The Way, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Way

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

The seed,

The blossom,

The egg,

The wings,

The chrysalis,

The storm,

The spring,

The hands,

The voice,

The heart,

Covers and blankets,

Grief and rage,

The mind,

The memory,

The questions,

Faith and darkness,

Stories and galaxies,

The way and years,

Everything loosens

And gives way

To unfolding.

 

 

 

 


 

 



Donations go to food and medical expenses.  <3


Rising Up to Meet the Road, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Rising Up to Meet the Road

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

beautiful road

 

 

There are poems unfinished

Waiting in the woods beneath roots of trees

And hovering, like horsetail clouds behind the moon;

There are songs unwritten

Following beside me as I walk,

Their melodies coming in snippets, like

Distant birdcalls or pieces

Of dreams, and soundbites

Of conversations overheard

In used bookstores, classrooms, and coffee shops,

Their rhythms blossoming

From the muse and the soul touching all night, all day,

Every day, when I am not able to dance

Either asleep or awake;

There is work undone

Waiting in the universe, making its way

Towards my door, opportunities

Growing, like flower gardens

Planted when no one is looking,

But they are coming, they are revealing

Themselves little by little, like

Spring in the coldest of winters;

There are people unloved

Waiting in the wings for me to release the spirits

That bind me–to make my way

Towards the light, to open

The hands of my heart

And let in those who see

And feel and know my name,

And for me to step through

The fourth wall and into their arms and lives;

There are answered prayers

Unprayed, waiting to be let loose

Into the world, like

So many fireflies, like a carnival

Of children, like a collection

Of songs and poems

Published on the wings

Of pain and healing and lifting their way

Into moonlit clouds and sunlit days,

And alighting back down as angels and

Moonbeams, sunbeams and ends of rainbows,

Petals of cherry blossoms,

Dragonflies, and cries of cicadas

And morning doves, and beings

Of all the elements, and all of this, all of this

Swirling into one, worthy to be lived

Life of one woman rising up

To meet the road.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 





Donations go to my gender reassignment surgery and to the continuation of the Wonder Child Blog

Prayers, Soaring

Prayers, Soaring

For Eden

by

Joseph Anthony Petro

 

eden praying 2

 

 

In the center
Of the field
The child,
Hands together,
Prayed the circle
Be one, bowed
Hoping it was so,
Turned, saw spirit
Everywhere;
And the flowers
And clouds, the passing
Heron, the nearby river
Sung the hope
Into sweet and fierce truth—
And then—hands open,
Sky embraced, the child,
Realized and full
Of grace, smiled, like
The sun, like the moon,
Like a constellation
Of a million stars,
In a universe made
Of pure adventure.

 

 

 


 


Chosen

Chosen
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 
The thing is
No one believes me.
How the fireflies dazzled their way
To my back screen door, like
A galaxy spiraling towards me.
No one believes their light
Became so strong, so blinding
It simply crossed the threshold
Into my kitchen, gathered me up
In its arms, and lifted me outside
Into the night, and upwards, passed the trees,
Higher, into the clouds of moonlit angel hair,
And higher, to the stars,
Where suddenly it let me go
And still I kept rising, and the mass of fireflies sang—
(I didn’t know fireflies sang),
And I rose to their shimmering chorus up,
Up until the moon grabbed me out of the sky
And swirled me over and over in her jet black hair
As a spider tumbles a fly in a web,
And I laughed as she spun me, for her hair
Was soft as wind, and she sang like the fireflies
An uncluttered lullaby—pure, incandescent, like
Rays of sunlight beaming through a morning forest,
And the more she wove, the more I could breathe,
And her song bathed around me every bit
As softly as her hair, and when she finished,
And I had tumbled one last time
I found myself drifting to sleep in her satin shrouded arms,
And somewhere nearby I could see
The fireflies forming a ring around us,
Encircling us in diamonds and glittering sapphires,
And I could feel her chest rise and fall
As she too began to sleep,
And the dreams we had that night
Were unlike any I have ever had.
To say they were resplendent
Would be putting it mildly—they were dreams
Of pure, radiant light—my mind and soul blazed
With brilliance, sang with silver, rang with bells
Of crystal, and I knew things—answers
To things—questions exploded like fireworks
And then drizzled towards me like
Ribbons of fireflies—because they were fireflies—
Each and every one of my questions was a firefly,
Every one of the answers was too,
And I knew right then and there,
Asleep in the arms of the moon,
Guarded by a legion of fireflies,
That the world, no matter how dark,
No matter how light, was made of light–
Light brighter than we could ever imagine, light
That made the darkness darker so as to illuminate
The way for angels carrying candles, light
That made the sun seem playfully small,
Light that made my problems and their solutions become bubbles of dew,
And everything, everyone was the chosen one,
Every atom, cell, strand of dancing DNA
Was chosen, and lit up from within
With a heavenly darkness,
And loved beyond measure,
Loved beyond fear, loved beyond doubt,
Loved beyond the wildest passions
One could ever hope for—loved beyond belief.
I knew these things asleep in the arms of the moon.
And when I woke I was in my bed,
And when I stood I stumbled,
And when I stumbled I stayed on my knees
And thanked the moon, the fireflies, the stars,
And when I rose to go tell the world
How the answers and the questions—how
Your heart and my heart, your body and my body, your soul
And my soul, your mind and my mind, are all made of light,
How we are all chosen, how we are all known,
And that the way to letting your light shine
Is to go, go through the darkness,
Go through the darkness
Until you sleep in the arms of the moon, like
A baby–when I rose to tell the world
I heard you say, what good will it do?
It’s not about good, I replied. It’s about knowing
That somehow, someway we are all OK,
We are all light destined for light, to hatch into light.
So right now, in this place, in this moment in time and space,
Take my hand, and rejoice, and go, I said,
Go into the darkness—
Run, stumble as I did, stumble for years if you have to, just go,
I will be by your side. Go until you see them—
Angels carrying candles, fireflies lanterning the path,
The moon opening her arms. Go.
Go and be loved by light swaddled in darkness until your own self-love
Dawns like a summer morning in the night of your self-hate.
I know. You’re right. I was wrong about what I said
At the beginning. I know you believe me.

