I Don’t Know How I Know This, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

I Don’t Know How I Know This

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Inside the uplift of death—that moment–

When the white doors open

You will fly out of yourself long enough

To fly back into yourself in one terrible

And freeing inhaling exhale.

Daffodils lose their vibrant trumpets

To the sunlight, irises curl in on themselves

And alliums drop their radiating, purple petals to the ground.

Cherry blossoms scatter their thousand, million pink pieces

Of exquisite beauty into a spring wind that rouses

The mind to start moving on those plans laid out in winter,

And you cannot help but stare, and weep with such joy the moment

Uplifts and white doors open, and you fly into yourself

Long enough to fly back out yourself in one orgasmic,

Eternal—breath-catching inhaling exhale.

And when the sidewalks become dusted

In deep pink—so much so you cannot see the gray ground—

White doors open and you fly out of yourself long enough

To never return to the state of unnoticing.

Every moment we build up and break down,

We dissolve, we sag closer to the earth,

Our muscles loosen, our jaws slacken,

And we become like fragile, spring birds long enough

To breathe into ourselves, long enough

To exhale one last time into the air—

Just strong enough to blow open the white doors

And get swept up into the uplift where all the trumpeting

Daffodils wait, where all the irises unfurl

Their sex to the sky, where all the alliums burst

Purple bulbs from their tall, slender stalks, like

Slow motion fireworks—

There you will stay long enough

To bloom the fragrance

Of a life well lived into the ever spring

Of God.

 

 

 


 



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.

 

 


 

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Be There, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Be There

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

You may have seen

Those videos where

The camera focuses in

On one person and then

Pans out past the tree tops,

The buildings, the clouds,

And further backwards

Through space, until

The swirling earth

Grows smaller, and smaller,

And smaller,

As the satellite camera

Continues to draw back

Revealing solar systems,

Galaxies, and then more—

The ever-growing universe.

 

 

This amazement of technology

Is meant to show us

Our seeming insignificance

In the grand scheme of things—

How little we are, how tiny our earth is,

How, while we find our rightful

Place among the galaxies,

We are still hugely small, invisible

In the clusters of stars.

 

 

I would argue however,

That you matter; that you,

Standing there on the little space

You take—matter.

 

 

And when winter comes,

And the ground grows cold,

And the trees weep their true

Colors into the streets and rivers,

That if you were to bend down,

And gently place your hand

On the hardening ground

And whisper witnessing words—

Reminding the earth of the life

Dreaming within—

The seeds and sleeping animals—

That it needn’t be afraid,

That it needn’t feel it has failed us,

That it is beautiful and to be honored

For the spring and summer

It so lavishly shared with us,

You would be making a world

Of difference.

 

 

The earth gives, and gives,

And gives, and it rejoices

In doing so, and yet, when winter comes,

And the frost pushes it all down,

You can stay by its bedside of trees

And fallow fields, you can

Sing it soft songs of comfort,

You can tread lightly

Over the steeling ground,

You can remind the earth

With your every breath,

Every act of kindness,

Every prayer,

That the earth will

Resurrect, that it will

Be born again, that it will

Waken from its frightening sleep,

And once again, and again,

And again, bloom, just as

The universe continues

To bloom, just as you

Continue to bloom,

Just as you realize more, and more,

And more, how important

You really are.  In the grand

Scheme—which is, of course,

Really, a great song–

Once again, it needs to be

Said over, and over, and over—

You matter, you have the powers

To comfort and heal,

You have the powers

To be comforted and healed–

Because nothing is alone,

Because everything matters,

Because we blossom

Through this universe

Full of the stuff of stars

And communities of compassion

And wonder.

 

So, as you stand, be the spring

And summer for the earth

As she freezes into her yearly

Death–be there, be there for her,

Be for her as the sun is

For you.

 

 

 


 

 

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



When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Quite Fit, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Quite Fit

 

By

 

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

As I was reminded at church today, Mother’s Day may be hard for some people. Some, like me, have lost their mother’s–in my case, six years ago. And while I can still celebrate her life she isn’t physically present to go out to lunch with or something like that. Others never had a mother–in the sense of one being present in their lives. Others couldn’t have children and desperately wanted to. Others have lost their children to miscarriages or other tragedies. Still others have had mothers who were abusive or negligent. And still others have a strained relationship with their mothers, and some mothers have a strained relationship with their children.

