Archive for the ‘Update’ Category
my favorite seasons are upon us (spring! summer!) and the world is waking UP-
some fun & exciting things to share . . .
– NASTY WOMEN UNITE FEST kicks off this week at venues across the city! i’ll be speaking on their panel about community engagement and activism (alongside my queens queen wendy angulo of canvas of words!) on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26 @ 8pm at PAPERBOX in bklyn, followed by music and dance performances. PLEASE check out the FULL lineup- fest runs through april 30 and founder allison brzezinski did a mammoth task in bringing everyone together! MORE INFO: [website] [facebook invite]
– my best friend NICK NEON‘s award-winning short film ULTRA BLEU just hit the internet for its digital premiere on 4/23/17 and for the first time ever you can now WATCH IT ONLINE! lived & written & shot in seoul, south korea, it’s a testament to turning your ache into art. ‘we won’t always be 20something + lost’ … so proud of you, bebeh XII MORE INFO: [facebook]
– i’ll be returning to perform at inspired word NYC’s 3rd annual QUEENS LIT FEST which i helped to curate in its inaugural year. now at LIC LANDING in beautiful gantry plaza state park, mike geffner & megan dibello do a fantastic job of curating (100!) queens poets & writers plus musicians over the whole weekend, in addition to open mic opportunities. i’ll be performing at 6pm on SUNDAY, APRIL 30. come out and meet your queens lit community!! MORE INFO: [website] [facebook]
– one of the most personal pieces i’ve ever written, ‘reliquary: the body‘ was recently published by yes, poetry magazine, edited by the lovely joanna c. valente. THANK YOU! [check it out here]
– psstttt.. a little birdy told me that MY THIRD BOOK will be published LATER THIS YEAR! stay tuned on that… ;) !!!
– and of course…
THE 2017 SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK SEASON of PUBLIC PROGRAMS has been announced!! please CHECK OUR WEBSITE for FULL details about all of the FREE events, workshops, music, film, festivals, yoga, kayaking, dance and MUCH MORE happening in our LIC waterfront park, outdoor art museum, and community space from MAY 6 through OCTOBER 28. this is what i’ve been working on since the fall and i am so excited to finally announce it!
including . . .
** MADE AT SOCRATES, my brand new series of DIY adult (18 yrs. & up) workshops running SELECT SUNDAYS, 1-3pm, MAY THRU SEPT, including: sub-irrigated tomato planters, custom metal stamping, silkscreening, essential oils, soap-making, indigo dyeing and more, all with awesome local partners!
** my brand new mini-festival WILDFEST! (AAHHHH) SATURDAY MAY 20, 12-3pm
Wake up your inner explorer with a new mini-festival celebrating outdoor adventure, native folklore, and a richer relationship with the natural world! Join us for a variety of earthy art and awareness activities from Trees New York, SacredWaters, and Embodied Learning, as well as compass work and orienteering with wilderness guide Sam Combs. Earth Living Skills will pop up on-site to share primitive skills and exercises such as flint-knapping and cordage, camouflage, and bowdrill making. In addition, local organizations will share their upcoming outdoor programming, and attendees can enjoy a Native American cultural presentation from the First Nations People of the Americas with Tecumseh Ceaser Matinecock, and Wampanoag Pokanoket and Chief Reggie Herb Dancer Ceaser of the Matinecock tribe Turkey Clan, with hoop dancer Donna Kolm and the Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe.
here’s also a great article (with lots of amazing photos!) that was published in this month’s issue of BORO MAGAZINE and online at QNS.com about this year’s socrates season, celebrating our vibrant history and charging forward into the future . . .
Looking toward the next 30 years, the team at Socrates hopes to continue its growth and uphold its mission to serve its community. They hope to bring in more cultural organizations and artistic mediums and expand their audience.
Dimola said that the goal is “for everyone to see themselves represented in Socrates and see it as a place that they can belong- no matter if they grew up here or just moved here, what income what background, what ethnicity.”
don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or want to get involved or work together this spring/summer! i will pretty much be pitching a tent to live in the wilds at socrates, running around like a loon, and working on my book ;)
can’t wait to see you all out & about in the sunshine . . .
