Marenna (1931-- )

Marenna is a good company: while she paints, she talks to you as if she
were talking to herself, stroking herself in the sunlight; 'age does not
wither her, nor variety---' Patting her flabby arms, she used to tell
me that disgust is only the deepest form of desire. That when we desire
something too much, we have a desire to extinguish ourselves in it; in an
effort to counter this destructive urge, the mind denies this attraction,
sheets it with disgust; the fight between these two elements is what causes
the extreme convulsions within us. Her paintings disgust me; they are uncharacteristically
coy, (and strongly resemble the women I sleep with).

She would have talks with herself and I would lie down with a book, half-listening,
half-reading. When the summer ended and we returned to Beirut, she wrote me occasionally,
long wonderful letters of her trips to Hellespont, Amsterdam, her twenty-year
old son, her seamstress daughter. I felt as if I had been burned into her
side as a tattoo, as her child--but wholly hers and, therefore, unreal.
Everything that was hers, magically, became mine. I had a history. I wrote
her constantly to reconfirm this.

She, like the noon sun, would banish all the doubts I had formed. Suspicion,
with its double stinger, would pale before her wonder.

Perversion, according to one letter, was nothing more than the acknowledgement
of a rigid morality. Although it appeared to be free form, polymorphous,
whimsical, it could be seen that, if it were placed on a grid, it would
line up with a strict set of societal taboos that were simply one step up
from societal values. Thus, on the lower level, we had family, country and
religion. These are all things that most people rebel against. Perversion
was simply the same rebellion on the level of the metaphysical: love, sex,
death, life. Unfortunately, perversion had no conclusion. Whereas, one can
definitely abandon one's country, family or religion, one cannot fully abandon
the metaphysical. One can only doubt. This is why perversion has no direction
but inwards.

It was with her that I first saw the black nun.

cf. black nun
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