Sonnet 300.7 – Body Dysmorphic Disorder


Sonnet 300.7


Do I look like I like the way I look?

Look at me.  A jumbled mass without form.

Nose askew, chop chinned and my browline’s crooked,

Crimped, creased and completely out of the norm.

Like a late stage Picasso perversion

My lopsided eyes warp reality

Seeing seal small ears stuck in a melon

Oval head brushed up by Modigliani.

Artists can make the ugly desired.

They turn a flaw into a masterpiece.

Through their hands a mole’s a mark admired

As if the spot was created to please.

But nothing in art can ever persuade

Or lead me to love the way I was made.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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  • You inspire and provoke, and compel me to engage your muse:

    “But nothing in art can ever persuade
    Or lead me to love the way I was made.”

    I have found that through art the words of judgement and critical comparison inhibit the vision the artist/writer/poet brings to us, the vision wide and expansive, the experience and sensation that all of what life is, all of what we see, hear and feel can be affirmed and adored, loved.

    “… the way I was made.” And that’s what art and the vision artists offer up, that yes we’re made, but nothing about who we are and how we become is ultimately fixed, that in contradiction to your muse, art can lead us to love we’ve never known, beyond our making, often to unfathomable depths of understanding and piercing compassion and empathy and connection with those close-in and those we barely know, to those we only read about and learn from.

    I’m reminded of Jack London’s narrator in “Martin Eden,” the epigraph to Max’s 51 – Portland Moment [ ], it so rang true, so connected up with John Keats’ words, “Welcome joy, and welcome sorrow, I do love you both together”:

    ‘He had fitted in wherever he found himself,… But he had never taken root. He had fitted in sufficiently to satisfy his fellows but not to satisfy himself. He had been perturbed always by a feeling of unrest, had heard always the call of something from beyond, and had wandered on through life seeking it until he found books and art and love.”

    Finally, from Henry Miller: “Through art then, one finally establishes contact with reality: that is the great discovery.”

    • Mark, your sentiments are admired and shared in totality. Even the pesky muse would agree – while noting the importance of depicting the position of those fearful of art. In these times we live in, it seems especially important to seek understanding of those frightened by creative force or suspicious of the beauty perceived through artistic experience. Alas, the poor soul in this sonnet projects the experience of inner pain onto sources of beauty in the external world and thereby perpetuates neurosis….at least that’s what I was going for.
      Your reference of Henry Miller got me to remember a passage of Evelyn Waugh from Brideshead Revisited. I know the quote is not exact, but it goes something like “one never truly sees a place or object until they try to paint it.” With that I return to the muse’s effort to understand what motivates those who devalue creative expression, which in this case is a powerful sense of personal inadequacy. Thanks for your careful reading!

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