THANK YOU AS ALWAYS for your love, fire, and support!
what would you save from
a house on fire?
hello out there my beauties!
it’s INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY during WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH and i feel very lucky to have been asked to perform for three wonderful shows coming up very soon..
* i’ll be performing ‘reliquary: the body’ and giving a keynote speech as an artist in public service at the 2nd annual CELEBRATING QUEENS WOMEN ARTISTS event curated by the ever-enchanting joan becht willette at queens council on the arts in astoria THIS FRI 3/10! a multidisciplinary show featuring some of the brightest lady-lights in queens [more info]
* i’m a special featured performer at the 5th annual MDAD WOMEN EMPOWERMENT EVENT curated by the powerhouse melimel at la maison d’art in harlem SAT 3/18! featuring panelists, giveaways, networking, hors d’oeuvres/drinks/dessert! ALSO- check out the brand new #WE2017 promo video we just shot last night at socrates! [more info]
* and i’m so happy to have been invited to jump in to new friend samantha kuhl’s NEVERTHELESS: A NIGHT OF NASTY WOMEN at el barrio’s artspace PS 109, TUES 3/28! another multidisciplinary show rallying for the cause and showcasing fiery women performers and artists [more info]
i’ll also be hosting for QUEENS’ LONGEST RUNNING READING SERIES, BOUNDLESS TALES this THURSDAY 3/9 at the local NYC in long island city- i say over and over again that boundless is where i got my real start in the queens literary community and with hosting, and i am forever grateful. if you’re a writer you should submit your work for consideration to be featured by the founder aida zilelian, who is a fantastic writer and curator i have always admired. [more info]
* * *
‘well aren’t you a fascinating creature,’
he mouths through mists of drink and i don’t think
he recognizes the perceptivity of that word choice
and no, i don’t mean fascinating- i mean
the other word, the one reserved
for the feathered and furred and
women like me whose bones
sing songs like fires
in the landscape
in my belly there is a house in
flames and i lit it
those rarities of space in which
we can stand inside our nakedness
human incantation of the wild
woman, incarnation of the
she was the one who
he never saw
the body as an altar
how to nourish a universe
with your own blood, selfless-
you need no scripture
to remind you
what is inherently
* * *
also wanted to share with you-
my beloved SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK is running an OPEN CALL / CALL TO ACTION for our famous BROADWAY BILLBOARD above our main gate. do YOU have an idea/photograph/design/drawing/piece of art/etc that you’d like to see up there?! we’re looking for ideas that relate to democracy and american identity, and you can find more about it RIGHT HERE (DEADLINE APRIL 15!)
MORE EVENTS COMING UP like inspired word NYC’s much-anticipated COFFEED open mic reunion and their fantastic QUEENS LIT FEST can always be found HERE on the events page.
some sound + vision…
i’ve had amazing time performing lately for beautiful artists affiliated with LIC ARTS OPEN and the LIC-A LONG ISLAND CITY ARTISTS groups, two of which were captured on video:
* “LUMINOUS ANIMAL” & “SOMEWHERE ELSE” at the ‘what is human?’ exhibition opening
* and “A MEMORY IS ALTERED EVERYTIME YOU RECOLLECT IT” a dance and poetry piece with gorgeous alvin ailey dancer artemis stamouli at the ‘8 LOVES’ valentines day show
i’m working on finishing up the socrates calendar for you all this month (season announcement in april! let me know if you’re interested in volunteering and i’ll hook you up!) and we’re going to have a rad, rad summer at the park.
i would also love to do a reprise of the art & mental health/mental illness show HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE which was one of the proudest moments of my curatorial, artistic and HUMAN life in general. THANK YOU to all who were there in the room that night, it was beyond me..
* * *
but i am self-willed.
the word wild is a contraction of
the word willed
and this is self-willed land
bones cleaving so
shoulders can crack and
wings can breathe,
fanned full against the space-
inward, seeking wonder!
i said i saw myself
in the ground
he said, in the gesture is
the treasure, what
do i want my fellow
souls to remember?
see me as the movement
of standing up out of
your own grave
icarus returned as
they plucked my
inside the ribs
and i will never
foto by the amazing george mcclintock
hello beautiful people,
especially in these times, it is so necessary for us to remember why we do the things we do. to reach out, to stay loving, to stay shining beacons- of hope, togetherness, ferocity, bravery, gentleness, gratitude, wildness, inclusivity, wonder.
