But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us- to know
Whence our lives come and where they go. -m. arnold
the journey, my friends, the journey. walking these unfamiliar paths, meeting souls that feel familiar. on the land which always, always feels like home. working on the farm. learning wilderness survival and so much more about awareness, presence, movement. these days- i will never forget them.
You will erase everything you had written in the book of your life up until now: restlessness, uncertainty, lies. And in the place of all this you will write the word courage. By beginning the journey with that word and continuing with faith in God, you will arrive wherever you need to arrive. -p. coelho
in that spirit- here is my origin story.
this is my retelling of the story of LA LOBA, wolf woman, passed down to dr. clarissa pinkola estés in the incredible book, women who run with the wolves. inspired by recent experiences, my tribe, and the wild spirit that keeps me traveling forward. forward. forward.
* * *
Out under the milky moon after a day of scorching sunlight there is a woman moving slowly but purposefully through the desert. She has many names, but in this case we shall call her the wolf woman. La Loba.
She moves about almost undetected- you might catch a glimpse of her silvering hair amidst cactus flowers, her gnarled fingers stretching between jagged rocks or sifting sands. La Loba is silently searching through this landscape to uncover the bones.
These are the wild parts of ourselves- the indestructible, even by flame- the bones, and the wild life force within that gets buried, hidden, stolen away without us even knowing it.
Many of us find ourselves undertaking what seems like an impossible journey through the desert. Grains and grains of sand, rocks, spiked plants, cliffs, dunes. The landscape tricking our eyes, all seeming endless- the same. But we must do it. We must trust that each movement has a purpose, that this search is not in vain- like La Loba does.
As she finds these buried bones, each, one by one, she brings them back to her desert cave, piecing the wild skeleton back together in the dust beside the glowing firelight. And in the space between each placement, each adjustment, La Loba begins to sing.
Singing over the bones is what our soul is calling us to do when we feel displaced unrest. To go into that desert of the psyche, retrieve those lost parts of ourselves- and sing. Sing with our whole soul, our utmost and fully alive- for all the things we love and long for every morning at the break of day, in the quiet unfolding of night, and all the moments in between. Just SING. Without fear of what it sounds like, but only with heart.
And little by little as La Loba sings, the skeleton of bones in the dust winds itself back together- sinew and muscle, tissue and fur, little by little- this wild creature, almost lost to the dunes, begins to twitch, shake, stir- begins to BREATHE again, pump blood again, open its eyes and awake into full being again.
The wolf gets up as La Loba beams gently through the shadows and flickering light of the cave- and with a tail swish and its ears pricked up, it darts out into the distance, out of the cave and into the desert- eyes shining, howl swirling through its ribcage, paws beating in the moonlight, faster and faster until that wolf, that wild soul, searched for and sang back to life by the light of the fire- that creature becomes a girl running through the dunes and desert flowers.
And she is laughing. She is grateful. She is whole.
* * *
This girl will remember where she came from, and dedicate her life to the spirit of wild love that resurrected her. And in so doing, she will become an aspect of La Loba herself. It is this way the circle of discovery and rediscovery, losing and finding, wandering and wishing, leaving and returning- is never broken.
We sing our wild souls back to life- and then we help others do it too.
It is this way we keep the flow of gratitude moving.
It is this way we reassemble our tribe.
holy, holy grandmother we sing
wash us clean of our pain and suffering
give us strength for our new beginnings
from my deepest thanks i sing…
love to you warriors, wish-children, wild souls, spirits of light.
if you’re in the NYC area and enjoy arts/music/lit/mischief, come see me at LAST FRIDAYZ at local project on 7/31 or queens lit fest on the wkend of aug 1 & 2 at LIC bar in queens! more performance info on the events page.
how we squander our hours of pain.
how we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration
to see if they have an end. though they are really
seasons of us, our winter-
enduring foliage, ponds, meadows, our inborn landscape,
where birds and reed-dwelling creatures are at home. -RILKE
dear beautiful people: have a wonderful summer.
