don’t let them take away your light

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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.

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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.

here is the facebook invite, and the registration link at queens council on the arts- tix are $5.

* 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.

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so**

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.

i pray:

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

XO

a.

‘go slowly, see miracles’ the art installation experience

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go slowly, see miracles opens fri 5/20/16 from 6-10pm in 43-01 21st street in long island city but will be on view 12-6pm on saturday 5/21 and sunday 5/22!

it’s a little after 2 in the morning and less than an hour ago i returned home from day 3 of my install for LIC arts open 6. sitting down at this blank page (computer screen?!) words just can’t seem to do it justice. carolina and richard from LICAO- thank you, thank you for this opportunity..

this is more than a project, an art installation, a room transformation.. it’s a commemoration. a milestone. this was one of those things- it emerged out of dreams, experiences, words, darkness. to think that- earlier this year, i was in a place where i couldn’t recognize myself, at all. the changes in my life completely displaced me- the decisions, the goodbyes, the wild adventures, the woods, the farms, the art, the risks, all certainty became uncertainty, grounded to a sudden halt. all unfamiliar, hollow, numb. i perceived the disassociation as a new norm.. but out of that darkness- came the beginnings of this. i’m a lifelong writer but also a lifelong artist. when words failed me- i worked with my hands. i worked with scratches and tears, collage, mixed media, the mysticism of found objects, ink and smears, fire. golden paint like byzantine halos. earthen material. the things i couldn’t say- i created. it was the only thing i could do, at that moment.

we often get stuck in our own spheres.. i am a poet- i use voice, i use words. that’s who i am. it’s scary and uncomfortable to own another role (in this case- installation artist), and we so often hesitate. paralyzed by judgment of self and imagined from others.. yet my longing to expand remained. poetry in three dimensions materialized while creating ‘art for the wild’ with my brilliant sister april- found poetry, tearing up books, collaging with images onto wood, onto painted glass bottles, inspiration stones. THE WILD PAPERS in collaboration with some beautiful friends was my first site-specific experience in the theatrical/performative realm- i carry it with me everyday. but i have wanted to create a world of my own since before the conception of that show.. a space i could transform. fairy lights. jungle greenery. hideaways. wonderland.

the roots of this project are deep- but somehow deepest at the moments when i felt my own nearly ripped out from under me. the fact that i am here, in realtime- three days into the installation of that world i dreamed of, the world i laid the foundations of in one of the deepest darknesses i have ever experienced.. the vision is becoming real. the vision is challenging, humbling, emotional, electric, frustrating, EXCITING. BEAUTIFUL. WILD. but it is all mine. my ladder climbs. my sharpie words. my mirror shards. my relics. my tangles. what will you think when you see it? what will you feel? what will the reception be..?

for me, this is not just an installation. it’s the identity i swore i’d lost. the legend i swore i’d lost at the beginning of 2016. my heart, my memories, my story- in three dimensions. in a space. in a world. i feel like i’ve created neverland and now i can go home again.. yet it takes creating something OUTWARDLY to realize that it has always existed INWARDLY.. creation is an incredible thing.

over and over.. you recreate from the ashes. you honor where you’ve been. ’go slowly, see miracles’ is my chance to do that. to prove to myself that i can survive. that i have survived. and i can trust these hands, this head, this heart- to carry me into what will soon be my 30th year on earth.

i choose life. i choose immortality. i choose wildness. gratitude. grace. a prayer of thanks to THE WONDER and the beauty of losing and finding and losing and finding it again.

thank you for being a part of my story.. come see it in front of your eyes this friday, 6pm at the opening for the 43-01 21st st building, filled with incredible art of myriad mediums and 2 other immersive installations.

thank you// mama always. my family. amazing april. scott weiland. nahko bear. ‘to the wonder.’ marcus & zuko. daddy. kristine. j. syd. sana. joan. nick. everyone who finds my writing in the street. the friends who looked for me. the words that saved me. riley, isabella, cristiano, layla. the woods. the ocean. pluf. chris mccandless. jen & TYR. my patron saint peter pan. my guardian angel nana. my TRIBE. LICAO. and the darkness that almost beat me.. for showing me how bright i can be.

[[SO MUCH MORE is going on in LICAO 2016, check out the booklet for all event & exhibition listings! festival runs may 18-22

scenes from the journey thus far… (click on the videos to play them!)

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reflections from tonight:

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{insert really loud peter pan crow here}

XO

a.

vignettes, victories

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some wonderful, wonderful, wonderful things:

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i took one of the lil wild ones i babysit to a park in ravenswood i spent so much time playing in when i was little.. most of it has changed but some things remain, like those concrete tunnels. what a trip it was to crawl through them again, see the same vantage points, lean my back against the cool surface in the shadows. // i am an intensely, heartquakingly nostalgic person, to the point that my present is consistently affected by my past. ‘everything i’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.’ // yet i realized- our task is not to forever mourn the innocence and precious discoveries of childhood, always looking backward, tears in our eyes. but to recognize that we are eternally children in the wake of the world’s wonder. we must STILL learn to use our bodies, expand for new thoughts and ideas, new questions, new perceptions. tear down everything we know to start again with something new. the wonder isn’t over once we learn to walk or talk, balance or write. keep remembering to forget that just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re done learning and you can just relax into ‘this life,’ the day-to-day, the grind, whatever it is. we owe it to ourselves- past, present, future- to remember we are forever children, forever explorers, forever students of the word, the earth, movement, adventure, imagination.. light.

