Naming the Way, by, Jennifer Angelina Petro

Naming the Way

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Go outside late October.

Lock your eyes on one falling leaf.

Try to find the moment

As close to the beginning

Of it’s letting go from the branch

As you can. Really follow that leaf—

That one in a million leaf.

Train your eyes on it.  Focus.

Notice the way the wind carries it,

Breathes it.  Watch how it turns

Gently over and around, catching little

Fleeting currents, and then

Smoothing out into a kind

Of easy drifting.  Its descent held

In the palms of the wind.  See

How golden.  See how tenderly

It is placed in the stream.

Give that leaf a name—your

Name, and then,

Go back inside

To pray.

 

 

 


 


The Wandering Now, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Wandering Now

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Are there times, plural? Times

That exist multiplied, added,

Subtracted, divided?

 

Or is it one time and one time only?

Is it one borderless time—no alpha,

No omega time? No chronos,

No Kairos, no linear, no anywhere time?

 

We do know there are

Rhythms of moons and seasons,

 

We do know we breathe—

 

Our lives,

Our breath,

 

Sifts through many branches,

Spreads through many bodies,

Moves in a wind that is kin to silence—

 

Yet even amidst the changes that don’t

Really change, even amidst the sound

Living in silence, and the silence living in sound

 

It is still a breath—an expansion and contraction

Of our place in time—

A breath that is, in itself, a spirit,

A spirit that is, in itself, a body—

A body that is, in itself, the now made manifest.

 

And from where we stand,

In all of the mystery, and all

The effort to find a center

 

We blossom and wither

In no time at all—

 

So here we are—maybe

You need to join me in

Lifting our head, lifting our hands—

And with all the earnestness of a lost soul–

Say to the everywhere:

“Show me.”

 

 

 


It’s All Happening Now, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

It’s All Happening Now

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Your awareness

Of your immediate

Surroundings–this

Moment, and

Your breath

Breathing presence

Into the world–

Is valid. Your pain,

Your falling asleep,

Your heartache,

Your little conversations

About how beautiful

The sunset is,

Your worries,

Your looking for your keys,

Your rising, glowing

Body—fluttering

With coming—

All of this—

Is valid.

 

And can you

Imagine–now, this

Moment–somewhere far

Beneath the ocean’s surface–

A whale drifts—

An acorn-barnacled

Monolith–singing

Light through forests

Of kelp and the bodies

Of a million fish—

Echoing in your very

Own longing—can you

Imagine?

 

Can you imagine–

Now, this moment–

Somewhere deep

In deep-green leaves—

Leaves as big as faces–

A panther, a shimmering

Piece of the night,

Licking its great paws,

And staring—all the way

From Indonesia—

Directly

Into your eyes?

 

Oh, can you—

Can you imagine?

It’s all happening

Now.

 

 

 

 


 




The Art of Blossoming, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Art of Blossoming

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

The art of blossoming

Is simple and yet

Riddled with struggle.

First you find yourself

A seed full of darkness

Surrounded by darkness,

Then you gradually begin

To realize you are full of light,

A light yearning to shine

In the open, remarkable sky,

Next you begin feeling

An even brighter light

Gently tugging, calling,

Singing you out of the earth,

Passed roots and rocks, until,

At last, you break open–

 

Into the full pageant of the day,

With your light illuminating

Your own life and the lives

Of everyone you touch,

And other lights

Stream through you,

Like liquid sweetness,

And you draw sustenance

From lightning and the rain—

 

And the fragrance of all

Your efforts–all that darkness,

All that time spent

Wisely unseen–lifts

Into the wind, and your beauty

Weaves through the day

And the night, and other seeds,

Through other gardens,

Through other fields

Awaiting this coming out,

When the world, and the mirror,

Are blessed.

 

 

 

 

 


 


Clear as Day, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Clear as Day

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

One never knows until never is up,

And then you know whatever it was

You didn’t know before never ran out.

 

It’s kind of like this: A firefly

Turns its own light on and off

In an effort to get your attention.

 

Certain questions act the same way—

Bobbing up and down, elusive—

Hints flashing among the dark trees;

Every so often, and often again—

Someplace different—a little to the left,

A little higher, and sometimes, seemingly,

Rising to the moon, all in an effort

To be followed.

 

Trick is—and it is a trick—keep watching

For the lights—they can bloom anywhere

In the fields of summer darkness;

When you see one, follow its green-tinted

Ribbon where ever it goes, as best you can,

And if you lose sight of it—disappointment,

Frustration—are perfectly valid responses.

 

Try and remember this:

When you fall asleep, and answers

Lift through the trees—out of reach—

Do your best to not give up.

 

Your dreams–along with a gathering of angels

And shadows—will ponder the questions for you,

And when morning comes, and the dawning sun shines,

It will all be clear as day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


The Frog, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Frog

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The frog with gold-flecked sclera and black, almond pupils–

Sloped back–green, gleaming with brown moons—

Waits until the last second before leaping

From the half-submerged log into algae-murky waters.

 

Once I am up the road aways, mind thinking through shafts of light

Of what it would be like to be so smoothly elusive,

Its head inconspicuously breaks the surface of the pond,

Scoping it out, making sure I’m good and gone.