i am trying to put many things that are defying words- into such words.
here’s what i got goin’ on, would love to see you to share some words & hugs:
** (new queens series) RAGE READINGS 7/6/15 8pm @ astoria coffee
** LAST FRIDAYZ at local project in LIC produced by inspired word 7/31/15 7pm
** hosting open mic, performing & presenting NATURE OF THE MUSE readers sweta vikram, michael stahl, kevin marquez, crystal rivera & m. leona godin at QUEENS LIT FEST @ LIC Bar (aug 1 & 2, 11-5pm; nature of the muse features on 8/2, 2pm)
and from the rupture
that was breaking our hearts
we came forth clean again,
loving each other
without dream, without sand,
complete and radiant,
sealed by fire. -NERUDA
i wish this for you this summer.
into the wild,
on the journey again-
in the immortal christopher mccandless’ words-
perhaps not conclude, but continue- ever, continue…
we, only, can see death; the free animal
has its decline in back of it, forever,
and god in front, and when it moves, it moves
already in eternity, like a fountain. -RILKE
till we meet again.
if you have a sec, check out the UPDATED COMPASS PROJECT PAGE!
i’m pretty excited about it & sending more poetry stickers out soon (foto by jan in baltimore :))
my longtime dream of appearing on QPTV/queens public TV is being realized very SOON!
thank you so much to maricor and empyre media productions for believing in me, the whole crew, my bro for helping, and of course gail lewis for hosting :) XO
“EMP’s ‘Art of Poetry’ with Audrey Dimola is now scheduled to cablecast on QPTV.
Here’s the schedule:
June 8, 2015 Monday- 10:30 am
Time Warner, Ch 56 / 1996
RCN, Ch 84
Verizon Fios, Ch 36
June 21, 2015 Sunday- 7:30 pm
Time Warner, Ch 56 1996
RCN, Ch 84
Verizon Fios, Ch 36
Note: This cablecast schedule is for Queens Borough residents only.
For those residing outside Queens borough, please watch the Episode on Empyre Media Production’s Vimeo Channel.
We shall post it, in sync with the cablecast schedule.
Please mark your calendar. Happy viewing ;)”
EDIT! THE EPISODE IS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE :)
i feel so grateful to have been able to share my work and my thoughts on this empyre media productions episode, infinite thanks to the wonderful maricor fernandez and her crew and gail lewis who gave me an amazing interview! watch the clip for some live poetry from my last book ‘TRAVERSALS’ (& singing!), discussions of wildness and the unexpected, my guerrilla poetry sticker project, my feelings on poetry being for EVERYONE, dispelling the indie artist legitimacy crisis/stigma against self-pub, the impetus behind THE WILD PAPERS project, queens love & more. shoutouts to everyone for the photos & video used in the clip- the beginning is the debut of the dance/poetry collab MIRRORS at LPAC in april ’14! bless to all. i love this. <3
things have been tumultuous.
today, on a whim, i got in a cab and told the driver: “anywhere in coney island.”
in my entire life, i don’t think i’ve ever been to the beach completely alone.
after having so much trouble writing.. relating. feeling. loving. believing.
in the sea, by the sea, as the sea- i was accepted, broken.
and in the space- i wrote.
it is always as if- i am
seeing it for the first time.
i must believe as the first man did
god is in the ocean.
god is in the earth.
i no longer believe in one god.
i do not know of omniscience.
i only remember what healing is
when my feet touch scorching sand
particles glittering in a force
as i am.
nature is my only echo.
i am part and parcel.
crash of wave in my roiling heart.
home to everything.
home to nothing.
home- forever changing.
i must have been a sailor.
because i can’t remember
what it’s like to not be in motion.
dwarfed and frightened and
majesty beyond your
when i arrive here:
seagull shadow on
pen and paper.
discarded on the beach.
i want to walk
straight out into the
and never look back.
