Fading, By Radiance Angelina Petro

Fading

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

Windchimes ring, giving tones to the day,

which gradually return to the wind, and disappear

into the sky.

 

A couple yards over, someone mows the lawn,

and the deep, low whirr becomes summer for a few

drifting moments, and then, shuts off, and the sound

lingers briefly in the trees, with the scent of freshly cut grass,

where they both gradually disappear into the sky.

 

My voice blends with my guitar, singing my heart

to my aloes and spider plants, and the books of poetry

across the room, only to float away, gradually disappearing

into the tables and chairs and kettles.

 

I will stop speaking one day, and the sounds of my last words

will lift to the ceiling and shimmer through the window shades

and out, called, to who knows where.

 

We all spill gradually into our lives, and leave them

the same way—emptying into time, and perhaps

to reassemble, in a way, into someone’s memory,

until we gradually fade from there too, fading with their fading,

absorbed by the great silence, disappearing, gradually,

into the sky.

 

 


Reflections on Lovemaking, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Reflections on Lovemaking

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

Reading a book this afternoon, called, Sexual Ecstasy (hey, why not? Yeah, I mean, I’m basically ace, or demi-sexual, or abstinent by circumstances or perhaps by choice, but I can dream and study and wonder, can’t I?), I am aware how many times the author, Margo Anand, refers to sex as “lovemaking,” one word. When I wasn’t just looking at the pictures, I saw this word, “lovemaking,” a lot.  The more I did, the more I thought.

Can’t anything be love-making—two-words? Can’t walking (silently or chatting) be love-making? Can’t eating together be love-making? Can’t talking into the wee hours of the night be love-making? Can’t reading to one another be love-making? Or reading silently to ourselves in the same room, or serving one another, of easing the suffering of others, of being an activist?

I would say, yes. Love-making, to me, isn’t (shouldn’t) be confined to sexual-intimacy. Of course, it’s totally valid if you view love-making as lovemaking in a sexual sense. Some people, however, have consensual sexual experiences not as a fruit of romantic love, but as friend-love—friends with benefits, so to speak.  Sex doesn’t always have to involve romantic love, or even friendship.  It can be sex work; it can be casual.  Constraining sex to only romantic love limits the possibilities of not only what love can be, but also what sexual experiences can be.  As long as its enthusiastically consensual and safe for everyone involved, and doesn’t involve minors, then have at it.

Love goes both beyond the body and into the body. It can be of your own body and/or include the body of another—a sort of rhythm of inner and outer. It encompasses infinite variations of unfoldment—love between friends, love between monogamous couples, love in poly relationships.  Love unfolds as tenderness, openness, vulnerability, honest communication, deep listening, as well as fun, wildness, quiet calm, ecstatic singing, ecstatic silence, helping others, compassion, kindness, and more.

Further, as I began to reflect on all of this, the question arose: Can any kind of love between people be “made?” If so, what does that mean? Is love like a recipe? Is love like a canvas, clay on a potter’s wheel, a melody of music? It can be.  I mean, it’s legit to think of it as that.  I also like to think that love isn’t “made,” so much as cultivated, but then again, that’s like making love in the sense of creating a garden with someone and/or someone’s. I guess, in this moment, the best way I can express this thought is that perhaps love is just there—everywhere, and when people connect (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, life experientially, for a common dream, for laughter-ally, etc.) they are participating in something that already exists.  In other words, it’s more like merging with a hidden-in-plain-sight river, or song, or breath.  Yeah, that’s it.  Love is like air.  When we consciously love it’s like consciously breathing. It’s a sharing, a partaking of the furtherance of the flow of things. It’s a quiet (or wild) celebration of the air, of sunlight, moonlight, holy darkness, of earthiness, of clouds, of the laughter of creation.

In addition, my dear friend, and wonderful writer, Elaine Mansfield, reminds us that creativity in and of itself is love-making. It needn’t involve physical touch or to even be in the same room with someone. Creativity nevertheless reaches out and touches others.  Elaine, speaking of when she’s chasing written inspiration, says:

“I can feel hot on the trail of something when I’m writing–and that’s a kind of love-making for me and it involves “touching” others.”

