Shot through with the burning sky,
Desert pink and beachy blue,
The penumbras of the summer fly
Like patterns that the memory drew

From the warehouse of the inner eye,
From our childhood’s tropic trellis,
The panoramas that our bathers buy
When they open up their beach umbrellas.

August 24th, 2000


On the wide expanse of McGrath State Beach in Ventura I was watching the Dufy-like silkscreen of the beach umbrella vibrating against the deep, polarized California summer sky, colors suffused with the sun bleeding through them, brought alive by their transparency. Beach umbrellas are the perfect canvas for Caribbean paints. Even in the metallic nova of the mechanized California coast, industrially beachy, the tropics are imported and promoted by our closest connection to the sun, the beach umbrella. The Fauves, the Impressionists, Monet and Gauguin should be seen with the sun bursting through them.

“Drew” is used in two senses. The philosophy of the beginning is deflected by the dénouement, where the florid topic under discussion turns out to be quite ordinary.