as hard as i try-
i cannot understand
my heart on fire
to floods, to this-
giving and taking
away, giving and
my mind which
never lets me
i know now
even the barnacles,
the ocean moss, the
crusted shells in
have a place here.
i, too, would
and never leave.
even, suddenly, things i couldn’t
bear to behold.
here there are no
no guilt, no
you cannot force me
i, who in these moments
have felt nothing,
or at least-
the smallest glimmer
from a match-flick
an ocean whisper-
don’t leave us.
we still have
if i could lead you
into a poem that is
right now it would be
the slightest shrill of
wayfaring birds, the
slightest swing of
in the distance
on the end of
the prow of a ship,
a billowing sail
saying only- i can
you must try
to move with me
in the dark.
do you no good here.
nor any knowledge
of four walls.
only sandy stretches
glittering like nebulas
a sky made of
bluing mussel shells
there is no way
to make me see
the worldly things
the crash of wave,
please do not
ask me to
please do not beg me
to feel something
when i am curled
only remind me
of the cycles.
the dusk and dawn
of the sea.
remind me that
in my heart
are home for all
who have no
to simply be.
i feel so infinite and
like nothing exists
if i have to, everyday
or every other day or
i will return to
i feel as out of place
in the world as
a girl with fins
i am singing my own
in my heart
i told him this morning
my heart feels like
a piece of driftwood
with the ocean crashing
and now here i am-
standing in the
calmed by the sea
this glittering sand
the most beautiful thing
i have ever seen.
it reminds me what i am a
part of and
what is a part
thank you, coney island.
i wish i knew, i wish i had a way – to take you away from yourself.
the tricks your mind plays.. the sadness. the darkness. it’s hereditary. maybe.
i remember when you told me, that night in the car – i hope that doesn’t happen to you.
i never even realized you thought about those things.
and i told you i’d fight it, fight the darkness, but you said – you can’t. why do you think i can’t work?
so every day, i guess – i’m fighting. for both of us..
and you don’t even know it.
28 years later and i’m still trying to scale your walls.
– excerpt from THE WILD PAPERS
the darkness has crept up on me recently.
it’s funny how we get so entrenched in our own situations, worlds, societies, histories, genetics, pre-dispositions, habits, etc. that we forget it wasn’t always like this.. and we don’t have to be bound by it.
this is a strange time to be alive – one in which my heart tells me to be wild. but everything else pokes and prods at me – to stay connected, update my status, check my notifications, my messages, my comments, my likes, my invites.. share, share, share, check, check, check.
the mind has a fantastic capability.. that has been whittled down to infinite scroll and obsessive checking, reporting, observing, comparing.. everything. i am specifically talking about facebook/social media and i am specifically talking about myself..!
i made the decision a week or two ago to quit. for anyone who knows me and how interconnected i enjoy being, especially as an extra-visible media person/artist/party animal/scribe – this is strange and drastic. however – i feel my mental state was far stranger and more drastic.
i have lived on the internet since i was 12 or 13 years old. what about us internet kids, coming into our identities as early teens at the BOOM – we grew up like this, yet we have enough of “life before” to make us wistful.. is this always why i feel like i’m living in two worlds at once, pulled by both? and what about “kids these days” – who have nothing to compare it to? you’re born with an ipad in your hand.. my friend’s baby knows how to tap and swipe and she’s not even 2 years old.
there’s nothing wrong with the internet. it’s a beautiful thing. i’ve been connected to friends from all over the world – some of which i’ve still never met in person. you have a myriad amount of information at your fingertips. the ease of sharing moves at lightspeed, like life itself..
i remember fondly the days of AIM chats and ICQ, angelfire and geocities. message boards, RPG’ing, and writing stories. teaching myself HTML, the satisfaction of skinning a scrollbar or making a photo into a clickable button. endless xanga entries, lyrics, photos, and chat excerpts. all the zillions of ‘about’ statements you write as you grow, change, get older.. myspace. collecting internet friends and comments. and now facebook. and all the rest. we grew up with the rise of the internet. we remember the excitement! the addiction. all of a sudden – everything is meant to be documented and shared, and easily. there’s a whole other WORLD that exists out THERE – in internet-space. and there’s nothing in us – or in me, specifically – that knows how to turn it off.
