Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

pen and ink on paper

I hate birthdays.

I made a promise to myself that I shall never tell the truth of my age until I hit the age of forty. And now I am scared. Pretty soon, I am bound to accept the truth.

“Happy 3_th Birthday!” Sheila croaked as she lifted her cup at my pre-birthday gathering last Saturday.

As I was trying to muster a fake smile of approval, she continued to happily chirp to the rest of my friends that night, “I know Dan. You never admitted it until I saw the year you were born in your SSS. Now you cannot lie about your age!” I suddenly felt my fake smile turn into a frown. If I do not love that woman, the friendship I hold so dear with her and her two boys, I swear she can join Mary Antoinette for yelping my age.


“Happy birthday tol,” Arnan greeted me as he handed me a shirt from Debenham.

“Thanks man. Hehehe, sosyal ah. I love this shirt and it’s the right color pa,” I happily told him.

“How are your kids?” I asked him.

“They’re fine. They’re doing well at STC. I told you that one of your nieces is my daughter’s classmate, right?” he said.

“Yeah, but I doubt if that niece of mine knows me. She’s a cousin’s daughter and I never met her,” I confided.

“Yeah, my wife asked her if she knows you. She said no. Hey, didn’t you know we had a high school reunion?” he told me and the rest of that afternoon we talked and talked about the days when we were kids and how our childhood friends are right now.

“I’m glad you came,” I told my friend.

“Yeah, me too. And I like your place. You seem to be living now what we used to talk of when we were kids,” he told me as I was accompanying him to my gate.

“I guess I am. Thanks. Too bad you can’t stay and meet the rest of my friends. They’re a pretty interesting bunch,” I said.

“I’m sure they are. You’ve always been the strangest in our group in school,” he said with a huge grin.

“I was?” I had to ask.


“Bring me flowers instead,” I told Andre. “I don’t care even if they’re the cheap kind or if you just pick them from the roadside basta bring flowers”

“Hay naku, oo na! You’re in your flower mode na naman ngayon,” he willingly obliged.

I used to buy flowers for my mother every time there’s an occasion. Birthdays, anniversaries, fiestas or anytime I feel like it. And I thought, why hasn’t anyone given me flowers? I like flowers. I couldn’t care less if it’s unusual to give a man flowers but I like the idea of at least someone doing it for me.

“Thank you so much dong. I am very happy. They’re beautiful!” I exclaimed when I opened the door and there was Andre holding several huge bundles of flowers.

“You should no! I look like I’m going to a funeral with these,” he remarked as he passed me by and with his heavy feet he went upstairs.


“Pole dancing,” my nephew Deus said as he winked naughtily and gave me that characteristic smirk of his when he got down from the car.

“Tito Dan, Happy Birthday. You should do pole dancing,” his brother Wiggy whispered in my ear as he too followed his brother.

“What the hell are they saying now?” I asked my brother, the boys’ father, as he was checking the car’s locks.

“Hay naku. Your nephews were watching the news and they saw this segment on pole dancing as a new wave in exercising. They kept on harping the whole night that Tito Dan should start doing the same thing,” my brother told me.

And the two boys kept on buggering me the whole night to pole dance.


“Don’t you just wish that after you’ve done with a dinner or a party for a whole bunch of people, that you could just put all the dishes, pots and pans in one big trash bag and have the garbage man pick them all up for you and everything’s clean again?” I quipped to Thad as he was helping me with the dishes.

“It’s okay. It was fun,” he said. “Besides, you seem to have enjoyed it.”

“Yes, I did. It’s good to know and have your friends and family around you. Even if sometimes my nephews and best friends won’t quit harping about my age or pole dancing,” I muttered while I swept the floor.

After an hour and everything was clear, I sat down exhausted on a chair.

“I think I am coming down with the flu. My nose is already clogged up,” I complained.

“You need to rest,” Thad reminded me.