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do your heart’s work! my heart is so full helping out for a cause i wholeheartedly believe in- creating a new space for literature and literacy in queens with my beautiful and kickass friends at the queens bookshop initiative. getting to play and read to these kids was so wonderful- i even got to share one of my own favorite books from childhood, ‘the land of many colors.’ stories are forever, creativity is forever. we have to foster it in our kids as young as possible.. if you want to support them in their effort to build a second bookshop in queens (we only have ONE in our massive borough right now) please donate to their kickstarter and stay updated throughout their journey!!

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making. this. real. coming to the former wills building at 43-01 21st st, may 18-22, 2016 for the 6th annual LIC arts open festival // Known throughout Queens for her explosive poetry, performance, and curatorial work, this is LIC native Audrey Dimola’s first art installation. ‘go slowly, see miracles’ is an immersive amalgam of hidden treasures and alcoves of memories, a cross between a lost boy’s wilderness hideaway, a secret grotto in the mind, and the gritty intersections of love, identity, and nostalgia. It features a variety of never before seen mixed media art pieces, 3D poetry, found objects, sound and visuals, and more- exploring wild spirituality, descents into darkness, reclamation and annunciation. The work is specially presented in this form for LICAO 2016.

things like THIS happen in the promo video they shot..!

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(video no longer exists)

and most recently…

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after MANY years of wanting to do this, and running along with checking off bucket list items (like the polar bear plunge!) in my 29th year… i finished the five boro bike tour this past weekend!!! // i was so emotional at so many points throughout this trip. just remembering the darkest moments and feeling this, NOW. knowing there’s no limit to life, to the way it can surprise you, how things you dream of are even better when your sweat and hard work make them REAL. despite the rain & cold we didn’t back down from the challenge today.. here’s to riding hard, living wild, and renewed faith in my own strength. i let out a peter pan crow while whizzing down the verrazano to the finish. i will never forget this day & the one soul i had beside me the entire time.. love and eternal gratitude for this entire experience and my wonderful family for being our pit crew in LIC!

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to survive in this world we constantly have to remind ourselves that wildly multitasking is not the goal, going faster than everyone else is not the goal.. being fully present** is.

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also… i could not feel more blessed about working as the new public programs coordinator at my beloved socrates sculpture park!!!

30 years ago, this year, socrates sculpture park and i were born in long island city. i am so proud, elated, excited & inspired to announce that as of last month, i’m the park’s new public programs coordinator! socrates sculpture park has given me SO MUCH- for literally as long as i can remember i’ve spent days and nights playing, writing, observing, and seeking solace within its gates. its home has always been my home. now in its 30th year, which will also be my 30th year this august, i get to give back.. gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe.

never give up // never give up

[all upcoming events are listed HERE

keep the fire in your belly & the gratitude in your heart.. biggest big love!

XO

a.

wild tales

this wkend i got to hike up to hunter mountain in my beloved catskills and help with repairing the devils acre lean-to.. through rain, a little bit of hail, blue sky, a gorgeous clear night, and then waking up in 19 degrees & 6 inches of snow! thanks to destination backcountry adventures & the best guides/volunteer crew, i LOVED it.

hiking & working in the woods is a microcosm of life. you’re learning at every moment & you have to be ready for anything. carry logs? re-shingle a roof? break camp in the snow? let’s go. and the things that stop you cold in the city, that raise your anxiety.. you don’t have time for it here. i love the catskills because- everytime- they bring me back. no notifications, laughter with strangers who become friends, strength stretching, and the kind of silence that fills you instead of making you uneasy. thank you DBA & co for the chance to return to woods & work and remember why i started the journey this past summer. every lesson you need to learn is in the earth.

[here’s some more photos and dave’s post about the trip on the DBA website

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it’s been a long-time wish of mine to experience camping & hiking in the snow, especially since i started training as a wilderness guide & educator last year.. i missed going adventuring this winter due to an extremely rough season in my head & heart.. but unexpectedly, on this trip at the beginning of spring, got this. /// these are the moments.

XO

a.

