Moon Psalm, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Moon Psalm
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

You pull the tides in with silver reigns
And flood the shores of my already loosening faith,
You bring dark water to the roots of my self-loathing
And sprout entire orchards of menacing trees,
You coax little rivulets to migrate to hidden gardens of shame
That grow in the corners of my mind, helping them thrive
And spread like vines of poison ivy,
You throw down rain and muddy the earth of my hope,
You trouble the lakes and ponds of my dreams, creating resonances
That only go so far—far enough to seep over the roads
Of where I think I should be going, far enough to soak the fields of wonder
I used to love; far enough to lap at the horizon that for some reason
Still wants me–Moon, you draw forth tears from the well of my soul
And turn the waterwheel that powers the millstones
That grind the flour of my sorrow into the bitter bread of not caring anymore—
Moon, you know I need you—you know you are the most high—
Go ahead drown me–carry me home in the folds of your silver river
And lay me on the shores of your breathing
Where I can become one with the sky.

 

moon


When There is Nowhere to Turn, I Find Myself Surrounded by the Moon and Her Messengers of Light, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

When There is Nowhere to Turn
I Find Myself Surrounded by the Moon and Her Messengers of Light
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

moon

One morning, walking through the January forest,
I watched the path double back on itself and disappear.
One evening, sailing on an indigo ocean of questions,
I saw the horizon swallow itself whole, like a monster all stomach and mouth.
I too searched for brains, a heart, and a home,
And the yellow-brick road turned into rust.
Heaven has fallen from the sky like so many shot-down stars.
There is nowhere to turn that doesn’t lead to ghost towns and empty silos.
My aspirations get stuck in the trees, like shreds of shawls.
Angels’ wings have folded.
Smiles are rimmed in blood.
Embraces reach for me and miss, grasping themselves.
The time has come for whirlwinds and blizzards,
The time has come for floods, and bone-rattling thunder,
Look—the sun was just swallowed by a wolf—
Look—the bridges have all burst into flame–
Look—
The moon is growing fuller,
Taking over the darkness—
Look—she is pulling the sun from the belly of the wolf–
Look—she is stilling the thunder and plucking my prayers from the trees—
Look-she is unfolding the path and shaking out the horizon and spreading it afar, anew—
Look—she is picking up the fallen stars and hanging them back in their places—
Look—she is brushing the angels’ wings and rubbing their shoulders—
Look—she is wiping the bloody mouths, like
A mother wiping a child’s face—rough and tender, all at once–
Look—she is steadying me so I don’t duck or fall when the embraces come—
Look-she is gently scolding me to listen better to her messengers of Light called:
“You.”
Look—she is lifting me, rocking me in the softest of breezes, singing,
And whispering runes and spells, affirmations, and ways through the dark,
And treasure maps and secret passageways through mountains and dungeons–
Her tears fall down her breasts, mixing with her milk as she lets me suckle
For as long as I need in the cradle of her light-filled, infinite arms.


 

 

All donations go towards my transition.  Thank you.  <3


 


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.

 

 

 

 


 


Going Through the Motions

Going Through the Motions
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Fake it till you make it, they say.
I’ve been faking it for the better part
Of forty-seven years,
The rest has been out and out lies
Scattered through fleeting moments
Of a deep awareness of the oneness of things.
I am trying now, more than ever
To go through the motions of living
Because the motions of dying
Would hurt too many people.
Yet every living movement I make is hollow
And empty like a brainless robot riddled with rust.
I shave, clean my room, I look at you
And I write these words, I even gaze long moments
At flowers and roots of trees,
I walk yet I do not feel my steps,
I lie in bed yet I do not feel my weight,
And it isn’t so much a wind is blowing through me—
It is more I am not even here, not even a shell,
More of a ghost–a living, breathing ghost.
And I do not know when I crossed over
Into dying while living. I have tried so hard
To push through, to simply be,
To tell you the truth of my journey,
And yet I can slip my hand through my own body,
The mirror reflects the wall behind where I think
I stand. I want to tell you something beautiful,
I want to give you bushels of hope,
I want to tell you to never look away from the light
Or the darkness, I want to tell you to never refuse an embrace,
Or to never give up, yet I am faking it, so I truly do not know
If what I am telling you means anything at all.
Yet I am here. Going through
The motions, the way waves go through
The ocean, the way wind
Goes through
The curtains,
The way space
Goes through
My eyes,
The way time
Goes through
My life,
The way the end of the road
Goes through, straight through
To the other side
Of heaven.


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.

 

 


 





I’m Not Supposed to Tell You–Original Version

Note:  In the version I published yesterday I felt my usual need to be responsible and hopeful and redemptive for you.  I couldn’t bear to leave you with how I was truly feeling–and that’s not a “bad” thing–that quality I love about myself–most of the time.  Often I do not know where I leave off and you begin and I get confused about my desire to save everyone.  Anywho, the original version of this poem is the one posted today.  The second half that I added yesterday is still true and I am deeply grateful for the hope and love I receive from others.  Today, however, and when this poem was born,  I am in an inner hurricane, and no, I will not hide that today.  Joseph

Special thanks to Mindy for not being afraid.