He was the last person to leave that night and I thanked him profusely for helping me clean up the mess. After I bade him good night and he boarded a cab, I went upstairs, looked at my clean flat empty of friends and family that came that night and thought to myself, “It’s a good thing nobody brought a cake or candles.”

I sighed, closed my lights and slept.

Friday, July 27, 2007


13" x 16"
acrylic on canvas

The following is the content of an email to Juan Karlos Lopez - a poet/teacher residing in Beijing, China.

November 30, 2004

Dear Juan Karlos,

I am annoyed with hotmail... I already typed an email and all of a sudden, I get a prompt that their system is down. And when I tried to retrieve what I wrote... it was gone... kapuff! Poof! Caramba! So, I am using this yahoo account instead. Anyway, I simply wanted to tell you that I finally woke up today feeling like a bull in a toreador's ring - ready to grunt, snarl and bury my horns in a hapless victim's flesh after my nasty bout wth the sniffles for several days (I really thought it would never end.) But of course, it's all just in my mind. I called up my brother this morning to borrow his digital camera. But alas! It turns out that his wife has it in her office. Hmmm.... what to do? *TING!* Inspiration struck me and I realized, I have a scanner. So immediately, I got to work. I used the frankenstein-method. I scanned the painting part-by-part and later on stitched the images in photoshop.

VOILA! The image of "Que Los Angeles" is now in digital form. (But sadly, I cannot scan the frame. It's beautiful. My brother did a nice job of using a silver-gilded wooden frame with those nice relief effects. It actually looks like the painting was an old one - and expensive.)


I want to tell you something. When you gave me the title of QUE LOS ANGELES TE ACOMPANEN, I realized it was also a painting done for someone in my past. More than a dozen years ago in university, I was at the lowest point in my life. Lost, bewildered and struggling to make sense of a hurtful past that was slowly bringing me down to the point of considering something terminal. And then I met a kind soul - Andrew Guitarte.

In my eyes, he is a saint. A very honest and truthful man. Through him, he gave me the chance to consider everything. I never knew if he realized it, but he gave me the things I really needed - a heart to understand, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. He was a stranger who gave of himself to another stranger. And the strangers became friends.

It is for this man that QUE LOS ANGELES... became real for me. And that's for all the angels in our lives.

You know what Juan? Until now, I am still looking for him to say, "Thank you for being my angel."

Monday, July 23, 2007


Mums 2
23”x 30”
pen and ink on cotton paper

“I never realized how beautiful a fly could be like until you get to look at it up close,” so goes my text message to Sheila.

“Let me guess, you’re bored,” she quickly replied.


I was putting the finishing touches on the last flower I was doing when Andre sent me a message that he’s already downstairs. “Ahhh, great! He’s bringing in food. Finally!” and so raced my thoughts that I can finally eat dinner after waiting for almost an hour.

He had with him a bag of longganisa from Excelente, some fresh tinapa, a few firm and ripe tomatoes, a Goldilocks mocha cakeroll and a wide grin when I opened my gate.

“Happy Birthday Dan,” he chimed.

“UGH! You’re way too early with your greeting. It isn’t until a week from now. And what took you so long? I’m hungry,” I complained as I got hold of the bag of goodies.

“Hay naku, you’re just getting grumpy because you’re getting old. Be happy,” he chirped.

“Oh, shut up.”

We went upstairs and I immediately proceeded to cook the longganisa and the tinapa on pans that have already been greased with oil.

“So, is this what you have been doing? These flowers?” I heard Andre’s voice piping in from the other end of my flat.

“Yeah, that thing took me a week and a half to finish. Okay ba?”

“Pwede na. Ay, and why is there a langaw on the flower here? Is this what you have texted me about?”


“I thought it’s one of those text messages that you send when you’re bored.”

“Not this time.”

While I was removing the tinapa from the pan, Andre said, “Do you know that flies don’t alight on flowers?”

“They don’t?” I asked.