Not only is writing self-love, it indeed touches the reader even if that reader is hundreds of miles away. For touching goes beyond the physical, beyond the body. And this kind of touching goes with all forms of creativity.  The painter paints, and their work touches us.  A composer composes and their music touches us.  A singer sings and their song touches us.  It is the same with dancers, sculptures, and all other creative love-making.  They make love with us in the most genuine and intimate ways.

Self-love can also encompass self-sexual pleasuring, setting boundaries, practicing holy solitude, self-care, and so on.  Love is just as valid and powerful alone, doing “nothing,” as it can be between people in any kind of consensual, safe relationship paradigm one is a part of.

Someone once said, the purpose of life is to learn to love and be loved.  I think that’s a wondrous idea, but perhaps not the purpose of life (or, at very least, not the only one).  I haven’t a clue, really, what the purpose of life is.  It’s different for everyone and for every relationship.  It also doesn’t need to have a “purpose.”  It can just be—just exist in the experience of existing without attaching a goal to it.

These are some things I thought about today, alone on my Treehouse, wondering whether or not I should delete OKCupid and Tinder, whether I am surrendered to being single, abstinent or ace, or will I keep looking for some kind of relationship.  There is much deconstructing yet to do in my cultural conditioning of what love is, and that it goes beyond romantic love. Keeping in mind the original meaning of “romance” is a story, and adventure.  In that light, life itself is one long romance with the world, and with one’s self, and with others in one form or another. In the end, it simply is what it is, even as it is sometimes touched with sorrow and longing for me.  It’s also flavored with a quiet, growing acceptance of who I am and how my life has unfolded and is unfolding. Love is the here and now at the same time it’s the blossoming of horizon after horizon.  It’s fun to think about–to think about all the manifestations love can be/is, and not just confine it to sexual intimacy, just as light is not confined to the day, just as wisdom is not confined to the mind, just as seeds are not confined to the darkness.

 

 

 

 


Embrace, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Embrace

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

We cannot know

what we do not know

until we know it, and once

we do, we know what we didn’t

know before.  And that

 

is good information for those times

when we’re talking with someone

who doesn’t know what they don’t know.

 

Compassion works

because no one knows exactly

the pain of another, but

we do know pain when

we see it, and that

should be enough

to meet one another

and embrace.

 

Empathy works

because no one truly

understands themselves

or the other, and so

when we catch a glimpse

 

 

of the synergistic universe

in the eyes of another,

that should be enough

to meet one another half-way,

and embrace.

 

We can all know, however,

whether we remember it or not,

that breathing helps

this liminal thing called living

to continue, and that

there is enough air for everyone,

and all breaths embrace

every other breath,

so we may as well embrace

in the same, weaving way.

 

We can also know our hearts

beat whether we think about it

or not, and everyone’s heart

beats together whether we like it

or not, and that one rhythm

creates

 

an earth-knowing,

a season-knowing,

a sky-knowing,

a love-knowing

unity.

 

And so, we may as well

embrace, and this time, why not

spin that embrace into a dance

that none of us really knows

how to dance?

 

Dance the dance

of the unknown together,

knowing the one thing

we all want to forget:

 

the dance will end.

And that particular bit

of perhaps difficult knowing

should be enough

to make us embrace,

and hold on for dear life.

 

 

 


International Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Tomorrow is International Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day to honor the trans/non-binary people murdered thus far this year–that we know of. I say, that we know of, because there are very likely others not known due to misgendering by police/family. There are some organizations that put the number higher than that.
This year, there were 34 known murders in the US. The highest total in almost 10 years. Most of these were trans-women of color. Internationally, there have been over 350 trans/non-binary people murdered. This too is the largest number in several years. The oldest being 31, and the youngest, 15. 22% were killed in their own homes. Almost 50% of those killed happened in Central South America, and, in particular Brazil.
This number doesn’t include the unknown number of trans/non-binary people who died of suicide. It’s likely many of them died as a result of bullying, fear of the future, and lack of acceptance in their families, friends, and the world in general.
What are some things we can do to end this epidemic of violence? Support transgender and non-binary people. Fight for their rights–to housing, medical care. Talk about accepting people like me in your families, places of worship, schools, circles of friends, and in local and national politics. Invite transgender people into your homes for housing, meals, and kindness. Protect the rights of sex workers.
Donate money to the Translifeline, the Trevor Project, the HRC, the The National Center for Transgender Equality, the Okra Project, The Emergency Release Fund, The Black Visions Colletive, The Transgender Law Center, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, For the Gworls, Trans Women of Color Collective, SNaP Co., INCITE, Black Trans Travel Fund, G.L.I.T.S, among many others.
In this moment, I am not sure what else to say except, Join me Friday, November 20th, at 7 PM, at SAGA’s Online Memorial Service, (the Meeting Code is: 655-983-3799, the Password is: 350350), and you can honor them learn the names of the 34. You will see their pictures. You will see they were just people. People with lives ahead of them. Lives cut short due to transphobia.
We must all say their names.
We must all morn and be outraged.
We must all act to end the violence and murders.
This is one of the 34:
Queasha D Hardy, 22, black transgender woman, shot to death in broad daylight, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 27. 


Names of Fire, By Radiance Angelina Petro

Names of Fire

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

Autumn opens her notebooks,

sending words sailing into the streets

never once looking back.

She lends them to the wind

where they are bolstered by many

changes of direction.

 

She knows who we are.

She accepts us as we are—cornstalk fiddles

trying to tune our lives into song.

 

She knows we are apprentices

of the sun, and that few have ever seen

pineapple groves or wandered further

into the mountains.

 

Autumn knows our spirits are tightly

wound spools in need of loosening, so

she coaxes us into wide spaces,

into scouring rains and gloom,

through the smoke of burning leaves,

into the growing, early darkness,

where we hastily scrawl her messages

into linsey-woolsey phrases

with hopes we’ll turn, transformed,

and strong, and change our names into fire

against winter’s coming cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


It Still Amazes, by Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

It Still Amazes

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

This rhythmic exchange

of sky and lungs.  We hold sky inside us,

swirl it around so it touches

everything; and the sky, in turn,

holds us, touches everything—such delicate

intimacy, such cosmic play.

 

And even when our body has breathed its last, still

we merge and we weave and we dive

and we swim, we turn and we go

where ever we go, lifted in the song

of it all.

 

 

 

 


 

 


We All Know It’s Going to Happen, By Radiance Angelina Petro

We All Know It’s Going to Happen

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

Fields of corn, after whispering

all summer, have fallen silent,

the earth begins its long, slow inhale,

the last cricket suddenly stops singing,

the grey heron flies, pushing the past

dreamy months behind with sad, tired wings,

branches and roots withdrawal green

back down into the ensouled earth.

 

We all know it’s going to happen,

we all know the cold is coming.

And what does heaven say to us,

as it blankets the ground with gold?

 

It says:

 

begin building your fires, keep each other warm,

and all through the harsh and difficult winter,

remember: seeds are dreaming of light.

 

 

 

 


 


Coming Out Day Reflections, 10/11/2020, By Jennifer (Ray) Angelina Petro

Coming Out Day Reflections

10/11/2020

By

Jennifer (Ray) Angelina Petro

 

 

If you didn’t already know—I’m trans, and every time I leave the Treehouse automatically makes the day, no matter what day it is, for better or for worse, Coming Out Day.

There are still private, and little/big moments, when I look at myself in the mirror, and for better or for worse, realize all over again that I’m trans, and there is nothing whatsoever I can do about that even if I wanted to. And that can bring a wild, almost feral joy. It can also bring the oppressive sense of being trapped in a life I did not choose.

There are times when I think back to my initial coming out, and how it smashed my world all to hell, and I regret it–in the sense of wishing it didn’t have to happen. And yet, the truth was/is that I couldn’t NOT come out. When you’re born you’re born, the rest of the world be damned.