this has been so helpful to me:
and every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, ‘this is important! and this is important! and this is important! you need to worry about this! and this! and this!’ and each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘no. this is what’s important.’ -iain s. thomas
it is up to YOU. it is up to US.
i wanted to invite you to some opportunities to do just THAT, going forward…
* i am officially director of public programs at my beloved socrates sculpture park! our 2017 season will be announced in early april and i am beyond excited to welcome you to- or hopefully, BACK to!- this exceptionally special wonderland on the LIC waterfront. FREE public programs from concerts to yoga to art-making to festivals to dance to making and learning- for ALL.
* i am hosting and curating an event that is extremely close to my heart next month, featuring a bunch of brave souls i know and love.
HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE:
intersections of art & mental health/mental illness
fri february 10 6:30-8:30 at queens council on the arts in astoria
Queens native and poet/curator Audrey Dimola hosts a panel and performance evening aiming for safe space, honest talk, and open presentations about the too-often stigmatized topic of mental illness, particularly in connection to the creative experience.
Throughout our cultural history, many of the legendary artists we know today grappled in this way- yet it becomes a passing line in their bio, a tragic footnote; and their brilliant work remains. In the present day, an increasing number of individuals of all ages are struggling in similar fashion, frequently in silence and shame, for fear of judgment and unanswered questions.
How much of how we suffer makes us who we are and results in the art we create? How much of these feelings are the natural experience of the artist, and when is it time to seek help? What do those forms of help look like?
A variety of local featured artists will present their stories, poetry, visual art, and more, in addition to facilitated discussion, Q&A, and sharing of resources/experiences on these topics.
* a deeply personal piece of mine in the vein of poetic theatre debuted at the end of last year at the LIC-A winter gala, and was thankfully captured on film. it’s called reliquary: the body and if you’re so inclined, you can watch it HERE.
* also coming up…
2/2/17 – Featured artist on City World Radio on International Women Artists’ Salon’s Salon Radio program discussing HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE, listen LIVE online at cityworldradio.com, 8-8:55pm EST
2/11/17 – Featured poet at Cyrus Second Saturdays Poetry Series in Bay Shore, Long Island
2/14/17 – Performing “a memory is altered everytime you recollect it” with Alvin Ailey dancer Artemis Stamouli at LIC-A’s Valentine’s Night opening of their Feb/March exhibition, 8 Loves. 6-10pm at the Plaxall Gallery in LIC
3/9/17 – Hosting Queens’ longest running reading series, Boundless Tales, at The Local NYC in Long Island City, 7-8:30pm
3/10/17 – Featured poet at the 2nd annual Celebrating Queens Women Artists event curated by Joan Willette at Queens Council on the Arts in Astoria, 6:30pm
3/18/17 – Featured poet at MDAD presents 5th Annual Women Empowerment Event in Harlem, 6pm
3/24/17 – Performing at Inspired Word NYC’s Pre-Queens Lit Fest Open Mic at COFFEED in Astoria/LIC, 6:30-9:30pm
4/1/17 – Featured poet at Line Break Reading Series at Q.E.D. in Astoria, 3pm
4/30/17 – Featured poet at Inspired Word NYC’s annual Queens Lit Fest in Long Island City, 6pm
you can always check the events page on this website for more details and the latest.
i am setting off on a very long bus ride to chicago tonight to explore, visit some old friends, and see a band that helped me instrumentally in continuing to fight for my journey and return to my purpose in the darkest moments i have lived through thus far. in fact, sometimes his voice was the only voice that was able to reach me.. if you’ve never heard of NAHKO & medicine for the people, please look them up. i first heard this song played on acoustic guitar while i was living on growing heart farm in summer 2015, the summer i chose to change my life- and immediately it fused with my heart. it has comforted me immensely, and i hope, if you listen to it, it comforts you too.