[psst- upcoming poetry & performance events are listed HERE!

edit//

after writing this, i cruised through some notebooks from summer of last year onward (all affectionately entitled “WILDERNESS”) and revisited the trips i’ve taken since getting involved with DBA and another amazing organization, discover outdoors. i dug out two poems and realized they both mentioned birch trees- bookends of each other, one born out of the first trip i took with DO as a client/observer, and the other from one of the last trips i went on before winter, the first i ‘really’ led as a guide. i remember scribbling in tiny notebooks while on trail, trusting my feet.. ‘i am a student of the forest. i feel so at home in the woods it’s unbelievable. this is my SOUL PLACE.’

black rock

birch trees like
candlelit
stalks
my heart
anointed,
fire of gold
leaves and
strewn rock
footprints
out of a dream
covered in
moss
sweet ache
in the limbs,
hearty like
the souls of old
here the trail
markers
are clear
northern-most
orientation
the pin in
my heart
settles not on
anything i
know,
stop its flicker
and spin,
only wonder-
only here
only this.
the forest
unfolds like
walking into
a flame
blue and turquoise
blazes
remind me of the sea
my other home
now here
shrouded in the
canopy
my other mother
just as powerful
as the flesh
and blood
who taught
me to be
the red blaze
among the
green
the fire flicker
of salamander
feet
the forest
she speaks to me
but now refuses to
whisper-
how can you waste
another day
of this
not being
your life?
let the wild
tendrils of your
heart sink
deeper
into me,
only i
will anchor you
not the flimsy
mortal fiber
that binds you–

high pt mtn

trail teaches you to focus, be present
flex the sinew of your awareness..

stark birch standing like
ghosts of a former
self
i remember you
you gave me these
shoes
you used to lead me
now i’m leading
myself
the leaf litter
glitters with
some kind of
mystic certainty
there is a trail
where there
is no trail
(just because you’re
walking it)
life is like that.
that woodpecker
is knocking on
the door of
my old life
it echoes through
the trees
like an affirmation
i will fill my
heart with
forest footsteps
and streaks of
sunlight
thank
god i let my
hollowness
be filled
by this-
i keep forgetting
to say grace
when i eat but
each inhale of
verdant atmosphere
is prayer
i remember jesus
in the garden
he is my
wilderness sound
she says
your senses are
heightened
we humanimals
know when to
twist before
a bone will
snap
does a heart
react the same way?
it’s all instinct-
leading them
as i’m leading myself
take us to the
promised land!
he says
without knowing
how right he is-
exodus from
false self to
true self
i fold my
wings like a
prophet in
cathedral
this is how
i give thanks.

when the fever broke.

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it has been an interesting number of weeks for me. like tumblr once upon a time, instagram has become a safe space to document experiments with lots of different things- natural light, video, physical art pieces, minute moments.. (click on the videos to play them!)

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things converge to create such a particular mood, moment, influence. spending time in emotional darkness, in physical sickness, days without blue sky. watching movies like gaspar noe’s ‘love’ and ‘to the wonder.’ returning to the proust chapter about memory (a memory is altered everytime you recollect it) in the ‘proust was a neuroscientist’ book.. walking over the triboro bridge to randalls island, again and again. looking at everything from high up. experiencing that particular feeling that hits me every year at this time- threshold. lingering light. possibility.

several things are on the horizon- i want to curate and perform in a different way, playing with poetic theatre hybrids, video editing, spatial exploration. i feel lucky to have new possibilities beginning with the incredible IDENTIFY show starting next week, and with my dear friend mwest this summer on SI.. it’s why everything has to fall out from under us, sometimes. sometimes seeing nothing, nothing at all, for awhile- is the only way to see things differently. to remember the vocabulary that exists in your hands, your body.

even thinking of ‘self-love’ in a different way..

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wonder directed inward. inward(,)seeking wonder

my overwhelming need to build castles triumphantly is sabotaged because i don’t pay attention enough to not keep building them so close to the sea. one castle falls after another and i am enraged, heartbroken, impassioned, and blindly inspired to keep building, again and again and again.

you can still build the sandcastle. just be cognizant of the foundation. of where the tide comes in.

and that’s what i have to look at, now. the foundation. which comes with examining patterns without judgment.

what is the cure, the elixir of life?

having the patience- although part of me doesn’t want to use that word because it feels too conscious- to live through the days even when you are robbed of existence. even when you feel ‘you’re wasting your life’ – that is your life. right? it’s something you have to walk through.

i am a proclaimer, i love to feel strong and overcome and get to the end of something. but you don’t get to the end of this- it’s not neat, it’s fucking jagged and awful and meaningless and makes no sense. but it also just is.

we have to retrain ourselves to feel these things. accept them as whole, full, meaningful stimuli- instead of always seeking seeking seeking something more, something else. this is even about me, feeling myself. appreciation of the tiniest meaningful gestures- no one else can explain that to you.

i write these words while knowing in some days’ time they may be robbed from me but i guess that’s why we write, or create. not for continuity’s sake but to capture the feeling of a moment- i was here, feeling this.

every moment we can just stand here and say- this i what i am, right now- whether or not it is incongruous with our legend, what we want to be percepted as.

can i find the wonder in the small things? let everything touch me with profundity- the grace in what it is, not what i want it to be or wish it was?

birds outside the window, in the light. to take things as they are.

we are the only ones who can unravel our own illusions.

we are learning everything- painfully, by crashing into it, by watching it go.

i trust that i am supposed to learn from these golden moments instead of always “having what i want.”

because then everything gets numb. no wilderness, no sex, no recognition, no sunny days can fill you if you lose the ability to be filled.

gratitude is a word we all say so often. wildness, too- everyone is wild now. perhaps this is my journey to really uncover what they mean- by going slowly. seeing miracles. unravelling the dissatisfaction. and truly feeling again.

because from inside the gold of the moment- it just is. you are most grateful for your breath when you are breathing, fully, not thinking about it. you are most grateful for your life while you are just living it.

