the leaves are falling once again
disquieted spirits on the road again
we’ve sullied our sunday best again
the preacher says only believe again

i cannot return to the pain again
the sorrows they’ve begun to stain again
our wishes were baskets of hope again
and sunday’s our only reprieve again

they said we could never repair again
but they’ve only just noticed despair again
my shoulders, they ache from the weight again
yet the stars seem to call out my name again

there’s only one chance at hello again
but my back turns the color of fear again
we may never recover to blame again
but it’s starting to sound quite the same again

i crush my cigarette in the ash tray one last time
one last time i feel the sweet heavy burden on my chest
we weren’t meant to live forever, i heard someone say
steel resolve pulses through my veins
i may not live forever…

…but i won’t leave her to face it all alone

it’s all for you, i cry with silent tears
to meet your needs and ease your fears
a child inside breaks
the strain of too much reality
i never asked to be born, he whispers painfully
i did not ask for this…

…i stand silently and awkwardly
allowing the moment of weakness to pass
before changing the subject to ease the tension

it’s not that truth is so bad… no… not really
it’s that lies are so much more comfortable
it’s that life is hard enough when you’re keeping track of lies
even without adding the burden of truth

in the background, a child’s cry can still be heard
softly now, rhythmic like a rocking chair
gently caressing and soothing itself with misery

it’s all for you, i heard her say
i’m waiting, softly waiting,
hoping you will make it to me
hoping for what could and will be

It was the fall of 2001. 9/11 was on the horizon. I was studying in Denmark for a semester and enjoying the early autumn light. My fellow students and I were given tours of several attractions and museums early in the semester. I was introduced to Anselm Kiefer’s work at the Louisiana Museum.

I was captivated instantly when I saw Kiefer’s paintings. They had an industrial quality to them that spoke to me of the sadness and despair of the modern era. Factories, concrete, fascism, and war are themes that jump out to me. There was something lost to the civilized world during that period.I’m not exactly advocating tree hugging, but a sadness crept into the world with the loss of natural beauty and the introduction of smog, grinding metallic sounds, and cold steel.

Gone are the days of warm tones and gentle breezes, peaceful meadows and openhearted human interaction. Kiefer depicted this change with such power. Swirling greys and blacks, smokestacks and the loss of color.I do not recommend his work to anyone looking for a cheerful, uplifting scene. However, the emotional realism conveyed in his work reminds us what we’ve forsaken, and causes the human heart to appreciate the cost of “forward progress” by experiencing a sharp sense of loss. I am told that not all of Kiefer’s work is so grey. I am told that some of it is even quite elegant and beautiful.

For some reason, I am surprised. How does a man find it within himself to evoke both the depths and the heights of existence from his soul and pour them out onto canvas?

i saw horrible things, my dear
horribly wasted innocent babies
your stomach would turn
eyes would bleed
and hearts would swell

we live in a beautiful world
choose your glances carefully
shrivelled grass and skin
blow in the wind like torn pages

life is but a dream, they say
tortured by bandits & penniless drifters
neon markets and cannibals’ songs
whispers carried softly upon stale breath

i saw horrible things, my dear horribly wasted innocent babies

your stomach would turn eyes would bleed and hearts would swell

we live in a beautiful world choose your glances carefully

shrivelled grass and skin blow in the wind like torn pages

life is but a dream, they say tortured by bandits & penniless drifters

neon markets and cannibals’ songs whispers carried softly upon stale breath Â