 

I Am Not Supposed to Tell You
By
Joseph Anthony

 

I am not supposed to tell you
How steeped I am in self-hatred;
How I feel like a sand mandala slowly
Blowing away grain by grain;
This heart you think you know
Is not mine. My heart is an albatross
Lost at the bottom of the sea.
A dark angel shifts heavy, smothering wings
Inside my chest. A wind-tossed night sky
Searching for morning, blankets
My basic, human sense of self.
Breathing
Feels
Wrong.
I am not supposed to tell you that.
I’m supposed to worry about what you
Think of me; what will happen
Now that you know—
I’m not supposed to tell you that either.
You tell me: this too, shall pass.
I am not supposed to tell you:
Those words enter a man’s ears but are heard
By a child’s—a child who hears you
But cannot help looking passed you
At the storm gathering behind you—the one
Unfurling like a monster made of smoke—
The one heading this way.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 





I’m Not Supposed to Tell You

I Am Not Supposed to Tell You
By
Joseph Anthony

 

I am not supposed to tell you
How steeped I am in self-hatred;
How I feel like a sand mandala slowly
Blowing away grain by grain;
This heart you think you know
Is not mine. My heart is an albatross
Lost at the bottom of the sea.
A dark angel shifts heavy, smothering wings
Inside my chest. A wind-tossed night sky
Searching for morning, blankets
My basic, human sense of self.
Breathing
Feels
Wrong.
I am not supposed to tell you that.
I’m supposed to worry about what you
Think of me; what will happen
Now that you know—
I’m not supposed to tell you that either.
You tell me: this too, shall pass.
I am not supposed to tell you:
Those words enter a man’s ears but are heard
By a child’s—a child who hears you
But cannot help looking passed you
At the storm gathering behind you—the one
Unfurling like a monster made of smoke—
The one heading this way.
I am not supposed to tell you any
Of this. But I know you.
You are already diving into the dark waves
With underwater flashlights and lifelines,
You are exorcists of demons—loving
The dark angel until he flies away
To the mountains of God, and turns
Into a baby goat.
You are ushering in the dawn
On strong, generous shoulders,
You are out there patiently collecting bits
Of sand and handing them back
To the mandala-maker,
You are looking in my eyes, you see the reflection
Of the approaching monster and still
You’re reaching out your hand, still
You are standing steady—braced with faith, still
You’re saying, “Dear Heart, it’s true.”

 

 


 





It All Starts With a Question

It All Starts With a Question
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

 

It all starts with a question.

Somehow, someway it gets spoken

Or simply lifts into your life, like

Morning.  Either way

It appears and your life changes.

Perhaps it sings into your life, like

Morning birds that say:

“Flock! Tree!  Let’s Go!

Stay! Sun! Fly! Wings!”

Maybe it gets puzzled up in chatter.

Perhaps it crashes into your life, like

A tree branch through your roof.

Perhaps it stands unspoken for years

In a corner of the room, like

A lamp without a lightbulb.

Perhaps it drifts into your awareness, like

The fragrance of morning coffee,

Old books, or the air just before rain,

No matter how or when it arrives,

The thing to do is to remember:

There is a quest in every question.

And sometimes questions

Need to be followed casually, like

A child on a walk in the woods,

And sometimes questions need to be pursued, like

A lost child in a carnival.

And sometimes questions simply need

To be acknowledged, and the answers

Pale in comparison to the fact

That you were finally able to ask whatever it was

You so desperately needed to ask.

And sometimes the answer is so utterly everyday

You miss it, like a stop sign or a dandelion—

At least I do–

And sometimes the question and the answer

Arise together, like

The butterfly in the cocoon,

Or the bird in the egg,

Or acceptance in the sorrow,

And sometimes…sometimes,

It all ends with a question,

And when it does,

The thing to do is to remember:

There is a quest in every question,

And no quest is ever deemed unworthy

Simply because the end winds up being

Another beginning, or the “X marks the spot”

Ends up being the very place

Where your knees touch the ground

Or your eyes search the sky,

And no quest, no matter what

Any staunch individualist says

Is ever meant to be traveled alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Allowing Birdsong

Allowing Birdsong
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

There is a softness
In the pain
Just big enough
To crawl through
And cry, like
A baby.
There is a softness
In the pain
That opens
Just wide enough
To allow birdsong
To filter in.
There is a softness
In the pain
That you can
Sink down into
Without any thought
Or care of what anyone
Thinks or says or does,
Where you can surrender
Deeply into the coldness
That is a broken heart,
Knowing it will end,
It has to end. The pain
Cannot last forever.
And the softness–
The softness will gradually
Begin to radiate out
Encompassing things, like
Love, mercy, self-acceptance,
Determination, other people,
And the growing ability
To allow yourself
To be happy.

 



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