 


I Don’t Know What Else to Say, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

I Don’t Know What Else to Say

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The Friesian horse of the night approaches,

In an extended cantor.

When it finally slows to a halt,

May it nuzzle my face and neck,

May the mist of its breath shroud my body

So that I may disappear into the moon light.

And may whatever it was I wanted to say

Be swallowed up into the ground

Only to reappear years later—

As bones wrapped in flowers.

 

 

 

 


Memorial Day, 2019, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Memorial Day, 2019

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

I had an uncle who fought in WW II, and he was never the same mentally. He was an extremely talented writer, and his PTSD from the war destroyed the rest of his life. It’s people like him I honor–and all the military people of color throughout history, and the indigenous people, who fought for rights they still don’t experience, who fought with little to no recognition, who fought and were betrayed by the very country they were fighting for.

I think especially today about my transsiblings who have lost their careers in the military–their years and decades of service–all because of trump and his religious extremist terrorist regime.

I have met homeless vets on the streets of Philly, in soup kitchens, when I’ve visited homeless shelters to sing–these people are in shock–not only because of the things they’ve witnessed, done, felt–but because of the way their country let them down once they returned.

These people and the trans service members are not just expendable pieces–nor were the people of color who served in the military….We all know that—but let’s not kid ourselves that this country really cares about the actual human beings fighting these horrific and most often unjust wars—If they cared they wouldn’t be so actively fighting to take away the rights of people like me—slapping the sacrifices soldiers have made to protect my rights and the civil rights of all people–in the face….only to watch their country erode into a cesspool of hate, bigotry, and a way of thinking that is so backwards mentally, spiritually, socially, that it’s difficult to see a way out.

You know I’m a pacifist at heart/soul, but a revolution might be what’s needed to change the shit going on in this country–and for those future veterans—the marginalized ones who will fight, who do fight everyday—-it will just be a continuation of daily battles.

And yeah, it pisses people off to hear comparisons of transpeople with military members–as far as us being “heroes.” –but the truth is, transpeople like me fight a war to exist every day–and that doesn’t make us heroic, it makes us victims in a battle we did not choose. We shouldn’t need to be called heroes just because we’re trying to live our lives in safety. I don’t believe the ghosts of the soldiers who fought for American freedom would be happy to know genocide is happening right on our very soil—-again–it’s never actually stopped.

Going out anywhere–to church, the store, to the post office, to any public restroom–is putting myself at risk. I am constantly hyper vigilant of my surroundings and those around me—why? Because my life IS a war zone. If people weren’t so scared of people like my why would trump and his weaklings want us gone so badly? So sometimes the comparisons are worthy to make between veterans and queer people like me.

And it’s not only queer people–people of color are at war in this country–young black men just picking up trash are veterans of living a life of war everyday—putting themselves in danger just because they wear a hoodie, Islamic people just trying to worship, to make a living–they are at war in this country–Jewish people, Latinx people….people in jail whose lives are completely destroyed for selling/using weed….Marginalized people–each and everyone of us is a veteran of wars we fight everyday because we are the hunted.

I am not saying I want to draw attention away from military vets–Far from it. I want us all to rise up and actually fight for what they fought for—a country free to all and for the rights of all. And as long as white-supremacist colonization and brutality is still going on there will never be peace. We will always be fighting.

To those who fight overseas, and to those who fight getting out of bed, to those that fight leaving their homes because of fears for their own safety, for those that fight who have no home—I honor all of you this day, and I will, as always, keep praying for peace, and keep fighting in the ways I am able.

 

 

 


Ghosts of Spring, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Ghosts of Spring

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The spring breeze haunts me,

Every flower calls my name,

Winter holds me fast.

 

 

The ghosts in the spring

Flow through the weeping cherries,

Then fall to the ground.

 

 

I saw the ghost child

Wandering through the garden

Wishing it was fall.

 

 

Spring ghosts whispering;

The dogwoods acknowledge their voice

Weeping white petals.

 

The dead follow close,

The daffodils bow their heads,

Blessing as we pass.

 

 

Dearest magnolia,

How can it be you are there,

Fancying up the sky?

 

 

Spring wind chases by,

Stirring my hair as it goes,

Leaving me behind.

 

 

Someone mows a lawn,

The sound drifts through the window,

Melting through my mind.

 

 

Children’s spring laughter

Fluttering through the window,

Waking up the ghosts.

 

 

Rain-scented pavement

Permeates my feeling life,

Understands the tears.

 

 

 

 

 

 


No Matter What, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

No Matter What

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

At some point or another

One of these poems will be my last.

Whichever season it lands in

Holds a key, or, better said—

A gesture as to how it will unfold

Into your life.  No matter what

 

Wind will be blowing outside,

Roots will expand and contract,

Night will come, and the moon will be phasing

Behind the clouds, and blue screen lights

Will dim under your hands,

 

And floor boards will creak beneath

Your feet as you step into another room—

Thinking: What was being said between the lines?

Where does it all lead anyway?

Will we meet there? What will she look like?

Will there be a river and cherry blossoms?

Will there be angels, and, if so,

Will they be silent or singing?