“Yes. They’re not attracted to the smell of the flowers. They usually land on sweet, rotting flesh, refuse etc. That’s what they feed on you know.”

“Well, it all started when this lone langaw flew and alighted on my nose when I was lying on the sofa the other day. So I thought, I’d draw the little bugger,” I said while I was slicing the fresh tomatoes.

“Hay naku Daniel. It only meant one thing,” he said as he was getting the spoons for dinner.


“You need to take bath. Hahahaha…”

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Taking a Free Fall


36" x 48"
acrylic on canvas

When one enters the loft of Palma Tayona, one is immediately struck by the spartan arrangements. A couple of tables, a sofa, piles of books and a wall covered by drawings, paintings and unfinished canvasses. At the end of a long spacious studio is a big window that floods the entire space with light. "This is where I look at how life passes along Libertad below. Do you know that Libertad means freedom? That's how I feel everyday. That's what I live for everyday." He quips.

Born in Manila, Palma Tayona took up his Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts majoring in Industrial Design from the University of the Philippines. After college, he worked for almost a decade as a freelance artist and graphic designer until he finally decided to work full time as a painter.

His works convey the humor that he derives from his penchance for bulbous, even obese figures that conjure shades of Botero. However, it is only in the manner he shows girth that Palma Tayona's works resemble that of the latter. They do not take after that quality of parodying canonical works of art or caricature figures of authority. Since Palma Tayona has also done children's illustrations, his sensibility veers on the innocent. His art is along a naive sentiment, his colors and lines assuming a distinct dreamlike quality, of nostalgia, of filial bonding, of love and longing. Images and emotions derived from a life of living full.

At the heart of each of his painting is a celebration of emotions, of a place or person both from some distant past or a poignant event in his life. Like any artist by heart, Palma Tayona distinct style and colors merits notice.

What made you decide to pursue painting as a profession?

The freedom it affords me to express myself, what I see, what I feel. I remember telling a friend of mine that it feels like a freefall. You know, the kind of experience you get if you jump from a cliff. You don't exactly know where the winds will take you but you're bound to land somewhere. It is the exhilaration one gets if he lets himself be taken by an adventure - of just letting go. This is what I feel everyday when I am faced with an empty canvas. It's an adventure where I don't exactly know where it will lead me, but I do know that the end-product of it will be a drawing or a painting that tells something, and hoping that it's valid enough for others to see. And when it's done, I look at it and say, "Wow, it felt good. It was just right."

Where has this "adventure" taken you so far?

I have met a lot of very interesting individuals along the way. My admiration goes to some who've inspired me as I would start each piece I do. For instance, "It takes a Village". It's about a story of friendship between two men who have differing beliefs, but despite of it they share a friendship that allows them to build on something concrete.

But the most interesting part of my adventures is when it allows me to see things I thought I have sublimated for so long deep in my memories. One-by-one, I have to exhume these memories, these thoughts and "tell them" visually. It will take a lifetime of work to do that and I'm not really in so much of a hurry. Though I have to admit, some of these memories can be quite scary, the same way as some of them can be quite exhilarating.

Why fat figures? Your works have been compared to Botero but I think yours are bigger and look much bulkier.

First off, my very first experience in creative visual expression was in puppetry. I also give credit to my love of Maurice Sendak's illustrations in "Where The Wild Things Are". You know, those fat big cuddly imaginary monsters of his. I used to design puppets for a theater troupe and I would draw the designs with heftier limbs. Back then, when making drawings and puppets for children, I stuck to an idea that they can't look emaciated or malnourished. The eyes... the eyes, I apparently got stuck with puppets' eyes.

The colors came after, just a few years back because of my "Latino" connection. I had some Latino friends and I got inspired by their culture. We share so much in common with them, being once colonies of the Iberian culture. I guess it was natural for me to get interested in it. I once had a Venezuelan friend who introduced me to Frida Kahlo - her life, her colors, her pains - and I just simply took it from there. I fell in love with the woman. I fell in love with her life. With Botero... he wasn't even an afterthought. I was quite surprised my works bore semblance to his. Being Asian, I have always seen being plump and "healthy" as a sign of good life. Being hefty and making no excuse for it, to me it's living life fully.

