Man in the Mirror (R.I.P. Michael Jackson, 1958-2009)

Despite all the negative things that had been written about the man, there is no denying that Michael Jackson is a true musical genius that only comes once in a lifetime. And just like the rest from my generation, I was fortunate enough to see him rise from obscurity to a staggering iconic peak of superstardom! Among my personal song favorites from his early days are “I’ll Be There” and “Ben.” And of course later on, I would also adore his songs “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough,” “Rock With You,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Say Say Say,” “You Are Not Alone,” “Heal the World,” and “You Rock My World,” to name a few. But it was his 1987 song, “Man in the Mirror” (which, surprisingly, he did not compose), that is forever etched in my memory as one of the most deeply meaningful social anthems ever written and sung, for its beautiful melody, poignant lyrics and soulful, powerful delivery!
Michael Jackson’s significant contribution to music– popular or otherwise– can never, ever, be denied. He was born to share his talent for music. And, boy, what gift it was! To me, he is a rarity– an original who paved the way for the rest of the superstars of today! He can compose and sing and dance with tremendous ease and skill! But best of all, he can perform! He is called the King of Pop. And for that, there is no objection. He has no equal!
Rest in peace, Michael, and thank you so much for your music!


smoke gets in your eyes, 11"x8.5", pen and ink on Roaring Spring 60-lb paper

smoke gets in your eyes, 11"x8.5", pen and ink on Roaring Spring 60-lb paper

Do your eyes tear up when there’s secondhand cigarette smoke around you? Do you get teary-eyed when you’re chopping up onions? Do your eyes well up in tears when you choke up on your emotions every time you’re reminded of a failed relationship? Or do you go bawling when a loved one dies? If your answer to all these questions is yes, or to the majority of them, then you’re very lucky. Because you are, from the looks of it, a normal human being! If not, then you may be stressing your eyes too much by spending so much time in front of your computer screen; you need to ease up on your online life once in a while as it is clearly ruining your emotional response to stimuli. Or, you may be suffering from what is called a “dry eye syndrome” (DES). This means that there is not enough tears to lubricate, moisturize, and wash the eyes to keep foreign bodies or particles from doing any harm. The solution to this, of course, is to consult an ophthalmologist who can best help you to treat this problem. My suggestion though is simple and it won’t require you to make a trip to your expensive doctor. All you need is a different trip– a trip down memory lane! How? Try recalling any occasion in your life when you felt happiest or proudest. Oftentimes, the most joyous instances in our lives will never fail to bring tears in our eyes! It may be the day you graduated from college, or the day you learned you passed the board/bar exam, or the day you won a much-coveted prize, or the day you lost your virginity (I know, this is sad to some), or the day you got married, or the birth of your first child, or the first time you held your first grandchild– whatever it is, joy will surely overwhelm you to tears! If any of these still didn’t work, then…GO TO YOUR DOCTOR– for crying out loud!!! (Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you…now, you’re crying. See, you’re cured already! Forget the doctor then!)
As for me, I guess I’m pretty normal. Tragic events can make me watery-eyed. And even a sad song or a sad movie can move me to tears (now that’s just some errant, wayward estrogen acting up, right?)! Sure thing, a regretful past easily blurs my eyes tearily. So much so that I almost always cry myself to sleep…(awww…*sob, sob, sniff, sniff*)  Which brings me to ponder: How badly dehydrated would I be if those were tears of joy instead?

kayrami na'ng matang pinaluha, 12"x9", pen and ink and acrylic on Strathmore 400-series, 60-lb Sketch paper

kayrami na'ng matang pinaluha, 12"x9", pen and ink and acrylic on Strathmore 400-series, 60-lb Sketch paper

NOTE: As I’m posting this, I learned of the passing of two American icons: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. What a sad, sad, sad day…My sincerest condolences to the families they left behind and may the souls of these two great artists rest in peace!

