IAP 14 ~ Amber Fasquelle
What it takes to be Brave
Can you relax into the adventure of what your life wants to become? I’m not checking time anymore.
And Opera is no longer fun.
Approached from the outlook of a meditator I must release this grappling.
Like the feathered armor of baroque heroes, of Handel’s Farinelli.
Broad Chested, heavy, Amber-toned Honesty
It's not so important this "what am I?"
This anxious fight at perception.
It is better to accept the confusion of the imperceptible self. The sentiment known by Whitman and no less by Nin.
What quandary did they follow?
What mountainous quest to see how much of themselves was born and formed by the elements?
Great granite slabs of our bodies positioned in time,
and among family, and profession,
locales, and landscapes,
and all of this breaking and burning our skin,
and forming the shape of our bodies and hearts and minds. Most terrifying the last.
How to ourselves do we belong?
I do not decide how you look upon me.
I do not understand how the world has made me her wandering object. I want to see, and know, and hold the comfort of a certainty.
Let me inhabit your bodies, so I can tell these things apart:
What I am and what I am not.
Oh how I long to be fixed.
To cling to a marble personhood.
Chiseled from the hands of a well acknowledged master.
It is too burdensome, this thing, these many things I hold as I travel.
My bones are stiff. I, exasperated, can no longer afford to resist this earnest plea. I ask you:
What am I? What am I not?
And more biting, more aching than this: How, how do you see me?
This creature that I am,
sometimes broken-down animal,
who looks on you bewildered, or at ease,
who looks on you searching, or uncertain, kindly, or alight, with lust, or fervor, or passion, or compassion.
What am I to you that is real? What am I in you all that endures?
I would like again to pick up a book I can't put down.
I would like again to be so in love
that company is no compromise made by loneliness,
but a mad, full wanting for the all of another.
I would like for all this beauty to sedate me.
I would like the necessary perspective of wounds and ugliness, of hungry children, of Stolpersteins, and Wall Street's malice
to remind me of Narcissus.
To remind me that I sit here,
looking out at the world through a window pane.
Oh, to dissolve into the world.
Oh, to be drawn out of myself through a locked gaze.
To forget this burdensome personality I drag from door to door, city to city, age to age.
Into what abyss of time do these things fall?
My bike on the street now, the cobbled paths, cement, buildings, and balconies. The little children,
their fathers and mothers, and dogs, and coffee cups. How they shuffle along. How they seem unperturbed at this absurdity.
We were too young.
Too young when the world strapped us upon the breast of achievement. When it asked of us to seriously consider our futures.
To form a tightly laced identity.
The beginnings and cause of our delicate porcelain existential fragilities.
I am this, and you are that. I do this, you do that.
I come from here,
and you there,
and that's why I am right, and you are wrong,
and that's why I look so,
and you look so, and why
we should really look like this.
Do you wonder at the same things I do? Do you wonder at my gaze upon you? Do you wonder at what you really are?
Do you wonder?
I felt this pushing up against of the world
As if she wanted you to remember her majesty.
We can know nothing
and there was never such a thing as control Except this:
There is, where we cannot plan for there to be There is always an unfolding invitation
to listen to nothing.
to the breathing of places
and of yourself.
Call her love
She is always beckoning
And those who are lucky, learn
in their confinement
to see her there
in spaces of the air.
like a madonna of kind and melancholic eyes help us all to remember:
Do not ever underestimate your own hand holding your own shoulder.
For Beauty rather than God
And of this need
to rush about,
and that desire to know as much as possible; people still wander into churches
for beauty rather than god.
I don't know where god is anymore,
and among those in the world who still pretend to, I wonder at percentages.
There is Bach, and there is silence.
There are questions, and sometimes there are no answers.
I come from people who comfort themselves with certainties.
How many of us earnestly want to be students?
How many of us are seduced by the markets of silken expertise?
And of this need to tell yourself lies that feel beautiful... Which are those
I'm asking myself a lot
And the beauty of it all
We go on being human
with our drilling, and our animal cries at soccer games.
And the birds continue as birds without needing permission
to stop or start their songs.