MAY ALL BEINGS STAY CONNECTED TO THEIR INNER FIRE,
BURNING AWAY IMPURITIES, ADDING TO THE COLLECTIVE FLAME,
AND STAYING CLOSE TO WHAT MAKES THEM FEEL MOST ALIVE.
loving you all with brightness, fierceness, and
thanking you for what makes you, you…
hello, my friends and loves and wild kindreds. here we are.
i wrote this at the end of 2016:
many things have happened to me this year, i have caused many things to happen this year. some of the greatest triumphs, some of the deepest lows. this is what i learned: each day we are asked to hold a candle up against the things and people we love, in order to truly see them. to remember how to see them. but it is a definitive action, a powerful choice. an interaction, not passive. this is how the light works. sometimes our habitual or learned choice is darkness. we cannot always resemble the decisiveness of fire or the horizon or blades of grass. or soaking rain. we must make a choice, a conscious choice. for what we want to be, what we want to bring. to choose to heed or ignore the question posed to us, everyday. because whether or not we listen, the question is always there. will you hold up your candle to see things as they are? things and people worth fighting for. you, yourself, worth fighting for. it takes action. and i wish your body and soul recognition of that eternal, inherent movement, and the power in it. that no matter how much we recede into the darkness- hide, seethe, recoil, hurt. there is always potential to return the pendulum swing, call back the eternal question. back to the light. #happynewyear
the debut of reliquary: the body was my last performance of 2016 (you can read the full piece HERE), with amazing fotos by geo geller below…
it was something totally different for me, edges i need to continue pushing and playing with.
i cried when this was over and i cried into the mirror before it started. everything screamed in my head not to trust. i was more nervous than i can remember being for a performance in so, so long. i released the deepest and darkest. the cracked doorways and red sheets. it was done. and i just lost myself inside it. i seldom memorize my work, get stuck on perfection or fear of forgetting words, and just forget what’s possible in the visceral. this is what’s possible. to just give it, fully. and let it go. thank you with my whole heart to edjo wheeler & LIC-A and everyone who watched me debut ‘reliquary: the body.’ everyone who was moved. it was beyond me. i know that through everything, i just have to continue pushing. #thankyou
this is the video by bill hopkins which i feel so lucky to have…
1.1.17 first day of the world:
some days you ride with the current. swiftly, effortlessly. the earth seems peopled with feelings, with presence. walking alone is not walking alone. it is not being afraid. not feeling the passage of time. i remember, now, walking this bridge under delicate slice of crescent moon, cars roaring. how it felt to walk the woods alone. stand on the edge of the road at night. sit in the field, watch vultures circling. i fear again and again i will be robbed of myself. but it is just a matter of slipping back into the stream. nothing gained, nothing lost. resuming, pulse of the infinite. onward, and on.
find me, here [upcoming events]
including- something very close to my heart:
HOW WE CREATE/HOW WE COPE:
intersections of art & mental health/mental illness
Friday, February 10th, 6:30-8:30pm
at Queens Council on the Arts’ LAB space in Astoria [Facebook invite]
Queens native and poet/curator Audrey Dimola hosts a panel and performance evening aiming for safe space, honest talk, and open presentations about the too-often stigmatized topic of mental illness, particularly in connection to the creative experience. Throughout our cultural history, many of the legendary artists we know today grappled in this way- yet it becomes a passing line in their bio, a tragic footnote; and their brilliant work remains. In the present day, an increasing number of individuals of all ages are struggling in similar fashion, frequently in silence and shame, for fear of judgment and unanswered questions. How much of how we suffer makes us who we are and results in the art we create? How much of these feelings are the natural experience of the artist, and when is it time to seek help? What do those forms of help look like? A variety of local featured artists will present their stories, poetry, music, visual art, and more, in addition to facilitated discussion, Q&A, and sharing of resources/experiences on these topics. All are welcome, your voice is encouraged.
1 is the year of completion,
(with gratitude for you always)
i will not die like this, the girl said.
and so, she didn’t.
the black wolf’s voice hung in the air, the char emanating from his fur melting the snow in a tiny pure circle around him.
she said she would not die and so she didn’t.
the girl was silent.
ragged from crying.
someone pressed their breath into a ram’s horn miles in the distance.
this is a choice i don’t have anymore.
she remembered his words.
how long had she been walking in multiple worlds?
two years had gone by, trying to bleed out the wound or tie it off, sometimes simultaneously.
she felt entirely mad, most days.
the other days, she wasn’t sure.
her stomach felt hollow, sick.
the all-familiar headache that comes with unrestrained tears.
the ghosts were carrying her weeping through the woods, wisping around trees.
she wished they would just bury it.
the horn sounded again- a pure tone against the crying.
all untruth is rooted, child.
just as the truth is.
a house made entirely of fogged mirrors appeared to the right.
the black wolf motioned.
following the root always goes..
somewhere. sometimes. here.
