The title “Subtle Bodies” has nothing to do with the fringe/esoteric religio-philosophic term. It refers to the women in each of the panels. They are bodies and they are subtle: difficult to perceive or understand, perhaps mysterious or ingenious.
Maybe eidolon might be a better term, a ghost/ideal in ancient Greek, which is an odd combo, don’t you think? But that they are, apparitions, shades (skia in transliterated Greek) of lovers who have left (ghosts) or never were (ideals) but who haunt none the less.
Skia hang out in the Asphodel Fields, the place, down there, where the neither bad nor good dead reside. Tartarus and Elysium being, respectively, the places for those kinds of souls. There is no pain in the Asphodel Fields, but neither is there any joy. Silence reins there as the dead only whisper or speak in “subtle” voices. It’s a gray place, too, neither bright nor dark. There’s enough light to not run into ones fellow skia but not enough to recognize him or her.
Sometimes I think it’s the other way around; it is I who live in “Asphodel Fields,” as a kind of a condominium community for inactive seniors. And there I feel the skias’ presence as willful hauntings when it is really all my doing. In that case call my home “Dysthymia Acres.” I’m one of the skia, not them! I’m in the dimly lit place and the former/never lovers are in their bright new or otherwise separate-from-me lives, too bright and too interesting to see me at all.
These drawings are pictures of my rooms. The bedroom is as it is, the others are less so, but using my real furniture anyway, ‘cept the sofa-bed. Yes, I have a Snoopy soap dish. The eidoloi (a guess at the plural), the subtle bodies are a mix of memories and fantasies of the possible, but not probable kind. In other words, the barely visible sketches of naked women are both ghosts and ideals, both haunting and inspiring my asphodel-like abode. Call it “Dysthymia Acres,” if you want to be more 21st century.
“Thy Body permanent,
The Body lurking there within thy Body,
The only purport of the Form thou art–the real I myself,
An image, an Eidólon.”
From Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
“By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached my home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.”
From Dream-land by E. A. Poe
figurehead, ‘an idol or eidolon …
a mermaid, Thetis upon the prow.’”
From Helen in Egypt by H.D.