I have learned over these past 5 years that my being trans–in my particular case–and, for better or for worse, is only a beginning to the discovering/uncovering of who I am, and there isn’t a finish line to this journey, and the journey is wondrous, terrifying, full of laughter, full of loss, full of gain, full of joy, full of anger, full of shame, full of power, full of gratitude, full of healing and pain, full of possibilities and opportunities, full on the kind of emptiness that is crucial to being a vessel for authenticity and for good.

Coming out, for me, was really more of a coming down–as in descending, incarnating into my body for the first time. It was the embodiment of fire in wood. It was also more of a coming up, as in the cicada nymph having no choice but to allow the light to draw it skyward. And magically, it was also a certain kind of coming in. As the revelation of who I was blossomed into the world, its roots found soil in my heart, and my own self-compassion turned inwards to treasure and protect the truth of me in ways neither you or I will ever fully know.

Coming out was also the acceptance of how powerful I am, how resilient. It was embracing that being a shapeshifter is holy. It was honoring and feeding a ferocity that for too long lay hidden, afraid, and directionless. It was accepting that coming out later in life, for better or for worse, makes me an elder, a crone, a warrior who will fight for the young with my new found claws and teeth.

Coming out has also made my life far more threatening to those around me than it was when I thought I was a cis male. Surrendering male privilege in this society threatens people in strange, outlandish, and very real, dangerous ways.

Know this: if my coming out was a choice I may have very well not come out. I am not that brave, but I have to be now.

My coming out, however, wasn’t a choice. It was, as mentioned above, the giving birth to myself; it was Joseph midwifing me into the world.

The only thing I can control now is how I outwardly present who I am, and how I choose to use the new-found power that lives within me. And sometimes choosing to hide is the wisest, bravest thing I can do.

And even as my wings continue to grow and there are times I can spread them, like an angel, I am very conscious that the more I fly, the more I soar, like a hawk searching for those that would harm the fledglings– the more vulnerable I am to violence, hate, discrimination, and marginalization.

So, while Coming Out Day can be a day of celebration, it can also be a day of reckoning; a day where one’s destiny suddenly unfolds before them, like an unstoppable river. And this can bring joyous freedom and excitement, and it can also bring churning fear of what might happen next. It can also bring a deep sense of inner crisis, isolation, and the need to hunker down for a bit to grow into the truth.

Know this, my blessed allies–Coming Out Day is a very big day indeed with repercussions that will be felt the rest of our lives, and so, we need you. Please continue to make this world safer and safer for people like me and to the young ones coming after. I know you will, because you too, are brave. Please also continue to make the world safer for older trans people like me to come out later in life.

And remember all of you seasoned, professional queers–remember what Coming Out Day was for you, and never forget how scary it can be. Protect each other. Celebrate each other. Remove the gates so gatekeepers have nothing else to do but turn away and grow into better people.

So, there it is. It’s Coming Out Day. I am a transgender woman who presents somewhat non-binary, and uses she/her pronouns. I am, every day, newly born, and, for better or for worse, I am not going anywhere.

 

 

 


 


While You Are Not Obligated, By Radiance Angelina Petro

While You Are Not Obligated

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

(Using my own words as well as words

found in The Dictionary of Shipping Terms and Phrases,

by Edward F. Stevens, pub. 1947)

 

 

You are sufficient, seaworthy,

you have tendered time

its disbursements of grief,

your tears have perfected your sight

enough, you have recouped

the solvency of the spirit,

your manifest includes hope’s readiness.

 

Now, against all risk, enter outward,

for there is yet the safety of adventure,

and you now sail unenclosed waters.

 

Mooring ropes, as you know,

wear thin, and there are ships

drifting at sea, others are icebound,

nearly inaccessible, waiting

for the frost-feathered gull

to drop the notice of abandonment.

 

There are plenty of lighthouses along the shore.

What is needed are lightships willing

to take the lost alongside, to pass provisions,

to touch and stay, and lead them

to believe out of the starless night,

and into the harbor of taverns and song,

where they can, unladdened and free

of encumbrances, reinterpret themselves

back into the land of the living.