“If science could see freedom, what would it look like? If it wanted to find the will, where would it search? [George] Eliot believed that the mind’s ability to alter itself was the source of our freedom.”
i started reading a book i found tossed around the apartment – “proust was a neuroscientist” by jonah lehrer. i didn’t start reading it until now, and – like many things in my life – it arrived when i was ready for it. sometimes you need a reminder of our inherent ability to learn, change, grow. literally the way we’re wired.. literally the way we evolve. the randomness. the chance. the mistakes. the oddities. the way we sneak out from under the thumbprint of concrete rules and regulations.. to be this strange being that was made to change. inherently – we are made for freedom.
this invigorates me.
to look back into history and see people emerging from their ages of anxiety. twisting and turning through theories and speculations, what stuck, what didn’t.. to be reminded that everyday – we have a chance. we have newly born parts of our brains. we can create new pathways. new patterns. and break them. and make them. again and again and again.
“…human freedom is innate, for we are the equation without a set answer. We solve ourselves.”
i guess what i’m trying to say is – it’s beautiful to be human. this freedom i am constantly grasping for – freedom from my habits, my patterns, my addictions, my anxieties – is literally in the fiber of my being. for me, it’s come through resolving to stay wild and keep away from the things i feel are WASTING my brain cells. scroll, scroll, infinite scroll – and endless DISTRACTIONS. i want to read books like these. i want to climb trees. i want to live without documenting every single moment as it happens. i want to live without so much STUFF. and i want to feel – like i have lately – that there are no longer four walls encasing me. that there is more than constantly having to keep up. more than constantly feeling like i’m missing something. more than the knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone or open up a tab for facebook or figure out a filter for instagram at every spare moment, between every task..
yes, this is our world. our gorgeous and troubled age of anxiety, our age of everything and nothing, our culture of scarcity, our over-information age, our over-stimulation age. but this is also me – having grown up with the internet, being prone to anxiety and distraction, having a past of OCD and fixation.. letting my patterns get out of control.
“Eliot was fond of quoting Tennyson’s In Memoriam: ‘There lives more faith in honest doubt,/ Believe me, than in half the creeds.’”
we fall into these pits so we can dig our way out. there is no other way. there is no learning that comes from walking on a straight road, straight into nowhere, knowing it all, seeking nothing. the learning comes from the sweat and the dirt under our fingernails. the blood and bruises. the ache. the digging. the getting up. the walking on.. the doing it again. and doing it differently.
our so-called “mistakes,” our contradictions, our doubts, our duality, our paradoxical nature, our “reckless swings of animal will” (i LOVE that phrasing).. it. is. part. of. us. the blessing of chaos and the randomness that literally allows for our evolution..
the fact that “the mind ‘is not cut in marble – it is not something solid and unalterable’ […] As Eliot wrote, ‘we are a process and an unfolding.’” this is seeming so absolutely riveting and electric to me right now. the fact that – not only is this okay.. it’s how it’s supposed to be.
i think i love this idea so much because it’s literally saying, in science, in our very BEING, our very BODY, written INTO US – is hope. we are malleable. “the soul ‘may be rescued and healed.’”
i am being reminded – by words, by nature, by my contemporaries, by science, by art – that everyday we have a chance to decide. it is MY responsibility to rewire myself, rewrite myself. that a possibility for something ELSE exists every single day, every single moment – and it’s not just new age gospel or self-help fodder. not just in our souls. but inherently – in our bodies, in our blood.
“To accept the freedom inherent in the human brain – to know that the individual is not genetically predestined – is also to accept the fact that we have no single solutions. Every day each one of us is given the gift of new neurons and plastic cortical cells; only we can decide what our brains will become.”
only WE can decide what our brains will become.