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this week i will be standing onstage again. i’m hosting boundless tales on thursday and on friday i’ll be performing a brand new piece from this time at an event i’m so looking forward to- the wonderful joan becht willette‘s celebrating queens women artists event at queens council on the arts! it gets me thinking so much about history, HERstory, identity, perception. all themes running through my mind, my creative production at this time.. i want to explore this further and push past some edges i previously stopped short at. what does it mean to be vulnerable, to fully share? what about the space between the words? what about the power that comes from not always being the loudest or the most outwardly powerful or explosive? this is what i want to experiment with. how sensual, how gentle, how tender, how graceful. slow. nuanced. there is power in that.

after being in the dark you become obsessed with the light. physical light. feeling it on your face, the shapes it casts on walls, the way it warms bricks on sides of buildings, tied to some memory you can’t quite place, something from childhood, something sprang from goodness- something you somehow know- that even after all this– you believe in. you can remember what believing means. it is effortless, when real. the light. and even the light in the gradual fading of it to twilight and dusk, streetlights winking on, the sweetness of gradient. all the shades in between- we are.

i am easing up on the weight of the illusions- baudelaire, ‘to every man his chimera,’ stooped low, carrying.. i want to give my back a break. stand up and feel that light on my face. experience the gradients. not the violent highs and lows. the moments i have been too afraid, too restless, too impulsive to inhabit. i will be there.

springtime- in mind, in body. as always. so welcome.

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to the wonder,

XO

a.

[.upcoming

3/10/16 – Hosting for Queens’ longest running reading series, Boundless Tales at the Astoria Bookshop, 7-8:30pm [Facebook]

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3/11/16 – Featured poet at Celebrating Queens Women Artists Event organized by Joan Becht Willette for Women’s History Month at Queens Council on the Arts, 6:30-9pm [More info]

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4/7/16 – Performing for Queens Book Festival/Wendy Angulo Productions in Long Island City at the Q-Boro Lit Crawl! [Facebook]

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4/16/16 Poets from Queens reading with Queens Poet Laureate Maria Lisella and other distinguished local poets at Queens Library in Flushing (auditorium), 1:30-3pm!

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And later that night… 4/16/16 – Featured poet at UNDER THE INFLUENCE: The Inspirational Legacy of a King from Queens honoring Astoria graff legend DON1 with Louie “KR.ONE” Gasparro at QNS Collective, 7-11pm [Facebook]

[all events, past & present, always listed HERE

adhesive.

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i am i am i said i’m not myself but i’m not dead & i’m not for sale
hold me closer closer let me go let me be just let me be -STP.

“the pull is visceral. it may also be an act of self-loathing or anger against home or society or even the human condition in which the promise of death shadows us from those first fresh moments of birth.” -scott weiland, ‘not dead & not for sale.’

there comes a time when the pain is too great and you have to make things.

physically- knot them, paint them, scratch them, burn them. scavenge in the street, rip from pages, make a mess. as much of a mess you feel like you are- to create- that.

because- for a person for whom words are everything- sometimes they mean nothing.

and out of this disillusion, disappointment, hurt- something else is born. something in the realm of craft and mystic- synthetic. organic. trash. treasure. dirty hands to remind you you’re still alive and there is still a way to express the infinite bewilderment of that fact.

the only way to truly rail against death is to disappear for awhile- and create something.

//ajd 2.10.16

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“i embrace the day at a time mindset. for me, there’s no other way to live. i’ve got to stay present. i am optimistic. i have to learn to see the beauty in the mundane. i believe this is a key to my spiritual well-being. i have to change my perception and see god’s beauty in everything.”

“the human heart filled with sorrows and gold.”

-scott weiland, ‘not dead & not for sale.’

**works pictured:

. still frame from movement to ‘interstate love song’

. still – collage

. i only have one antler (assemblage to the old life); what are bones for anyway (the stake, & association- ‘dying isn’t the hard part’) [two pieces]

. incomplete initiation [detail]

. breathing is the hardest – collage

. i only have one antler (assemblage to the old life) [detail]

. breathing is the hardest – collage [detail]

. still frame from movement to ‘interstate love song’

. incomplete initiation

. notes from the bottom (this is a cry for help)

**notes to self:

an installation is coming

do everything in the glow of candles and christmas lights

art is a permanent solution to a temporary problem

XO

a.

only.

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of winter and the war. at this point i only care for what will bring me back to life.. happy (belated) snowstorm, nyc.

