The Occasional Heart, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Occasional Heart

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Some things are better left broken—

Seeds and cicada husks, the robin’s egg,

The chrysalis, the occasional heart.

 

Some things cannot be healed—

Not simply because they aren’t illnesses–

But because experiences cannot be

Undone.  And besides,

 

Some wounds

Are delicious—the taste of blood

Metallic and sacred, free of pity—

Fortifying the bones.

 

Wounds happen,

No rhyme, no reason, no

Providence.  They are moments

In the absurdity and the ridiculous wonder

Of living, of breaking open,

Of blossoming into the air,

Of wings settling and elongating,

Of the gift of spiraling inwards and

Outwards during sleep, during death, and unfolding—

Sifting through the branches of your life–

A most spectacular storm,

A most radiant calm.

 

Sit with grief.  Allow it to breathe.

It isn’t something

To be cured.  It isn’t

A sickness.

It is you, the self-same you–

Just as joy is your name.

 

Consider yourself

Whole—

Nothing

Missing, nothing worthy

Of stealing for, killing for, dying for.

Live.   Your soul–ever

Untarnished, uncorruptible—

Is more you than you.  Live.

 

As for the rest of it—yes—

The mind, body, the spirit—

These, like wings, can all

Be broken.  Rest as you move.

 

Everything gradually

Falls apart and wishes itself

Into the ground and sky.

 

Nothing can stop the holy breaking

Open.  Live.  Leap

Into the vastness

Of possibility.  Live.

 

Bury the dead, nourish the living,

And roar—

Dancing

Into your life.

 

 

 


Trauma Returns IV, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Trauma Returns IV

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

We are all surrounded by invisible doors.  Every step we take one opens and we drift through a threshold.  Sometimes we pause outside unsure of ourselves, unaware doors are opening all around us.  Once we take a step, whether we pivot the foot and turn around, or we move forward confidently—a door’s there—it opens—we’re through.  Can’t we stay in a room, or a backyard, or place of worship for a spell, or do we just keep stepping through door after door—doors leading to other doors?  That all depends on the needs of the soul.  If the soul’s task is to guide a fairly whole heart, and a nearly unscathed spirit to their next living temple, then there will be stops along the way in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens where banana bread is baking, and coffee is brewing, perhaps a teakettle is whistling, and children are laughing somewhere just outside, perhaps there will be walks through cathedrals and forests, farmlands, mountain passes, and around lakes and ponds.  In cases such as these, the doors wait nearby, open just a smidge, letting the light from beyond its frame slant through over your shoes that you’ve placed by the previous door.  Should the soul’s task be—as it is for mine–to carry a heart and spirit damaged by trauma, then it is more like door after door, searching for that peaceful place, that safe place, that breathing place, and sometimes it’s never found in this life—it’s just one threshold after another.  Despite the soul’s wisdom and depth of wonder, sometimes the hurts she is trying to help heal are too deep, too sharp and festering, that the only doors that appear—appear like blackholes with wooden frames—doors leading into darkness upon darkness—into damp and moldy basements, into jail cells made of bones of ghosts.  Sure, every now and again, a door appears, and it sails by like a strange boat, and light surrounds it, like a mandorla, and singing weaves through the key hole, but it’s soon gone down—down into the sea of inability to trust, handicapped abilities to feel joy, enhanced abilities to feel shame and terror.  Right now, in this moment, I am standing outside an open dark door—and even if I try and stand still or change directions—as shaky as my knees are—the door opens like a maw and comes to me—moves over and around me, and I have no choice but to be in the dark belly of the door—the belly of I-Hate-This-Life-It-is-Too-Hard-to-Breathe-All-Hope-of-Peace-is-Gone-My-Body-is-Not-Mine-My-Innocence-Was-Stolen-From-Me-Damn-Dammit-to-Hell-Door.  And yet still—I am born along as my soul searches, moving, like a winding river of light, towards the house of many mansions, believing the promise is true.

 

 

 


 





The Root of Us All, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Root of Us All

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Flowers flower from the branch,

Branches flower from the tree,

Trees flower from the ground,

The ground flowers from the earth,

The earth flowers from love’s universe,

Love’s universe flowers from many minds

And many hearts and many wishes and many prayers.

