Morning Walk, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Morning Walk

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

On my morning walk to try and subdue

My panic attacks I saw a rusty nail,

A piece of glass, and a rusty piece of broken chain.

I understand the rusty nail and shard of glass,

And may the broken piece of chain

Mean what I hope it means.

 

 

 


 

 


All donations go towards my mounting medical bills.  Thank you.


Borderline, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Borderline

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

I live on the borderline.

I live on the edges of your awareness

And of my own.  I survive

Hidden in plain sight, and can,

Without knowing it has happened,

Shimmer in and out of two worlds;

I drift into little sleeps of the mind,

Little trances of sunlit memories,

Right as we are speaking and you

Would never know, and sometimes

The intensity of what I feel

When I am alone—

The brilliance of the darkness,

The keenness of the pain,

Bloom into a way of being

That says: “Death, come to me,

I cannot bear this anymore.”  And then I do—

I bear it some more, and somehow I breathe,

Find a pulse, and where my feet are standing,

And rise, slipping into the present moment,

And into my body, and into you,

And I wonder where I have been

For so long.

 

 

 


 

 

 




Donations go towards medical bills, rent, food…

Hidden Heritages, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Hidden Heritages

A poem celebrating being trans

inspired by attending a workshop with Starhawk

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

In the art of ritual

common, everyday things

take on new meaning.

The tree roots snaking

above the ground can

symbolize emergence

as well as determination

of will; the padlock pressed

into the grass by the grave

can mean secrets protected

forever; the strategically timed

coffee break which lets you

step into the sun, or the stone

you place in the center

of the meeting room table

while no one is looking

can both represent your ability

to live in truth—the solid, bed-rock

of truth, and both seamlessly blend

the magical with the logistical;

words and gestures translate intentions

and speak hidden heritages

between people not sharing a bloodline;

your every move can bind or loosen spirits;

every political action taken for good

and for the sake of children

will always be the highest form

of ritual; and this body—

this transformation of the mundane

feminine and the mundane masculine

into magical possibilities, declares

that spirit cloaked in flesh manifests

every need, every desire, every foundational

truth into being, into living wonder,

into the sacred space of what is

and what can be.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 




Donations go to help pay medical bills, rent, and food.

Look For Signs, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Look for Signs

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Having bipolar disorder is like…is like…..

Huh? Oh, um…ideas are coming, just wait a second,

I must write them down.  One is about air

And how we all depend on it to lift us in our lungs

And in the tires of our bikes and cars;

The other is about the wings of demons

And what would happen if the wings

Became angels and decided not to carry the demons

Around anymore.  Wait, I’ll be right there.  I just have to

Get these ideas down so I don’t forget them.

Huh? If I don’t write them down the Muse

Might get angry and start ignoring me—

Passing me by when she’s handing out gifts—

Just…..wait a second.  No…..wait.  Don’t wait.

I am not sure how long this will take—the poems will suck

No matter how they turn out anyways—all my poems

Suck.  Why wouldn’t they?  I’m a piece of shit.

Huh? Why would I say that?  Because it’s true.

It’s also true I am a visionary and these ideas

That are coming—the one about air and the one

About the wings of demons—as soon as I turn them

Into poems they will change modern poetics forever.

Yes, even though they’re shitty.  Modern poetics suck too—

And I am a modern poet.  So…wait….if you want to.

I am going to write these ideas down before we talk—

The Muse is waiting, she won’t be denied.

Huh? Where is she?  She’s here, inside, and she’s there

Behind the moon and that tree.  She’s in your eyes…

Wait….there is another idea.  This one is about

How we talk with our hands, and wait, there is another.

This one is about why we feel it in our teeth

When we crunch snow with our boots.  Oh wait,

You don’t feel it in your teeth when you walk

Over snow and it makes a crunching sound?

Told you these poems would suck.  No. No. No.

I am not saying the gifts from the Muse suck.

No. Never.  Ever.  Her ideas are always pure gold—

It’s just they distill through me and I suck

Which, of course, colors the ideas, making the poems suck

That I make out of the ideas.  You see?  No?  It’s OK.

