Wordgame: Anselm

I’m not the type of person who can walk into an major art gallery and name all the artists. I appreciate art. I have, to a very limited extent, studied art. But I’ve never been very pro-active about the whos and whats and wheres.

Anselm Kiefer, though, left an impression.

I saw a piece by Anselm Kiefer on a school trip to London and I was awestruck. I couldn’t articulate why, exactly. I just was. In love, and in awe, and in pain. I didn’t know anything about the artist, or have any clue of what the piece was, but it didn’t matter. He had me. And follow-up research confirmed my bias. But I didn’t honour the connection; I left it at that.

Ten years later, in Forth Worth, Texas, I entered the Modern Art Museum, and as soon as I rounded the first bend, my feet glided, hastily and of their own volition, across the gallery floor, toward a large canvas on the opposite wall. Anselm Kiefer, my entire body whispered with reverence. I’m gonna feel really fucking stupid if it isn’t, just a tiny little part of my brain warned with trepidation.

It was.

And the date I had left standing at the other end of the gallery, with no explanation, was enamoured with the display.

Do I think that might have been why, the next day, as I was heading to catch my train, he asked me to stay with him, despite the fact we’d met only three days ago? And do I think that might have been why, for months afterwards, he sent me messages to tell me of his plans to improve himself and his life, in what seemed like a desperate attempt to win me over? Well, yeah, actually.

If humans can project emotion – and they can – what I was projecting in that moment was profound. Vibrant, intense, ecstatic, pure. It was beyond me as much as it was within me. And if he caught it, well, that would be it. It’s the kind of thing you would chase.

Wordgame: Cracks

Well I do have plenty of those.

The parts things slip through.

Blind spots. Oversights. Areas of complacency.

But sometimes I can stare at a crack all day and not get any closer to figuring out how to fix it.

Points of friction. Dust collectors.

Bad fucking luck.

That’s why we avoid them after all. Scared we might fall in.

Wordgame: Archeopteryx

My son likes dinosaurs. I like dinosaurs.

My son likes learning words. I like learning words.

Because of this, I’ve learned a lot of dinosaur words. Archeopteryx is one of them. I can’t say I knew what an archeopteryx was before my son was around. I can’t say I didn’t know either, because I know a lot of things that I don’t strictly remember I know until the occasion calls for it.

I definitely did know what a stygimoloch was, because at some point in my adult life I had consciously decided to look up dinosaurs, so I could decide what my favourite dinosaur would be, so that, if anybody happened to ask me, I would have an informed response.

But stygimoloch wasn’t the word I put in my elephant box. Archeopteryx was. I wonder why.

Wordgame: Armageddon

I like to believe that a truth isn’t a truth if it can’t be understood multiple ways and still be true. If you can’t do that with it; if you can’t twist it and shrink it and stretch it and look through it the other way, then you haven’t yet reached the truth; you still have some artifice to clear out.

So. Armageddon. Could it be true? Well, the end of days, one way or another, almost certainly. A holy war on a hill? …Dunno…maybe?

But I prefer to read religious texts as sort of codified metaphors, because, I mean, why wouldn’t you? So, I wouldn’t personally be inclined to take it at face value.

I am not, however, a religious scholar, so I’m going to veer off now, to avoid flamboyantly displaying my ignorance.

I am a fan of the apocalypse.

I’m a fan of the tower moment, when it all comes crashing down.

Let it all burn, I say.

But I’m only a fan because I have hope that they are not the end of the story. In fact, I have faith that they are not the end of the story. I know they are not. I know that they are, in fact, the beginning. That they are necessary stages of our true becoming. And you can’t fucking convince me otherwise.

Does there come a time when the righteous parts of us need to slay our sin? I’m not sure I’d say it that way. But does there come a time when we need to let our sin die? Undoubtedly. Whether that’s personal or collective; we can’t keep limping on with the mistakes of the past clamped fast to our ailing shoulders for eternity. Something’s got to give – if not our sin, then it will be us. Just natural consequence.

Either way, when it all falls, our world must be reshaped in a new image. Unrecognisable. Irrevocably transformed. If we look at it from this side, it might look like death. Or, worse; annihilation. But, maybe, if we squint just right, it could look like transcendence.

Wordgame: Serum

Fucking trust me to add something like ‘serum’ to my word game. Fuck knows what else I have lying in wait to shoehorn into relevance.

When it comes to skincare, I like serums. High concentration, minimal residue.

For many years I had no skincare routine at all – I didn’t even wash my face – and I greatly preferred it that way. Partly, yes, because I couldn’t be arsed. But also because any time I did try out something in the way of skincare, it messed shit up. It disrupted the balance. I could feel it, and it felt worse.

Serums though, are my kind of skincare. In, out, no-one even knows that they were there. They have allowed me to believe I am finally exploiting the miracle of modern science to preserve my countenance. Because I can use a serum, and my skin is still my skin. I have now built an entire regime around having my skin still feel like my skin.

When it comes to relationships, I think I prefer serums too. Give me the good stuff, but don’t fuck with my life.

For a long time I’ve mostly avoided them, because all the ones I ever had disrupted the balance, and I realised being in them felt worse than being alone.

But I’m exploring other options.