This Voyaging, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

This Voyaging

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Try as you might you never see your back

Without the aid of a mirror.  We go about

Our days not even thinking of our backs

Unless they hurt.  Outside of that,

We move forward, slowly,

Quickly, mediumly, always propelled

Ahead by some unseen wind, or force,

Or energy, or, for some, by destiny—but

For those it’s more of a pulling

Than a pushing.  At times when we notice

The wind at our backs, we feel the slight

Sensation that if we leaned forwards

Just a little we might be lifted

Through the sky, like a piece of silk,

Only to descend at night on the branch of a tree, like

A sleepy shawl.  Go through your day today, sensing

Your back space, give it your attention

As you drift or storm onwards.  Know this:

What your back looks like doesn’t matter.

That it’s there, absorbing the current, like

A sail, is what matters.  There is no use

For trying to look back at your back—

Knowing it’s there is enough,

Knowing it sweeps you forward is enough,

Knowing it steers you in mysterious ways is enough,

Knowing you have the ability to change course is enough,

Knowing the way opens, like the sea,

And sallies you forth through your life

To where a harbor waits, beckoning you

To come ashore, roam the village bizarre,

Lodge in a tavern’s upper room, gather

Provisions, and then rise, setting sail yet again

Knowing, this journey, this voyaging,

This being guided home is enough.

 

 


 



That Stubborn Superhero, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

That Stubborn Superhero

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Out in nature, which is

To say, in us—it happens

This way:

 

The longest night comes

Filling what little day there is left

With thinly veiled darkness,

That, veil after veil, begins

To cover the day, like

A shawl thrown in slow motion

Over a lamp.

 

After the night has had its run,

It slowly—you’d better believe it—

Shrinks back to a more manageable size,

It contracts as the day exhales,

And with each exhalation, spring,

Moment by seemingly imperceptible

Moment—swells with such joy

It can barely contain itself.

 

And the light begins to coax the darkness

Into slipping away into time and to allow

Itself to grow its slow, wild warmth.

 

We have all gone through darknesses

That seemed to last forever—

At least—I have—when I couldn’t

Believe any light would ever come

Ever, ever, again, and that the abyss

Of not being able to see or hardly move

Would enshroud me forever.

 

If this has ever happened to you,

Or maybe is happening to you

Right now—believe it—spring always

Comes—little by hardly noticeable little

Darkness becomes less and less

And seeds of exhaultation can’t wait

To burst into flowers and tangible light.

 

I am not saying all darkness is bad.

There is a holy darkness, touched

With water and earth, where fireflies

Bedazzle the night, where love-making

Eases us into the sweetest sleep.

 

I am talking about the darkness

That swallows the will and chews it

Practically into nothing.

 

Just as too much light burns,

Too much darkness freezes the soul.

 

So, take my word for it—as someone

Who has been there and is taken there

Against my will every year—the swallowing darkness

Turns and slips away like a receding flood of black ink

Eventually, leaving gardens of survival,

Fragrant with honeysuckle,

And damp with laughter.

 

You’d better believe it,

Or if, like me, sometimes

That is impossible to do–

Pretend to believe it—or even if

That is too hard to do—don’t then–

Because its true regardless:

Never once has the night held captive

The day forever.  Day, that stubborn superhero,

Will break free of night’s weakening grasp,

And soar, ringing through the fields,

Leaving visible hope spreading

Over all the land.

 

tree hope


 

All donations go to medical expenses and groceries.  Thank you for your support. <3



The Bridge

The Bridge
To Fane
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 
There is a bridge to cross
Where afar afield
People have found a way
To live with relative ease
With themselves and others,
And now have formed
A welcoming committee
Eager to widen the circle.
Looking over the span
Of space and time
That spreads between
Where they dance
And where I stand,
I reach out–
Their dancing turns
Into rejoicing–
I take a step a far
Afield and their dancing
Turns into a festival–
And they are singing my name
And they are moving as close
As they possibly can
Leaving me the dignity
To cross on my own, to stumble
And allow my stumblings
To become dancing,
And their singing
Gives me wings,
And their dancing
Gives me strength,
And their very presence–
The very fact of their desire
To help and to welcome and to share–
The very fact that they can even see me
From so far away,
And love what they see–
Is enough today
To help me get up,
Step away from my own shadow,
And keep walking, and so, to dance.

 

 


 

 

Donations help with afford therapy and to keep the WB online.  Thank you.