No one does.  Just know this—air lifts you

By your lungs and by the tires of your car, demon wings

Dream of rebelling and flying off the demon’s back,

And, and, the next time you walk over fresh, wet snow,

Touch your hand to your jaw and feel the crunch

From your boots shooting right there in your teeth,

And then, once you know these things—once you believe me

That she will be upset if I do not write them down right now—

Then, maybe you will understand, maybe you will know

What it’s like to be bipolar, but probably not—by the time

You catch a glimpse of understanding I will be

Dead.  It’s inevitable, isn’t it?  I mean, I cannot go on this way

Forever.  God wants me home and demons are clawing at my heels

And the depression is crushing my bones—I feel it

In my teeth, and then, and then, and then…Huh?  Why?

Why kill myself?  The ideas the Muse will give me

Bodiless will be heaven-flavored and better than ever.  But don’t worry.

I will get them to you somehow.

Look for signs.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 




Donations go towards paying medical bills. 

Inside Here, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Inside Here

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Inside here:

Regimented, monitored, life-signs checked,

“It’s time to eat,” and, “attention please,

Level two trauma alert, ETA four minutes,

attention please, level two trauma alert, ETA four minutes,

attention please, level two trauma alert, ETA four minutes.”

 

The meditation room is off limits right now

Since they don’t have anyone to keep an eye on me

While I pray.

 

“Attention please, level three trauma alert, ETA now,

attention please, level three trauma alert, ETA now,

attention please, level three trauma alert, ETA now.”

 

Inside here:

Suffering, shock-brained-slow-moving/talking people

Try to be friendly, “Welcome to the party,” another patient says

As I enter the craft room, “You are who you are,” she says

As I sit down amidst the stares, Zen-doodle coloring books,

Beads, tempera paints, crayons, and colored pencils,

And start to draw a golden dragon.  “You are

Who you are,” I say to myself as I add crimson wings

To the dragon that open out over a valley of Saint George’s

And Saint Michael’s—swords drawn—

Waiting for me to land.

 

 

 


 

 

 




Donations go to helping me pay medical bills. 

Initial Reflections on Changing My Name, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Initial Reflections on Changing My Name

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

crystal-unicorn

 

Today I got word the courts approved my name change.  I am officially Jennifer Angelina Petro. I am challenged to put into words just how happy this makes me feel, but you know I’m going to try.

Imagine being misgendered for 47 years.  Imagine the dissonance caused by not knowing who I really was, and that not knowing boiling subterranean in my consciousness–simmering like molten metal for decades before I knew what was going on.  The dissonance permeated all areas of my life and I didn’t know what it was about.  The only thing I knew was that something was wrong.   What that something was however, was a mystery.

When the molten metal finally spilled over into my conscious life and sent my armor melting to bits I realized the truth:  I am a woman.  Always have been.  No matter what the doctors said, no matter what my name said, no matter what my place in life as a parent and spouse said—I am a woman.  I have spoken many times about the euphoria that came with the realization—the centeredness, the completeness, the sheer joy and utter amazement.  And despite my life circumstances being rather in shambles, that certainty and joy about knowing who I am remains.

And now the courts have given their blessing on my name change.  And while the happiness at this news is great—beyond great—it is tinged with melancholy.  Joseph has been gradually fading more and more off stage since Spring 2015.  And he has done so with class and grace.  I have also written before about how much I love and respect Joseph for keeping me safe all those years.  He wants me center stage.  He wants living this one, wild, and tender life.

And yet as I watch him go I realize in a very real sense he was never there—not in fullness and in truth.  Joseph lived a ghost-life, a phantom life—dissociating everywhere he went.  And he did so to distract the world from me in order to keep me safe until the time was right and ripe for my arrival into the conscious reality of who I am as Jennifer.

So, in truth I was never male, no matter what my body looked like and the things it did.  I have always and ever been female.  I have always and ever been Jennifer.  Joseph was a cloak.  Jennifer the soul and spirit—and yes, she is the cloak too.  No matter what was in my pants or what I thought I was or the world thought I was—Jennifer is the one and only reality of who I am.  And it is my hope your love, acceptance, friendship, and desire to be in relationship with me isn’t conditional based upon what was or is in my pants, or what was or is my name, gender marker, gender identify, or sexual preference.