There are also people like me–people who lived most of their parenting lives as “Dad.” I will always be Dad to my kids–I know I was a father to them and I am glad for that. I am also their mother. So, for me, Mother’s Day is very special. I get to parent in a whole new way and in the same ways I did before coming out. Luckily for me my kids are amazingly supportive and I have already received Mother’s Day greetings from them. However, I am also one of those people who has always (even before coming out as trans) ached to be able to have children—I was always deeply envious of pregnant mothers. I have always ached to be able to nurse a child. I have come to accept neither of these things will ever happen–and I am no less a mother. So, to all the non-binary “Moms” or people who act as mothers to others–regardless of their gender. Happy Parent’s Day to you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people out there who mother other people’s children—teachers, nurses, doctors, librarians.  Blessings to all the foster moms and moms who have adopted children from around the world or their own communities.

And to all the grandmothers and aunts who have taken on the role of mother again because of special circumstances.  Blessings to all the grandmothers who simply get to grandmother grandchildren, and do so with wisdom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the single Dads who serve as mothers all day, everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people who have consciously chosen to not bear or raise children.  I am willing to bet there is someone or something in your life that you mother, and do so with grace, dignity, and love–be that a pet, a plant, a poem, or a person.

And of course, Happy Mother’s Day to ourselves–no matter who we are–for we all, one day, must begin, and never stop, mothering ourselves. It is just the way that it is–we all become our own mother’s one day–giving birth over and over again to ourselves.

To wrap up I would like to lift up all those for whom Mother’s Day is a hard day. Your soul and spirits are Mothers. You have been mothered by the world. You are Mothers of the world.

And also grieve, or be angry. Seek safe support to be with you today as you move through any difficult or challenging feelings and memories.

You are loved. You are special. And you are held in the hands of Mother Gaia.

 

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On Notice, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

On Notice

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

At a moment’s notice

You’re on notice.

Did you notice that?

It may come person to person,

Or deer to person, or hawk to person,

You might receive notice in the mail–

It might be short notice,

Advanced notice,

Official notice,

It might be public notice,

Or you might be noticed in secret by a shadow, or the moon.

However it comes, whatever its nature,

Take it as best you can, for rest assured

One day you will be put on notice,

Or you will put notice on yourself—whichever it is—

There may not be further notice.

Keep in mind there are notes in every notice–

Musical notes that just want to be seen and heard and played.

For all noticings are musical by nature, every time

You notice another, the soul dances.

The thing to remember is this:

 

Nothing goes without notice forever.

When death comes with her eviction notice,

You will have no choice but to sit up and take it.

 

I notice your eyes,

The slight tilt of your face,

I notice you breathing on these words

Giving them life.

 

 

 


 

 

 




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Including You, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Including You

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Now that autumn is in full gear

And the air fills the lungs with letting go breaths,

The time has come once again

When the slant of light catches you off guard

And you find yourself weeping

Watching the precipitation from the trees

Vesturing the ground with red and gold.

 

There is nothing you can do.

The allegory of the leaves and change

Has been around as long as trees themselves.

You cannot get around letting go.

 

And there are times letting go turns

Into a flood of things sailing away

Just beyond your reach into a day full of cidered light–

And you can only watch, or try

 

To look away, nevertheless parts of your life

Will be draped on the ground like so many

Torn shards of shifts and shirts

And they will be there waiting for you

To witness their being caught down in unavoidable winds

And you will be left with either becoming

Hard, like a tree whose blood slows to frozen,

 

Or ebullient like a flower girl at a wedding, tossing

Rose petals along the aisle where death

Sits on one side and life on the other,

And your processional of letting go distracts everyone

Momentarily from the marriage about to happen

That will leave everyone, including you,

Searching frantically inside

For the one they used to love.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 





The Stone Ledge, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Stone Ledge

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

The slant of light upon the grass

Where tattered tapestries of autumn leaves

Rise and fall, reveals the bones

Of a long since dead bird.

 

How is it I never noticed it before?

How is it I never stopped to grieve the leaving

Of this winged being?

 

Oh, I am busy, I know, but I do

Almost always look down when I walk,

So why?  Why did I not see?