“you must not give way to desires which you don’t believe in. i know what you desire. you should, however, either be capable of renouncing these desires or feel wholly justified in having them. once you are able to make your request in such a way that you will be quite certain of its fulfillment, then the fulfillment will come. but at present you alternate between desire and renunciation and are afraid all the time. all that must be overcome.”

“i have been and still am a seeker, but i have ceased to question stars and books; i have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me. my story is not a pleasant one; it is neither sweet nor harmonious, as invented stories are; it has the taste of nonsense and chaos, of madness and dreams- like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves.”

-hesse, ‘demian.’

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when i dream it’s of us looking down, watching everyone else from the heavens.
-s.w.

i kiss you in the space
where wings should be
place my fingers
on your ribs
where candles could be
you’d think our hearts
would be tired of this
by now
but the snow is enough
pull up the blankets
fold back into
the memory.
there are never enough
words about you
scribbled in half-light
with white-out outside
slipping in like
reality under sheets of
perception
you have always been
beautiful enough
to make me forget
everything
else-
and so i
fit myself against you
like a prayer
i somehow still remember
how to say.
your body-
tones to some
other world
i am following
my own
sunken footsteps to
winter, reprise-
again.
how many times
can you write and
rewrite
your skin it
makes these
words, my
body remembers
to trust you
in these
frigid days
the first and last place
to ever truly find
the only warmth that
could receive me-
only.
i am writing you again
when i swore i wouldn’t
your flesh under my pen,
hot.
like the whispers you make
in sanctuary,
half gracious, half afraid,
when something other than god
breathes the chill
into the wind-
our legends are dead..
sleep until
the winter light
seems brighter
than the rest-
no page could contain
you..
your foot against mine
twitches
sinking into
snow footprints
on the other side,
are you
following me
this time?
if i could
slip this pen
between your
bones i’d say
leave it there
because
there’s always
something else
to be written,
rewritten
black ink, my
name
scribbled over
lost fingertips
of those who
touched you
while i was
gone
is it
possible
to rewrite a
memory?
trust my
hands
because
the words came
from there too
and the hands
take work
the ways they
make you
understand
in ways the
heart never
could
i am doing
this work
right now
for another winter
too long to
remember
separation
too short to
ever
ever
forget.
i kiss the space
where your wings
should be
because i still
remember
they could.
words are hands
and hands are
prayer
alive, tonight.
i light the
candle where
your rib
should be
god’s unsteady
hand
cracked
that bone
when he made
me.
he knew
the two
of us
wouldn’t learn
enough
if we were
complete..
sleepwalking
back
to the origin story
in a blizzard.
isn’t that just
what we
always
do?
trust the hands
when the
heart
can’t see-
another winter
in our
muscle
memory.

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om agnaye namaha,

XO

a.

for the times it arrives like a thunderbolt.

polarbear

yes, there were many joyful things mixed with the blood. – clarice lispector.

sometimes all we can offer are the words. sometimes all we have are the words. and for that i am grateful. this came to me like a wild mother, like a hand of profound power and gentle grace. she is what is comforting me in this moment of uncertainty- all deep breaths and strangeness. below is only a portion of this piece- my hand wouldn’t stop moving. i know this will play a part in annunciation, my third offering to the world- this word that has been following me around in different forms, different adventures, different creatures- since the summer. a friend and fellow poetess told me that doing the polar bear plunge is “good for the guides.” i had no idea how right she was. the door to this opened when i tried to start writing about myself in a loving way.. no coincidence. this is as much for you as it is for me.

**

the eyes that have been wearing glasses since childhood but only so the heart can see clearer. in the mists of the night, the reflected deer soul crossing your path. i am going to make a work of striking, strange oneness. like reality percepted itself. HEART that loves to the point of ruin, stands in the fire city, recreates it from mud and ash again, not blinking. not asking for anything, but THIS, always this. earth city, mud city, the hand palms and feet soles that bless the wounds and suck the energy from sky, air, ground, trees, dirt- drink it desperately like GOOD MEDICINE- the only kind left- the body you once extricated, criticized, now crashed to wholeness by the perfect sea- i am salt and longing, fragmented light still twinkling with magic so ancient from before i was born this way- it constantly tells me i’m okay and some days i feel pure enough to believe it, my hand going to pins and needles as i write this, my body born again in the shock of aliveness, perfect frigid waters, crying and laughing, howling, this is how we were born- and some days i feel wild enough to believe it. near to the wild heart i am cleansed by my own blood spilled, i want to look at it in my hands, know i died for something- gasping, gaping, the way an open wound breathes open mouthed just before healing- twinkling, i had never felt my lungs before, i had never heard my heart before- I AM. like she before me and all the animals i am still a cave painting swirling wind, fur and belief- fossilized in crouched cocoon i can feel myself at the river’s edge- I COME FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE and that place has healed me. make enough space in between your bones and ache for the incantation to begin, this is how we turn salt to sinew, memory to surrender to what is greater, wordless- i am always edging the notion between words and sleep, stretching like fingers towards the whole damn world’s oblivion, even jesus the christ had to leave to come back, you always wander to return, RENEWED. bless this heart, these hands, these teeth that love too purely, salt in the fierceness, the wound, the truth, the library- all i can do is scribble at the doorways in my head, i will unlock them all with heart fire the way a blaze never asks permission, it just comes to return and then leaves as if it never left, this is eternity in the flesh- can you feel it? burning boats and bridges, sweet algae climbing on the sides of memory, grasping, drinking, gulping the marrow- i will stay close to the lupine heart, i will be rock and moss and teeth and shadow- i will be the sunburst on the water, i will sing with eyes electric, i will stand at helm of fearful generator but in GREATNESS- I AM.