Oh, and I have been doing squaredance for the past five years. I give credit to that for the way I use folds in clothes I draw.

What inspires you?

My own life. The people around me. The feelings I feel and the thoughts that come about from these.

Any specific thought?

Yeah. As matter-of-fact, there are lots. It can drive one crazy you know.

There was this instance I was having a conversation with my ten-year old nephew, Wiggy. He was telling me this fantastic story of how a classmate of his did this thing in class. I don't exactly remember the details but it involved his young friend doing something crazy - like levitating or something, and I was stupefied into believing the young boy's story. I mean, how can a ten-year old kid lie about it? When my nephew saw how I believed his story, he just kept on laughing and laughing and told me, "Tito Dan, I was just kidding you and you believed my story? You're so gullible."

And it struck me how stories, many of them untrue or products of fiction, can become so real for many of us. They become history - myths - that one person will eventually pass on to another until these are woven into a community's collective memory. How we stir each other's minds into believing this and that. Hence, that was the thought behind "penzar no es malo..." Thinking isn't really bad it's just like mixing a bowl of cereals.

Do you think you are a storyteller, a mythmaker with your paintings?

(Laughs) A mythmaker? I won't go that far. I do not work for a p.r. company. But a storyteller, yes I am. I tell my own stories and somehow of others as well.

My works, and so are most artists', are images plucked from my own life. You'd have to look at it like an oversized diary. If I were to clip my drawings and paintings into one notebook, I'll end up with a huge unwieldy journal. But unlike a journal, a visual artists' works cannot be solely kept by him for his own consumption. He can keep some, but I think it's crazy to keep everything. These works have to be "released", to have a life of their own outside of the studio for the stories they bear to be told. Sometimes people who get to see these works create their own stories for it. That's the time when the painting becomes alive. The story it bears becomes full and living.

How does it feel to see your own story on canvas?

It's scarier than hell. But you know what eases it? Is that it's told. That when you say it and show it as it is... it becomes a relief.

Do you have a favorite piece among your current works?

Yes, I do. It's one of my first works I've done several years ago. It's about my parents. I call it "The Couple". My father's an old man with Alzheimer. I took him once to have a haircut. It was their anniversary. Along the way, I bought flowers for my mother. He saw me and asked that I give him money. I thought he was going to buy a bouquet but proceeded to buy at a stall selling plastic flowers.

Upon getting back home, I gave the cut flowers to my mother. When my father appeared at the doorway, he gave the plastic flowers to her. "Your son gave me flowers and you gave me... plastic??", then she gave him a sharp look. "Those flowers your son gave will die in a week. With my plastic flowers, I'd be long gone but they'd still be there." My mother turned away and I saw her flashing a smile on her face. I know the story's corny, but capturing that image in a painting, it always brings a smile to my face.

Is there any particular idea you have you'd someday would like to paint?

A lot! So many I keep a notebook that I'd write these down or sketch them, lest I forget all about them.

Currently, there are two. I would like to paint my father. He's old and he's in the twilight of his years. He's already at the twilight of his memories even, which are slowly slipping away. I would like to paint how it is to lose your memory and how it is to be like... to be remembered. The second one is about the street I live in - Libertad. The city has changed its name but in the jeeps and in the people's collective memory they still call it by it's older name. Literally, it means freedom. I envision it as a big canvas about life along Libertad and how life is with it.

Where are you headed right now... as an artist?

Frankly... I don't know. I go back to the metaphor of me doing a free fall. I know I took the plunge and jumped from the cliff. That's what's important right now. I feel the wind blowing on my face. There's sometimes an updraft that would push me up heavenwards instead of falling straight. Sometimes gravity just simply does its work and I could feel being pulled down faster than I should. But always, it's a feeling of having nothing to hold on to except my own thoughts and my own desires. That's what keeps me just reaching out and touching my thoughts and telling it.

