Body of Death, Sculpted Face

[We are] always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

2 Cor 4:10

Paul is on the ground, he is growling, snarling, barking. I watch him raise his hand. In vain. His hand does not move; a piece of his pinky, I believe, twitched. The sand begins to look painful, as if the sand now penetrated the belly. “Bring me water,” I hear him say, “no not water, poison.” Poison, that is Paul’s word for wine.  “Pour it over the wounds.”

This was affliction: War. I begin to tear, pieces of his tunic come loose. Like peeling a banana the woven material unbraids. O no, I say, from your ankle? One wound breaks like a tree branch up his leg. “The one on my chest,” he replies, “that one is serious.”

This body, the body of Paul, carries in it the death of Jesus. But like any deep wound no bandage can hold the blood. It slowly fingers, nails, and claws its way to the surface: to breathe. This body is weak. As if made of a powder, this body hardly holds water. Yet it carries death.

It carries death atop death. Flush the wounds and this flower sprouts flesh. Raw nerves rebirth and scream from everything beautiful: the sun, the breeze, to sit, to sleep.

“Close my eyes,” Paul cries. His shaking makes little puffs of dust arise. I lean into the curl of his body, touching his side, I move my fingers upon his eyelids. Consciously, I keep my fingernails from scratching. My tips, the tips of my fingers move gently.

In Paul I see Jesus. Jesus is not handsome. He is bright red, watery, salty, like blood. In Paul’s blood I see Jesus’ blood. Jesus’ life is life to Paul. But this life is in suffering. Suffering seems to talk to suffering, like, Paul seems to talk to Jesus.

Band-aids upon band-aids the face of God is moulded and formed in Paul’s wounds.

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About Rene Diebenkorn

Lifetime Artist. ETC.

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