Thursday, January 29, 2009
“Papa ha! I see that you’ve been looking at my breasts. You like them?” asked a bubbly Jenny, a pretty young transvestite who took the seat across the table. “She” sat beside Brian while the two of us were finishing off the rice and remaining chunks of oily pork floating in coconut milk we just had in Aling Mameng’s 24-hour eatery. It was an hour past midnight here at Leveriza, the night is already bewitched and the colorful “night birds” from Mhayet’s Beauty Parlor from across the street start to “fly” out of their roost.
These “birds” are the transvestite/transgender friends of Mhayet – an ageing gay man with big, sad eyes, a tumor growing out of the left side of his neck and teeth that badly need fixing. He has a deep throaty voice that is a bit difficult to understand when he speaks. I call him the “two-talking Tita (aunt)”. He has to repeat everything he says twice or thrice to be understood. I figure it’s the lump on his neck that makes it difficult for him to enunciate his words. He’s also known as a “charitable foundation” for many of the young teenage boys in the area looking for some extra cash in exchange for a few minutes spent with him at the back office of his parlor.
Mhayet’s beauty parlor is a nest for some of his gay cohorts and their faghags in Leveriza. There’s Shaina – the scaly-skinned, bones-jutting-out-of-his-joints pimp of Nene. He’s also known in the area as “The Treasure Chest” by the local druggies for the crystal meth he pushes.
There’s Sharon, an ageing transsexual who spent years in Japan as a performer. “She” prides herself as being the complete “woman” for having made the leap of chopping of her jewels courtesy of a Japanese boyfriend. She can also be a good case study for plastic surgeons with a face that has been stretched, lifted, botoxed and bleached so many times she actually looks mummified. They say she pops estrogen pills like candy to maintain her curves and her silicon-implanted breasts.
And then there’s Jenny. She’s the youngest of these birds. Of their group she’s the “professional”, the only one who works in an office as a call center agent. She once mentioned that she uses the name Joan whenever she takes calls. Were it not for the slight hint of an Adam’s apple, she can be a poster image of the young Career Girl.
“You know Papa, these are new. I spent my whole year-end bonuses on these beauties,” she told me as she proudly cupped her breasts beneath her bra-less, gauzy blouse. “You want to touch them?” she suddenly offered.
“No, it’s okay. They’re, uhm, pretty,” I said with a grin.
“Let me,” Brian offered as he lightly poked his finger on her proud silicone flesh. “It feels real,” he said as he turned to me with a wide grin and a wink.
“Hoy!” came a loud yelp. It was Sharon in a skimpy white night gown followed by Shaina. “You flirty bitch! You just can’t wait to show off your new breasts no??” she said in a shrill voice while shaking a queenly finger at Jenny.
“Hay naku Ateng! You’re just envious. My breasts are perkier than yours and I’m younger,” Jenny told Sharon with defiance. "Besides, these guys said they're pretty."
“Uh-huh”, muttered Brian to himself. I looked at him and gave him a slight nod that we’d better go. I could sense a fag fight looming in the air.
“Isn’t it… Papa?” then Jenny turned to me, to my surprise, as I was about to stand up after I made sure to leave a tip for Robert the busboy. Brian had already made a quick beeline for the doorway.
“Uh yeah. They’re, uhm, nice,” I stumbled in my response. It was only then I realized that I was stuck between the table, the wall, Jenny and Sharon who’s already blocked my only way out of that sticky situation by standing in front of me.
“See, he says it’s nice. What can you say to that?” Jenny followed up my response.
“Is that so huh??” Sharon said, “Well, there’s only one way to prove whose breasts are better.” In a flash, she pulled down her strap and revealed her huge left bumper. As quick as she pulled down her strap to expose her mound, she took my left hand and placed it on her silicone treasure. “There Papa. Feel it. Now tell me if it’s nicer than hers or not,” she exclaimed in triumph as she held my wrist while I cup her breast.
“AY!! No,” screeched Jenny and in a huff she too suddenly pulled down her gauzy blouse to expose her not so big but very perky protuberance. She took my other hand and before I could even give a whimper, I was already cupping her rather fleshy pride. In a defiant tone she said, “Nothing beats youth and freshness.”
Locked in a position where both my hands were cupping “things” I shouldn’t cup (I felt I was nailed to a cross), I could only mutter, “Uhm, they’re both… nice.”
And I could see Brian laughing his tonsils out by the doorway.