I have so much to hear, see, listen and feel in order for me to become a really effective artist and a storyteller. I think I still am living a short life as one. There's so much yet to do - so much yet to see and tell.

How do you want to be remembered in your works?

That I told these thoughts, these stories true. That someday, when all is done and painted... that these works will have a life of their own years and years from their inception. That somehow, at least even one of these works, rang true in the life of someone else.

The above words were a transcript of an interview for a magazine written and published last year.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Moon and Swordfights

15" x 11"
pen and ink on paper

As a child, I'd play alone in my room at nights before I sleep. Toys for me were two pieces of wooden sticks nailed together as my sword and a chair that I'd climb on for my flying carpet. I would shout "Prinsipe Abante!" (I credit this one to too much television and an overdose of Bert "Tawa" Marcelo as the bungling prince) and spin like mad as i would "fly" off to my next adventure.

In my mind I create a mythical bird, the Adarna that flies into the night sky. I stretch out my arm with sword in hand to follow the bird's flight. Flying over emerald palaces and spinning and whirling with the wind in my hair on an unending desert landscape, I would fight fire-breathing dragons, consult with fat, jolly genies and i'd get to know a hundred other magnificent creatures.

Nights like these would pass, and in my child's mind, I live a hundred and one adventures. Only the moon would see me as I strike and engage with my "enemies". The sounds of fantastic fights would fill my thoughts and the four corners of my room... until my mother would shout from the next room. "Close the light and go to sleep!"

And in a flash, my adventure would end for the night. I scurry back to bed, pull up the covers and whisper to the moon, "Tomorrow you'll see me in battle again."


Thursday, July 19, 2007


Man in Barong
33 x 38 cm
pen and ink on paper

“I look good in Barong Tagalog.”

A thought bubble popped into my brain as I was standing in front of the mirror. I was looking at myself wearing this piece of emroidered clothing inherited from our forefathers that I’ll be wearing to a wedding an hour later. I donned on my straw hat and a pair of leather slippers and thought I looked like a spitting image of one of those early 17th century lithographs of ilustrados. I only lack a cane to complete the outfit.

I think wearing a Barong makes one look dignified in this tropical heat. It’s cool, light and really quite airy. Besides, it hides perfectly well whatever cellulite malformations its wearer has. Goodness knows I could feel mine growing as the years pass by. It’s also cheaper than wearing a tailored suit and much more readily accessible.

“Hey, I like this barong I am wearing right now. I feel like a million bucks richer”, as goes the text message I sent to Robert.

“May kulang ka pang accessories am sure”, came his reply.

“Ano yun?” I texted back.

“Suot ka ng shades at maglagay ng earphones. Magmumukha ka nang PSG*. Mwahaha!”, he answered.


Days later, my landlady saw the pictures Eric took of me and placed in his blogsite - She’s a very gracious Chinese-Filipina lady of 74 years old. She regularly surfs the net, chats with her sons and grandchildren in Canada on yahoo messenger, and she saves on cd’s pictures she takes on digicam. She’s also an avid squaredancer for the past 7 years.

“I saw your pictures on the blogsite. I am proud to have an artist living in the apartment”, so goes her text message last night.

I replied, “Thank you. Am glad you saw them. But I do think I am fat in those pictures.”

“Well, it is quite fine. It doesn’t matter, you are not entering a BEAUTY CONTEST anyway,” came her quick response.

“Well, most of my friends think I don’t look like an artist, more like a policeman or a club bouncer,” I complained.

“Hahaha, well, you have to remember my brother when he saw you, he was afraid that you might be a kidnapper!”

I should have just stopped at Thank You.

