Souls Alive, A Little Story about The Purpose of Life, Chickens, Dragons, and Dark Chocolate, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Souls Alive

A Little Story about The Purpose of Life, Chickens, Dragons, and Dark Chocolate

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Chapter One: The Ending

 

My parents were dead before I was born, and so was I.  Hate to break it to you, but it’s the same for you too, dear reader.  It’s the same for all of us.  Thing is, it’s a fact that’s hard to remember.  Once we infuse ourselves into a body, we’re already so delighted over the sparkling journey, that our so-called-past-becomes a distant, nearly fully unconscious memory.  I say, “so-called past,” because, as the chickens tell us—there is no true beginning or end.  The debate as to which who came first, is like arguing over which is better—dark chocolate Oreos or dark chocolate nonpareils—silly.

At any rate, let’s get back to me.  As I mentioned a paragraph ago, my parents were dead before I was born, and so was I.  Hate to break it to you, but it’s the same for—-oh, sorry, said that already.  I’m trying to focus, please be patient with me.  It’s not easy to be a ghost and keep your focus.  Think of it—everything is radiantly timeless and sugary like cotton candy, and so it’s hard to remain focused on whatever is in front of you—not to mention the fact that you can pass your hands through everything you touch and that’s pretty cool, but nevertheless annoying.

I should probably define what a ghost actually is.  It’s not what most people think.  According to the Online Etymology Dictionary (which remains my favorite website after all these centuries) in the original Old English, the word, “ghost,” was, “gast,” which meant, among other things, “breath; angel, demon; person, human being.”  The fact that the word has devolved over the centuries to simply mean the spirit of a dead person, is a travesty.  Most words today are devolutions of much richer, more wondrous meanings, and, as time goes by (which is really a very profane expression, since time doesn’t “go-by,” but more on that later—which is another word related to time that also baffles me), the human mind became less able to hold all these various meanings in one mind (which is, as you guessed it–the idea of “one mind”–a silly idea as well) and thus the intricate complexities of all words distill down to definitions that any old human intellect can tackle.

It’s entirely possible you might be thinking that I’m attempting to avoid relating the actual story I started out to tell—the one about my parents and I being dead before we were born—and you wouldn’t be completely wrong.  You see, it is a challenging story for me to both recall and to tell.  It brings to surface, like an underground lake suddenly seeping across the land, many painful experiences that must, of necessity, be brought to light.  Not the least of which involves a hungry (but vastly misunderstood) dragon, the challenging descriptions of incarnating, and the hot-button-topic-of gender identity—sure to rankle the feathers of many small-minded fundamentalists.

All that said, let’s jump into the vegetarian meat of the story:  My parents were dead before I was born, and so was I.  Now, as I eluded to earlier—any word that is used in reference to time— “before,” “earlier, “after,” and so on, are really misnomers, and highly inaccurate and misleading.  For the sake of you, dear reader, we will stick to the conventional, human terms for time.  This is not to say you are incapable of grasping such concepts, it is more to say—your heart can, your soul can, your spirit can—but your mind—well, your mind will get all tangled in philosophical debating and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the yarn I am spinning—or, at very least, about to spin.  The broader, more cosmic definitions of “time” are going to be left for another, non-existent day.

Take a breath, dear reader, cause here we go.

 

Chapter Two: The Beginning

 

 

 

 

 


In the Rooms of Our Days, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

In the Rooms of Our Days

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Snow falls, soundless,

Layering on branches, like cells

On the body, creating silence

And drapery, touching everything.

The winter wishes for nothing else

Than to build up smooth mounds

Over the ruins of sleeping seeds

And the bones of animals that passed away alone,

Giving them the kind of protection required

For secret awakenings to warmth and light—

That we all need, that we all long for

As we stay awake all winter, walking back and forth

In the rooms of our days, unable to sleep,

Unable to close our eyes and trust the spring,

Unable to remember that once

We slept in darkness, that once

We emerged from the darkness,

That once, again and again, we blossomed

Into the hands of another, that we rose up

To a welcoming sky, and that we will all, once

Again, and again, return to sleep

Beneath scrolls of silent snow.

 

 


 

 


Moment, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Moment

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Some nights, loneliness says:

“Everything fades.

Flowers. Fireflies. Pain.

Thing is to go out in as exquisite symmetry as you can—

Laughter on the one hand, tears on the other, and then—

Let all of your beautiful failures become the wind.”

 

 

 


 

 



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.

 

 


 

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


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.

 

IMG_20161101_170759

 

 


 

 


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


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.

 

 

 


 

 

 




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

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.