It confuses me that they would be here Frost is no invitation.
They go on, and the trees do too. They Still have eyes
which is easy to forget to see,
yet somehow children don't.
and then to wonder if their roots know? If somehow it were possible
to tell from the soil
that the world is forgetting.
To know what your soul wants.
And if there is no soul, what then?
How to make sense of the germ of something in the air, which we are inclined to feel,
at some point, or another,
something like freedom,
a heart beat,
your ears ringing,
humming at the expansion,
somehow calculating expansion,
call it time,
call it listening,
call it the music of the spheres,
what one man heard once,
sometime in the 1920's,
he offered to go to the North Pole,
to be there alone,
to know that thing we all know,
or avoid to know,
and he almost died out there,
ravaged by the elements
was there insight as reward?
Certainly we know more than the ones who lived before, We are not trapped in tales of bad weather,
reasoning our action in oblivion,
we can say that we revolve around the sun,
we can say even we've been to the moon, there is almost a feeling of limitlessness almost
Yet I admit to myself secretly, stealthily, my confusion I feel no different than they,
the ones who came before,
the ones who came and went,
who made me in some way large or small, What I am
I am as they were, bewildered,
superstitious, grasping at the things that make sense, and sometimes the ones which don't,
sometimes you get the feeling it's right under your nose, you missed it just now
If only you'd turned your head point two seconds sooner If only you'd seen.
Was it just a bird that surprised you on the balcony? Surprised you because, isn't it too cold?
Think of your knowledge
As you would the smallest country, Compare it perhaps
Even to an island.
Unto our experience we belong
Unto our environs have our voices been formed and sketched, and drawn onto the graph of our neurology, Our ways, and customs, and expectations
Limitation is the mere turning of your head Away from the sea.
Away from what your heart beckons you toward.
What would it be like?
To take some steps into the deep inconceivable? To not know what surrounds you.
To slacken your control.
It is all indeed terrifying.
But what is more terrifying than this?
Never to know what it is
To be out at sea.
Never to know the rush of wind, Of mist and salt,
And the taste of all of this
On your alive and rosied cheeks.
Your hair is tangled, and yes, you are in disarray. But look and see how your soul is billowing.
Oh my billowing soul,
You are far smarter than me.
You have only ever wanted to lift me up,
To perch me on the brink of becoming,
A place where nothing and everything makes sense, And words trip on their own awkwardness in expressing.
This is a place of the senses.
You my billowing soul,
Have begun to show me
That fate happens by accident.
We cannot plan our lives.
And why have we not maintained the mantra all our lives:
When I grow up I want to be........
Though I risk sounding pious,
I say now
I will not forsake you.
I will not keep you any longer from your wellness. And from the wind
And from the sea.
I rode past promises.
Summer deceiving me as if they'd been uttered yesterday.
Summer, In her grey golden glory reminding me of things one tries to forget.
You, Oh Summer Sun,
Kissing us all feverishly.
How dare you assert yourself upon me.
You want to be my old love, you perennial sneak,
you joker, you deviant,
Don't be so cruel.
II Gemini’s Twins
Now she flashes past the window in time for me to smile at her because she is happy
And she is happy
because his arm drapes around her shoulders.
There have been moments where someone looked at me in such a way.
That is because it was not just I. The Singular Roman Numeral, but Us.
Like the woman at the Tor
Who wanted what we had
When our joy was a grand enough celebration for monuments such as these.
Trying to Say
I am trying to say:
There is a feeling we all share That we run from like mad.
Take note how the train rolls on
Humming its journey to the woods we pass, Villages and farms.
I will meet a boy in the city
From these outskirt places.
He has never known a thing like me. Nor I he.
I am trying to say:
There is a Universe in all of this passing For both you and I
Or coming back together It is all the same.
I am trying to say:
That there are clouds
Looking like they spell the end of time. It is exactly like this.
Their and our rolling
In and by.
Unstuck on the ceiling
Of rococo cathedrals.
Unstuck at the royal declaration
Of some coronet ushering in
Golden chariots or Apollo himself.