* * *
i walked the perimeter of the house. where was the warmth, what was the memory?
you haven’t wanted to look.
find the way inside.
my anger nearly doubled me over.
collapsing, i grasped a stone and hurled it towards the structure.
suddenly i was a little girl.
or at least that’s who i saw in the bathroom mirror. sitting perched on the sink, a faraway moment, blue walls between the color of sky and sea.
i never really look at you, do i? i said, running my palm down my face. i never do. i never tell you anything- ever.
just look right past you.
i was supposed to protect you.
a voice i couldn’t tell came from inside or outside.
i watched the girl in the reflection’s mouth move and i was holding the stone again, this time on the inside.
i raised my finger and wrote in the humidity, words i couldn’t place, prayers i had never learned.
the little girl was beside me. i took her hand.
why are you so afraid of this place? i asked her, the letters slowly dripping in the heat.
because no one has told me i shouldn’t be.
my heart clenched.
no one has ever told me i would be okay.
i just have to keep moving, we said in unison- the words slipped to the ground and collected at our feet.
i didn’t want to cry anymore that night. i couldn’t tell whose voice, mine or hers.
we stood, looking at each other, infinite reflections in unfogged glass.
i lit a candle.
it pierced the endless like a burning star, streaking.
i placed her hands beneath mine on the wax.
you are okay. i am okay.
we are safe.
we are safe.
we are safe.
the horn blew again and i was outside mid-hurl with the rock. startled, i stopped, dropping it into the snow.
the house had dissolved and there were letters all over the ground. the little girl was picking them up.
i rushed to her.
we will make a new home, i said, kneeling. and the black wolf smiled softly in the shadows, stark against the landscape.
don’t be scared, i whispered, my hand on her head.
we will put these words up somewhere else.
we will make them say beautiful things.
the little girl nodded, a slight glow returned to her face. i turned and looked for the black wolf, seeing nothing.
the ghosts were burying the cries, returning them to earth.
i took her hand.
i will not die like this, i said into the air. laughter of young ones and animals curled in the distance.
and so she didn’t. the little girl squeezed my hand. we began to walk.
[see the previous parts of this story]
* * *
happy winter solstice.
happy return of the light.
in this night of seemingly endless darkness, i offer this.
a beginning, a discovery.
see you, here.
i didn’t know when another piece of this story would come, but it did.
* * *
i thought i was never going to see you again.
the city loomed in the distance.
we were returning.
everything was amber. wildlight.
i thought you were in love, and you were gone.
here, whole cities are made from regrets, the black wolf said.
everything still smelled like ash.
my head burned. i was lost again.
i picked up four stones from the riverbed and arranged them in compass formation. i placed my hand over each, reciting the last prayer i could remember.
whenever you are most scared, go north.
when the darkness seems it will never end, go north.
when you are no longer afraid to die, go north.
when they tell you not to go. go north.
i lit sage in the center and inhaled until my eyes reddened.
i came upon a camp of young ones. my own child self was there, running and stomping around. laughing and barking orders. making all the plans.
plans, i thought. plans.
when was the last time you had one? the black wolf asked, eyes on the children flickering ’round their fire.
i thought i was never going to see you again.
the warrior with the chipped shoulder, with the heart made of feathers. being already partly of that species, he didn’t have to turn into a bird- he just chose to burn.
some nights all i saw was his eyes. never heartbroken. just- gazing at me. infinite. in love.
i looked down at my hands. there was still a rusty colored mark around my ringfinger.
the children roared with laughter, howling and poking their sticks into the fire, scattering embers along the forest floor. tiny brushfires lit and unlit- the children weren’t afraid. i knew they would never know what it was like- the city made of regret. i wanted to smile at such roughness, purity- but i couldn’t bring myself to.
it’s happening again, i said, staring. i don’t want to keep walking, i just want to stay here. the roots, hearing this, tangled around my feet. i am better off hidden. i am better off dead.
i thought i was never going to see you again.
