audrey dimola[art for the wild]

Posts Tagged ‘myth

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.
he paused.
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.

15123081_10101489334463854_8676657808731862421_o

a beginning, a discovery.

see you, here.

XO

a.

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.

maybe. him?

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.
his hands.

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.

XO

a.

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.

although-
who’s to say i haven’t experienced this..?

thanks for reading.

XO

a.

* * *

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.
just knowing.

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.
endless, even.

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.

i squinted.

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 know.

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.


Into the wild wonderland…

Celebrated as "a wildfire in a world of fluorescent bulbs" and a "poetic force of nature," Queens, NYC native Audrey Dimola is a poet, performer, curator, connector, and lifelong artist, as well as Director of Public Programs at Long Island City's Socrates Sculpture Park. // Thanks so much for stopping by! You'll find all my work on this website, past and present, as well as new blog posts. Poetry, prose, videos, events, photos, articles - it's all here. // As always.. STAY WILD, STAY GRATEFUL!

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My Books

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Decisions We Make While We Dream (2012)

TRAVERSALS (2014)

WILDLIGHT coming fall 2017

Compass Project Poetry Stickers

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