I am trying to say:
Even the old man Heaving his breathe, Sweaty and crusty
Who pants at the burden And boredom of himself. Even he,
Who chews and swallows
Voraciously his snacks,
Like the comfort of his mother’s breast. Even he, so odd-seeming and sad And certainly different than me.
I am trying to say:
To all of us young narcissists Our iphones the endless pools Of our beloved reflections.
I am trying to say:
To the little girl traveling alone to see the next parent,
And to the 40 year old woman Back in school
with the indignity of it all,
And to the old companions adventuring Who give me hope
with their maps strewn before them.
I am trying to say:
Have we any idea how the world is like that? I am trying to say
All of this Will be gone.
Have you blocked me already?
I do wonder at your existing out there in the world.
On such mornings
I imagine our activities Like counterpoint.
It is a comfort.
And then the day goes on. And mostly you are not there, Unless I pass an instigator.
But, more common than this,
Like some cosmic Amazon delivery,
I come home to hear your absence
And you telling me that I am your Bodhisattva.
Even life has her Mandatory Curriculum. I think most of us keep Retaking the course. It’s quite hard.
Like really hard.
And I’m inclined
to blame the teacher. We might call her Socialization.
From what I can tell
We can’t quite seem
To master a few things.
Again it’s not entirely our fault,
It’s like taking advanced
Mathematics with a textbook from 1950. No help at all really.
So, I’ll share a few of my notes,
And I hope they’ll help you get by:
1. When you make no expectations Everything is a gift.
2. Try not to be charming.
You’re just anticipating how best to be loved.
You are the only book you’ve ever read,
You are the only film you’ve ever seen,
You are the only language you’ve ever heard, And religion believed.
Cats and Cocaine
Today I saw something that I thought more exciting than Cocaine. Don’t misunderstand me,
I’m not making a judgement call.
Or maybe you will decide that I am.
Either way, the cats, they don’t give a damn.
The one saw the other,
The one on the balcony rail, The other in the tree.
I swear it was just like watching
Shakespeare’s famed scene.
The one playing Juliet
Sat there in perfect unawares, And I waited and watched Until they discovered
Each other at first stare.
Utterly captivated was she.
Her green and yellow rimmed eyes Studying his path in the leaves.
And as for he, stealthy and true, Maneuvering each branch without one Creak or snap or great achoo.
Alas, at this scenes catty end,
Despite his arduous climb.
They did not unite in lover’s embrace.
Instead he descends in cheapish demeanor And leaves her proudly to rule o’er her domain.
Perhaps it is a scene that invites reflection,
For our modern romantic struggles are such as these.
Betwixt between history’s confinement or virginal fetishing,
We females, feline or not, would prefer the new expanse
Of feminine freedoms in our new era’s belvedere, to that of
The boring, by-gone, creepy romance of old, sweet Romeo’s crooning.
St.Michael in Innsbruck
When you were made,
Where would you have stood?
Looking more like woman
We wonder what the artist intended.
You hold the sabor
And sport the feathered plume
And suggest the worth of the phallus.
And yet your stance draws us To your sacheting hips Swings upward further
to the delicate articulation
Of a flowered baroque hand.
You are perhaps both sexes in one, Androgyny defined by your golden wings.
Yet wouldn’t it be more fun,
Had you always been there able to give birth? Is there any more such divine and artful a thing?
I looked on
I looked on
At this father
Holding his son.
Back and forth.
They at ease,
Cradled and buoyed Brought you to mind. How happy you will be. How much happiness You cannot comprehend You will have.
I want to do everything backwards
So that I might remember how the world is.
Let’s try only drinking coffee at midnight.
Let’s try going to the discotheque, Sunday, 7am.
Let’s feel so alive that we bother people on the street. Our exuberance rubbing up against their tedium. Time is passing.
My soul gets younger.
I admit. Yes.
As I move from timidity to freedom,
I admit how I want to cum into your mouth
With such abandon.
There are no traces of shame standing upon nature’s summits. There is no guilty posture on the back of Caspar’s Wanderer.
I want to see you gazing, as you would upward
At celestial orbs.
I want to see you gazing at this most tender temple, This petelled and throbbing masterpiece.