Resuscitation

Resuscitation
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

 
Spring is trying,
The trees turning into carnivals of flowers are trying,
The roots are trying,
The sky is trying,
And the robins, the hawks,
The invisible, but audible owls are trying,
So many people are trying,
I know they are asking
Their gods to try,
I know you are trying.
I only hope it’s not too late.
That I am not already dead,
That the block not letting the air
Into my heart isn’t too massive,
Too menacing to let any breath
Escape in or out. I only hope
I can trust the kiss, the passage
Of your strength and courage
Into my chest. I only hope
The breathing will catch hold
And then gradually level into calm.
And I might need to hold your hand,
And I might need you to tell me
To hold on, or to let go,
And I might need you to have me,
To not let me drift into nothingness
Once I do let go or hold on,
Whichever the case may be once
The stream of your breath begins swirling
In my lungs, and I open my eyes
And live again.
And I might need you to remind me
There is white light around me
And within me.
And I need it be OK with you that I need you.
And I might need you to be the white light for awhile
And embrace me with healing gentleness like there’s no tomorrow,
Until I rise again a new creation.
I only hope it’s not too late.
That I am not already dead.
That once I begin to feel
The warmth of your breath
That whatever it is within me that is frozen
Will begin to thaw,
Will have its own experience of spring,
And will suddenly and without shame
Blossom into a life that is alive.

 

 

 

 


 


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.


That Same Wonder

That Same Wonder
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

blossoms

 
I am being
Step for step,
Morning by morning,
Evening by evening,
Breath for breath,
Pulse by pulse,
Desire by desire
Written, drawn,
Painted, sculpted,
Composed, arranged,
Sung, and spoken.
I am an expression
Of something, someone
So living, so vitalizing,
That it spills into my steps,
Pours from my words,
Weeps from my heart
In such a way as to both hide itself
And reveal itself at the same time.
It should come as no surprise
That wonder drips, no matter how
Sad I get, from every cell
Of my body.
I am being made, created,
Dreamed, formed
By wonder, and the same wonder
That assembles me
Dismantles me, levels me,
Emptiness me,
Adjourns and disrobes me,
That same wonder
I am being fitted for
Doctored by,
Dissolved by
Is the same wonder
That wants me,
Requests me,
Stomachs me,
Explores me,
That same wonder
That is my every breath and my last breath,
That same wonder that will lay me down
In the soft earth and raise me up
When I am ready to awaken,
That same wonder that will keep me
Dancing, learning, being born, full of grace,
Full of insight, full of cherry blossom petals
And moonlight, full of ponds
And stars—that same wonder, when I am ready
To be myself in full bloom
Will be there, here
Ready to catch me
When I fall.

 

 


 

 

 





It Is Over, This Beginning

It Is Over, This Beginning
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

storm clouds

 

It is over, this beginning,
This blossoming into the past;
It is over for the future
Is the spring in bloom now;
Believe it, for within the clouds
Storms are building to break open
The sky with thunder and you
Cannot do anything about it
Except stand tall letting the roar
Wave through you turning you
Into an echo of divinity;
Let the rain scour you clean
And draw you down into the earth
With holy heaviness.
It is over, this dying,
This unending end of not knowing
Your own worth, dignity, gold.
It is over, this lie
That you are not allowed to be happy,
That you are a victim,
That you have no alternative
Except to crumble slowly into dust.
Stand tall in power and bless your life
With your life without the need to ever
Again hold your breath or disappear
Into the ceiling. The ceiling is gone.
The hating yourself is gone.
The bed and floor you were pinned against
Are gone. You are limitless thunder
Plumed with possibility. Go and end
The ending, begin the continuation
Of your becoming you becoming you
Becoming an echo of divinity unfolding
Through the mountains and valleys
Of a life lived alive.

 

 


 

 

 





Listen Heart

Listen Heart
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Go easy on yourself.
You’re working hard giving birth to the soul.
Allow yourself to rest awhile in a bed of light,
And in the coolness of the soft-winged darkness—
The one that cradles seeds and roots,
The one that carries starlight faithfully on its shoulders
All those millions of millennia.
OK, so the mind you’re with has made some mistakes—
Cut him some slack. He is learning to live unchained
While at the same time bound in God’s care.
You say you feel empty and yet full of sorrow?
Those are contractions from what I am told.
Try and stay steady. I know you’re young,
You always will be. But you and the mind
Must work together during this process,
And you must take the lead.
I realize he is often busy in some fantasy, hating himself–
Find a way, lean on others—the midwives
You know so well. Let them help you,
Hold you, coach you along.
You are doing precious, incredible work—
So precious you might want to call it play–holy play.
You are freeing the soul from waves
That course in and out of you–
The ones that toss even the mind
Up and down in swirling eddies,
So the more light-hearted you can be the better.
And the mind is helping you
By learning to stay present no matter what you are feeling,
And your light helps him for he lives in darkness
Much of the time. So play. Play in hands of light,
And let the soul go, dear heart. Let her go, like a song,
Like a breath, like a prayer wept when you have no strength left.
Let her go the same way you want me to let you go,
The same way I want the mind to let me go—gently, gradually—now
And perfectly, with grace, humor, and dignity.
And while you and the mind work together on this,
I will be here, wrapped in silence, trying to believe
What I tell you–trying to believe that no matter what happens,
I am worthy of love.