“…to be alive is to be ceaselessly beginning.”
and let us never reach the end.
ps: i picked up a four of clubs / four of wands on the street the other night, and now i know why. (ever find cards on the street? google them. playing cards translate into tarot meanings..). four of wands?
getting out of an oppressive situation
breaking free of bonds
opening to new possibilities
escaping unhappy circumstances
letting go of limitations”
“If you feel trapped or restricted right now, use the energy of the Four of Wands to launch you into freedom. Do not be afraid to claim the open vistas that are rightfully yours…” [more?]
BILLY: Nice and cool out here. Stars look like the milk of heaven. Peaceful. A man could—
there once was a girl
who thought she was too wild to be loved.
her mind had been fragmented
by too much useless information
and too much worry.
too many expectations
and too much distraction.
she cut her ties to the world and laid down in the grass,
looking up at the sky and the undersides of leaves.
she was going to find herself again.
feet in a field of dandelions, mind in the clouds.
she was going to steer her heart made of the sea.
this is the reeducation of the wild girl.
ladies & gents,
reporting to you from the other side of the rainbow.
i’m no longer using social media, for the summer or – ever? ;)
please feel free to follow these posts for pages ripped from the journey, or email me!
“when did you get so serious?
when did you let ‘em take it all away?
can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?
where is the simple joy of just sitting? staring out into space, imagining. storming the castle! kickin’ rocks. climbin’ trees. gettin’ scraped up.. it’s all still there,
inside you. waiting.
once upon a time – there were other things!
once upon a time there was..
falling asleep on the floor
and daydreaming on car rides
and talking to the moon.
remember those parties when you weren’t tucked away in some room, all alone? you were making plays.. ballroom dancing.. throwing disco parties with flashlights! .. you don’t have to grow up.
we think we know everything.
in the “real world” there’s no place for imagining..
there are four walls now.
but i want you to try to remember.. there don’t have to be any walls
at all.” –excerpt from THE WILD PAPERS
* THE WILD PAPERS debut last saturday as an interactive theatre performance was BEAUTIFUL – a hit at the latimer house and for the historic house trust’s #museumanarchy initiative!
ready for a gajillion photos?!
more info on THE WILD PAPERS project is here, and i’ll post about future performances and workshops.
**edit: speaking of.. the wild papers special ENCORE is JUNE 20, 6pm @ latimer house! :)
“In a single sentence there are whole universes. Audrey Dimola and her newest installment, Traversals, reminds us of that.”
“There is beauty in her transformation into a woman who cannot be ignored. The flame burns as her words (“moments—isn’t it always/ what I come back to?/ And—is it just as often/ implicit/ that we must/ leave them all/ behind?”) sting. One can imagine the pauses in her delivery, the answer in so simple a question.
If you look closely, you may find a mantra or two to soothe a weary day or cause a hidden anniversary to be less regretful. Audrey’s prose is akin to a late night red wine binge with a good friend. No judgment, and no excess sugar either. Traversals is sweet enough as it is, and can be read straight through or in 3 stop spurts. It is the mirror of a changing city and a changing soul, ambient and pure – a phoenix breaking free, and encouraging us all to do the same.”
“To be a poet is to be brave enough to tread trough the darkest forest of the subconscious. […] Occasionally a poet comes along with a rhythm in their soul that echoes that of an entire city, a blaring staccato that slices through cement like torrents, hugging and cracking the earth. Audrey’s words cut. Talk about a poet in the wild.”
