Reflections on the Past Calendar Year, 2017, and Looking Ahead to 2018, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Reflections on the Past Calendar Year, 2017, and Looking Ahead to 2018

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

Last year, at this time, I was in the psych ward begging the nurses to kill me.  Luckily, they said they didn’t do that sort of thing in the hospital.  I spent 9 days there.  My second time in the 2 months. I spent my 49th birthday there.  The staff brought me a cupcake, which they said was against the rules.  It was yummy.  You really haven’t lived until you hear a room full of psychologically ill people singing you happy birthday.

And here I am.  As far as I know, alive.

You are an integral part of my being here.  You supported me 100%, and even though most of this saga was chronicled on my now lost, Radiance Moo-Cow Facebook page, you know the story.  I have no secrets.

I have been criticized for sharing so intimately about mental illness.  You know I do it to destigmatize it all.  You know I do it to help people see someone can exist and function productively and positively—some days better than others—with a chronic, and at this point, incurable, mental illness.

Anywho, things began to lift, not so coiendentally in the spring, with your support, therapy, and a long, struggling, scary, frustrating search for the right combination of meds.

And, of course, there was the unwavering love and support of Mandy, Sam, Ben, and Daniel.

Around late winter, early spring I found Love in Action UCC.  I cannot emphasize enough how important that was, and is, to my recovery.  The accepting, supportive community, the aliveness of service, the many new friends, and the purpose I feel and truly have there working with lgbtqia youth, and watching those programs grow, is so healing.

Then there are the adopted kids I have taken under my wing and have helped get through some rough times.  They too have helped me perhaps more than they know.  They are not just adopted kids—they are friends.

Then too, there was my journey into realizing my meds did not take away, as I so deeply feared, my creativity.  They have helped hone things, focus things, but the creative forces are still there, and for that I am more grateful than I can say.

Yes, there was, and is, all the ongoing shit with trump and his terroristic regime.  Yes, there was, and is, all the ongoing shit from the far-right terrorist extremists.  Yes, there is still the transphobia and the daily challenges I face simply existing in the world—the public world.  And yes, there are still bouts of deep self-hatred and dysphoria.  These have, thankfully, lessened lately though, and for that I am relieved beyond measure.  Yes, I am still living under mountains of debt and the fear of being taken to court for those debts.  Yes, I still cannot help support my family the way I would like financially.  Yes, I truly believe I am not yet ready to handle a full-time job in any field.  Yes, I still have my obsessions, magical thinking, paranoid thinking (and I do not use that last word lightly), and my anxieties, fears, throttling storms of PTSD, and the like.

And I am here, and yes, I still talk with much hyperbole and drama.  I’m Italian.

Looking ahead, I see my role as a mother changing and growing more and more into being a friend.

Looking ahead, I see a future of growing and living into my role as a mentor of lgbtqia youth.  I see myself exploring the possibilities of taking a stab at stand-up comedy and performance poetry, and to return to storytelling, and perhaps even giving concerts/kirtans.  I see myself making a CD of my music and publishing another book(s) of poetry. I see continued discoveries into myself as a transwoman, as a woman, as an aging woman, as someone exploring the wonders of their sexuality and the on and off desire to be in a romantic/intimate relationship with someone.  Yes, I am still a budding pansexual.

Looking ahead, I see more poems.

Looking ahead, I see reconciliation for those in my life who still do not accept me or want me around their families.

Looking ahead, I see new friends weaving their way into my life, and I in theirs.

Looking ahead, I see doing my best to tend to the medical conditions that are gradually developing in this body of mine.

Looking ahead, I see more prayer, more devotion, more deepening, more diving into, more blossoming, more treasuring, more sharing, more joyous my spiritual journey, which, of course, encompasses everything in my life, my every breath.

Looking ahead, I see more healing in our world, and me doing my little part in that healing.

Looking ahead, I see things in the world perhaps getting worse before they get better.

Looking ahead, I see more taking care of myself and setting boundaries for my safety.

Looking ahead, I see more ways to give, in both secret and out in the open.

Looking ahead, I see less shame.

Looking ahead, I continue to see the goodness, resilience, compassion, wisdom, and power of everyday people.

Looking ahead, I continue to notice the little things, the big things around me that are beautiful, mysterious, wondrous, and important.  I continue to actively look for and see/experience gratitude for these things and more.