Monday, January 26, 2009
if i promise to be a better kid, would things finally go my way?
if i promise that this is the last cigarette i’ll ever smoke
or the last bottle of beer i’d ever drink
will i be free of all sickness my entire life?
if i promise to change for the better just to have you sit next to me
will i ever see you again?
will i be able to have my bestfriend back?
we used to sit here.
and now i’m sitting alone.
looking out the window, i’d like to say, that, ill just see you when i see you.
but until that day,
i’d still ask questions.
i would still wonder why.
i would still die out of curiosity
i would still wish you were here
sharing everything that is around me.
i’m sitting on the same exact chair
where you sat before,
hoping i’d know and i’d realize,
how was it to be you.
then maybe i could find answers then.
maybe i’d understand why you left.
i miss you andrei
i miss my bestfriend.
if ever you saw him here,
tell him i'd still wait.
Written below is a conversation with Halmen as I was waiting inside her restaurant on the Sunday evening of the 25th of January .
"You think it's written by a boy?" Halmen asked after I read what was written on the sheet.
"Yeah, I would believe so. The penmanship's of a young guy, perhaps between 20 to 23 years old and would be working in one of those bpo offices nearby," I told her as she was pouring me another cup of coffee.
"I never thought of that. Hmmm, whoever wrote it left it there on the table," she said as a young couple came in from the door, took the table beside us and opened the menu. "I've tacked it on the restaurant's board. Maybe someone would see it, or perhaps "Andrei" would."
"That would be a nice way to start a painting no?" she suggested.
"Yeah, I think so too," I replied. "I wonder what happened to his best friend."
Sunday, January 25, 2009
If you're in the area of Bacolod City (for non-Filipinos, that's in the Negros island south of Luzon) do visit this group show which would run from February 9 to March 7, 2009.
What's it about? Love and affairs. Hmm, the last one is something I've had too many of that Sheila can actually keep tabs on it more than I do.
Oh... and I have a couple of works I am sending to that show, hence, my name up there. :-)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Praise song for the day.
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer consider the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."
We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.
poem read by Elizabeth Alexander on the occasion of O'bama's inauguration
Powerful. So very powerful.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
"I feel sorry for the driver every time I ride one of those tricyles going inside the subdivision where I live in Cavite," Mikey told me while his back was turned towards me as I was doing my third sketch for our session.
"Why?" I asked and told him to twist his right arm a little to the left.
"It's because of the street humps. Each time the tricycle passes one, the bottom of the passenger's side car would always be caught on the asphalt because of my weight," he replied while keeping himself frozen in his pose.
"I've always hated riding those tricycles ever since I grew up into adulthood myself. I feel like I'm in a can of sardines when I'm in one," I agreed with him.
"And those jeepneys! My butt occupies a space for two people, and then I'll get these remarks from some wise ass saying that I'm "too big". Like... it's MY fault that I am a big person," he said.
"You're what they call a "bear"," I said.
"You think I am?"
"Mikey. You are. And stop moving. I'm almost done drawing your butt," I said.
I've finally convinced Mikey - a powerlifter - to pose for me in a series of sketching/drawing sessions. He weighs in at 270 lbs., stands 5'10" and is built like a mountain boulder. I've already made him agree to be the basis for a couple or so paintings I will be working on in the next few weeks.
He's my new Adam.
...and I am still looking for my Eve.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
That's how it feels like every time I finish designing a children's book.
We're launching another wonderful book at CANVAS next month, and here's a sneak peek at the cover. :-)
It's an anthology of three short ecofables the artworks of which were done by three filipina artists - Plet Bolipata, Liza Flores and Ivy Mellior. (Click the names and it'll lead you to the stories online. )
Watch out for it! :-)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
20" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
There are relationships that would almost kill you (or the other person) when cheating is involved. I have a couple of female friends who went through hell when they lived with husbands who treated them like doormats or boxing dummies. Their individual versions of living hell only ended when they got the courage to pack their bags and haul their children out of their abusive homes.
I’ve had a relationship where after a whole year of bliss it was shattered into pieces when a single miscalculated action brought out the lies it was built on. Anger welled up like a busted steam pipe when I discovered the sham. The pain of betrayal was so much that in my anger I sent the other person to the hospital. For years now, I have vowed never to lift my hand in anger and I intend to keep that vow until the last of my days.
There are also relationships that even if they failed, years can build up the healing and cover the wounds.
I read a letter again I wrote years ago to end another one of those bad relationships. As I held the words in front of my eyes, I can’t help but smile and say to myself, “I wrote that? Dang, that was a stupid, overly dramatic, cheesy lines.” Then I cringe and give out a silent chuckle.
I was out with Brian on a Saturday night drinking at a bar. I haven’t seen this guy for years since he gravitated from being a small-time hooker to becoming an international escort that afforded him to earn in euros and dollars, and a swanky place by the bay. Tall and handsome, make him walk along the streets of Pasay and people would crane their necks to see who the actor was that walked by.
“Ko-yah cheers! To long layp,” he chirped as we clinked our bottles of beer.
