Posts Tagged ‘journey’
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…
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.
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.
The day is finally here..
My second collection of poetry & prose, TRAVERSALS, meets the world.
CLICK HERE to order a signed & dedicated copy directly from me, securely via PayPal (please note you do not need to have a PayPal account).
174 pages of original poetry & prose!
if you can’t move, let the breath move..
if you can’t be the ship, be the oar.
if you can’t be the oar, be the compass.
if you can’t be the compass, be the slightest stirring
in the voyager’s heart that told him –
i will not waste this day like all the others.
if you can’t be the voyager, be the faintest flickering
of the arrow magnetized towards whatever is greater –
whatever you can see in that last moment,
with your eyes widened and the water in your lungs –
that suddenly makes you forget how to drown…
“the backbone of this book is a celebration of the knowing + the unknowing in one life + heart. of memories + freedom. a call to those warriors we meet on the paths we take who bring us light. that stranger who becomes a lover who becomes a ghost. the one who leaves an imprint in our desert for the rest of time like the eroding of rock turned river. the ghosts of our past, of ourselves, of promises long broken. and what we choose to do with these ghosts…” -nick neon, film + music video director, screenwriter & creative director @ rollthedicepictures.com
“Audrey Dimola uses words to harness light, and this collection of poetry and prose brings that light to dark places and broken spaces. With her native New York feet, wildchild spirit, and poetic fingertips, the author selflessly cuts open her own scars to reveal that beauty can emerge from pain. Using her writing gift and keen understanding of the human condition, she howls at the light of the moon so that the reader does not drown in darkness. The beauty of the moonlight remains in the reader’s heart and mind long after reading the words.” -maria karaiskos, nyc teacher
From the author: A series of events in my life that began in that Fall of 2011 spurred it on. It was unavoidable. I lost my beautiful firecracker of a Nana and then my longest relationship, left my solid job, and then met the explosive muse who struck the arc of TRAVERSALS. And it went on after that – dazzling highs and startling lows, wildness and bewilderment, adventures with beautiful souls I will never forget. That’s what TRAVERSALS chronicles, what gets left behind and how we honor what we have experienced – the people we’ve loved, lost, suffered with, and let go; the brave hearts in the trenches beside us; the ones that breathe new life into us; the ghosts we are haunted by and the ghosts we become in the lives of others.. At the end of the day TRAVERSALS is really about the resiliency of the human heart – trusting the process, trusting the journey when it comes to life and art.
And if you’re in the NYC area, please join me for the BOOK LAUNCH & PERFORMANCE PARTY at the brand new Q.E.D. venue in Astoria, Queens!
Thursday, November 13th
at the brand new Q.E.D.: A Place to Show & Tell venue
in Astoria, Queens!
(27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria-Ditmars Blvd N/Q stop)
Join Queens-born poet/performer/firecracker Audrey Dimola as she celebrates the release of her second collection of poetry & prose, TRAVERSALS. Known for anything but perpetuating the traditional reading format, you can count on an interdisciplinary love-fest, semi-inappropriate jokes, and tales of the triumph of the human spirit.
Talented friends of the poetic, musical, and dancey variety will be on hand to perform and debut special collaborations (and books will be for sale, of course!): Poet/singer Valerie G. Keane, dancer/choreographer Kymberly Nolden, musician/actor/dancer Jacob Horstmeier (with violinist/singer Margaret-Ellen Jeffreys!), poet/musician Marc Montfleury & playwright/musician Tyler Rivenbark combine powers with Audrey herself for an evening both fun and heartfelt.
RSVP at the FACEBOOK INVITE!
Thank you ALL endlessly for your love, light & support.. The journey begins again. XXOO