XO

a.

WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES fireside event


flyer by the great gianna ligammari!

BROTHERS & SISTERS! i’ve been called to do a WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES themed poetry/art/affirmation event, by the FIRE (of course) at LIC BAR!

event is FREE, bring your power and your good vibes and commune by the flames with wild hearts and wild tales..

“the hallmark of the wild nature is that it goes on. it perseveres. this is not something we do. it is something we are, naturally and innately.”
“there must be a little, and in many cases, a good deal of blood spilled on every story, on every aspect of your own life […] if a person is to carry a true medicine.”

we are all on a journey back to the WILD SELF. to honor ourselves and our journeys, no matter how bloody, how uncertain, how strange. we are all part of the same TRIBE and the ground we’ve walked is meant to be recognized, received, released, transmuted in the fire..

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21st
7:30-9:30pm @ LIC BAR’s carriage house
45-58 vernon blvd, long island city – queens

celebrating & featuring these luminous animals:

Audrey Dimola poet/performer
Sydney Hartlove poet/performer
Kelsey Pyro musician/poet
Sana Hussain poet
Lucy Torres poet
Valerie Hager performer
True poet/performer
& special guests
Mia Roman
Joan Becht Willette

with wild art from April Tigerlily! <3

this event is INDOORS- inside the carriage house at the back of LIC bar, by the FIRE! buy drinks & be merry~* 1 drink minimum please

*women who run with the wolves, the book by clarissa pinkola estes ph.d., has been instrumental in my healing and return to the wild self, which is where this event takes its name <3

this will be my winter.

brothers & sisters, happy holidays & happy new year!

this year has been an insane one for me but i’m ending it on a high note. we made magic, pushed ourselves further, adventured to places we never thought we’d be. and 2016 will be about ANNUNCIATION. speaking my name into the world. healing. owning my identity and solidifying it.

this will be a winter of hibernation- focus, patience, dedication, and strengthening of bonds. TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM TODAY! & if you’re in queens tag along for these fine events below, my last of 2015. grateful for each & every one of you.

for all that we are & all that we will be-

yours always,

XO

a.

Wed 12/9/15 7pm – Featured reader at The Inspired Word NYC’s first ever Women Poets of the Q4, at Q4 Hotel in LIC [Facebook] this is my 1st feature in awhile and fixin’ to be a visceral one.. come & also add your voice in the open mic after!

Thurs 12/10/15 7pm – Hosting Boundless Tales, longest running reading series in Queens! Astoria Bookshop [More info] if you’re a writer, also submit your work to be considered for our 2016 readings!

Sun 12/13/15 1-5pm – Warming Up Winter Holiday Market at Queens Museum [Facebook] my first market EVER! i’ll be selling alongside my beautiful sister & art partner in crime, omi plufs. come see us for paintings, prints, 3D poetry crafts, typewriter poems & more.. plus other great stuff going on at the museum!

Tue 12/15/15 7:30pm – Featured reader at Risk of Discovery show (workshop, open mic & featured readers) at Astoria Coffee [Facebook] i FINALLY get to RISK IT!

Wed 12/16/15 7pm – Hosting Inspired Word NYC’s Wednesday night open mic at the Q4 Hotel in LIC [More info] come see what all the inspired word hype is about!

PS! the global #UseYourAnd ad i did for gillette venus this year is up for a youtube ad of the year award! crazy! just want to give thanks again for that incredible experience. you never know what life has in store~*

PPS…

never a dull moment.

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today is my beautiful little sister’s 18th birthday. man! time is flying. why do we always say that? i’m grateful to be here in this moment.. so grateful.

this past summer has been one of, if not the, most important of my life. i have learned that you cannot fight or force your feelings. every bit of anxiety, restlessness, electricity, emotion- comes from somewhere. and it’s up to you to stop resisting and start listening to what your body and your emotions are trying to tell you. the resulting journey may dismantle you, make people worry a lot about you, question your every move, and fracture the very ground you stand on. but i promise you- it has a purpose.

someday you’ll know why you were never satisfied.

here i stand, in the knowing.

i’ve started a journey to becoming a wilderness guide/educator and also realized how much i love talking to the newer generations about positivity, potential, and the power of words and thoughts. there have also been many moments in the months since the summer that have been downright pitch black. dizzying. soul splitting. but you realize that- this is the point. to push ourselves to our edges and then find the strength to push right PAST.