Did Courbet not coin it well?
Is it not the center of the world?
Am I not its origin?
I want to rock back and forth in tremors And waves of ecstatic convulsions.
Let us ravish each other.
Let us consume each other.
Let us eat nothing else but our fluids and flesh. Nothing means more than this:
The way I curl up into myself
So that I may pull you
into the deepest crevice in me that I know. So that I may know myself
Not as a cavity of nature’s perfection,
But as the epicenter of her magnificence And of her power.
I wanted your poems
not like virtual lines you wait to download -
but words who ring from your very own loosened lips, streaming the sound of your voice...
not a live streaming I click to start.
I wanted your voice,
not like the chipped and broken mosaics of longed for beauty and time past - but as the welcomed and lingering scent of your chest,
and of our first cups of coffee,
Of hot toast with butter and chocolate spread.
Even still I idolise these moments which stand simple in time -
when you were calm and close to me.
--- Coda ----
It is not wrong to live a life
divorced from longing.
Perhaps to be tired of a romanticised thing.
To let go.
Not to demand specificity.
It is not wrong to trust what you love has goals of her own. That you are her target.
That what you have sought to find has already found you. Will always find you.
I have loved a man
I have loved a man
whose answer to all things was to make beauty and he, like I, loved to feel life on his skin.
The disorder of hair whipped by wind.
The vivacity of physical endurance, tangible without language. Language mere accessory.
I know without a doubt many things about you.
That you would enjoy the downpour with me.
Not a thought to your ordered hair, your tidied shoes.
You have already skipped and sprung down foreign streets with me. Your exuberance like that of an Australian Sheep Dog.
Yes, I have loved well.
I have loved you as I knew how to.
A tender thing
Perhaps his affect is like a remembering. And it hits you right where you recall
these parts of you that once were.
And then it’s easy to forget the distinctions of what you might need now, and what
may never have been a tender thing for you.
She lived a life
Full of ragged bliss -
And strove and strove for love.
How could she have done differently - When you know you are not enough? If you must always explain,
If you are always corrected,
Then where do you build your sense of peace, How do you know you are respected?
Where does one find the self-assured stride, The distant walk of purpose?
And what determines those who hide, And those who hold their worthiness? Where can she find it?
Where to look now -
After years and years have passed - Buried in habits, in blind defenses, In misdirected paths?
Where is the self who sits alone,
Or amidst the many others,
And despite the room and its many symbols, Does not request permission? .... Permission to mean,
Permission to matter,
Allowance to breathe and be.
For the one who knows
That her life is precious, Is the one who is then Set free.
What would it be like to endure this?
What would it be like, To endure this?
I do see now,
How stealthily equipped I became.
Of warding off Rejection.
I seek answers
I haggle to convince myself
To traverse roads
I am not sure I should go down.
I am not patient enough to sit with my grief.
I am not patient enough To look upon this decay Of what I have loved And what I have lost.
I am not patient enough
To wait at the entryway,
To kneel down with the dirt And wait and wait and wait.
What an ugly divorce we’ve made with time.
He wanted too much
He wanted too much to control, He wanted this forever.
In love’s obsession he did find
The delicious lie, the dream of Eternity’s fairweather.
How strongly this love then lead to desire. Where wanting then Blindfolds and leads you No higher.
Fear is the enemy
To love’s warm Curious soul.
Fear follows close
On love’s heels, Transfixed, unhinged, Cold.
But he is human And this battle Is hard won.
For to fall
And then deem it Worthy,
Takes the skill Of heros,
Remains achievable For the all
And the one.
Soul of mine
Oh little soul of mine
How darling bright you long to
Despite years ignoring your whispered Song,
I finally hear you, how I’ve been
To miss your autumnal glow,
Your cozied warmth, and your splendour, Seems a crime, impossible to render.
For your sweetness and beauty Made me weep tender tears, For seeing is knowing,
And it’s been too many years.
From now on I promise I swear from my heart To honor you first
To set you apart.
For you have been waiting, So patient and true. Waiting to shine your light, Assured as if you somehow Already knew.