* the gorgeous diana benigno wrote an equally gorgeous review of my latest book of poetry & prose, “TRAVERSALS,” and you can read it HERE. (thankyouthankyouthankyou)
if you want to snag some of the last copies of the first run, you can order it on paypal or see other options HERE.
here’s what i’ve been doing. writing stories & sitting in trees..
there was once a girl who lived in a tree. she knew there were many things going on around her but much preferred staying up in a tree. one day a robin landed on a branch as she was reclining among the leaves as she always did. ‘why do you not explore?’ the robin asked. ‘your conscious is your own set of wings.’ the wind blew in confirmation. ‘but it is not real wings,’ the girl replied. ‘i just want to stay up here and look around.’ ‘what about the gift of perspective?’ the wolf asked, slinking up, in the dirt around the strong dark trunk. ‘what i see down here is different from what you see up there. and same for the robin who can see everything from heights way, way up in the sky.’ ‘i still much like this perspective. it’s safer,’ the girl said, throwing her arms around a wide branch. ‘everything i need is here. the sound of the wind. the shine of the leaves. animals like you all around me. and a place to stay.’ ‘but remember..’ the robin said, tilting its head to the side, ‘you are unique. and you will never know how unique until you fully experience this world.’ ‘the tree is your home,’ the wolf added, ‘but why can’t everything else be too?’ the girl thought for a moment and tightened her grip on the tree. the robin sensed her apprehension and landed closer to her. ‘sometimes only in leaving something and returning to it can you fully understand how special it is,’ the robin said gently. the wolf smiled its fangy grin. ‘be like the forest. the wind. the leaves. the bark. the dirt. the sunshine,’ he said, looking up at her. ‘you might be surprised to find it’s all a part of you already, and everywhere you go..’ the robin chimed in: ‘it will be there.’ the girl thought for awhile about laying splayed among the branches and never wanting to leave. but she also wanted to be strong enough to know what else there was out there. she gave the tree a super tight squeeze and climbed down, smiling at the wolf and the robin. ‘thank you for being here,’ she said. ‘i’m ready to discover that the world is in me just as i am in the world..’ she took a pause, looking up at her beautiful tree. ‘and that you are never, ever far from the things you hold in your heart.’ ‘be brave,’ the tree seemed to say as her feet touched the grass. and she would.
it’s never too late to start again,
to let the first (immersive) version of this wily beast loose.
will you join us?
in 2012 on what would’ve been my nana’s 66th birthday i released my first book, “DECISIONS WE MAKE WHILE WE DREAM.” this year the day after my nana’s birthday and the day before mother’s day, i’ll be doing another first: a site-specific immersive experience called “THE WILD PAPERS.” it’s been a (fittingly) wild ride to this moment – starting off with restlessness & ideas, many talks and emails filled with questions to special friends, a writing/sharing workshop at queens council on the arts and finally an unexpected opportunity from monica montgomery to present at the lewis h. latimer house museum (under their #museumanarchy program!) that led to even more talks, idea-spinning, playing and inspiration with some beautiful collaborators i am so damn grateful to have: tyler rivenbark, jacob jeffrey horstmeier & kate vander velden. it’s been challenging, terrifying, humbling, goosebump-inducing & insanely FUN.. can’t wait to see where the road goes from here.
flyer by GiAnna Ligammari // art !
“The Wild Papers” is Audrey Dimola’s latest project and initiative, a series of performances and workshops centered around sparking memories and dreams, diving headfirst into the stories that make up our lives, and rediscovering – and reclaiming – the limitless spark of wildness within us all.
On May 9th, the Latimer House in Flushing, Queens will be home to the very first incarnation of “The Wild Papers” as a performance – a unique, site-specific experience in the house and its grounds, conceived with inventor/poet/draftsman Latimer’s spirit of the unconquerable, of innovation and creativity.
You will be led through a seamless presentation of vignettes of dreams and memories, told through music, dance, poetry, and theatrical elements both specific and universal, playful and haunting. “The Wild Papers” is an exploration of the joy and poignancy of nostalgia, what we bring with us as we go forward, and what makes us who we are.
We are living with an ENDLESS barrage of memories, thoughts, and emotions, especially when it comes to the idea of HOME. Can you ever really go home again? And if you can, what do you find there – in your loved ones, your memories, yourself…?
Conceived by & featuring:
Kate Vander Velden
with Diana Benigno
rock & roll with wild on the side
(did i mention there may be ghosts),