Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Too Rich Already

I am too rich already, for my eyes
Mint gold...

--Mervyn Peake

Mervyn Peake's grotesquerie has been dwelling in my heart, the last couple days. I don't think it has anything to do with horror or revulsion: it has to do with loving things as they are.

It is the real bodies that claim my attention and my devotion, and the extravagances that time puts on them are what I love above all: the crusted, twisted, hammer-toed feet; the marbled muscle-and-fat purses of the inner thighs, the jowls that give you purchase to stretch the facial tissue. What do I want with twenty-year-olds, their perfect bodies, their fluid joints, their bland, uncharactered perfection? Give me bodies that have suffered, that have fought with the world. Give me pouchy, knobbly bellies, hips that lock, arms that can't rise above the shoulder line. Give me scars, mutilations, edemas, hernias, mastectomies. I want a book that's been well read, with scribbles in the margins and tattered pages. I want an old house that has settled, that has yawed and twisted, that has been loved by the uncritical eyes of five-year-olds for generations.

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