speaking to a room full of kids, exploring with new souls, sharing my art, taking risks, putting my process on display, going into the woods, learning brand new tasks, trudging up a mountain.. it’s all destroying the parts of me that aren’t golden. aren’t infinite. stripping the useless husks of ego.. to the eternal bloom of light that lies within.

i feel so grateful to everyone i’ve met on this path, whether still with me or not. whether long-standing or brand new. i feel like the universe is placing my steps.. and as scared as i get. as much as that darkness beckons. as much as the questions and the uncertainty whisper to me from the edges.. i know i have to push. and keep pushing. for myself, for everyone. choosing energy. choosing passion. choosing self-expression. choosing wildness. CHOOSING LIFE.

i wrote the piece below for the WORDS WITH WINGS show at THE GRIND on 9/30 that was my first step back into curating and performing after the summer. i also performed it for 10 classes in a row at my high school recently, and its meaning was solidified..

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i am walking forward, INTO THE WILD. events are coming up including MASHUPS on 10/28 at queens council on the arts, a wild rumpus night of new work and free creation featuring visual art, music, poetry, dance, and a wildcard theme of tarot! i will be pushing my own edges this night and we will be responding to each other, to the themes, to the audience, in the moment.

my third book is breaking its own edges.. i’m looking at early 2016 to heal wounds and honor this stretch of the journey since the summer. the process is beginning..

words are going up around my neighborhood and beyond as i re-embrace my duty as messenger.

i will keep challenging myself. and i will stay free. as my family has said, time and time again.. NEVER A DULL MOMENT. but how could there be?

‘without enchantment, the rest is useless’ (borges) —

XO

a.

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***

this. is. for. you:
it doesn’t matter how old you are
what you’re deathly scared of
what is hurting your heart.
it doesn’t matter how many times
you wake up feeling anxious
how many times you reach for
the pen, the camera, the brush, the computer,
the door- and feel it’s pointless.
you. must. go. on.

I BOW ONLY TO THE FIRE INSIDE ME &
THE WINGS ON MY BACK.

even when your palms are bleeding- open your hands. you must go on. your search for meaning amounts to this- above all- it is whatever you create. whatever meaning you ascribe, you are the scribe, the wild messenger. plunge your restless fingers into the dark and with all your heart, pry yourself from what you cannot belong to. put your paws in the earth, hang your fears on tree branches, and go.

if you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror, smash it. if your key doesn’t work, put your fist through the door. if your heart can’t possibly shatter any further, put a lantern in your chest. light a match in the endless tunnels twisting inside your head. IMAGINE a way out, the way you did when you were only a child- you had it right. all those monsters run away if you can shine a brighter light. so SHINE ON, my friends. as bright as you can. conjure your own spell for resurrection, believe again in your alchemy, necromancy, turn the blood to gold and gold to armor, you will live again to fight another day.

wander the desert. pick through the bones. sing in the forest. keep anything that echoes. let the ocean beat against you, let the steepness of the cliff dismantle your ego. and start again. and again. and again. and again. this is the wilderness codex, the code of living forever. dying as many times as you have to. the moment you hit the ground is the first breath that you heave again. if you can’t get up, can’t go on, can’t walk another step, just WILL YOUR WINGS TO WORK.

I BOW ONLY TO THAT FIRE INSIDE ME &
THOSE WINGS ON MY BACK.

so many of us are walking around powerless. i am calling to you, my sisters & brothers, my wild souls, my rebel poets, my warriors of the light.

wear no shoes, climb up to a roof, speak to your city, ignite the mic and as long as it comes from your burning heart don’t regret anything you have to say.

stop disappearing into a faceless army. stop going back to your apartment, doing your job, going to sleep. that tingling in your throat, it’s starting something. it may come out hoarse but it’s a beautiful beginning. the messenger gave you a legend, a scripture, a tale to tell around a fire the way we did in ancient days. your words can turn ash to ember.

BELIEVE it. NOW BLAZE.

***

EVENTS COMING UP:

10/28/15 – Audrey Dimola presents MASHUPS! performance & workshop at Queens Council on the Arts in Astoria [Facebook]

11/12/15 – Nature of the Muse fireside reading/live writing series returns to LIC Bar [Facebook]

11/18/15#neonrebellion kickoff with Nick Neon arrives at Q.E.D. in Astoria [Facebook]

{{thank. you. one. &. all.}}

happy birthday to me

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can there be any possibility of completely understanding who we are and why we’re here or where we are going? […] you have to keep on asking. -kunitz

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! <3 (leo grrlz throw ya paws up!! ;))

thank you all for helping make it a crazy-beautiful and incredibly memorable trip around the sun..

for all the words, the enthusiasm, shows attended, inspiration shared, hugs exchanged, hearts touched, collaborations made, opportunities presented, magic conjured, and LOVE given freely.. thank you, thank you, thank you.

for this one life, this voyage of mine that sometimes veers into the wildest of waters- i am so grateful.

i realized the other day that the gorgeous moments of life are a lot of like bright islands in a shadowy sea.

each moment stands like an island circling light like a beacon in the darkness- it can’t be compared to anything else, it just is. even lost in the wild sea, know that- a few more breaths, strokes- the light will fill you, find you again. be witness to what it is you feel. the grace in almost drowning and finding another island. life is like that. light-filled islands in the dark, wild sea. shifting, eroding, flooding, so you can’t quite stay, but god.. so beautiful while you do.

