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.

 

 


 

 

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Resuscitation

Resuscitation
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

 
Spring is trying,
The trees turning into carnivals of flowers are trying,
The roots are trying,
The sky is trying,
And the robins, the hawks,
The invisible, but audible owls are trying,
So many people are trying,
I know they are asking
Their gods to try,
I know you are trying.
I only hope it’s not too late.
That I am not already dead,
That the block not letting the air
Into my heart isn’t too massive,
Too menacing to let any breath
Escape in or out. I only hope
I can trust the kiss, the passage
Of your strength and courage
Into my chest. I only hope
The breathing will catch hold
And then gradually level into calm.
And I might need to hold your hand,
And I might need you to tell me
To hold on, or to let go,
And I might need you to have me,
To not let me drift into nothingness
Once I do let go or hold on,
Whichever the case may be once
The stream of your breath begins swirling
In my lungs, and I open my eyes
And live again.
And I might need you to remind me
There is white light around me
And within me.
And I need it be OK with you that I need you.
And I might need you to be the white light for awhile
And embrace me with healing gentleness like there’s no tomorrow,
Until I rise again a new creation.
I only hope it’s not too late.
That I am not already dead.
That once I begin to feel
The warmth of your breath
That whatever it is within me that is frozen
Will begin to thaw,
Will have its own experience of spring,
And will suddenly and without shame
Blossom into a life that is alive.

 

 

 

 


 


That Same Wonder

That Same Wonder
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

blossoms

 
I am being
Step for step,
Morning by morning,
Evening by evening,
Breath for breath,
Pulse by pulse,
Desire by desire
Written, drawn,
Painted, sculpted,
Composed, arranged,
Sung, and spoken.
I am an expression
Of something, someone
So living, so vitalizing,
That it spills into my steps,
Pours from my words,
Weeps from my heart
In such a way as to both hide itself
And reveal itself at the same time.
It should come as no surprise
That wonder drips, no matter how
Sad I get, from every cell
Of my body.
I am being made, created,
Dreamed, formed
By wonder, and the same wonder
That assembles me
Dismantles me, levels me,
Emptiness me,
Adjourns and disrobes me,
That same wonder
I am being fitted for
Doctored by,
Dissolved by
Is the same wonder
That wants me,
Requests me,
Stomachs me,
Explores me,
That same wonder
That is my every breath and my last breath,
That same wonder that will lay me down
In the soft earth and raise me up
When I am ready to awaken,
That same wonder that will keep me
Dancing, learning, being born, full of grace,
Full of insight, full of cherry blossom petals
And moonlight, full of ponds
And stars—that same wonder, when I am ready
To be myself in full bloom
Will be there, here
Ready to catch me
When I fall.

 

 


 

 

 





Listen Heart

Listen Heart
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Go easy on yourself.
You’re working hard giving birth to the soul.
Allow yourself to rest awhile in a bed of light,
And in the coolness of the soft-winged darkness—
The one that cradles seeds and roots,
The one that carries starlight faithfully on its shoulders
All those millions of millennia.
OK, so the mind you’re with has made some mistakes—
Cut him some slack. He is learning to live unchained
While at the same time bound in God’s care.
You say you feel empty and yet full of sorrow?
Those are contractions from what I am told.
Try and stay steady. I know you’re young,
You always will be. But you and the mind
Must work together during this process,
And you must take the lead.
I realize he is often busy in some fantasy, hating himself–
Find a way, lean on others—the midwives
You know so well. Let them help you,
Hold you, coach you along.
You are doing precious, incredible work—
So precious you might want to call it play–holy play.
You are freeing the soul from waves
That course in and out of you–
The ones that toss even the mind
Up and down in swirling eddies,
So the more light-hearted you can be the better.
And the mind is helping you
By learning to stay present no matter what you are feeling,
And your light helps him for he lives in darkness
Much of the time. So play. Play in hands of light,
And let the soul go, dear heart. Let her go, like a song,
Like a breath, like a prayer wept when you have no strength left.
Let her go the same way you want me to let you go,
The same way I want the mind to let me go—gently, gradually—now
And perfectly, with grace, humor, and dignity.
And while you and the mind work together on this,
I will be here, wrapped in silence, trying to believe
What I tell you–trying to believe that no matter what happens,
I am worthy of love.