from the flickering lights and laughter he emerged. wings tucked behind his back, his face, gentle. he pulled me into the spine of his legend, my hands a dog-eared page. our lips parting- all warmth, all agonizing electric. his hands ran over me, filled to the fingerprints with everything. everything i had loved, let go, refused.
we were back against the ocean again after the snow, mana sending sparks into the ether, the most beautiful firelights i had ever seen.
a thousand timepieces smashed in my head and i shook. we made love for hours, explosion after explosion, one sun climbing higher than the next and bursting- harder. brighter.
i could feel the buildings cracking through the ground around us- i wondered where the throne room was and if he knew i was the king of this awful place, locked in the back of a speeding car, kissing furious through twisted neon streets. every glinting road sign cracked and fell to the pavement as we passed.
we were so close.
i want to spend the rest of my life with you, i heard myself say.
a tree lit up in front of me and my eyes snapped open.
i expected to see the black wolf and the children rushing but i only saw the warrior. standing next to the boughs on fire, the bark pulsing with words.
he outstretched his palms to me, burning red, his wings slowly unfurling as he took me in his arms. the ghosts charged through the forest, to the edges of the city, wailing.
a cast-iron crown rolled to the singed land, the dust at my feet.
i couldn’t remember the rest.
* * *
that night i dreamed of the white wolf, cloudy and hovering on a cliff-top. i called to him but he did not move. my mother was with him. my father, my siblings, my grandmother, and my child self.
i clung to the arms around me- some flesh and blood, some gnarled, some winged, some ghost. their arms, their fingers, their hands were all i could focus on.
with my eyes on the white wolf, i drowned.
* * *
i awoke curled against the smoking fire with the young ones all around me. my body throbbed. i could still taste the warrior, the visceral urge to hide inside his feathered chest. never come out alive.
i thrust my face into the smoke and breathed.
one of the little girls, moppy golden hair and crystal blue eyes, brought me a stack of bones.
this is what remained after the warrior left.
the black wolf sang you back.
i stared at her, wide eyed, accepting the bones into my palms- feeling their roughness, the archaic encryption, the fire, the salt.
the black wolf slept curled on a stone chair a few paces from the children and me. i blinked. one half of my brain walked through the city wearing the roughshod crown, forehead bloody. the other half wandered the burning woods, my own voice screaming against the promises.
how do i know if this is real? i asked the girl, eyes welling with anger and confusion.
i thought i was never going to see you again.
the warrior’s wet breath on my neck, my chest.
where is the safe place! i cried, slamming the bones to the ground. sparks shot up and the black wolf’s eyes opened- stoic, not startled.
why aren’t you saying anything? why aren’t you letting me leave?
my finger trembled as it pointed in his direction- the tip flickering, gathering ash.
it’s because of you i’m stuck here- my own dreams touching me in the night, traveling from realm to realm, life to life. i can’t say goodbye, i can’t do anything! soon it will all be cities of regret or burning forests- i can’t keep a promise, i can’t stop regretting, WHAT ELSE do you want me to realize?
the black wolf came down from the stones, standing over the bones. he ground them up into a paste and smeared it on my forehead and tongue. he did the same to the little girl. i did not recognize until that moment, it was me.
in my mind’s eye, i watched myself take the words from the flaming trunks. standing in the city, blood dripping down my face, i repeated them.
i thought i was never going to see you again.
this time, it was my own voice speaking to the little girl.
i ran my hand down her face, crying openly.
i don’t want to do this anymore. it hurts too much.
i curled up on the floor in the tightest ball i could and the children buried me with the dead bird they had found in the underbrush.
i inhaled the dark earth, becoming a tree that broke out on the other side of the mountain.
i emerged from the leaves, calm and crying, a candle lit inside my chest.
when i climbed from the boughs, the black wolf was there to receive me.
you have done well, my child.
now it is time to rest.