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my birthday wish is to remain cognizant of how lucky i am, every. single. day.

i want to share 29 pieces of wisdom with you that have been helping me through the wilderness of this particularly heart-cracking summer.

with fire-filled thanks for my twenty-ninth year..

out of darkness lion heart pumping,

XO

a.

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29 for 29 / how to make it through the wilderness:

1. don’t forget that this too is part of the magic you have to offer the world. this pain we go through. our wilderness years. –nick calder

2. in other words, fear doesn’t go away. the warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew everyday. –the war of art

3. discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing […] instead of facing them, one runs away; one escapes- into depressions, nervous breakdowns, drink, love affairs, or frantic, thoughtless, fruitless overwork. anything, rather than face them. anything, rather than stand still and learn from them. one tries to cure the signs of growth, to exorcise them, as if they were devils, when they really might be angels of annunciation. –gift from the sea

4. we insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity- in freedom. –gift from the sea

5. maybe that’s why i have a fragile heart. you can’t accept everything, or you become a monster. –the golden legend (film)

6. the kinds of discoveries that are made through practice have nothing to do with believing in anything. they have much more to do with having the courage to die, the courage to die continually. –when things fall apart

7. you don’t have to have a college degree to serve. you don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. you don’t have to know about plato and aristotle to serve. you don’t have to know einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love. and you can be that servant. –MLK

8. being preoccupied with our self-image is like being deaf and blind. it’s like standing in the middle of a vast field of wildflowers with a black hood over our heads. –when things fall apart

9. if you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin. –women who run with the wolves

10. there must be a little, and in many cases, a good deal of blood spilled on every story, on every aspect of your own life […] if a person is to carry a true medicine. –women who run with the wolves

11. listen to the birds always. –shane hobel, mountain scout survival

12. and though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing. for that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night. –the prophet

13. do it with all your heart and then don’t care when it breaks. –eduardo, on the metro

14. I placed one foot on the wide plain
of death, and some grand immensity
sounded on the emptiness.

I have felt nothing ever
like the wild wonder of that moment. –rumi

15. for horror not to repeat itself endlessly we have to understand its makeup, be willing to look at it, get close to it, at the same time not burn up with it. what we avoid corrupts and deforms us- we are always twisting away from it. and it shows in our writing, in the way we sit and walk. –the true art of writing

16. it is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. it is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. when one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. if one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others. […] only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, i am beginning to discover… –gift from the sea

17. only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us. –when things fall apart

18. ask not of things to shed their veils. unveil yourselves, and things will be unveiled. nor ask of things to break their seals. unseal ourselves, and all will be unsealed. […] if, then, your world be such a baffling riddle, it is because you are that baffling riddle. and if your speech be such a woeful maze, it is because you are that woeful maze. –the book of mirdad

19. if there’s a god or any kind of justice under the sky
if there’s a point, if there’s a reason to live or die
if there’s an answer to the questions we feel bad to ask
show yourself, destroy your fears, release your mask… –QUEEN [listen]

20. ’i’ve been through all this before,’ he says to his heart.
‘yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart.
‘but you have never been beyond it.’ –coelho

21. i am always being overwhelmed, i require it to sustain life. –everett ruess

22. TODAY IS A GOOD DAY FOR MY EGO TO DIE! –nahko [listen]

23. what the hibernating winter in their blood/ needs to become- some dreaming scene/ of humans lumbering away, walking/ on their tongues and tasting/ the truth of the earth. –hochman

24. how sublime is the silence of nature’s ever-active energies! there is something in the very name of wilderness, which charms the ear, and soothes the spirit of man. there is religion in it. -wilderness & the american mind

25. TODAY, TODAY LIVE LIKE YOU WANNA
LET YESTERDAY BURN & THROW IT IN A FIRE
IN A FIRE, IN A FIRE
LIVE LIKE A WARRIOR –matisyahu [listen]

26. 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

27. We want so much,
When perhaps we live best
In the spaces between loves,

That unconscious roving,
The heart its own rough animal.
Unfettered. -tracy k. smith

28. an animal flowers in the elements. it grows wings. –humanimal

29. the solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. i must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. –gift from the sea

& one for luck**

when you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself. and i think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. that work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life. –kunitz

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lose your self-consciousness
gain your self-awareness
back.

be the light on the underside
of leaf
move like the forest teaches
you to move

the goal for you is to overcome
restriction

it is up to you to be a human
translation of the wild

be the wolf they can see in the
shine of your iris in sunlight

help them remember how. –notes from my treehouse