 

 


 





Midwifing the Soul

Midwifing the Soul
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Inside the constant doing
A baby is growing
While sleeping;
A baby who will one day
Be your mother, your father,
Your true love.
That baby is an ocean lapping
At the shores of your not feeling worthy
To simply be—
To simply be ravished and perfect
For who you are, not for what you do.
As the baby grows and becomes a wave
Of warmth and wonder,
And the harbor of your breath slows
In surrender, give yourself the gift
Of stopping everything,
Damning it all to hell,
Allowing it all to fall apart
And have someone else
Pick it up for a change.
Give yourself yourself—
Your moon-draped self—
Your star-dappled self—
Your
I-am-telling-you-
Once-and-for-all-that-I-am-finished-
Because-I-am-giving-birth-
To-my-own-desires-so-leave-me-be-
Self.
Go ahead–push a little, only a little,
On your resistance to giving in,
And inhale stillness and exhale whatever sense
Of guilt and control still linger;
Midwife your child of warmth and wonder
Who will raise you up
With the song of your own sleeping breath
And the palms of your own dreaming hands
Lying open in the sun—
And lay you down in a bed
Of satin swaddling clothes with gently
Lowing cattle adoring you
With soft, dreamy eyes.
Now lavish yourself with kisses
And the tender, affirming-
Arriving-breath of peace–
And the warmth and wonder
Of loving
Your
Self
Enough
To simply
Be
Embraced
By this
Moment;
This
One
Unending
(Unless
You
Want it
To)
Moment
Of being
Born
Into being
Born
Into being
Born
Into
Being

 

 

 


 

 

 





My Undoing

My Undoing
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

undoing photo

I do not want to be reborn
Or renewed, restored or reenvisioned.
I do not want re-anything. The before
Is filled with darkness and sorrow,
Learned fears and sickness.
There is no before to return to.
My birth is still happening
And for the rest of my life I will be being born.
When I reach death’s door,
I will still be being born.
Let my death, my spring, my resurrection
Be an undoing, an unfolding, an unburdening,
A blessed untangling, a sacred unveiling,
A gradual unloosening,
A gentle unhusking,
A tender unlacing,
A slow unraveling;
An unceasing, uncensored, unrestrainable joy;
Let my thoughts be unconfused and uncritical;
Let my wants be unclouded
And my needs unarguable;
Let my light be unshaded and my feet unshackled;
Let me be unharmed, untasted, unleashed, and unstoppable;
Let me be unbroken and untwisted,
My tensions uncoiled and my body uncorruptible;
Let union with the Beloved be uncoerced;
Let the unbuttoning and unbuckling of my soul—
The unclothing and unwrapping of my desires—
Let them be unconditionally accepted
And unequivocally wonderful;
Let our timelessness together be uncompetitive and real;
Let the passion be unabridged, and the shame
Unlearned, and the moments of bliss unhurried,
And the union unbreakable.
Let my soul be unchained
And my heart unlocked;
Let my spirit be unshuttered,
And the fence around my garden of words be unlatched;
Let the trap door of my compulsions be unhinged
And unnecessary;
Let the way forward be unthreatened;
Let my playfulness be unbridled,
Uncivilized, uncalibrated, unjudged;
Let my laughter be uncensored;
Let my hands be uncuffed;
Let my soul be uncrumbled;
Let the reasons for my being worthy
And beautiful be undebatable,
Undeniable, unbelievably obvious and clear to me.
Let my meditation be undisturbed;
Let my fists be unclenched and my heart
Undivided, and my thinking undistorted,
And my voice unedited;
Let my brow be unfurrowed and my stomach unknitted,
Let my wildness be undomesticated and unlabeled,
Untamed and unfeared;
Let the possibilities for usefulness and service
Be undreamed of,
Let my conversations, once and for all, be undramatic;
Let my death be an undying of everything
That died, let my soul be untethered,
Unencumbered, unfaded and unfallen.
Let there be space and time
To unfeel and unform,
To become uninhibited, unfurled, unjaded;
Let the warmth of breathing together
Be the unfreezing of years of winter;
Let being myself be unfamiliar, unfettered, unforced,
And unforgettable;
Let my sleep be uninterrupted,
And my creativity be unbound
And unlimited by what anyone says or does;
Let death be an unloosening,
A holy unmaking, a joyful unmasking;
Let my cries by unmuffled,
And my faith unmovable,
Let my rage be unmuzzeled,
And fears be unneeded;
Let my hours be unnumbered,
And my memories unrepressed and unoccupied with ghosts,
Let my dreams of success be unopposed,
And my poetry unorthodox, unprofessional, and shared;
Let my roots be unrooted,
And the Beloved’s love be unsearchable because it will be
Unavoidable, unending, and completely undressed, unserious,
And unseparated from me;
Let my purpose be unshakable and my sword unsheathed;
May my cities of wonder be unshelled and unobliterated;
May my wheels be unstuck and the road unspoiled;
Let me be unsliced, unsoiled
And the fabric of my pain unsewn
And unstitched;
Let my unspoken desires be sung and uninhibited;
Let any unsteadiness be steadied with unshakable confidence;
Let my innocence be untainted, untarnished, and unstolen;
Let my need to control be untethered and unmoored;
Let my self-hatred be unthroned,
And my soul be untrodden;
Let me finally be unwound,
Unwoven and unafraid;
A gift of an old life unlived–
Lived now and shared
In the land of unending acceptance
Of myself.
Let this be my undoing.
.