* * *
see you, here.
things have been so difficult lately that i remember why we humans need stories.
worlds, myths, legends we create and inhabit in order to make sense of our own world, our own hurt, our own infinite questions posed to the universe.
this idea of the two wolves- the light and dark wolf, the white and black wolf, sometimes the good and bad wolf- has brought me comfort today.
spilling into another startling period of darkness, i imagined being accompanied by this dark wolf. part of the life-death-life cycle (à la ‘women who run with the wolves’) – all things have to travel with both and not just one.
i had traveled with the white wolf for months. and now that it was time to trade- they did not growl or bare teeth- they just acknowledged.
the dark wolf showed up, and it was time for me to go.
writing this brought me comfort like nothing else has over the past days.
delving into this story, processing my grief and anxiety in this way rather than through direct, experiential words the way i usually do.
who’s to say i haven’t experienced this..?
thanks for reading.
* * *
i am standing on the bridge.
the light is piercing. blue, pervading.
can i just be here? i whisper. can i just stay?
i stare across the bridge, the river roiling on the other side. it begins to rain and all i can hear- is that. the black wolf is standing before me. waiting. completely calm. thunder cracks but even in such a way that it does not startle him. the wind rustles his fur but he stands, inert.
you must come with me, he says.
i walk to the middle of the bridge, ghostly.
i do not want to go, i whisper.
tears welling. balled, quiet fists.
you must come with me, he repeats.
the rain falling harder.
get your lantern, we must go.
i turn back towards the white wolf.
there are blue feathers tied into his fur, the same ones tied tight under my shoulder. he nods, and i feel the weight of the lantern handle on my fingers. i open the glass window, press my fingers against the wick. it lights.
the black wolf’s eyes are not unkind.
there are rusty remnants of flame there, discolorations of his skin and paws.
it is the nature of this life, child, he says, looking past me to the white wolf. you must spend your time walking with us both.
i closed the window, holding the lantern up so close that i could feel its warmth against my skin.
you know that when i go with you- i am almost never able to return, i said, inhaling sharply to dissolve the emotion welling in my throat.
you know that every time feels longer than the last. the candle flickering wildly.
i looked at him through the rain and the silence. the licks of lightning in the distance, the wind trembling the bridge.
you do not trust me the way you trust the other.
the white wolf did not move at this acknowledgement, blue and turquoise feathers dancing wave-like around its face.
you do not trust what this is, the black wolf offered again, motioning to the storming landscape with his dark, strong head.
how can i trust, i offered explosively, nearly flinging the lamp, when it never seems i’ll make it out again? i forget everything about myself, i forget my hands are for anything but digging to disappear.
the thunder rumbled low.
i outstretched my hand.
my fingers are still dirty from the last time. still tired. still split.
the black wolf smiled, fangs startling white in his shock of ashen fur.
you are afraid this story has an ending, he whispered, moving closer, touching the end of his snout to my palm.
i pulled my hand away. it burned.
i thought you were the fire, my child. his amber eyes narrowed.
it doesn’t matter what i thought i was, i said quickly. all the stories burn away where you are. none of the stories end they just burn and burn and burn it’s why i–
i steadied myself against the mind-spin.
the black wolf bowed and began walking in the opposite direction. he paused, and in a moment, he turned.
it’s why- what?
i looked at the burn mark on my palm, glowing like an alchemical brand.
i took a breath, opened the lamp window, and blew on the fire. it surged with light, with anger. with hope.
i watched it flashing then closed the door.
i turned back to the white wolf, then once more to the black wolf. the rain slicked off of me like i had a second skin.
it is why i must go.
the creature of amber and wildlight curled his jaw slightly, blinked slow in that way only animals do to say things to each other without words.
i will see you again, the white wolf said from behind me. know that i will see you again. the you that is true beyond all this, beyond this story, beyond the light we throw, the shadow we cast, how high we climb, how deep we dig.
i raised my lantern to him, shining like a beacon in the downpour.
i turned away and took a step.
i was on my way.
* * *
the silence is the loudest thing, sometimes.
he said to the wind, not turning back to look at me as we walked.
i had already begun to feel uneasy.
just hold the lantern, i told myself.
one foot in front of the other.
i didn’t say anything.
do you want some fire tea? he asked, stopping short so i almost walked over his hind paws.
i looked down. the lamp was slung around my waist on a braided rope, a small, steaming wooden cup in my hands. i sipped.
you have to say goodbye to the one you’ve never said goodbye to.
i tried not to hear him, to focus on the heat pervading my mouth, my tongue.
i looked up.
there was a crystalline room grown out of a glittering, wet cave, half covered in vines.