 

 

 


 

 

 





Growing More and More

Growing More and More
For Henri
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Nexus 5 Photos 1152

 

Trees are not defined
By how well they read
The scrolls of the sky;
They are not defined
By how wide or how far
Or how hard they stretch;
They are not defined
By the green they bloom in spring
Or the gold they scatter in autumn.
Trees see in the dark.
Trees brush their hands
Through the fields of heaven.
Trees find ways
Of securing themselves
In earth and stone no one else
Would have ever thought of.
Trees spread fragrance and fruit
Simply by being themselves,
And by growing more and more
Into being themselves.
Trees make time to stand
Draped in moonlight and starlight,
And the shawl of the sun.
Trees gracefully allow
The breath of God to whisper
Through their minds
And touch their faces.
Trees gather nourishment
From storms and winter soil.
Trees weave air with skillful fingers
From pure imagination
And devotion to life.
May we all learn to rest
In their confident shade,
And, by their example,
Grow more and more
Into being ourselves.

 

 


 

 

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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.”

 

 


 





On Being Held, an Ode in Prose to the Common Chair

On Being Held
An Ode in Prose to the Common Chair
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

We do trust falls every time we sit down in a chair. It is similar when we flop down on a bed, except in the case of the bed, we see the surface we are about to fall on. With a chair, our subconscious might maybe, maybe notice for a millisecond where the body is going—however, for all intents and purposes, we simply drop ourselves into the chair, and rarely, if ever, imagine crashing to the floor. We just suddenly renounce our verticality and allow ourselves to fall and be held in a uniquely folded position. Sometimes we lower ourselves slowly and let the chair rock us as we doze off after reading a few lines from our favorite book. We waive our right to gravity when we sit in a chair. We resign our mobility, and simply stop, trusting the chair will do its humble task of holding our butts no less, and supporting our backs. And aside from an occasional creak, chairs hardly ever complain. Yet there they are–ordinary servants in ordinary moments, standing at the ready for when we relinquish our desire to do it alone. Chairs are there when we collapse, yielding to the pressure of living, succumbing to the fatigue of grief, or to the deep relief of gratitude. Chairs are a steadying force when we let our guard down or lose our way. They let us fall only so far, keeping us from sprawling across the floor. They are as complete an image for faith in the care of God as any can be. Chairs, like God, want us to take them for granted. It’s what they live for. They want us to have perfect faith in their ability to set things right if we would only let them. “Come, sit down,” the friend says after we’ve heard the trajectory-changing news. And so we do, allowing ourselves to wilt in the chair, like a wounded bird being healed in the hands of God.

