The Shape of Things

When they talk about the miracle of life they always show–without fail–some idyllic scene with beautiful bodies and some mystical abstract dance of cells and pulsing bits. But where’s the horror in that? When your stepfather is going all brazos locos on your ass, doesn’t he still represent a perfectly choreographed dance of synchronized biological wonder? It’s funny that form doesn’t really follow function–not really. I mean sure, you can tell by his face that the man chasing you down the alleyway with a jagged piece of glass is upset, but does it really change his form? Does it split his face down the center to let spray a fountain of pus and redolence? Does a meshwork of dark sinew reach out from his crotch? I daresay not. He too is a poetic symbiosis, and you never even stopped to consider that, not for a second.

So what are these shapes we’re trapped in? Have you ever really looked at your hand? What an odd-shaped thing to be attached to, and with little shells at the tips. Why are we not perfectly spherical? It seems that a sphere is the natural form of a thing influenced only by itself. Anything not spherical then represents a reaction to external forces, an intent to head in one direction or the other. It’s like the perfect story: In the perfect story nothing happens. It’s when you take the decisions, and you’re actually whittling away at infinite possibility, that any action happens. And I’m certainly no fan of action.

When I was a wee tyke I had an irrational fear that my head was oblong. Kind of like Giger’s alien. I was so self-conscious about it that I didn’t like people approaching me from the side. I would turn my head to face them whenever possible to avoid being seen from a perspective from which my misshapen head would be obvious. I don’t think that way anymore, but it doesn’t matter so much anyway, because in my mind I am a sphere.

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