Looking ahead, I know there will be days when I want to die, when I will be unable to leave my bed, my house, or to eat.  No, I am not calling this to myself.  I am ill, and I live with that illness every day, and while I am doing OK, I know this disease of mental illness is relentless and reminds me everyday that it is there, lurking, hungry.  I am not in delusion about that.  At some point it will drag me under again– hopefully not into the suicidality I walked with everyday for months.  The writing of suicide notes, the making plans of where, when, and how, the carrying of knives and box cutters, the taking them to my wrists.

Looking ahead, I also see healing and the right support to get me through those times.  And while I am afraid, everyday at some point, that the beast is just up ahead behind the next happy, good moment, I am comforted that I can get through it with you and my ability to ask for, and to receive, love and help.

In short, because, yes, I am still short, and likely will remain so, and perhaps I may even grow shorter as the years go by (by-with), looking ahead, I see positive possiblities.  I see you.  I see me, and today I see me with some measure of self-acceptance and even, I daresay, love.

And it’s still winter.  The local world is wrapped in biting cold and sparkling snow.  And I see its beauty and dangers.  I also, looking ahead, see spring.

Looking ahead I see more glitter, unicorns, stuffed animals, and hippy skirts.

I see this moment, looking inwards, outwards, here, now.  And looking ahead, for the first time in years, I see more here and now’s.  More moments, each one unpredictable—no matter what I envision—each one full of possibilities and unexpected joy and hardship, each one full of me, you, the Divine, and a world full of people who care, who take care of one another no matter what the media says.

Looking ahead, I see now.

Looking ahead, I see hope.  Yes.  Hope.

Much love and thanks,

Jenn

 

first thing saw 2018 yup

 


 

Thank you for your kind support. <3



Of All Things Let Go, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Of All Things Let Go

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

morning snow 2

 

It’s possible to imagine snow

As time silently shrouding

Everything.  It’s possible

To think of snow

As the gradual smoothing

Of all the rough edges;

Sometimes you can

See Lady Winter draping shawls

Over the shoulders of the trees,

And, of course, you can see

Snow as burden, as the laying down

Of funeral blankets on flowers,

It is the great quieter of color

And the crumbler of fruit,

It is the world gone still and

More trudging, yes, and sometimes,

Go out and stand, allow

The cold kisses to touch your face;

Lift your arms and let them

Be blessed with that so uncommon

Feeling of being alive, and watch–

The snow falls from the unseeable sky,

Look– the crystal stars form

On your sleeves, each one

Bestowed with infinity—that alone is enough

To fill one with swooning wonder,

Notice too, how your breath

Issues its swirling ghosts

Of all things let go,

How winter absorbs them

Into herself as the prayers

That they are, and treasures them

Until one day, when she turns

Her great skirts and drifts away

Over the houses and hillsides

Leaving all that was let go

For spring to tend and encourage

With warm hands, their rebirth

Into the sun.

 

 


 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your kind support. <3


Christmas 2017, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Christmas, 2017

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

We all know

Whose birthday it is today:

 

Yours.

 

Throughout the womb

Of this dark year

Of tyrants and blindness,

You formed yourself

Afresh and full of doing.

 

You made it, you did it.

You are born today,

A child of light, wonderful,

A counselor I am sure

To someone, and yes, why not—

Mighty Divine Being,

Everlasting, non-gendered—

Unless you want a gender—

Person, and Prince, Princess,

Fairy Queen, Unicorn Badass,

Of Peace.

 

And for all of you

Thinking this poem is

Heretical—grow up,

Or down, whichever you need,

And while doing so

Look into the eyes of your friends,

See oceans of mysterious wisdom

Reflecting back at you,

And know you reflect back

The same, and know too,

The mirror reflects a light

Begotten and holy and never before

Seen or felt or known

On this planet.  You

Are born today anew

To save the world

By being who you

Are born to be.

 

And if your heart or life

Or room feels like a manger,

That’s alright for today,

And even for tomorrow—

Let the kindly animals

With the luminous, marble eyes

Come and nibble from your hands,

Laugh and chortle as you grow,

As you know, every time

You hear the word: Jesus,

Christ, God—they are

Referring to you.

 

Born today you are,

Born today you ever will be,

Born today, this day

Of days, you are here,

A star, a child, the magi,

A lamb, a shepherd, an angel,

A parent to yourself

Who may be being told

In a dream to move on

To safer lands—rejoice,

You are here, rejoice

You are the light, rejoice

The safer land is there,

In your voice creating the world.

 

 

 


How About That? By Jennifer Angelina Petro

How About That?

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Have you ever stopped

To not think?

