Where Are You Going?, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Where Are You Going?

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Sometimes, while driving,

I’m thinking:  All those other drivers–

Where did they get into their cars?

Was it at a grocery store?

Was it in their driveway?

Was it at a rest stop?

Was it at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple?

Was it at a twelve-step meeting?

Was it at a restaurant?

Was it at a hospital?

Was it at a funeral?

Was it at home after a huge fight with a loved-one?

Was it at a hike?

Was it at a corporate brass meeting?

Was it at the side of the road after changing a tire?

Was it at a pet store?

Was it at the midwife’s?

Was it at a meeting of the KKK?

Was it at a book club?

Was it at a bookstore?

Was it after a surprise birthday party?

Was it at school?

Was it at a soccer game?

Was it at the laundry mat?

Was it at a blind date?

Was it at a wedding?

Was it after having an affair?

Was it at the police station?

Or after a doctor’s appointment?

Or after going to a food-bank?

Or after visiting a relative with Alzheimer’s?

Or after going to a porn shop?

You get the idea.

My mind asks these types of questions,

And somehow I am still able to concentrate on driving.

Of course, these questions beg another:

Where are they all going?

Where will they step out of their car

And shut the door?

Will it be at a grocery store?

Will it be in their driveway?

Will it be at a rest stop?

Will it be at a church, mosque, synagogue, temple?

Will it be at a twelve-step meeting?

Will it be at a restaurant?

Will it be at a hospital?

Will it be at a funeral?

Will it be at home after a huge fight with a loved-one?

Will it be at a hike?

Will it be at a corporate brass meeting?

Will it be at the side of the road to change a tire?

Will it be at a pet store?

Will it be at the midwife’s?

Will it be at a meeting of the KKK?

Will it be at a book club?

Will it be at a bookstore?

Will it be a surprise birthday party?

Will it be at school?

Will it be at a soccer game?

Will it be at the laundry mat?

Will it be at a blind date?

Will it be at a wedding?

Will it be to have an affair?

Will it be at the police station?

Or to a doctor’s appointment?

Or a food-bank?

Or to visit a relative with Alzheimer’s?

Or to a porn shop?

OK. You get the idea.

Everyone starts wherever they are.

Everyone goes on a journey.

Everyone shares the road.

Everyone ends up someplace.

Everyone has the ability to get lost,

To change directions,

To turn around,

To speed,

To use the slow lane.

Everyone is moving towards a destination.

Everyone is risking a crash.

Everyone looks in their rearview mirror

And the road ahead.

Most everyone sings.

My parents used to have a medallion

Of Saint Christopher stuck to their dashboard.

May the angels and saints guide us all.

 

 

 

 

 



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There Are No Wrong Turns, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

No Wrong Turns

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

There are no wrong turns.

Each and every time you have been lost

You have eventually found your way out;

It is the same with journeying inside.

Walls appear when moments before

There were none,

Dead ends rise up like tombstones when you

Least expect them to,

Passageways narrow suddenly, and fall off

Into deep ravines,

But here you are, reading this—and this

Is hope on a string of words;

Take them or leave them, the fact remains

You are reading them, hearing them

Now

Here

Now

Safe

Now

Without guardrails

And you are still not falling.

I get it, don’t worry.  I am lost

Much of the time myself, I hardly ever know

Where the road is going—if it indeed goes anywhere.

Somedays I look down the road

And only mist, or mist-infused darkness loom;

Somedays the road ahead looks more like a movie screen

Of the past than a road, and somedays,

I even begin walking or exploring the edges

Only to pull myself upright at the slightest sound

And go back to where I was, and sometimes,

Even that place—the back where I was place—

Is gone; and sometimes, and, oh, I feel terrible

For saying this—but sometimes the road

Is so utterly lonely, even though it is inhabited

By many fine souls—living, dead, in between—

And there are fireflies, and stars, rivers, and buttercups,

And there is singing and crickets, and always, the moon;

Let’s face it though—the road can be hard,

And gravel gets in your shoes,

And the desire arises more often than you would like to admit

To simply roll up into a ball and dissolve into even more nothing

Than you sometimes already feel—

And yet, it is the only road you need,

And no matter where you let it take you, or how far you go,

Or how slowly you go, there are still no wrong turns.

 

 

 

 


 





Suggestion

Suggestion
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Life isn’t like a rollercoaster with steep, anticipatory climbs
And sudden, exhilarating drops. It’s more like walking through the woods
Along a path that keeps disappearing and reappearing
At seemingly random points along the way.
The next time it disappears, walk only
Until you find a level enough space to pitch a tent,
And then spread out all your stuff—your current, new-fandangled (and unreliable)
Compass, your dented kettles, your books and journals,
Pocketknives and pieces of flint, and your old, crumbling
Provisions wrapped in old, crumbling tin foil, and hunker down
For the night, or the better part of a day or a week,
Or until you begin to feel like a caterpillar tired of its own cocoon,
And when that happens, wriggle out of your sleeping bag,
Crawl through the narrow, triangular opening,
Stand, stretch, look around, scratch your head, and you’ll find–there,
Where you hadn’t noticed it before, will be the path,
And today it might be inclining upwards, and just the sight of it
Will be enough to make your legs ache,
But slowly get down on your hands and knees anyway,
And start packing everything back up, stuffing everything
Back down in your knapsack, and then tie on the kettles
And hoist the whole kit and caboodle over your shoulders,
Where it will likely knock you off balance a little,
But then steady yourself, take a deep breath,
And start trudging again.
And after awhile of walking, looking at the ground,
If you keep your sense of awareness at the ready,
You will suddenly bump into another hiker
And you’ll walk, side by side, sharing stories,
Things you’ve seen and heard along the way,
And suddenly, without either of you even realizing it
The weight on your backs will have lightened,
And the path, no matter whether it’s clear or not,
Will be clear now that you’ve fallen in step
With someone else heading to the same place;
That place, over there, that’s really actually here,
Where you’re walking, together, on the journey
To yourself, to each other, to the wide open space
Called Freedom.


 

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How It’s Supposed to Be

How It’s Supposed to Be
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

The trajectory is supposed to be
Like this—a gently sloping road
Rising steadily towards the next city over,
The one nestled in purple hills and gleaming rooftops,
And the road is supposed to be
Straight, and the road is supposed to be
Wide, and the driving safe,
And the air bright and the sun shining,
And there are supposed to be
Signs, clear as bells, along the way,
Unmistakable in their direction
And sense of helpfulness.
The road is supposed to be
Free of obstacles, dotted with pleasant shops
With curios and books, and little cafes
Where you can order the best smoothies
And read all day if you want to.
Yes the road is supposed to be
Free and easy, a short jaunt from here to there,
A Sunday drive in Spring that ends
With a picnic and a blanket and a basket
And not a single ant or yellow jacket.
Come to think of it, who needs a road?
Why shouldn’t it be that you simply walk
Out of your front door and wind up exactly
At the beginning and the end, all at once?
Where you walk down your driveway
To the sidewalk which turns on itself
In a closed-circuit loop, leading down
And around and right back up
To your very own door,
And so you are where you’re supposed to be,
And there isn’t any need for a journey.
In fact, why open the door at all?  Why even go
To the door in the first place?  Why even get out of bed?
Why not just stay inside
Where the covers are warm and the house
Empty and the walls full of the fantasies
Projected from your mind,
And your feelings are fine, in no need
Of changing, and all of your memories
Are fine, in no need of processing,
And all of your dreams and goals for the future
Are fine, powdery dust, in no need of pursuing?
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?


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