A Second Thought, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

A Second Thought

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

You have been with me

Since the beginning

Even though

I no longer remember

The first time

You filled me,

Sending me wailing

From the initial revelation.

From that moment

Until now–

I have rarely given you

A second thought.

 

You enter, touching my nose,

And lips, and then

Filter through me,

Spreading life, only to then

Disappear into my cells.

You make my chest rise and fall,

Ebb and flow, enlivening me

Over and over,

Again, and again,

Moment after moment,

Year after year,

And you do so largely

In relative silence and secret.

 

I think of you when I feel

The need to catch you,

Or hold you, or focus

On you for a guided meditation,

Or watch you ghost out

Of my mouth in winter.

 

You shimmer through me,

I know you are there,

I want you to stay,

Even though one day

You will sail out of my body

For good, onto the billowing winds,

To gently, unobtrusively,

Fill the body of another—

Another who will,

In all likelihood, hardly ever

Give you a second thought.

 

So here, now,

I think of you in as full

Consciousness as I can muster,

I feel you filling my every

Cell and vein with kindness.

Thank you for being

My friend, my guide,

My most intimate companion

On my journey

Of letting you go.

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries. <3


 

 

 

 


Transcendencies, a Poem to Honor Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

I wrote this poem originally two years ago and is the title poem of my book by the same name.  I have revised it rather drastically, and much more for the better.  I hope it helps celebrate who we are, each other, and our future together.

Love, Jenn

 

 

Transcendencies

A Poem for the Transgender Community

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

We are all transcendent,

Shining across space and time in clouds

Of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen;

Each and every one of us transcends

Something, or someone, or somehow

Or someday—just to be able to stand here

In this very moment, catching our breath,

Learning to live–

We all transcend and become—

It is as simple as that.

 

Our blood streams are transoceanic,

Our bodies holy translations of spirit and soul,

Transcribed onto the pages of the world

By an Author who knows us by heart and accepts us as we are.

 

Yes, we are transpierced with pain—

Every day just leaving our house

And wondering if we will be safe—hurts.

Yes, we have been transplanted inside

And for some the ground grows more certain with every step,

While others cannot move out of fear for their lives.

Even as we progress in small ways and big,

Through a series of seemingly never-ending transversals only to find ourselves

Transported into more hatred, ignorance,

And shadow-driven insecurities of so-called, “religious” people—

We are still here—we will not give up.

 

We transilluminate boundaries

That no longer have solid meaning—they never did,

We are waking up to the truth that gender

Is not fixed—it is transmigratory—and no longer the transaxle

Of a tired binary sustained by those who have never even

Taken the time to get to know their own bodies–

Let alone love, or transform them into possibilities without shame—

Even though everything about people like us is transubstantiated

By living, breathing experience and science—for here we are, and yet we are told

We do not exist—We are told we do not deserve to exist—

Even though our lives are based on real, vital, valid, individual,

And continuous transitions of body and spirit,

We are still told we are evil, perversions,

Abominations before god.

 

How many more of us will be murdered by transient-thinking men

Before the world decides it is one more too many?

What makes transphobic people think they can transpose

An already faulty belief system onto us to justify or rationalize

Their unjustifiable and irrational actions and laws?

Do they really think we will not fight back against their genocidal ways?

 

 

My dear trans community, let us help transport one another

And the world, into a time where transcendencies are accepted as commonplace–

It will happen despite their barbaric ideas—

We will not be transfixed by their condemning and weakening gaze—They

Who cannot think past their own shadows—they too

Will be transformed.

We are living transmissions of realities

That shine a light on their small mindedness,

And we are here to stay.

 

We are not here to inspire some kind

Of transcultural revolution—

We ARE a revolution—

Every time we step out into the world

We declare that infinite possibilities exist.

 

Jesus of the transfiguration, came to transmute those who hate

And to set their limited beliefs on fire;

Jesus came to give them a spirit-transfusion to flush out

Both their own self-loathing and their fear of us–

Those of us, steeped in beatitudes and compassion

So deep, and forged by pain and marginalization,

As to be transcribed into living testaments

Of love’s transcendent power—we will inherit the earth.