Note: PSG stands for Presidential Security Group. The president's security detail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


9” x 12”
pen and ink on paper

I feel fat. I look fat. I am starting to hate it when I look in the mirror every morning after my shower and see the the forming lovehandles in my midsection. Today I made a promise to start going to the gym again after an absence of oh-so-many full moons ago.

A couple of hours later of reps, sets, lifting, puffing, curling and crunches, I feel like I am a new man with a healthy gush of new blood flowing through my veins. (Mental note: this will have to be more consistent for the next few weeks, or possibly months, until I lose the excess pounds of fat and baggage. Besides, I like the feeling that I can walk up my stairs without having to heave and facing my bathroom mirror after a shower without having to hold my breath.) And as part of my re-acquainted healthy lifestyle, I decided to pass by the local market to buy some fruits – bananas actually. It’s supposed to make you smile if you eat it regularly. Besides I need the fiber.

I was picking out the best bunch from one of the streetside stalls when it started to rain. It was a good thing I was hunched beneath the vendor’s tarpaulin that I avoided getting wet from the sudden downpour.

“Pards kapag nag-iksirsays ako sa dyim magkakaruon din ako ng mga malalaking braso na makakapigil ng dyip (When I work out at the gym like you, I will have arms that can stop an oncoming jeep),” a gruff voice sounded from behind me as I was getting my bananas from the vendor.

I looked around to see where the voice came from but I see no one, except a bald man busy bundling some sacks of potatoes into his stall away from the rain and an old woman chasing flies away from the mounds of white-fleshed chickens she’s selling in hers.

“Masuwerte ang misis mo sa iyo at mukhang kayang-kaya mong buhatin sa laki ng braso mo,” (Your missus must be lucky. With your big arms you can lift her easily) the voice said again and it seemed to come from beneath a familiar tattered, frayed-at-the-edges yellow umbrella just behind me. My suspicion was confirmed when from beneath the umbrella a hand reached out and touched my leg.

It was Yellow, a young man with a crippled right leg held with a rope tied around his neck and his umbrella. I call him “Yellow”, on account of his quite colorful accoutrement that shields him from the elements or otherwise.

For the past few weeks, he’s been a fixture along Libertad. On some days he would be sitting in front of Mcdonald’s at the corner of Taft grabbing unsuspecting women by their legs as they pass by. If the unknowing victim’s wearing a skirt, he would tug violently at the hem. And in the midst of angry shrieks and cusses, as the hapless victim would tug at her dear dignity, he would jeer, hold on to the prized skirt and peek underneath it, until some chivalrous man would warn him – physically sometimes –to lay off the woman.

“Sa palagay mo kaya eh kapag nagpalaki ako tulad mo, eh kaya ko nang bugbugin yung mga nagpapaalis sa akin? (Do you think if I grow as big as you, I can punch those who chase me away from here?), he asked me. I guess he was referring to that time I spotted him being chased away with hotdogs.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon when I was looking for something different for merienda other than the bananacue I would usually buy from a favorite stall in Leveriza. I craved for hotdogs. I remember that a few meters down the street near Solutions (a local bar for women or those who think they are) was this new hotdog stand run by a plump and jolly childless widow who used to cut hair in one of the numerous parlors that sprouted along the street. She sells these footlong hotdogs either skewered on a stick or jabbed in between two buns that would satisfy an elephantine-hunger, such as I would have, if plastered all over with mayonnaise, catsup and pickles.

I decided to walk to the stand and as I neared it, with visions of biting into a juicy dog, I could hear a woman yelling and cussing at the top of her lungs and saw hotdogs flying in the air! Different sized meat-missiles - from footlongs, to regular dogs – were being hurled by the fat woman at an open yellow umbrella. As I drew near the stand, I could see her target. It was Yellow, crouched behind his shield and greedily munching away at a bunch of hotdogs and buns oblivious to the missiles hurled at him most of which just bounced off from his umbrella.

