the body and soul connection is a revered concept whatever your conviction;
but despite our rational recourse, our emotive response remains acute when we are confronted with the severing of body parts, even a finger being cut off is equivalent to a fire squad.
i suspect it is the conscious witness of the destruction that makes it so torturous.
in conflicts, whether undercover or blatant, professional or amateur, many are maimed, disfigured or blown to bits with any explosive device which comes handy, but we still reserve a special disgust for the deliberate and meticulous dismemberment of any human being.
violence stays violence and death is death, but mutilation is special.
joel-peter witkin, king of creep, shows this separation with his macabre photographic compositions.
after the attack he always slept with a knife in his pocket. last week he made friends with one of the guards; not friends exactly, people like him never make friends but at least an arrangement; he promised to only come by after eleven at night and the guard would let him inspect the garbage containers. that’s where he found the piece of meat.
the streets were wet with newspapers. he picked up some of the larger sheets and dried them at the building’s vents; they dried soon enough, as he knew from previous winters when he stuffed them under his jersey against the cold. he took some of the salt sachets which he collected in the same way as he did sugar and sprinkled it over the raw flesh. he carefully wrapped it with the newspaper and put it into an old plastic bag, tied it closed with a piece of string, shaking it once to make sure it is secure. then he put it in his carrier.
a few streets up there’s a late night shop whose owner sometimes offered him a sandwich. it was closed already, he slept in the delivery entrance.
returning to the previous neighbourhood where he usually stayed the winter, he found an old man who was very sick;
at first he lent the old man his leather jacket and covered his feet; he was too ill and didn’t move around enough during the day. the next time he saw him, the old man had shrivelled to a terrible colour; not knowing what else to do he took back the jacket and gave the old man his sleeping bag, it would at least keep him warm, but eventually not warm enough.
during this cold snap, huddled in the corner he saw the old man again, he hadn’t eaten in days;
he sat down beside the sick old man and carefully unwrapped the meat, he took out the knife and cut out the bone.