? Well, that's probably what we all told ourselves as we went about our day. He'll probably just be a story we tell our friends and family over lunch. Some might even say they've seen something similar, but in the other side of the metro.

Nothing new, life goes on.

I will eat. I will sleep.
I will probably see such things again on the way home. If not, then maybe tomorrow.

And yet still, life goes on.

July 19, 2013 by Jose Antonio Henson

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Just Smile

December 18, 2012

Just smile, though it hurts.
Just smile, even when it burns.
Just smile, I will myself.

How long can I just smile
How long can I fake this
How long will this last

At times it becomes real
At times I find joy
At times still, it's just a smile.

This act must end
This scene conclude
How long before the muscles tire? 
the soul give up?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dream Two

I open my eyes then I shut my eyes. Again, I open my eyes then I shut my eyes.
I ask myself again and again whether these are all really just lies.

Could my whole life be a lie, I ask myself out loud. There couldn’t possibly be a lie so fly to keep me tied up, could there? Why is it that so many times I feel tied down when all I really want to do is get up?

Without getting an answer, I stand up and walk to the window. Tall green trees and tweeting birds are what I see and hear. Joyful they seem to be. Yet, I cannot help but remember the dream I just had.

This dream of mine is full of color. This dream is deep yet light, long yet simple. This dream is meaningful and easy.

Again and again I replay it in my head. Not wanting to get back into reality.
Though before I know it, there’s a tugging in my chest. I need to get back to today, I know.

But how could I after such a dream?
That dream where my soul flies and is free, that dream where things are not what they should be yet are beautiful as they are.

Now at the mirror I rub my weary eyes. Wanting to get back to my deep blissful slumber, I fight the urge and stay awake. I look down at the sink and see an ant. Not a big ant, not a small ant. This ant is normal and insignificant.

I look at it intently. I look at it with no expectations. Hours, minutes, seconds pass. I do not know. Still I look.

So hardworking, so eager, this ant in my sink does not see what is beyond. Yet, this ant still keeps going. This ant has fervor. This ant is free.

Free from worries. Free from problems. This ant is free to do what it was meant to do.  It was meant to help its colony…

I look up and my phone rings. Hello, I answer. Yes I'm up, I will be there soon, good-bye is what I say.  Next I am in the shower then I have my clothes on. Off to work I must go.

Before shutting the door, I remember and think, that dream I had is not so far away. That dream that was meaningful could be lived out… I close my eyes again and open them once more. I sigh and utter something no one will ever hear.

I shut the door closed. The ant crawls through a crack in the wall. Another day begins.

Edge of the World by *oO-Rein-Oo*

(Written July 16, 2012)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dream One

I wake up in the wee hours of the morning gasping for air as if submerged in water for an eternity... Only now can I breath again. Dreams of heart break fill my eyes with tears and there is a deep cry within me.

It is the pain of others that I feel. The pain they feel when their world is crashing down. When all that they love is gone.

This is my dream:

A young mother looks after her sick son in the hospital. He has been there for years. Left immobile due to an accident that could have been avoided. Now she supports a group that aims to overthrow the authorities who did nothing to prevent such an accident. She wants a fight.

Though, now she begins to see what may happen if there was to be a war. Her son may die within the first weeks of it. Without medicine or electricity, he would not survive.
Then, she would die too. For how can she ever continue living without him? Now she realizes she has been digging her own grave. How could she ever survive without her son? She can no longer lead without him. Her world would crumble. He is the crux, the center of her life.

At this she wails. She falls and hopes her knees will catch her but even they, like everything else, fail.
There is no one there to catch her but her conscience saying it was her fault. The only one left to console her is lying in his death bed ready to move on from this world. A man appears at her side--hoping to catch her. But in response she pushes him away for he can offer her nothing. It is over for her.

I then see myself watching her from the other side of the bed; tears escaping my shut eyelids and slowly dripping down my cheeks. I can feel her pain.

It is as if a giant hammer has been used to shatter a stone wall that is me and I fall and break into a million pieces. The pieces fall and I can never find them again. I try to piece myself back together again-- but cannot. The pieces are lost. All that remain are the cracks and the sharp impact of the blow.

Now I am awake--screaming and gasping for air. There is no sound in my scream however. I take the blanket off from over my face and suddenly the pain is gone. Instead I feel the soft, warm pillow against my head and my droopy eyes remain shut. Darkness and the still nothingness of sleep invade my mind once again.

I lose consciousness, sleep once again and that is the end.

(June 4, 2012)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Look Up

Look up, son. Stand tall and listen, he said.
Life ain't easy, and you know that. 
But what you may have forgotten is that life can also be good.

At this the boy looked up, still impassive yet somewhat ready to listen.

Here, I say, perk up and listen now: the past is gone! 
Forget what was, and invite the morning in.
And who knows? Soon, we may find you up and about again...

In fact I tell you, soon you'll start yearning, yearning for something new and fresh. 
You'll find yourself craving for adventure.
And adventure I assure you will come...

So stand up, and welcome this new time.
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