“Salot kang p*******a ka! Baldado ka na nga, magnanakaw ka pang t*****a ka!! (You’re a plague you s.o.b.! You’re already a cripple and still you’re a thief you s.o.b.!!),” shrieked the once jolly fat widow who has already lost half of her days inventory of dogs from being thrown at him.

I suddenly lost my appetite that afternoon for hotdogs.

“Oh ano Pards? Bibigyan mo ba ako oh hindi? Huwag mo sabihing malaki ka. Kapag lumaki ako, kakayanin din kita (So now what? Aren’t you going to give me anything? Don’t tell me you’re big? When I am big, I will take you anytime),” demanded Yellow as he kept on holding my leg. I took a couple of pesos from my pocket and flicked them into an open can in front of him.

“Yun lang?? Sa susunod ha, lakihan mo. Magbibigay ka rin lang kokonti pa. (That’s it?? Next time make it bigger),” he grumbled as he took the two coins from the can.

Though the rain hasn’t stopped, I decided to take my bananas and walk the few meters to my place. A few steps away, I turned my head and saw Yellow grabbing a banana from the stall I bought mine from.

“Akin na lang ito. (This is mine.)”

I think I’d still be seeing more of him.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


12" x 17", pen and ink on paper

(I am reposting this for my little nephew Zachary)

"Wiggy, Deus you will have a brother", my brother told his two sons on the arrival of his newborn child.

"Daddy... it's good na hindi babae", chirped Wiggy.

"Bakit naman?"

"Eh kasi Daddy, kapag babae ang taga-tagal bago mag-make-up, magbihis. Tapos ang tagal-tagal din sa banyo pag maligo. Tita Amor takes too long when she goes out."


10:00 p.m., my brother's carrying a little bundle - Zach.

"He wakes up at 9 every night. Then, we'd start talking to each other. I'd carry him. You see him giggle? (I actually see more the glint in my brother's eyes)"

"His doctor says Zach is growing up very healthy and strong-boned. He's becoming heavier and heavier by the day."

He gave me Zach to carry in my arms. My new nephew.

I said, "Ey, tol. Look at him."

He asks, "What?"

"Remember my baby photos in Mamu's bedroom when i was 5 months old?"

"What about it?", my brother asks as he comes closer.

"Zach here looks EXACTLY like I was when I was his age."

My brother looked at me quizically, then back to his son and said, "Patay."

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Sunset 1 & 2
Acrylic and gold leaf on acid-free paper
18" x 28"

Balmy... that's how I would describe that day. At five in the afternoon, people were walking along the bay enjoying the breeze.

A couple passed me by pushing a baby carriage. Laughing. Joking. Their eyes the picture of rest and contentment. A young woman, heels clicking on the rust-colored pavement bumped into me. Apologetically, she looked at me, smiled sheepishly and whispered a sorry. As fast as it happened, she walked on leaving her scent of newly shampooed hair. For a while I was lost in her scent until the shrieks of some playing children brought me back from my momentary reverie.


Right where the small boats were anchored by the bay, I sat, took a cigarette, puffed on it and just watched the sun go down.

It's a beautiful sight to see. The sky turned a light yellow, then orange, and then, as if on cue on a theater stage, the sun turned a fiery red. Bright, round and glowing... it's as if it was a ball of red fire slowly dipping into a golden sea. I couldn't look straight into the sun without hurting my eyes.

Turning my gaze, I looked up above it and from above the horizon a jet was slowly drawing a white streak across the sky. I thought to myself, it's like God's hand drawing across the canvas - His sky. The stroke just crept across the sky and as if God was joking, He led the stroke across my fiery red sun dipping it's head into the golden ocean.


If I could talk to God, I'd ask him..."Boy, that was already "perfect". A ball of fire, a golden sea. Why do you have to draw across it with Your white streak?" Well, I guess, I'll never know why.

The only thing that I would ever know is, on a balmy late afternoon, I saw the sun go down - a perfect scene - and in one tiny instance, God drew a streak across it - my perfect moment.