The body is an artist
I’ve got this long running pain in my abdomen and it occurred to my doctor that it could be a prostate gland issue. The next part of the story is so predictable. The patient lowers his trousers and the doctor prods inside him with his hand in a rubber glove. Both men feel intense embarrassment, and finally the doctor pronounces the gland normal for now, with more tests to follow about a whole lot of other stuff.
The body is a temple. A fragile temple that does not give up. The body is an artist. It creates its own dramas, composes itself and sometimes makes mistakes that are better than its original intentions. It does disgusting and revolting things that disappoint, and then it does something so right it’s a masterpiece.
Man-things are so often body-things that involve an intense fight with gravity. Our war with the world is based in the earth that we stomp around on, trying to be the alpha male all day, every day. When we were teenage schoolboys the weekend routine with the gang was fart, shit, vomit and regroup. Now, in adulthood it’s still fart, shit and vomit – but for the last part we go astray. Holding it all together becomes a full-time occupation, and that’s not particularly artistic.
The tragic life story of a complex artist is no longer a thing. Woke culture does not tolerate it. And that’s ok. I think it’s better. So, then I don’t have to create a major series about my last prostate exam. And we don’t have to go to exhibition openings to watch drunken artists getting out of hand.
I’m truly sorry that I am getting older, I’m less adventurous and yet my body is still falling apart. I’m sorry that the problem always begins in a private place. I’m sorry that my doctor has to go there. I’m sorry I was born. Come to think of it, I’ve been with my children when they were born – the most important moments of my life — and I’ve concluded that birth is not particularly well composed, or gracefully choreographed.
Maybe that’s where I got my complicated relationship with red paint.