 

OK–then think

Of this:

 

You are a super hero

Every time you lift

Your hand to open

The door.  Every time

You step out into

The world, you push

Space aside, making room

For your own velocity

And unfolding form;

Every time you get up

In the morning,

You thwart gravity–

Putting it in its place—

Behind you, below you.

 

Seeing this is the case

Why not infuse your every movement

And gesture with a certain

Outrageous confidence,

Purpose, a twinge of rage,

And a boatload

Of fun?

 

And while you could,

If ever called upon,

Save a life with a mere touch

Of your hand–

 

Today, just go about

Your day knowing

You can do anything

You need.  Because

Remember: you adjust

Space—back space

And forward space, above

Space, and even below space

To suit your needs,

You mock gravity

Every time you walk.

 

And before you

Start thinking again

Of your seemingly little life

And how ordinary it appears,

And how you scoff

At this poem—

 

Know this in your very bones:

 

You are ridiculously amazing,

Your gifts are far-fetched

And magnificent—they are

Real.  Not something made up

In lines and little dots

On a page or CGI effects

On a screen—

 

Getting up and out

Of bed in a world

Of such colossal uncertainty

Takes guts—nothing less

Than superpowers.

 

And it’s OK to feel

Proud and self-assured

In who you are—

It’s ok to have brooding moments

Of doubt and questioning,

Because, after all, you

Survived some freak accident

That changed you

And imbued you

With astonishing abilities—

Perhaps you crashed

Here from another dying world

Only to be raised

By strangers, or wolves

Until you decided it was

Time to throw open your cape

Like the dawn throwing off the night,

And glide out and over

The trees and cities

And become the eyes and hands

Of justice and all that is good, by virtue

Of the fact you are you

And no one else—

And go help save the world.

 

1vcxnx

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your support. <3


First Snow, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

First Snow

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The sky says:

Shh—Listen.

 

Hear that?  No?

Good.

 

Close your eyes,

Listen more.

 

Hear that? No?

Good.

 

That silence

Is there

For a reason.

 

Grab a coat,

Step outside,

Open your arms,

Lift your face to the sky.

 

Hear that?

Good.  Feel that?

Good.  That is

The reason, that is–

Such marvelous,

Dazzling stillness;

Such exquisite

Calm, such soothing

Kisses from winter’s

Hushed lips.

 

Breathe in, feel that—

That briskness and quickening.

Good.

 

There are

A million reasons,

So many reasons,

Each one crystalline

And delicate, yet

Powerful enough

To quiet the world—

If only for a moment—

If only long enough

For you

 

To feel and to listen

To love’s softening,

To winter’s patient

Blanketing.

 

That silence is there

Not to threaten,

But to assure you

You are alive.

 

As you go back

Inside, to the noise

Of notifications

And important things to do—

You are invited,

You are allowed,

You are known.

 

You are part

Of the wisdom of the sky

That says: shh.

 

first snow buddha

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your support. <3


Angel Speak, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Angel Speak

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Every night, a friend

Comes to talk with me,

Carrying word of faraway

And intimately near places.

Sometimes she talks,

Animatedly, with an urgency

Known only to those with important news,

Sometimes she talks

In gently bobbing waves of psychedelia,

Which carry me on their drifting

Clouds to the shores of morning.

Sometimes she chases me

Without a word—just pursuing me

As if I were quarry, sometimes

She drops me, plunging me

Into the day, sweating and panicked.

Even when she appears sinister,

I have come to know she simply wants

To send messages from the soul.

 

And every morning, I wake

And forget everything

She said.  Well, some of it

Lingers for a few moments, like

The scent of honeysuckle in spring;

But eventually, as I dress,

And rustle papers and books,

It fades, or lifts, or blows,

Or flies, or runs

Away.

 

I think sometimes

What if she ached to be known,

To be heard, to be validated, seen?

 

What if she simply wanted

To be there, like

An angel by the riverside.

 

Indeed, what if

All dreams were flocks of angels

Forming grand gestures and landscapes

Of secrets intent on revelation?

 

What if she was trying

To tell me she needed help

Or that the spiritual world

Was in trouble?

 

What if she was trying to tell me

That it’s time, as I sleep

Through my day,

To wake up and start singing?

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries. Thank for your support. <3



Reassembling, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Reassembling

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

You know something.

When everyone rises

From the dead on the first day,

And the dancing starts–

Even as bones are rejoining

With golden bands and golden thread,

The earth will sigh

The deepest sigh—

A sigh like the dawning sun

On a shimmering sea,

And she will weep for all

She gave birth to, for all

She cradled in their death,

For all, who, upon hearing

Mercy’s music, will reassemble

In shifts of light—whirling

Dervishes in a New Jerusalem,

Little galaxies of arms opening

To possibilities—the forgiving ones,

One and all, forgiven

In the dance of deepest sighs.