 

Come, haters, shed your mantles of tissue and weariness,

Shed your tired ideological transparencies, and projections,

And transmigrate with us to a way of living where Jesus reigns

Alongside the mother tree and the transdimensional angels

Singing and dancing for the freedom of all souls.

For you will transpire—perhaps sooner than you want–

Life is transonic, yes, but it is death that comes at the speed of sound—

And when it does you shall be transposed against a backdrop of light

And seen for how you really lived.

 

And we—

We will continue to blossom and unfurl—transcendentalists

Of power—living rainbows moving ever forward—

We will continue to be transcendencies of glory,

And revelations of truth,

We will transcend you, transmogrify you, transverse you—

We will ever be here shining a light on your hypocrisies,

And reveling in the wonder of who we are.

 

And my beloved trans community,

May we transcend our own limited ideas of what it means

To really be trans, may we put an end to policing one another,

And instead accept one another for our transunique journeys.

May we all join forces to transfree ourselves and one another.

For we are all transcendent,

Shining across space and time in clouds

Of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen;

Each and every one of us transcends

Something, or someone, or somehow

Or someday—just to be able to stand here

In this very moment, catching our breath,

Learning to live–

We all transcend and become—

It is as simple as that.

 

 

 


 


All donations from this post will go to TransLifeLine


Saint Malo and the Wrens, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Saint Malo and The Wrens

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

The wren laid her eggs

In the cloak St. Malo had put on the ground

As he pruned his vines.

 

Having finished his daily, self-sustaining work,

He reached down for his cloak and saw mother wren,

And her little clutch of eggs.

 

He marveled that each egg was smaller

Than a grape, that each egg contained wings

And songs as sweet as the melodies of flutes.

 

He stood up, fists draped gently on his hips,

Took his clippings and shears,

And walked slowly back to the monastery,

Smiling as he pondered how the God of all

Cares for mother wren and her sleeping little ones,

And how he, for his part, had accepted the opportunity

To encourage future songs.

 

 

 


 

 


All donations go to medical bills and groceries. <3


Be There, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Be There

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

You may have seen

Those videos where

The camera focuses in

On one person and then

Pans out past the tree tops,

The buildings, the clouds,

And further backwards

Through space, until

The swirling earth

Grows smaller, and smaller,

And smaller,

As the satellite camera

Continues to draw back

Revealing solar systems,

Galaxies, and then more—

The ever-growing universe.

 

 

This amazement of technology

Is meant to show us

Our seeming insignificance

In the grand scheme of things—

How little we are, how tiny our earth is,

How, while we find our rightful

Place among the galaxies,

We are still hugely small, invisible

In the clusters of stars.

 

 

I would argue however,

That you matter; that you,

Standing there on the little space

You take—matter.

 

 

And when winter comes,

And the ground grows cold,

And the trees weep their true

Colors into the streets and rivers,

That if you were to bend down,

And gently place your hand

On the hardening ground

And whisper witnessing words—

Reminding the earth of the life

Dreaming within—

The seeds and sleeping animals—

That it needn’t be afraid,

That it needn’t feel it has failed us,

That it is beautiful and to be honored

For the spring and summer

It so lavishly shared with us,

You would be making a world

Of difference.

 

 

The earth gives, and gives,

And gives, and it rejoices

In doing so, and yet, when winter comes,

And the frost pushes it all down,

You can stay by its bedside of trees

And fallow fields, you can

Sing it soft songs of comfort,

You can tread lightly

Over the steeling ground,

You can remind the earth

With your every breath,

Every act of kindness,

Every prayer,

That the earth will

Resurrect, that it will

Be born again, that it will

Waken from its frightening sleep,

And once again, and again,

And again, bloom, just as

The universe continues

To bloom, just as you

Continue to bloom,

Just as you realize more, and more,

And more, how important

You really are.  In the grand

Scheme—which is, of course,

Really, a great song–

Once again, it needs to be

Said over, and over, and over—

You matter, you have the powers

To comfort and heal,

You have the powers

To be comforted and healed–

Because nothing is alone,

Because everything matters,

Because we blossom

Through this universe

Full of the stuff of stars

And communities of compassion

And wonder.

 

So, as you stand, be the spring

And summer for the earth

As she freezes into her yearly

Death–be there, be there for her,

Be for her as the sun is

For you.

