• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

Lot No. 32 – The Merhag

Whether I was born in the ocean under the gaze of Neptune or made by an artisan pseudo-taxidermist, it makes no difference. I am priceless. I exist to make you gasp. As invaluable as the look on your face as you behold me, I am a creature that throws your concept of self overboard. Mythical, I haunt. I bewitch. Seeing the horror in your eyes, I reflect your own carnal limits and eventual demise. On my pedestal, I rotate. Aghast, your faces peer – the perfect exhibit.

A placard tells of my life as voluptuous temptress and pariah. At every turn I witness my own image in the glass, abhorrently decayed – a haggard, desiccated fossil. Throughout this scrutiny, I am composed, unaffected. I have risen above the superficial. This is Nirvana.

I am lot number 32. Delicately unpacked from a box filled with a cushioning sea of foam nuggets, I wasn't always a Merhag. I was set free from my maidenhood, where for centuries I had supped on the elixir of eternal youth.

With my first true-love, I fell deeply, until his libido was exhausted. He became fatigued by my fingers’ desirous caresses – worn down by the incessant lapping, crashing waters and infinite rising and settings of the sun. He consumed the many nuanced textures and aromas of my hair. Corporeality susceptible to pain through a wanton crescendo that seduced his senses, until he was asphyxiated by his own greed.

I moved on, quickly filling his absence by tantalizing the multitude of sailors who dared sate their curiosities. Later, their attentions bored me. Yawning, deprecating, distracted, I became taken by their gifts. Wondrous bribes, trinkets exchanged for a kiss, a scale, a lullaby. I mocked their frailty, until finally I felt ashamed.


Lot No. 32 – The Merhag

Aspiring to gratitude, I strove to be kinder. Fostering a moral compass, I warned the ships away with empty songs of their love’s left behind. “Go hither, escape from this enchantment,” was my whisper into the cirrus and cumulonimbus. If future sailors did become stranded, it was now their knowledge that I craved. I grew wise from them, savouring philosophical wisdom which sadly they found all the more captivating. With ineptitude, my heart filled with sorrow and vexation. Finally I aligned with Diotima, wrung out on her ladder of love in search of sublimation, the seat of platonic virtue.

Having embodied the hour glass of time, my unwasted curves are a model of ugliness. My beauty, historic in the mind of each eye that pries. My artist chose to re-cycle: his dead mother’s hair; his great aunt’s teeth; his daughter’s shawl. Waxed and varnished spines from a fish pickled in formaldehyde. Your encounter with the Real surges out from each part of me. Symbolism resonates against the imaginary that invades your subconscious. I inspire you to look beyond. Beauty fades, intellect dies, and life is all but illusionary. For you, from youth to grave, I trade my mirror and comb to depict Plato’s Ladder of Love.