 

Perhaps before it died I could have

Done something to help it live, take

It to a sanctuary or aviary,

Perhaps, at very least, I could have given

It a proper burial.

 

Now its bones, brittle, air-gone,

Lie in a little heap, wings fanned out

Into forever.

 

There is no going back.

There is no back to go back to.

However, there is a point of no return.

 

The way ahead is dark, empty

Of sky and wind, the way ahead

Is bones revealed in autumn,

The way ahead is wings spread

Without sky, without the holy

Uplifting.

 

I turn, bend close, go ahead

And lift the dead bird in my hands,

Carry it to the stone ledge, retrieve

A garden shovel, dig, let my nose run,

Place the skeleton down as gently

As I possibly can, return the earth,

Bless the leaving, cover the hope

Of ever flying again.

 


 

 

 

 


 




Independence Day, 2016, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Independence Day, 2016

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

Fireflies riot in the trees,

I can’t distinguish them

From the moon-lit sequins

On my skirt as I stride

Through the damp grass

Into the night-draped yard.

 

Fireworks pop—dull, crisp—

Somewhere people on blankets

Look up, wondering how good

The finale will be (it is always so

Sudden—leaving the scent of sulphur

And wisps of smoke to dissolve

Very anti-climatically

Into the sky).

 

Fire consumes light for a living.

I long to turn and run

Through the black hole of my life,

And plunge head-first

Into the churning mouth

Of the sun.

 

 


 

 

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Allow Me

Allow Me
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 
At some point
Fireflies
Fade into autumn,
Their blooms
Of light
Extinguish
Into darkness;
Flowers
Drip their silken petals
One by one,
And draw
Their leaves
Inwards against
Thieving November winds;
Frogs
With their golden eyes
Vanish
From the pond’s murky edge;
Deer step through
Mist-skirted trees,
And with a flick
Of their white tails
Disappear.

 
Right now, here,
Today, your life
And mine
Are dissolving
Into light,
And at some point
We will lift
From the pages
Of our lives
And simply
Be gone—written
In the stars.

 
Thing is,
Life is long, like
A lazy, sun-drunken
Summer afternoon,
And it’s short,
Like the afore mentioned
Wink of the firefly.
Either way
You and I
Are being called

 
And we are also the ones
Doing the calling.

 
Beauty needs us,
Faith requires of us,
Love invites us
To participate
In the hum
And wonder
Of our interwoven lives;

 
And we call out—
We bring to ourselves
Open roads
And closed doors,
Everything
We want and need—
Everything
We are meant and ache
To be. And of course,

 
By the time
You read this
I might already
Be gone; I might
Be hovering
Right now
Over your shoulder
And nudging you
To smile and get out there
And amaze the world,
Amaze yourself.

 
And whether or not
I am still alive
When you read this,
You and I
Have been
Drawn together
In this moment,
At this point
In time–
And we have a job to do,
A job that isn’t
So much a job
As it is a story
That only you and I
Can tell.

 
So, here’s the thing:
I want to show the world
Who I really am.
Will you help me
Tell this part
Of the story?
And what about you?

 
What is it you
Want to do and say?
Whatever it is,
Allow me
To be with you
Either
From my place
Of light beyond light,
Or from here,
In these words–
Allow me,
At this moment in time
To be here
For you.

 

 

 


 


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Listen

Listen
By
Joseph Anthony

 

 
Silence
We all know
You will be the last one standing.

After all the fires and floods
You will step out from the ruins
And take your rightful place
At the center of all things.

How can we redeem ourselves now
So that you will not swallow us up into your endless belly?
Is there a way you can unfold yourself now
So that when the time comes for our souls
To thaw and to lift, we won’t be so afraid when you call our names?
Is there a way of touching you now
So that when you drape us in your arms
Your embrace won’t feel so cold and foreign?
Is there a way, Silence, of getting to know you now
So that when the softening comes,
And the rendering, we won’t be so afraid
That we beg to be born again?

With all of our distractions and means
Of avoiding you we know we fear the thing
We want the most.

So please
Speak through us now so that we may learn
Your language, sing through us now
So that we may learn your melody,
Move through us now so that when our steps distill into dancing
We will fall joyfully into the feathers
Of your waiting and terrible wings.