 

 

 


 

 

Thank you for your support.  All donations go to medical bills and groceries.



Murmurations, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Murmurations

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

The flock of starlings rises, like a black dot-to-dot,

Lifting from the page, into the air, where it swirls–writhing, like

A confused river tossing and turning—back and forth,

Dizzying the threat of the falcon.

 

As suddenly as it began it starts to dissolve, each starling

Finding its place on the powerlines and trees, where they breathe

Little sighs of feather-settling relief.

 

As I sit in my car from the side of the road where I pulled over to watch,

A panic surges within my chest and it seems to me

There is no other way than the lifting of all things—

Moments, friends, kisses, ways of walking and singing—

All things releasing themselves into the unconscious sky,

As if time were shaking off the sheets of the memory.

 

Suddenly as it began, the panic disperses, my fears

Finding their places coursing through the hollow bones of a faith

That carries me inexplicably over the hillsides and valleys, where death–

That falcon who notices all things–will only fall back

For so long, and yet what I love gathers on higher branches

And upon the lines of the staff of the song the goddess sings

Forming a universe filled with galaxies giving birth to starlings

That, in turn, give birth to entire flocks of revelation—

Wings and hearts swirling into the form of shared communities of hope.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your kind support.


On My Second Birthday of Coming Out As Trans, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

On My Second Birthday of Coming Out As Trans

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro
I have four birthdays. The first being my “belly button” birthday—January 7th, 1968. The second being that April morning in 2015 when I realized in full conscious that I am transgender (I am not sure of the exact date, which is incredibly annoying—so I am going to pick, April 1rst. Not for the reasons you might automatically be thinking. Back in 2015, the International Day of Hope fell on April first—that’s why I’m picking it). My third birthday is the day I came out publicly—to the whole world—no more hiding—anything—ever: September 18, 2015. And finally, October 11, 2015—the day I started taking t-blockers and estrogen.

Two years ago today I posted a note on FB and on my blog. It’s a quaint, naive, defensive sort of note—filled with idealism, early forays into activism, my usual flare for the corny, and yeah, a big reveal. Most of you know the devastating fall out that note had on my life and the life of my family. With your help, however I carried through my last year as a teacher, loving every moment I got to be with those kids. I also saw the end of a marriage, the sale of a house, the moving into an apartment (twice in 3 months) alone, and the death threats, the relatives and friends who stopped talking to me, the people pissed I made this announcement on FB and my blog instead of telling them individually (yeah, that would have gone over well and not been the least bit emotionally exhausting), the meetings at school with angry parents, and also, the utter joy at freely walking through the world as I was always meant to. And THAT was a kind of blessing that is hard, even for me, to put into words.

Last year I posted a very depressing first coming-out birthday note. And as much as I spoke of being depressed that first year, little did I know the depression would worsen to the point of being life-threatening. Over the course of that first year—with all the difficult (to say the least) and naively unexpected life-changes, I careened shortly thereafter, into a severe and total breakdown with multiple hospital stays for suicidality. Looking back on my coming out letter, last year’s letter, and this–and you will notice depression has been with me the entire time. That’s because I am clinically depressed. I was born with depression, the same way someone is born with any other physical illness. It goes with me where ever I go. I say that to say, my suffering from depression isn’t because I’m trans. Being trans and coming out worsened my symptoms–yes, for sure–but the illness called, depression, has always been with me–since my earliest childhood days.

Which brings us to today. It has taken me a year to even truly begin to feel somewhat stable mentally and emotionally, and I am still not out of the woods as far as a recovery from this latest flare up of symptoms from my depression. And yes, fall is coming, and winter, and yeah, I usually go through those seasons chipper as a jar of glitter at a Pride parade…The difference this year though is that I am getting help from so many fronts—professionally, medically, therapeutically, spiritually, emotionally, and for all that I am, with trepidations, hopeful this year’s symptoms won’t be so extreme.

So here I am: two years old. Through all the changes, depression, dysphoria, unemployment, calls from debt-collectors, lonely days and nights in my hovel, I have also had moments—glimpses and full visions of salvation, community, love, hope, and the peace and electricity that come from living one’s truest self–my self–me. Who I am. Not who I was born to be–I was born this way–a woman–a transgender woman–but who I am meant to live openly as the way I was truly born.