Esoteric thoughts aside, I am moved to tears as I embrace fully this next stage of my journey.  Jennifer Angelina Petro can now be announced to the world.  Oh, sure there is much paper work to do and forms to fill out and I am sure there will be a fair share of hassles and rigmarole, but it’s OK.  I know who I am.  And little by little, as all the paper work gets finished, my name—my chosen name to represent ME will become more and more accepted in the wider world.

I am grateful for the legal department at the Mazzoni Center, and in particular, Barri Friedland.  She was the shepherdess who helped guide this lost soul to her true name.  In a very real sense I can plug in the words “I once was Joseph, but now am Jennifer,” to the tune of Amazing Grace.  Yes, I know, I have always been Jennifer, but the point is I was lost as Joseph and didn’t even know it.  Barri, and the legal team at the Mazzoni Center, worked pro-bono to be sure Jennifer was found and embraced by the whole world.  I am so grateful.

Thank you for loving me and sticking with me all these years.

 

rainbow-heart

 

 

 


 

 




On Thinking, An Angel and Child Story, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

On Thinking,

An Angel and Child Story

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

“Good morning little one,” said the Angel.

“Morning Angel,” said the child.

“You look like you have a question,” said the Angel.

After a short moment thinking, the child said: “Yes, I do.”

“You’re welcome to share it with me, although I cannot guarantee I have the right answer.”

“You always have the right answer.”

“I try.  Now what is your question, dear one?”

“Well,” began the child, “I keep thinking this nasty thought—about some of my friends getting hurt—not that I am the one hurting them or even want them hurt—it’s just that this thought keeps coming out of nowhere of them getting hurt somehow, and I don’t like it.”

“I see,” said the Angel.

“And I feel like I can’t stop that thought from being in my mind, and I don’t want it there.  What can I do?”

“Well,” offered the Angel, “You could think a different thought.”

“No, I can’t,” said the child, “It’s just there.  I can’t help it.”

“You could try,” said the angel.

“How?”

“Every time the nasty thought comes, catch it, like a fly in a web, and then tuck it over and away, and then, think a different thought.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just what I said.”

“How do I catch a thought?”

“As soon as you realize it’s in your mind catch it, stop the tape, hold the phone, freeze the frame—whatever you want to call it—just notice there’s the thought in your mind you don’t like.”

“And then?”

“And then think a different one—one you do like.”

“That’s impossible,” said the child sitting down defeated on her bed.

“It takes practice,” said the Angel, “You see, we’re so used to believing we have no say, no control, no intentions for what goes through our heads, that we believe we’re helpless to choose thoughts we like.”

“It feels helpless,” said the child, “That thought goes through my mind a million times a day.”

“Some people are helpless,” said the Angel, “they have illnesses that makes it so they need support from outside to help them order their thoughts.”

“What if I am one of the helpless ones?” asked the child.

“Then we get you help,” said the angel, “For now, try it.  After all, a thought is just a picture zooping around your mind’s eye.  When a picture comes you don’t like, freeze it right there in its tracks, and then pick a different picture to look at.”

“That sounds hard,” said the child.

“It might be,” said the Angel, “and often difficult things are the most rewarding. And besides, it can also be fun—a new adventure in thinking.  Think of it like that—an adventure.”

“So, when I think of my friends getting hurt, I catch that picture—like a fly in a web, and then think of a happy picture?  Does it have to be about my friends?”

“That’s a good idea,” said the Angel, “That way you’ll still be thinking about your friends but instead of focusing on a picture of them being hurt you can focus on a picture of them being happy, healthy, surrounded by Light.”

“Will you help me?” asked the child.

“Of course,” said the Angel.

“OK,” said the child, “here goes.”

And as the image of her friends getting hurt raced across the screen of her mind, the child stopped it—froze it right where it was, and then, after taking a deep breath, and asking the Angel’s help, created a different picture—one in which her friends were happy, playing, and dancing.

“I did it!” shouted the child.

“I knew you could,” said the angel.

“Wait,” the child said, sinking down into the bed, “the nasty thought is back.  It didn’t work.”