Drag on, human!

what a real drag on human, 12"x9", marker and crayon on Canson 80-lb Drawing paper

what a real drag on human, 12"x9", marker and crayon on Canson 80-lb Drawing paper

Ahh…today is a good day to live! Beautiful earth, beautiful creation! What breath-taking miracle! I feel so alive and free! The monkey is finally off my back and I am now ready to fulfill my destiny. There is no reason why I should falter again. I feel sooo good!
Oh, but looky what I got in front of me?!! A human! A hard-headed human being! A homo sapiens who can’t live up to his “wise man” or “knowing man” attitude if he were left alone to his own devices! No. I am not quite ready yet to trust a creature who takes me as I am with open arms one moment and then clenches his fist the next breath!
But, on second instinct, I’m willing to coexist with this primate– as long as he looks over my safety and keeps the monkey off my back! And then he can scratch my dorsal scales.

Say it loud, say it clear

Happy Father's Day!

My Father and Myself, our last photo together

My Father and Myself, our last photo together

My father passed away a little over a year ago, of a heart attack (on April 12, 2008).
I remember the last time we were together, we were happy. And the last time we spoke on the phone, I told him I love him. But still I wished I had held him more, hugged him more, spent more time with him, and told him how much I’m proud of him and how deeply I love him. It seems it is never enough to say “I love you” to someone you owe your life to. I owe him all the good things that I am. When he passed away, I had never been lonelier.
Even if you don’t hear me now, I love you, Dad…so much!!! Thank you for everything!!! GOD Bless you always!!!
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!!!


To everyone whose father is still alive, you are so lucky, because you still have the chance to tell him how much you love him– and, best of all, he will get to know and hear you say those words…in his living years. And when– and every time– you tell him you love him, say it loud, say it clear.


I was toying with wordle‘s tool for generating “word clouds,” and I came up with mine (shown below) when I entered my blog’s URL on its “Create” page. You can also copy-and-paste in a bunch of text from any of your blog posts, or enter your (or someone else’s) user name (to see their tags). I just love fonts and typography and it’s pretty mesmerizing to see how you can easily configure your “word clouds” to your own artistic liking. Thanks, wordle!


Can’t we try

love sends someone for someone love left behind

love sends someone for someone love left behind, 12"x9", pen and ink on Bienfang 70-lb white paper

When you believe that you’ve finally found love, cherish it, nurture it, and don’t let it wither away. Because when you give up on love, it will take its true course and seek its own kind– the one that will truly make it grow. If you lost it because you did not try hard enough to make it thrive, you will need to move mountains and search high and low in order to bring it back to life. And on too many painful occasions, you’d just come up dry. Because by then this love that got away had finally met its match. And once love took root on sympathetic ground, it will take hold and flourish and bear fruits and you will have nothing more good to offer– except, perhaps, as weed that’s never really wanted around.

Dan Hill - Can't We Try (Duet with Vonda Shepard)



convicted, 11"x9", pen and ink on medium-weight white paper


Beguiled by the moonshine
and the chanting of the pagans,
the man’s pulse throbbed relentlessly
as though racing with the night;
but agony he was to meet at sunrise.
Alas, the morning brought the shadow back–
ghoulish, ominous, depressing
image of an idle day just gone;
mood became a maidservant
embodied in wiles
obsequious only in desire.
While letting the second hand slide past around
the longstanding man-hour
in repeated, familiar rhythm,
a blinding flash burst from behind the clouds!
Heat rays pricked with intensity a wounded extremity–
its vent erupted with fluids gushing out in spurts!
When there was chance to behold the light,
the eyes were blurred by the caprice of the times;
reined on by the strong hold of the senses,
jerked the body into delirious spasms!
Forbidden ground moved!
Such beat one’s breast after another
shrill, lingering cry
lasting until dusk.
Then the gods went up and set the flesh on fire–
charring the mind…
burning the soul…
killing the heart.