Yes, I am scared about the upcoming fall and winter. Yes, I am still unemployed and, in all clarity, not mentally fit enough to be working a “real” job yet. I am also getting better. I also have a church community I never knew I’d find—friends that support and love me in ways only real friends can do. There is reason for hope, and you are one of those reasons. My ex and our children still love and accept me and that, of course, is key.

Last year I ended my first birthday note with a toast to a smoother year. We all know that smoother didn’t exactly manifest. So, I won’t toast to that this year. I won’t toast to anything. I don’t drink anyway.

What I will say is this: Thank you. Thank you for your love and support. For being there in my darkest moments and my silliest sillies, and my most wondrous of wonders.

I am here. I am myself in a way that was simply more conscious and alive that I was before I came out, and for that, despite all the challenges—I am eternally grateful.

Happy birthday to me. I love me. I love you.

1vliof


 

 





Breathing Out the Dark, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Breathing Out the Dark

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Come, summer, the earth is opening for you.

Autumn is igniting secret, slow embers across

The hillside, and when they seize the air and blaze freely,

It will be for you as fireworks

In honor of the long afternoons

You spread—bee dappled—and seed-floating

For children to run through.

 

Come, summer, the streams and rivers

Are inviting your heat to rest in their many cool folds

And moving pockets of pebbles and stones.

Sink into their praising hands and laughter—

All in thanks of you and the shafts of light

You directed at their faces and the fronds of the ferns—

You established trails and made for us paused moments

Of birdsong-filled reflection.

 

Come, summer, hands and backs are readying

To gather the gifts spring spilled upwards from the ground

To be sun-fostered and breeze-held by you.

It is with this thought, this sense of knowing you

For the first time, having missed you

In the star-filled expanse of voice-filled evenings—

This feeling of settling and thanks,

That the earth offers you a place to recompose

Your light among the cool, falling asleep roots,

Until you are ready to rise again with the crickets

And cicadas, and strum for us another season

Of breathing out the dark.

 

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical expenses and groceries.  Thank you for your loving support.



Diagnosis, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Diagnosis

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Gnosis.  A knowing

Of mysteries, wind-whispers,

And scrolls written on bone.

Dia: to be thorough, and yes,

To be thorough twice.

Know yourself Thales

Admonishes.  We are water

And stars.  We are living, breathing

Wind-walkers, and so much

More. Faces tell surface truths.

Eyes tell more.  The timber of the voice still more,

And how one walks and breathes

Betrays it all; every step

And breath unfolds your revelation

Into the world.  Pause

Every now and again,

And again, and look into the water

Reflection of those around you–

What is it about you that makes you

One of a kind, a kind of galaxy of discoveries

And wonder among a sea

Of other galaxies?  What is it you really

Perceive when you pass the mirror,

When you tell someone your name?

Know this: No matter what label you are given,

Or choose to give yourself,

No matter the name of the illness ascribed

To the story of your life, you are

Thoroughly known twice—

Once by your very own dreaming soul,

And once, over and over, unending,

By the one who pours water

Into your cells, and knows the stars

By name, ever blossoming the song of all

Into the wind.

 

 

 


 

 


All donations go to medical expenses and groceries.  Thank you for your loving support.


Catching Myself, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Catching Myself

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Lately I have been thinking

When I was young I would

Buy butterfly nets, or make them,

And then go chasing after those delicate,

Powder-winged beings.

I swooped my net down,

Across, zig zag—anything to

Snatch a butterfly in midflight,

And when I captured one,

As gently as I could, I removed it

From the net, held it cupped in my hands,

Felt it tickling my palms

With fear-filled wings,

Examined its face, legs, and abdomen—

Resisting the traumatized impulse

To dog-ear its wings,

And then I would let it go

Like I was offering it to the world,

Like I was doing something kind,

Like I had every right to disturb

The life and heartbeat of these most

Cosmological beings, and then,

I would look at my hands

And see stains of pigment

Smudged on my palms—

It made me feel guilty,

It made me feel cruel,

And it made me feel like,

Just once, I had some form

Of beauty glittering inside me

as I fluttered into the waiting, stormy sky.