 

 


 





On God, Tightropes, and Wheelbarrows

On God, Tightropes, and Wheelbarrows
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

There’s this old story still going around
About a tightrope walker pushing a man
In a wheelbarrow across a tightrope
Suspended over Niagara Falls.
The story is supposed to illustrate
How we, if we truly have faith in God,
Need to get in the wheelbarrow
And allow ourselves to be pushed
Across the tightrope in the wheelbarrow.
Belief is thinking the tightrope walker can do it,
Faith is getting in the wheelbarrow.
Of course we’re all supposed to say:
“Well, that sounds hard, but yes, I’ll do it.
I want that kind of surrender-faith.”
May I give you my slant on this whole idea
Of wheelbarrows and tightropes, and Gods
That want us to do this sort of thing?
Any God that requires someone
To get in a wheelbarrow on a tightrope
And be pushed across, is not God.
Any God that tells Abraham to tie
His son to a rock and sacrifice him
Is not God. If he is, then join me up
With the local Atheist Society.
My God, works on the ground,
In a garden, on a bright, spring day.
My God doesn’t need me
To prove anything to him
Or anyone else. My God
Isn’t a performer of feats
Of audacity and sheer stupidity.
My God’s on the ground, working
In a garden, and one day (every day) says to me:
“Hey there, want a ride in the wheelbarrow?”
And I am free to get in or not. My faith
Is not tested one bit regardless
Of my answer. If I want to stay out of the wheelbarrow
That’s fine, I can putz around the garden
All day, all life, looking for bugs and rocks and other treasures,
And God will just wave every now and then
As he goes by and I can go over and show him
The praying mantis I found and he’ll say,
“Wow, that’s really cool. Now let it go.”
But for the sake of this discussion, let’s say I get in,
And God begins pushing the wheelbarrow,
And it’s still got a little dirt in it and I like that,
And the sides are hard and cold as I hold on tight,
And I like that too, it feels safe and solid,
And God pushes, slowly at first, but then
Picks up a little speed, and is soon
Dashing along the border of the garden
And the wind is blowing through my hair,
And I am laughing, and a kid again—
A kid the whole time, forever, in a wheelbarrow.
And maybe God keeps walking–slows
To a steady gate, and I drift to sleep,
And God, being God, just keeps walking
And pushing the wheelbarrow,
And whenever I choose, he stops,
Lets me push, and maybe even,
On real, heretical days, gets in himself
Lets me push, or at very least, give other people,
Other kids, rides around the garden.
Or maybe he gets in, and because he’s God
Can make the wheelbarrow go without
Anyone pushing it, and so we can both
Ride together, and I can allow myself
To sink into his arms as the wheelbarrow
Sails across the field, and I can stick my hands out
And brush the tall, passing grass, or the nodding
Sunflowers, and maybe the wheelbarrow can
Grow and grow and grow and fit
As many kids as want to get in.
That all sounds much better to me,
Than getting in a wheelbarrow, on a tightrope,
Over Niagara Falls, and being pushed across.

 

 



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New Year’s Day, 2015

New Year’s Day, 2015
By
Joseph Anthony

the path

For some the future is a movie where they’re falling
In the monster’s mouth only so far and then suddenly finding
Some unforeseen and extraordinarily unlikely method of escape.
For some the future is a road rising to meet them, unfurling
From some distant destination called hope and healing.
For some the future is a series of doors that appear out of nowhere
In a field or on a city street and open
At the slightest touch or sigh of relief.
For some the future is a dark forest path winding through patient trees
Carrying lanterns lit with columns of light.
For some the future opens like an unexpected clearing
Of wild flowers and honeybees that bob up and down in a pine scented sun.
For some the future is an ocean tide curling around their feet
Enticing, inviting, filled with bits of information unclear, yet sun dappled and soft.
Listen, I am trying to find ways to keep going. Trying to imagine
Scenarios where the darkness isn’t all there is;
Where a sense of adventure and humility at not knowing
Somehow sustain me on my way;
Where I don’t need to crawl to make it, where I don’t need to trudge
Or drown or wish I was dead. I am trying to imagine life
Unencumbered by the depression that has kept me locked
In a box cramped with ghosts and bones.
I am trying to let the future be gratitude and serenity
For whatever comes my way. I am trying to imagine
Breathing freely into the unknown as I would stepping out
Into a bright, spring morning. I am trying to do the one thing
That if I do on the first day of the year, they say I will do all year long:
I am trying to dance with ghosts; I am trying to build a framework
And a bridge out of bones. I am trying to see into the darkness
Just far enough to believe there is a reason to believe.
So there, I’ve done it. I’ve written another poem.
I’ve tried honestly to tell you where I am, what it’s like.
And you’ve read it. Now we both get to go together
Into towns just waking at dawn where invisible trains
Sound somewhere beyond distant, cloud-misted hills,
Where diners that smell like coffee and toast
turn on ‘Come in We’re Open’ signs just as we arrive.
We both get to go towards a time that isn’t yet
And somehow not fall into despair.
Please, I am going to do one more thing
That I need to do for the rest of the year:
Hold your hand without shame because the fear
Can be so deafening, and the way ahead was never meant
To be realized alone.

roots together

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