How It’s Supposed to Be

How It’s Supposed to Be
Joseph Anthony Petro

The trajectory is supposed to be
Like this—a gently sloping road
Rising steadily towards the next city over,
The one nestled in purple hills and gleaming rooftops,
And the road is supposed to be
Straight, and the road is supposed to be
Wide, and the driving safe,
And the air bright and the sun shining,
And there are supposed to be
Signs, clear as bells, along the way,
Unmistakable in their direction
And sense of helpfulness.
The road is supposed to be
Free of obstacles, dotted with pleasant shops
With curios and books, and little cafes
Where you can order the best smoothies
And read all day if you want to.
Yes the road is supposed to be
Free and easy, a short jaunt from here to there,
A Sunday drive in Spring that ends
With a picnic and a blanket and a basket
And not a single ant or yellow jacket.
Come to think of it, who needs a road?
Why shouldn’t it be that you simply walk
Out of your front door and wind up exactly
At the beginning and the end, all at once?
Where you walk down your driveway
To the sidewalk which turns on itself
In a closed-circuit loop, leading down
And around and right back up
To your very own door,
And so you are where you’re supposed to be,
And there isn’t any need for a journey.
In fact, why open the door at all?  Why even go
To the door in the first place?  Why even get out of bed?
Why not just stay inside
Where the covers are warm and the house
Empty and the walls full of the fantasies
Projected from your mind,
And your feelings are fine, in no need
Of changing, and all of your memories
Are fine, in no need of processing,
And all of your dreams and goals for the future
Are fine, powdery dust, in no need of pursuing?
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?

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Declaration, Seed Poem II

Seed Poem II
By Joseph Anthony Petro

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
O Seed of Compressed Light,
In your own sweet time
Break open, fall apart, dissolve
Into earth and warmth and sun,
And grow, dive upwards
Through the dark sea
Of ground and soil, and rejoice.
Express yourself as pure,
Undivided devotion to light
And the utter deliciousness
Of being yourself.

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The Miracle is This, Seed Poem I: The Evolution of a Poem

Seed Poem I
An Evolution of a Poem
Joseph Anthony Petro

I thought you might find it interesting how this poem evolved. I offer all three drafts. The first one stems more from the overt depression. The second opens to the reality of light, and the third, while still coming from the depression, remembers the many who love seeds, and thus sings the song of hope and healing.

Seed Poem I, Version I:

What must it be like
To be enshrouded
By darkness and the cold,
Unrelenting truth
Of the earth?

What must it be like
To have a heart
Full of light confined
To husk and shell?

What must it be like
To be touched, softened,
And drawn upwards,
Palms open into the air?

What must it be like
To be invited heavenward,
Born skywards, lifted
By encouraging hands
As darkness crumbles
Around you, and the mind
Warms, and the possibility
Of sky roots itself
In your whole body
As you spiral away
From brokenness, and rise
Into the rebirth of branch
And blossom, green and standing tall,
Unveiled, uninhibited,
In the light of day?

Seed Poem I, Version II:

Shrouded in darkness and unrelenting earth;
A heart full of light confined to husk and shell
Longs to be touched, softened, drawn upwards,
Invited heavenwards, encouraged skywards, lifted
By encouraging hands, so that the darkness crumbles
And its mind warms to the possibility of sky rooting itself
In its whole body; as it longs to spiral away
From brokenness into the rebirth of branch and blossom,
As it longs to rise, green and solid, unveiled, and uninhibited
In the clear light of here and now.

Seed Poem I, Version III (Final Version):

The miracle is this:
a heart full of light,
confined to husk and shell,
shrouded by darkness and unrelenting earth,
is touched by a greater light,
is softened by darkness,
is drawn upwards,
invited skywards,
born heavenwards,
held and lifted
by the encouraging hands
Of angels who have known the darkness too,
And it senses doors crumbling away as its mind
warms to the possibility of sky rooting itself
in its whole body,
and it spirals away from its own brokenness,
and it rises high into rebirth,
and it grows outwards into branch
and blossom, where it stands unveiled, uninhibited,
Palms open in the clear light of day.

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New Year’s Day, 2015

New Year’s Day, 2015
Joseph Anthony

the path

For some the future is a movie where they’re falling
In the monster’s mouth only so far and then suddenly finding
Some unforeseen and extraordinarily unlikely method of escape.
For some the future is a road rising to meet them, unfurling
From some distant destination called hope and healing.
For some the future is a series of doors that appear out of nowhere
In a field or on a city street and open
At the slightest touch or sigh of relief.
For some the future is a dark forest path winding through patient trees
Carrying lanterns lit with columns of light.
For some the future opens like an unexpected clearing
Of wild flowers and honeybees that bob up and down in a pine scented sun.
For some the future is an ocean tide curling around their feet
Enticing, inviting, filled with bits of information unclear, yet sun dappled and soft.
Listen, I am trying to find ways to keep going. Trying to imagine
Scenarios where the darkness isn’t all there is;
Where a sense of adventure and humility at not knowing
Somehow sustain me on my way;
Where I don’t need to crawl to make it, where I don’t need to trudge
Or drown or wish I was dead. I am trying to imagine life
Unencumbered by the depression that has kept me locked
In a box cramped with ghosts and bones.
I am trying to let the future be gratitude and serenity
For whatever comes my way. I am trying to imagine
Breathing freely into the unknown as I would stepping out
Into a bright, spring morning. I am trying to do the one thing
That if I do on the first day of the year, they say I will do all year long:
I am trying to dance with ghosts; I am trying to build a framework
And a bridge out of bones. I am trying to see into the darkness
Just far enough to believe there is a reason to believe.
So there, I’ve done it. I’ve written another poem.
I’ve tried honestly to tell you where I am, what it’s like.
And you’ve read it. Now we both get to go together
Into towns just waking at dawn where invisible trains
Sound somewhere beyond distant, cloud-misted hills,
Where diners that smell like coffee and toast
turn on ‘Come in We’re Open’ signs just as we arrive.
We both get to go towards a time that isn’t yet
And somehow not fall into despair.
Please, I am going to do one more thing
That I need to do for the rest of the year:
Hold your hand without shame because the fear
Can be so deafening, and the way ahead was never meant
To be realized alone.

roots together

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