I wrote this poem two years ago today. I had forgotten about it. I am glad I found it though. I want to live like this again.–Jennifer
Jennifer Angelina Petro
When you stop
And think about it,
The idea is absurd:
Beetles that light up.
They call it.
I call it utterly and phantasmagorically
Along the river banks
Of the jungles of Malaysia,
Their flashing lights;
In the town of Donsol
In the Philippines,
Fireflies stay around
All year, coexisting
With the locals, like
In the Great Smoky Mountains
Fireflies have been seen blinking in unison.
If you are a believer
In doubt and darkness,
If you partake of the white bread
Of theorized negativity,
If you harbor any spiritual misgivings
Then stop and think about this
Occurring in backyards and fields
Around the world, better yet
Stop and see it for yourself.
And once you do, ask yourself:
Can I really keep up this charade?
Can I really keep myself
From swooning with devotion and wonder?
Why not allow these little,
Avant-garde angels lift you,
Illuminate you, and save you
From the cold, dry emptiness
Of faith in things untrue?
Try for your own sake
And for the sake of the future:
Stand on the edge
Of a cornfield at night
In deep July, or find a field, backyard, or woods
Humming with mystery, and simply be
A witness to the dazzling carnival
Happening in the tree tops,
Skimming the dark grass, bobbing
Up and down in the cool, moist air, like
Strings of moving green Christmas lights.
See these little beetles with their lovely
Blinking bellies, and allow yourself
To blossom, like
A night gladiolus, sending the fragrance
Of your newly found faith
Into the world;
Let your life shine
So that others may stand in awe
Of the delicate, extravagant work
Of the Divine.
At some point
Fade into autumn,
Drip their silken petals
One by one,
Thieving November winds;
With their golden eyes
From the pond’s murky edge;
Deer step through
And with a flick
Of their white tails
Right now, here,
Today, your life
And at some point
We will lift
From the pages
Of our lives
In the stars.
Life is long, like
A lazy, sun-drunken
And it’s short,
Like the afore mentioned
Wink of the firefly.
You and I
Are being called
And we are also the ones
Doing the calling.
Beauty needs us,
Faith requires of us,
Love invites us
In the hum
Of our interwoven lives;
And we call out—
We bring to ourselves
And closed doors,
We want and need—
We are meant and ache
To be. And of course,
By the time
You read this
I might already
Be gone; I might
Over your shoulder
And nudging you
To smile and get out there
And amaze the world,
And whether or not
I am still alive
When you read this,
You and I
In this moment,
At this point
And we have a job to do,
A job that isn’t
So much a job
As it is a story
That only you and I
So, here’s the thing:
I want to show the world
Who I really am.
Will you help me
Tell this part
Of the story?
And what about you?
What is it you
Want to do and say?
Whatever it is,
To be with you
From my place
Of light beyond light,
Or from here,
In these words–
At this moment in time
To be here
Dear Dark-hearted star–
Shine your mystery
Into the daytime sky,
Shine your holy darkness
Onto the tongues of butterflies,
Shine your shadowed path
Into the eager eyes of bees,
And bloom a radiant midnight
Into my shrouded, keening heart,
And allow me, just once,
To travel your billowy, silken halls
And find myself in your light,
To reveal myself in your presence,
To partake of your nectar of astonishment
So that I may awaken to the bravery
To shine as freely as you.
We all know
You will be the last one standing.
After all the fires and floods
You will step out from the ruins
And take your rightful place
At the center of all things.
How can we redeem ourselves now
So that you will not swallow us up into your endless belly?
Is there a way you can unfold yourself now
So that when the time comes for our souls
To thaw and to lift, we won’t be so afraid when you call our names?
Is there a way of touching you now
So that when you drape us in your arms
Your embrace won’t feel so cold and foreign?
Is there a way, Silence, of getting to know you now
So that when the softening comes,
And the rendering, we won’t be so afraid
That we beg to be born again?
With all of our distractions and means
Of avoiding you we know we fear the thing
We want the most.
Speak through us now so that we may learn
Your language, sing through us now
So that we may learn your melody,
Move through us now so that when our steps distill into dancing
We will fall joyfully into the feathers
Of your waiting and terrible wings.
The longer I live, the more I realize flamboyant pink flamingoes
Splash in the shallow, blue water of my being.
The more I move the more I sense my bones house a marrow of light.
Somewhere in my cells and those elegant strands of DNA,
The sun, the moon, and all the stars in between weave
Into one rippling tapestry of aliveness.
The more I breathe with my whole body the more I wash my hands
Of the tiresome dualities and ever-expanding binaries.
The more I take mischievous delight in skirting the margins and bathing
In a spectrum of sensual possibilities, the more I dance with recherché impulses
And experience in between spaces opening like songs on which I can ride, like
Magic carpets, and be lifted to liberated places.
The more I participate in the unclouded awareness of sheer potential,
Where authenticity breeds and freedom spirals in satins and silks,
The more I dream of angels who embrace me and whisper in my ear:
“It’s not too late. Come. There are many of us.
Glide while walking home.”
In Your Own Time For Frani
By Joseph Anthony Petro
In the shadow of trees
The owl glides over the moonlit marsh, like a dream.
Fireflies drift into shadow-dappled fields, like
A slow carnival of stars.
Bats break free from the shadow-shawled branches, like
Pieces of darkness fluttering through the sky.
It is alright to live in the shadows.
Candles and gold are brightest there.
It is also alright—more than alright-
To burst forth from the shadows, like
Morning through the trees,
To climb over riverbanks and spread over the shore
Perfectly imperfect—loving the shadows
For who they are, knowing their purpose is pure
As midnight, pure as cricket song, pure
As the talons of the owl as it blossoms from the darkness
And descends, joyously, full of hunger,
Towards the object of her desire.
It is alright—it is more than alright
To be who and what you are—
No matter the shadows, no matter the light—
The fields of the world
Await the beating of your wings.