“It did work,” said the Angel, “It’s just you might need to do it several times, or a hundred times to get the chosen thought to stick.  After all, you said you’ve been thinking the nasty thought a million times a day.  It’s like you’ve created a groove or an easy pathway for it to be there.  Now it’s time to create another path.  You can do it.”

And so, the child did it again.

“It worked,” said the child.

“And it will work over and over, especially the more you feed your mind happy, loving, healthy, positive images.  And,” said the Angel, “this will help too.” Suddenly the Angel drew a golden sword from out of the blue.  The sword was long, brilliantly shining like the sun, and gleaming with sharpness and power.  She laid the sword across her hands and offered it to the child.

“What?!” The child said, her eyes like saucers, her heart racing, her mind afire with wonder, “A sword?!”

“This will help too,” said the Angel, “use it wisely.”

“But, I’m just a kid.  I can’t use a sword like that!”

“I wouldn’t share it with you if I thought you couldn’t use.  It is alright.  It will fit in your hand, and maybe seem heavy, but it will always swing light as a feather and more powerful than lightening when you need it.”

“Wow,” the child said, standing up to take the mighty sword into her hands.  She felt its weight, its power.  “Does it have a name?” she asked.

“Yes,” said the Angel, “It does.  It is called, Truth.  Use it when the lies come.”

“Thank you, Angel,” said the child, raising the sword in front of her, “I think this will help.  I think this will help indeed.”

 

 

 


 

 

 





Lover and Beloved: Today, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Lover and Beloved: Today

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

“Lover,” said the Beloved, “Every morning you pray to me saying: ‘I offer you this day.  I surrender to your will, please give me the power to carry that out,’ which is, of course, a lovely prayer.

“Today I want you to try listening.  You see, I am the one offering this day.  It is yours—a gift I freely give to you and to all.  I want to surrender to your will, my Lover.  Tell me what your will is—I want to know and lavish you with whatever it is you want and need.  Of course, I already know what you want, and it is important for you to tell me—for that is what lovers do—they express their desires openly to one another, so that each knows how to please the other best.  And of course, I have the power to carry anything out, and so do you—that is another gift I give to you—freedom to use my power.  It is yours.

“So, Lover—I offer you this day.  I surrender to your will.  I give you the power to do the things you want and need to do.  Speak to me.  Tell me your desires.  This day was made for you.”

 

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Where I Belong, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Where I Belong

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Sitting in my one room efficiency—a place I have come

To call, my burrow, I find myself

Looking back at memories of my life

And what I see are little trails—

Soundless except my mind gives them sound—

Little trails that veer off into woods

Or branch out into other trails–

They show events and conversations—

Happening right there in the path—

People emerge from the tall grass,

Say their lines, then disappear once again back

Into the field, and as I think of these memories

Some rise around bends, like mountains,

Others like bodies of water, and still others

Like wide valleys of snow, and I realize

I am not really looking back, but forward—

Looking for where the trails lead, if in fact

They lead anywhere—

For the very idea of going from here to there—

Of starting out and then winding up someplace—

Of following the trajectory of an event–

Suddenly seems effortlessly silly.

 

Where am I going?  What gives me the right

To go even imagine I am going anywhere?

Why do I suppose that this life leads somewhere

Or to some time? Why do I need to know

It has a happy ending?

 

Sitting here, alone, in the silence of my books,

I stop roaming the trails and foothills

Of memory, and instead, write this down–

And suddenly the answer appears before me—

Ink spilling form forward leaving letters as trails

And I am full of the emptiness that I have to

Go anywhere.

 

Here, with you,

Is where I belong.

 

 

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Help For Christmas

Dear Friends,

This year marks the first Christmas I will be unable to buy anything for my kids. I realize that’s a pretty good record, and yet, my heart breaks knowing I do not have the resources to buy presents this year–for my kids or anyone else.

Yes, they will understand.  Yes, I can make them things, write them things.  I know.  And there are also things they need and want in their young lives that I would love to help them with.

If you are able, please send along a donation below that I promise to use towards purchasing gifts for my three sons.

Thank you with all my heart.

Jennifer