 

Minds flower from seed,

Hearts flower from fire,

Wishes flower from all children,

Prayers flower from pain.

 

You flower from me,

I flower from you,

We flower from need,

And need flowers from desire,

Desire flowers from all space,

And all time, and everything right

With the world.

 

Waves flower from the sea,

The sea flowers from longing,

Longing flowers from love once known

Calling us home,

Home flowers from hearth and bed.

 

Love flowers from our hands,

Our hands flower from our limbs,

Our limbs flower from our bodies,

Our bodies flower from union,

Union flowers from creation everlasting

Everlasting flowers from joy,

Joy flowers from need,

Need flowers from want,

Want flowers from gardens of many fragrances and colors,

Many colors flower from infinity’s imagination,

Imagination flowers from the hands of a child,

And a child is the root of us all,

All of us flower from variety’s branches,

Branches flower from the tree,

The tree flowers from the ground,

The ground flowers from where you stand,

Your standing flowers from community,

Community flowers hands opening,

Hands opening flower from pain lived,

Pain lived flowers from the bravery of a child,

And a child is the root of us all.

 

 

 


 

 





Every Day Life After the Attack, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Every Day Life

After the Attack

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The day after.

The slipping back

Into your body.

The stepping back

Into your life.

The sitting down

With your perpetrators

At the breakfast table,

In church, at Thanksgiving dinner,

The friends coming over

To play in a house

Where you were pinned down,

The getting up the next morning,

The shutting down

Of what happened,

The pushing it away,

The surviving by vanishing

In plain sight,

The slow forgetting

So that life can go on

Even though the innocence

Of running outside on a long, drifting

Summer’s evening, disappears

Like a firefly in the trees.

The terror burrowing

Into your body, into your spirit,

Into the fabric of your mind,

To be carried with you

The rest of your life, like

A railroad spike in your guts,

That stabs you again and again

When you least expect it—

When a smell, the sound

Of cicadas, the flashback,

The Thanksgiving dinner,

The priest holding up

The Eucharist, triggers it all again—

And you feel like

You’re going to vomit the horrible truth,

And you freeze as you’re walking

To the store, and you shimmer

Out of your body again,

And don’t come back

For hours, and yet, you go about

Your day, a living mist, a disappearing

Person made of sand,

And somehow you manage

To return to your life—

The stain on your soul

Visible in your eyes,

And yet, you move on, you make it,

You survive another wave,

You emerge from the dark waters,

And you stride towards the healing

Into freedom, into the reclaiming

Of your life—the fucking forgiveness

And twisted loyalties, the fucking

It’s a gift, the fucking it was meant

To be, the fucking you somehow

Made it happen or deserved it,

The fucking you will let it

Hold your life hostage anymore,

The wonder of who you are—

A warrior battling every moment

To live, to recover your innocence

From pain’s tangled trees,

Where fireflies still blink, like

Beacons in the night,

Reminding you that you still

Shine.

 

Me, 5th grade, dressed up for a class play.

 

 


 




Redemption, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Redemption

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

It’s here.

Like spring in winter,

Like joy in grief

And grief in joy,

Like the answer

In a question,

And the question

In an answer.

Like you,

Like me.

 

It’s here.

Being revealed.

Like morning,

Like evening,

Like healing,

Like you in me,

And me in you,

Like truth,

And the way,

Like the end,

And the beginning.

 

It’s here.

Shining,

Shadowed,

Singing,

Beckoning,

Searching,

Found,

Like you in me,

Like me in you,

Like the road

Open to all.

 

 

 


 



I Met an Ocean Who Laughs in Many Tongues, by Radiance Angelina Petro

I Met An Ocean Who Laughs in Many Tongues

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

 

I met an ocean who laughs in many tongues.

Every night she spills treasures from her blue apron

For those who seek in the morning, for those who look down

When they walk.  She coaxes awe and calm

From their feet by swirling kisses around them,

And if you were to pause right there in the middle

Of one of her feet-kisses—as she moves ever so slightly

Hire up your ankles—and really try to take in

Her presence–she would undress you from you,

And then, in one slow revelation, she would bathe you in you,

And ease your breath into sweet gasping,

And send her laughter lapping into your soul,

And if you have learned anything

From such intensity of attention,

Then, as you turn

To go, you will

Allow her

One, last, lingering touch,

And in her fiery, cool fingers

You will hear her laughter in many tongues

Rising passed your solar plexus, and far beyond

Into your brain, your ears, your voice,

And you will find yourself

Looking up into her partner, the sky,

Who will be by then reaching down to lift you

As you walk, deliriously singing,

Back into the world.

