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

 

 

 

 

 


My Poems Speak to the Living and the Dead, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

My Poems Speak to the Living and the Dead

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

My poems speak

To the living

And the dead.

Spirits lingering nearby

Hear my words

And start dancing;

Ghosts feel them blow thru

Like calming winds

Or billowing storms

Depending on how tethered

To place they are.

Spirits send out resonances

To meet these resonances

Even if they’re read in your head—

After all, skulls and skin

Are no barrier to spirits

Longing to be influenced and

To influence.  My poems

 

Speak to streams of time,

Carrying ships bearing autumn trees,

My poems speak to the clouds

Who carry them across the sea,

My poems speak to roots and wings

And burrow like cicada nymphs

Only to rise up fully mature-winged-voice-throwers,

My poems speak to the rivers,

Polishing rocks and stones, and smoothing over

Fallen trees, my poems

Caress the legs of frogs and kiss the lips of deer,

My poems speak to the souls

Of infants and elders, my poems

Speak to the living and the dead.

 

Take

A moment,

Hold it loosely, much like

A hummingbird holds its hovering

Over the trumpet flower,

And speak these words,

Speak your words,

And set your whole being

And everything around you

Thrumming, like

A chord

Of joy.

 

 

 


 

 

 




 


I Want You to Know, by Radiance Angelina Petro

me again again

 

 

I Want You to Know

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.                       ——Second Timothy 1:7

 

 

I want you to know

I believe in spirits.

I don’t believe there is some god

Sitting around somewhere doling out spirits—of any kind.

Spirits are not things to be given

Or taken.

Spirits do the giving (and yes, the taking).

Spirits move and live and have

Their being in, around, above, below, and through

Us.  They travel looking for places

To stay—sometimes forever, other times

They just want to stop by, check out

How things are going, and then move on.

Other times they come to stay awhile

And live in your hostel mind.

Most are pretty unassuming and quiet,

Whispering only now and again

Via the wind in the trees above your head

Or in some other such manner.

Other times they can be a bit testy,

Especially when you hook one

With your emotions.

Then they can become like angry fish

And do their best to snap your line.

And yes, there are ones that mean you harm.

The main thing I want you to know though is this:

I believe in spirits.

It is important to me

That you know that.

Keep in mind:  spirits

Are not ghosts.

Spirits are spirits.

Ghosts are ghosts.

Spirits wander freely.

Ghosts stay stuck in one place, screaming

Or weeping, or running up and down the hallway,

Sometimes they sit behind chairs or in walls laughing—but not

Easy laughing—more like trapped, misunderstood laughing—

The kind one might hear in an asylum.

Spirits are not angels either.

Angels are angels.

Spirits are spirits.

Several of them (spirits)

Live in me.  I used to think

There were just two—a male and a female.

Now I know my soul and body and mind

Are a city of spirits.  Sometimes

Things thin out a bit and I am more

A house of spirits, or a garden of spirits—

Like I said though—the main thing

I want you to take away from this poem is:

I believe in spirits.  I think you

Get that now, and whether or not

You believe me, or whether or not

You believe in spirits, does not matter to me.

I told the truth.

That is the best I can do.

 

 


 

 

 




Please support my transition.  Thank you.  Radiance <3

The Gift of Seeing Our Breath

The Gift of Seeing Our Breath
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

I.
As a child, as summer slipped into fall,
And the first frost shrouded the grass in little, dissolvable crystals,
I would go outside first thing in the morning
And make my mouth into a wonder-filled O,
And breathe. And when I saw my breath
Spill wispy veils upwards into the air, like so many unfurling ghosts,
I rejoiced and ran in my footy pajamas back to my bed and covers,
To contemplate this most marvelous thing.

 

My friends and I walked to school back then,
And on the first day it was cold enough
To see your breath, every few steps
One of us would say: “Look! I can see my breath!”
And we would stop and we would see and we would say:
“That’s so cool!”

 

This morning I saw a little girl step from her front door,
Make her mouth into a wonder-filled O, and breathe.
I just caught the look of amazement in her eyes as I drove past.

 

 

II.
What a gift this being alive, this being able to see our breath,
This casting of feathery nets that needn’t catch anything into an invisible sea of blue,
This gentle launching of ships of clouds—
What a gift to live in amazement,
What a gift to be able, on the coldest of days,
To be reminded we are alive, we are warm in here,
We are message bearers sharing silken signals,
“This is mine,” we say, “and I share it with you.”
We are makers of clouds and shepherds of little flocks of adventurous sheep,
And not a single one of us breathes alone,
We share the breath of those we fear
And those we love, as summer slips into fall
And the world becomes shrouded in frost,
And coldness touches everything—pause,
Let us make our heart into a wonder-filled O
And breathe, letting our warmth spread defiantly into the cold.

 

And one day when we breathe our last
Our spirits will spill upwards in feathery spirals
And be carried on the shoulders of the breath
Of the living, and we will rise, our souls shaped like
Wonder-filled O’s, and we will slip into the arms of angels
Who will bear us back to a bed of softest down,
Tuck us in to rest, kiss our forehead
And whisper, “Rest now. Tomorrow is a new day and there is much to do,
And many people to fill with amazement. ”

 

 

 


 

 

 





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Prayers of the Ghosts

Prayers of the Ghosts
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 
Inside of this forest of skin and bone
The autumn sun shines through the branches,
Evening breathes through the leaves,
Deer step from the center to the edges, silent as sunset,
A stream sculpts a pathway through the trees drawn by a waiting sea,
An owl spreads her wings and glides over the marsh of my fears,
A mountain, full of sleeping momma bears, stands behind me, sturdy and steady,
The moon sings through the crisp air spilling its song through the dancing ferns and whirling leaves,
Ghosts pray in the darkness, spreading ancient hopes and beckoning for light,
While dreams rest on the ground, languished on the cushioned earth and tangled in roots,
Waiting for me to answer the prayers of the ghosts, and set them free, like
Handfuls of butterflies on a newly realized morning in a newly realized spring.

 

 


 

 

 





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.


Echo, Sadness

Echo, Sadness
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 
Echo, sadness, on the walls of my chest,
Over the skin on my shoulders,
Echo, sadness, roll down my arms
And splash from my fingers,
Echo, sadness, through the waters of my soul,
In the hollow of my hands, in the pit of my belly,
Echo, sadness, through my bones,
Through the shell of my memories,
Echo, like sonar and find the lost ships of desire.
Echo, sadness—shudder through the ghosts
Of my mind, allow them the gift
Of dissolving like mist in light—audible light—
Let them sing as they go, thinning
Into particles of mantras and prayers.
Echo, sadness, ring in the bell of my heart
And pour through the valley of my past
And the mountains of my fears.
Echo, sadness, here, in this rattled and quivering breath—
Shallow and catching—echo here and in this here–
Sound the call of healing and let this be but a beginning
Of the unleashing of the mighty dragons of joy
From the company of heaven.

 

 

 


 





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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