Everything should be seen as if through a fog (the lingering fog is an aspect of the scenery as well); the shape of an object can be described metaphorically, as can its substance, but perhaps the point of a metaphor is precisely to separate these two ways of knowing (between them is the split between reference and referent). You might draw an equation between form and substance, illegimately...
OK let's not get too goddamn abstract here. The language should stay relatively matter-of-fact about the bizarre things it's asked to describe. The nice thing about a (faux-)surreal framework is that you can get away with the occasional flight of fancy. Let the interpolations and paratexts bear the weight of oddity. There should be no question about the sincerity of the characters and their depictions, even when there's a question about their reality.
Fear of tawdriness will cripple the entire enterprise. It may be worthwhile as a character-building (ha) exercise to immerse yourself in tawdriness. It's not a universal category, after all: and maybe it's only your precious aesthetic judgments that you've holding on to. In other words: stop letting the self-assessed value of your taste keep you from reaching out to (and trying to serve, to satisfy) others' tastes.
There's no need to apologise for your aesthetic decisions once you're sharing the task of world-imagining with the reader, so long as those decisions are made in good faith, with seriousness, with sustained effort. A lightly-made aesthetic decision may merit apology. The inevitable results of total commitment needn't be apologised for - you couldn't have avoided them, after all. Apologise for the commitment or not at all. Get some balls why don't you. I mean metaphor balls. (Sexist.)