.

 

 


 

 




Please support my continued transition.  Thank you, Radiance <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

The Ever Unfolding Rose, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Ever Unfolding Rose

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

rose

 

 

I weep in gratitude as I write these words.  Many of you know the many challenges I am facing in my life right now all as a result of being transgender.   And yet, despite these, and the near-constant struggles with dysphoria, I look in the mirror and am amazed—not at the beauty or how “feminine” I look—but that I am who I want to be.  I am the person I was meant to be.

The soul looking out from my eyes is tender.  She is also ferociously strong.  As the years of living under the weight of an imposed masculinity, she rejoices in the freedom that is finally hers.

Today I see the wonder of who I am as a transgender woman.  Imagine carrying within you the seeds of an entirely new person and then sprouting with every step.  Imagine being a human, living egg, or a walking cocoon continuously unfurling and hatching as one moves through the world. Imagine being asleep all your life and then suddenly waking up to a reality that is both delicious and calming beyond compare.  Imagine having amnesia all your life and not remembering who you really are until, one day, the scales fall, the fog lifts, and you remember—you are an angel, you are majestic, holy, noble—you are yourself as your soul remembers you to be.

Today I embrace the native tradition of being two-spirit.  Today I embrace the wisdom thrumming through me and the insight and understanding I have of myself and of the world.

Yes, there are challenges.  Yes, I am often raw with tears, and the changes I am in the midst of often feel paralyzing, but I am me—a transgender woman.  And I loved.  I know that.  I know too, that I am love made manifest in a being emerging like a blossom in spring.  Whatever lies ahead will be met by a soul living in her deepest truth.  Whatever I have to face—I face it knowing I am myself.

I am myself in a way I have always wanted to be and could never dream possible.  I am myself with a life and identity of authenticity that is helping change the world for the better.  I am myself with an awareness of my spirit that is as profound as it is humbling.  I am the ever unfolding rose. I am transgender, and this being transgender is my greatest gift.

 

 

 

 



Please help support my gender reassignment surgery.  Thank you.

 

 


 


Thank You, I Want You No More, by Jennifer Angelina

Trigger Warning:  This poem is about deep gender dysphoria.  It contains references to tucking, self abuse, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, rape, and gender reassignment surgery.   It is about my continued effort to sort things out, and to heal.

 

 

 

Thank You, I Want You No More

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

me

 

 

Even before the abuse started

I would push you in everyday as far as you could go

And pull the extra skin over you,

Making you disappear;

I would tuck you tightly between my thighs

And hold you there hoping to make it look

Like I had a vagina.

Of course, after they gave me pornography

(Trying to make me a man),

And the other abuses—the assaults, the molestations, the rapes,

I hated you even more.

I abused you and got myself into situations

Where others would abuse you too,

And when I grew pubic hair I would tuck you away

Even more—hoping to make you gone,

I fantasized of removing you myself with a knife.

Yes, years later I got married.  Yes, I sired three children,

Yes I learned, to the best of my ability,

To allow you to feel pleasure—but the line connecting you

With my heart and mind would always trigger

A leaving—a drifting upwards into the ceiling

Or else far back into time, or even deep into utter nothingness.

I know, I know, I hear people say to be grateful for what god gave me,

But I look at you like a deformity—something I was born with—

Like blindness or being unable to walk—something that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Maybe it is possible to give thanks

For one’s handicaps, but I have not yet evolved to that place.

No, I do not hate my sons, or men, or masculinity—

I simply want you gone.

And now, the little blue pills

Are causing you to retreat more and more,

And planning for your surgery is utmost in my mind.

I do not hate the idea of you–it’s just

You were never supposed to be there in the first place.

OK. Thank you.

There, I said it.

Thank you for siring my children, thank you for all the times

You let me pass urine, thank you for all you endured all these years,

And yes, thank you for letting them one day transform you

Into the parts I really want.  Thank you, I want you

No more.

 

 

 

Please help support my Gender Reassignment Surgery.  Thank you.  All my love. <3