the man i had loved for longer than any other was inside.
the black wolf watched the sharpness of my reaction, did not blink as the cup clattered to the ground.
i neared the room, felt the rawness of its edges under my fingers. i searched for his eyes but he paced, shouting and shouting at nothing. he was still so beautiful. beautiful always in madness, the wolf repeated, plucking a strand from my thoughts.
he is here on his own volition, he whispered, looking into the crystal.
not because of you.
i raised a hand and placed it against the clearest part in the wall.
it’s me, i breathed into the hollowness.
circling and shouting, i could see he was crying. i remembered that sound like an echo i thought would never stop reverberating.
i caught his eyes.
then realized i couldn’t hear anything.
i looked down at the wolf, startled. all the sound sucked from the air besides the motion of the creature’s breath, and mine.
he is going to stay here, the wolf said finally. he will go when it is time to, but not because of anything you can say, or do.
my eyes welled up with tears. salt from those i thought would never, could never, end.
i pressed my forehead to the crystal wall. his head was against it, leaning back, exasperated. i ran my hand down it, felt the smoothness of his hair again, in the ways only memory makes real.
i am letting you go, i whispered, wanting to leave a kiss on the wall between us, but stopping myself.
this now has nothing to do with me, my heart said, quietly.
slowly i ran my fingers off the wall. the black wolf stood standing a few paces away, smoldering.
onward, his face said without words.
and i went.
* * *
i like that sound.
of pages turning in the wind.
the sky was more blue than i had remembered it.
my perception was changing.
the deeper we went, fading.
it was hard to recall.
only the painful things surfaced.
even the sky hurt to look at.
didn’t think this side could be so blinding, did you? the black wolf said, half smiling, sitting beside me.
we could see the bridge from here. high up, further away than i thought we’d be so soon.
i wasn’t sure how much time had passed- if any, at all.
will you always find me if i get lost?
i asked out loud, not sure to whom. perhaps talking to all the ghosts that had gathered around the hill, touching my hair and fingers, their hearts glowing from inside the folds of their ragged garments.
i didn’t have to look at them to know who they were.
i knew them all better than i knew myself.
you are not lost, the black wolf said, his breath scattering the spirits over the ridge and out along the horizon.
small strings of smoke floated from his fur, softly filling the air around us.
you are applying the laws of the white wolf to this land.
he stared out into the distance, the tips of his ears lighting up like embers in the belly of a fire.
you are not in the same place, child, he said, turning to look at me.
we write our own laws here.
and that’s what scares people the most.
i listened again to the notebook pages flicking in the wind.
i couldn’t remember when it appeared or when the ink dipped shard of wood was pressed into my hand but i wrote down his words without breathing, got up, and exhaled.
come, he said, starkly earthen against the piercing blue.
there is more for us to do, i said nodding, reaching up to flake off a few shards of the sky to keep in my pocket.
birds called from the distance and i looked inside the darkened folds at them, blazing.
yes. i know.
* * *
the next thing i knew i was waking up, curled inside a ghost.
my palm was gripped around the beating heart, words in some other language scrawled all over my arms, my hands.
a flapping of wings came from above us and i shot up, dizzy.
the spirit felt warm and heavy, the languidness of sunshine on a silver roof, a memory from far away. a shadow on the page, a heart i couldn’t keep. i kept kissing and kissing his face in the sunlight. he didn’t know where i was the night before, the anniversary of his grandmother dying. he sang the song about sunshine to me, the way my own grandmother had. i pressed my face into the crook of his arm, not crying.
everything was dark all of a sudden. searchlights swinging in the night, blinking through tall trees.
i was alone in a clearing but before i had a chance to acclimate my eyes caught the smolder of the black wolf.
i hate being here, i said in his direction.
i felt his breath behind me, the quivering flame inside the lantern again in my palm.
i gripped the handle and let my bare feet slowly maneuver the gnarled roots burning with words and incantations, snaking across the ground.
they shot up through the bark and into the boughs, igniting the leaves in bursts of flame, one by one by one.
these are all the promises you’ve ever made, the voice of the black wolf said from somewhere i couldn’t place.
i watched the letters pulsing, heard my own voice- split, earnest, crying.
don’t you remember? he whispered, tender.
the whole world caught on fire and everyone turned into birds.