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.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


You and I, by Radiance Angelina Petro

You and I

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

There is a swan, whose name

is ecstasy, sailing, with all the silence

of a dewdrop, across the dark waters

of the soul.

 

 

Her head bowed, she searches

for changelessness,

for the unbroken, for the secret

of unity conceived in the universe

and born of our Lady of the Stars.

 

 

She wants the most daring

oneness of body and soul,

she wants the adorable one

and all.  This is the orgasm

of her mind, this is her body’s

exclamation of wonder.

 

 

She knows her name is holy,

and she knows full well that a feather

can overturn the universe,

And so, she sails, as you and I

must sail, gently, almost

imperceptibly, pushing the air

elegantly behind her with her marvelous wings.

 

 

And she glides across the water, like

the moon moving though the sky,

her night colored eyes staring down,

deeply, into the revelation

of who she really is.

 

 

 


 

 


From Here On In, A Collage Poem, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

From Here On In

A Collage Poem

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

(Using my own words and phrases,

as well as some found in, “The Golden Ass,”

by Apuleius, trans. By Jack Lindsay, 1962)

 

 

I want to know everything

in the world.  Beyond

the narrow cast of reason,

that is where I am going.

I consider nothing impossible.

 

The hinges snapped

from my mind’s shutters,

and I am thirsty for every sip

of novelty.  I want festivals

of the flesh—the rare

and the marvelous.

 

If you want to go with me,

I ask you do not think,

to carry no convictions—

be like a newborn sun—wings

outspread, conceived by sea

and foam, fragrant as cinnamon.

 

Unwind your wants and desires,

listen to the rivers muttering magic

begun again anew in full brilliancy, as scars

of old wounds heal as you spirit

through leaves and fields, leaping, like

a goat high in the mountains.

Dionysus will be our guide.

 

This abandonment is the touchstone

of warm snuggery, of a luxuriance

of kisses, of bandying jests,

of uncrimping the soul, of a kind

of wild freedom that resounds

bliss through your every bone.

Everything you see

from here on in

is you.

 

 

 

 

 


 


Over Trails of the Sea, A Collage Poem, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Over Trails of the Sea

A Collage Poem

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

(Using words and phrases from “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow,

The Prophesies of Nostradamos, translated by Erika Cheetham, 1973, along with my own.)

 

 

 

Like a shipwreck trying to hold on

to the reef, I lean this way and that.

Sooner or later, you will see great changes—

that’s what they tell me, but my eyes

are open only to old fantasies and wishes.

 

Beyond the river, raised by land and sea,

The act has been done.  Hidden in swampy marshes,

a monster is born, wild with hunger, and it knows my name.

It knows everything about me, knows I am trying

to see the shore through the mist, through the dark,

and he will wander far in his frenzy to find me.

 

And yet, even with the Rubicon uncertain,

a shadowy hope, which Providence scrounged

to sustain, rises, lifts my face to the sky.  The light

is stupefying and marvelous—the flashes of fire—

I believe that in this night I have seen the sun,

while the monster waits—knows I am coming,

knows I have moved closer to freedom.

 

And then, my wings and feathers fall at my feet,

and I know I must now allow myself to be carried

safely through the sky by birds of the celestial palace,

high away from the monster that will forever dog my steps.

 

I know a serpent has been placed on the shore.

I know snakes surround the altar.  I know

there will be rains and frosts.  I know the documents

on which are written what I should do next

are enclosed in fish, and that the secrets

of my future are hidden in the heads of salmon,

 

and yet, over the trails of the sea, a way opens,

and I am placed gently down, brought

to rebirth at the fortified harbor,

where lighthouse lights come through thunder,

to welcome me home.