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries. Thank you for your help. <3


Creating the World, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Creating the World

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Most of us know how

The world around us

Helps shape us—

Our morals, likes

And dislikes, ways of seeing,

How we listen, and to whom.

 

For the sake of this poem, however,

I am not just referring to the world

As society and culture,

And the morays we absorb

So easily and release so stubbornly.

 

I am speaking of the air,

The world-forces of creation,

How we are born into movement,

And how the boundaries

Of skin and bone are sung

Into form as we live, move,

And have our being in the world,

Literally sculpted as we go

By the responsive hands of space.

 

Now, here, as you move,

As you get up from your chair

To walk across the room,

As you go to dress, or eat,

Or kneel in prayer,

As you reach out to a lover

Or to pick up an infant,

Or hand the cashier your change,

Or receive an embrace,

Know, now, here, you

Are sculpting the world.

 

The very space you move

Within-to-with, you shape—

 

The air, the back space

And the many little circles

And planes you walk this day—

Become embodying language;

Your movements create

Form and living paintings

In space and time and breath,

The world responds

To your every movement,

Your every touch, and push;

 

You unfold and color the world–

As you propel forward—

The way parts and blooms around you

As if you were swimming

In a sea of impressionable air—

Because you are.

 

As you live through-with

This day, delineating your space,

Open your movements—

Your arms and the myriad

Of little dances you do,

Widen your gestures, welcome

And invite, give and receive,

Describe space with grace and purpose—

Adorn the world

With you.

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries. Thank you. <3



Gifting the Air, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Gifting the Air

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Everyone knows

We carry air in our bodies,

We know, and occasionally,

Sense it flowing through us,

How it enlivens us

When we focus it into our every cell.

 

And it does so without effort,

Without being invasive,

Without expecting anything

In return.

 

Today, let’s try this:

 

Let’s send out our every word

Upon, within, the air

As gifts—touch the air

With kind words, caress

The evening air with reminiscences

On front porches and strolls

Through the neighborhoods,

Fill the morning air

With prayers and Broadway tunes,

Inspire the night air with dreams

And comforting words of reassurance—knowing

We do all these things

By the power of the air.

 

We all know what happens

When it lifts from us

One last time and searches out

A newborn swallowing

Its first bubble of outside life.

Let us return the grace—

Let us gift the air with words,

And thoughts that dance

In its heart, let us gift the air

With songs that create joy

In the movements of the wind,

Let us fill our every breath

With mercy, compassion,

And a radical empathy

That unfolds across the world

Into other lands, other lungs, other hearts,

Other minds—let us gift the air

With praise.

 

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you so much. <3



If You Become Lost, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

If You Become Lost

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Keep moving,

The road, they say,

Is made by walking,

I know, that sounds

Trite and annoying,

Nevertheless,

It holds true.

 

Think about acorns.

 

I imagine

They haven’t a clue

About what is happening,

Or where they are,

Or where they are going.

Nevertheless,

They go.  I want to

Believe they dream

Of sky and wind and sun

And roots to hold them

As they sway in said sky,

Wind, and sun.

I also think they haven’t

Any idea that their dreams

Are real, on so many

Blessed levels.

 

So, what do they do?

They move inside—

Something unfurls,

Like having the morning

Tucked away within them,

And as this slow, green,

Galaxy of branches opens,

They move outside.  While they may

Not know where

They are going,

They open themselves

To possibilities and roads.

 

Sure, they meet stones,

Rocks, pass worms

And bones, perhaps

Even a sleeping bear or two,

Sure, its dark inside, and outside,

And, for the most part, cold.

Yet, they rise, moving

In ways that remind me

 

If you become lost,

Keep moving.  You may

Not know where

You are going, or

Where your destination

Will be; what skies

You will open up into—

What horizons you will see,

What birds will find safety

In your arms.  The light knows

However.  The light knows

Wherever.  The light knows

Whenever.  The light knows

Whatever.  The light knows

Whyever.  The light knows

Whomever and whichever,

And shiningever, and singingever,

Callingever, lighthousingever,

Lookingforyouever, thewayever,

The nowever, the light knows all

The question words,

The light knows all

The answer words,

The light knows all

The inbetween words,

The light knows all

The unspoken words.

The light knows

You.

The light knows

You carry its child.

The light knows

You will both be born

Again, and again,

Into the way home.

 

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries. <3