“Cheers man,” I acknowledged, not failing to notice that he still sounds provincial no matter how much expensive his Paul Smith shirt is. He kept on animatedly telling me the idiosyncrasies of some of his rich foreign “guests” (clients really), the parties he’s been to and how he almost lost a limb when a client’s husband caught them smooching in the sands of Ibiza. I was listening with amusement to his stories when mid-way through lifting his bottle he pointed with his pinky to my right.
“Hey koyah. I think that guy knows you. He’s been looking at you since he came in,” he said.
I looked to my right and there he was… an unwanted ghost from the past.
“Hi Dan,” he said.
“Oh. Hello,” I replied in a pitch higher than my usual.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine. You?”
“Great. Uhm, I guess you have company.”
“OH, this guy?” I turned to Brian as he flashed him a wide toothy smile. “He’s Brian. An old neighbor. Vacationing. For Christmas.”
“Oh… hi,” he said.
An awkward pause followed where everything in my head fell silent in that noisy bar.
“Well, I’d best leave you and your friend. You look good Dan.”
“Yeah, thanks. You too. Take care,” I said.
He walked towards the door of the bar. I looked at his shoulders and noticed that it still bore the same slight twitch every time he takes that familiar gait.
“Ko-yah… uuuy. You’re looking far away ha? Who’s that?” Brian chided me as he gave me a slight nudge.
“Just someone, from the past,” I said.
“Yeah, really. It's all… meaningless, now.”
I finally get to post a favorite song of mine here in this blog after I convinced it's singer and writer - Clarice, that more people should hear it.
Meaningless Conversation - chrissie
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
20" x 30"
acrylic on canvas
“You haven’t?” she exclaimed. “But you’ve drawn women in their birthday suits and not once have you touched them?”
“Come on, I DRAW them. I don’t touch them. That sounds so… maniacal,” I said in my defense.
“Aw come on Dan. That’s so sad,” Fiona told me in mock pity. “Come here. You can touch mine,” and she drew closer to me with her ample chest. “Mine too. Here,” as Sheila also drew closer.
“Uhm, I think I need to go to the bathroom,” I smiled and stood up to flee from their embarrassingly tight squeeze.
“It’s true. I guess I have been fixed so much lately with drawing and painting breasts that I am starting to think I am regressing into some horny teenager,” I told Alex while gulping from another bottle of ice beer he took from his icebox. “Incidentally, if you know of a young perky woman who has a big round torso, wide hips, big legs… you know plump, without being obese. I would need one,” I told him.
“Why?” he asked as he took a big bite from the barbecued chicken we bought at Mang Boy’s stand near the gate of West Pasay High School. I have to remind myself to get another one before I head home.
“I’m going to do a painting of Adam and Eve soon and I need to find someone to pose for Eve,” I told him.
“Will she be posing naked?” he asked, and I saw a naughty glint in his eyes.
“Of course, I doubt if ever there’s been a clothed Eve,” I told him.
“Hmmm… that’d be a bit hard. I don’t know of a woman as big as the ones you draw,” he thought out loud. “I know. Why not ask Mang Boy to pose nude for you. You just add on the breasts and not paint his penis,” he suggested.
“Uhm, I am painting Eve… not a hairy whale,” I replied as I took a bite at the barbecued chicken breast.
“This is one of the two paintings I’m going to send for that group show in Bacolod. What do you think?” I told Marga while she was taking pictures of the two paintings.
“Cool,” she said. “I love here breasts. What’s it about? Will it be within the theme about love for the Moravia show?” she asked.
“Well it should. It’s about a woman who just can’t keep her “wildness” to herself. She has to take out her sensuality, hence the flower, for every man that passes by,” I told her.
“Ahh, very erotic,” she said.
“Exactly,” I said.
“So, where’s the “love” thing there?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing. She’s just a woman who screws around,” I told her.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Yup. If you look up on my new banner, you'll see the new name change. ;-)
Type on your browsers my name and it'll lead you to this blog. It's a good New year's gift for me courtesy of a dear, dear friend - Nono - who does some cool web designing. That's him wearing the t-shirt that Patrick (the kid in yellow) kept on reading what's written on it.
I look like a dugong (seacow) behind there. Sigh...
Nono, also now owns this....
Happy New Year from CANVAS!!!
Start the year right and join CANVAS' 5th Annual Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition! This year's contest is based on an original untitled oil on canvas painting by Juanito Torres (pictured above - click on the picture to see a larger version).
Please read the rules HERE carefully… there are a number of changes from our previous competitions, not least of which is a P5,000.00 increase in the cash prize. :-)
In addition to receiving P35,000.00 in cash and a trophy, the winning author will also see his/her story rendered and published as a full color children's book in mid-2010.
(And I get to design another wonderful book again... weeheeeee!!! )