 


 

 

 

 





Christmas 2014

Christmas, 2014
By
Joseph Anthony

Christmas, 2014

I.

On this eve of Herod’s wrath
Surround yourself with animals
And shepherds, stars, and fragrant gifts
From the earth; find the lowly places
And give birth to death.

II.

Let the memories of trauma
Sink and sift through root and bone,
Hidden wells and sleeping seeds,
Let them die in silent peace,
And in the holy silence of bearing witness
And affirmation, transformation
And regeneration. Let them die
In the roar of trees trampling through valleys
Of sorrow to lift up the child and adopt the child,
and keep it safe as long as it wants, as long as it needs.

III.

On this eve of Joseph’s dreams
And trudging over roadless sand,
Find the star, any star, and go, Egypt awaits,
Land of Ra and Isis, and sacred geometry
Of hieroglyphs and feather scales.
Go, and hold innocence
As never before—bring a sword and pocketfuls
Of stones, do whatever it takes to say:
Tonight innocence will be
Kept safe and cherished above all things,
And all life will be honored, and all beings
And faiths, all people and creatures,
All elements and angels, devils
And waterfalls, ponds, and lilies,
all stumblings and dancings,
All things seen and unseen,
Will be bathed in starlight and wrapped
In swaddling clothes.

IV.

On this eve of the saddest story ever told
Of a parent sacrificing his only child
To cover up for his own mistakes,
And letting scores of other children die
In its place,
On this eve of nevermore,
The child is king and queen alone
By virtue of its innocence—holy, exalted,
Full of wonder and grace,
Magnified and full of laughter.
The child born tonight shall never know
The pain of being separated from itself
Or the being abandoned to die while living.
It will be whole.
Saving only itself.
And the unity of all things
That echoes as a result
Will ring throughout the inner landscape of the soul
Setting fire to the imagination
And stream out of Egypt like a lion,
not forgetting its heritage and upbringing,
But to embrace the place that kept it safe
And call itself privileged to have been hidden
Those years in the land of pyramids and sphinxes.
And on this silent night, this holy night,
This raging night divine,
The child will be safe and sound,
and sleep in the tree of life,
like a baby owl, waiting to fly.


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