 

IMG_20160714_200900


 

 


All donations go to food and medical expenses.  Thank you. <3


Interdependence Day, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Interdependence Day

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

vigil photo 1

 

I love this country.  I really do.  I will never forget, however, that it was, and is, being born from violence—genocide, slavery, and corruption.  It was also born from a deep thirst of religious freedom and the ideal where anyone could come to live out their lives the way they chose.

Yes, we have a terrorist imbecile in the white house.  Yes, it has a barbaric administration.  We also have you.  We also have many who will resist and fight, and care—maybe not in the ways you think they should, but they are do, and in their own ways are living out their lives the way they choose—a life of generosity, compassion, kindness, love, and humor.

And yes, there are those who have no choice in how they live—those who have no independence.  There are the oppressed, the marginalized, the hated, feared, the hungry, the homeless, the people without healthcare, or enough money to live on no matter how many hours they work at a minimum wage job.  And of course, this must change.  The dangers of capitalism, the patriarchy, white supremacy, the attacks on the environment, racism—these all must change and be dismantled.  And it is hard.  Most days it seems impossible.  I truly believe we can do it though.  I truly believe we can, and are, rising up as never before.  The powers of good are getting stronger every day, and you and I are a part of that energy.

Yes, this country is deeply flawed, and we can look around and see those flaws, and rightly so, everywhere we look. And we should.  We need to be awake to what we can do to help make positive, lasting changes in our country.  We need to bear witness to each other’s pain.  We need to listen to each other’s stories of sorrow and victory.

Yes, there are people living kind, compassionate, good lives—I  daresay the vast majority in this country are trying to do so.  They love their kids.  They do good in their communities.  They offer you a hand when you’re down.  They do amazingly inventive, hilarious, useful things.  They do their best to live in such a way as to promote basic, human decency.

Yes, this country is a mess.  It is also a tapestry of wonder and of good people creating peace and a safe place for all.  There are many people who do not let hate live in their homes.

And no, I am not going to say we are the greatest country in the world.  There is no greatest country.  There is only a world of souls woven together by threads of hope in the face of great, unholy darkness.

I am a trans woman….I have tasted oppression and marginalization.  I have received death threats, and been the target of hate.  I fear going out of my apartment every day.  And yet I go.  I go with the faith that the good people will always outnumber the ignorant, misguided, brainwashed, hateful, hurtful people.  And it has never failed to be so in my experience.  For every act of hatred aimed at me, there have been a hundred acts of kindness aimed at me also.  The vast majority of my days I go out into the world, and while afraid, realize I am OK.

And no, I am not free.  I am not truly independent.  I am held back by my gender, by my mental illness, by my not being able to pass.  I also can share many gifts and strengths by being trans.  My mental illness may prevent me somedays from getting out of bed, but it also helps me see the world in magical ways, and it heightens my desire to be more and more compassionate to myself and others.

Yes, I am free to fight, and I do.  I am an activist by my very existence.  I am free to let you help me, and I do, and you do.  I am free to help you. I am free to troll the world with beauty, courage, compassion, and humor.  I am free to be me even as, in the same moment, I am not.

Today, I am going to change the name of this day to Interdependence Day.  We all need each other.  We all need one another.  And if today the best you can do is post a meme about justice, then you have helped the world.  Today I might need to be carried.  Today I might be able to carry.  We are all inextricably connected.  We even share the same air as trump.

I believe in us.  I believe in you.

I believe in our capacity to help one another, to see the good, to assume the good in one another.  I believe in our desire for justice, equality, and the genuine acceptance of one another.  I believe in our power to fight, to speak out however loudly or softly we can. I believe in the good people doing acts of kindness every day. I believe in love.  I believe in the collective power of our vision and that it will one day prevail.  It is already spreading.  A fire is burning in our hearts.  A light is shining from our eyes.  We can rise up, lifting one another, and learn how to help change the things that so desperately need changing.

I am going to celebrate Interdependence Day by bringing a meal to a family in need.  I am not bragging, but if I was, who fucking cares?  Announce your goodness for all to see.

Happy Interdependence Day.

I love you all.  Thank you for all you have done, and will do to help me survive the illnesses I carry.  I would not be here today were in not for good people like you.

 


 

 

 


Donations go to medical expenses, groceries, and medicine.

Thank you. <3