 

 


 





Midwifing the Soul

Midwifing the Soul
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Inside the constant doing
A baby is growing
While sleeping;
A baby who will one day
Be your mother, your father,
Your true love.
That baby is an ocean lapping
At the shores of your not feeling worthy
To simply be—
To simply be ravished and perfect
For who you are, not for what you do.
As the baby grows and becomes a wave
Of warmth and wonder,
And the harbor of your breath slows
In surrender, give yourself the gift
Of stopping everything,
Damning it all to hell,
Allowing it all to fall apart
And have someone else
Pick it up for a change.
Give yourself yourself—
Your moon-draped self—
Your star-dappled self—
Your
I-am-telling-you-
Once-and-for-all-that-I-am-finished-
Because-I-am-giving-birth-
To-my-own-desires-so-leave-me-be-
Self.
Go ahead–push a little, only a little,
On your resistance to giving in,
And inhale stillness and exhale whatever sense
Of guilt and control still linger;
Midwife your child of warmth and wonder
Who will raise you up
With the song of your own sleeping breath
And the palms of your own dreaming hands
Lying open in the sun—
And lay you down in a bed
Of satin swaddling clothes with gently
Lowing cattle adoring you
With soft, dreamy eyes.
Now lavish yourself with kisses
And the tender, affirming-
Arriving-breath of peace–
And the warmth and wonder
Of loving
Your
Self
Enough
To simply
Be
Embraced
By this
Moment;
This
One
Unending
(Unless
You
Want it
To)
Moment
Of being
Born
Into being
Born
Into being
Born
Into
Being

 

 

 


 

 

 





My Undoing

My Undoing
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

undoing photo

I do not want to be reborn
Or renewed, restored or reenvisioned.
I do not want re-anything. The before
Is filled with darkness and sorrow,
Learned fears and sickness.
There is no before to return to.
My birth is still happening
And for the rest of my life I will be being born.
When I reach death’s door,
I will still be being born.
Let my death, my spring, my resurrection
Be an undoing, an unfolding, an unburdening,
A blessed untangling, a sacred unveiling,
A gradual unloosening,
A gentle unhusking,
A tender unlacing,
A slow unraveling;
An unceasing, uncensored, unrestrainable joy;
Let my thoughts be unconfused and uncritical;
Let my wants be unclouded
And my needs unarguable;
Let my light be unshaded and my feet unshackled;
Let me be unharmed, untasted, unleashed, and unstoppable;
Let me be unbroken and untwisted,
My tensions uncoiled and my body uncorruptible;
Let union with the Beloved be uncoerced;
Let the unbuttoning and unbuckling of my soul—
The unclothing and unwrapping of my desires—
Let them be unconditionally accepted
And unequivocally wonderful;
Let our timelessness together be uncompetitive and real;
Let the passion be unabridged, and the shame
Unlearned, and the moments of bliss unhurried,
And the union unbreakable.
Let my soul be unchained
And my heart unlocked;
Let my spirit be unshuttered,
And the fence around my garden of words be unlatched;
Let the trap door of my compulsions be unhinged
And unnecessary;
Let the way forward be unthreatened;
Let my playfulness be unbridled,
Uncivilized, uncalibrated, unjudged;
Let my laughter be uncensored;
Let my hands be uncuffed;
Let my soul be uncrumbled;
Let the reasons for my being worthy
And beautiful be undebatable,
Undeniable, unbelievably obvious and clear to me.
Let my meditation be undisturbed;
Let my fists be unclenched and my heart
Undivided, and my thinking undistorted,
And my voice unedited;
Let my brow be unfurrowed and my stomach unknitted,
Let my wildness be undomesticated and unlabeled,
Untamed and unfeared;
Let the possibilities for usefulness and service
Be undreamed of,
Let my conversations, once and for all, be undramatic;
Let my death be an undying of everything
That died, let my soul be untethered,
Unencumbered, unfaded and unfallen.
Let there be space and time
To unfeel and unform,
To become uninhibited, unfurled, unjaded;
Let the warmth of breathing together
Be the unfreezing of years of winter;
Let being myself be unfamiliar, unfettered, unforced,
And unforgettable;
Let my sleep be uninterrupted,
And my creativity be unbound
And unlimited by what anyone says or does;
Let death be an unloosening,
A holy unmaking, a joyful unmasking;
Let my cries by unmuffled,
And my faith unmovable,
Let my rage be unmuzzeled,
And fears be unneeded;
Let my hours be unnumbered,
And my memories unrepressed and unoccupied with ghosts,
Let my dreams of success be unopposed,
And my poetry unorthodox, unprofessional, and shared;
Let my roots be unrooted,
And the Beloved’s love be unsearchable because it will be
Unavoidable, unending, and completely undressed, unserious,
And unseparated from me;
Let my purpose be unshakable and my sword unsheathed;
May my cities of wonder be unshelled and unobliterated;
May my wheels be unstuck and the road unspoiled;
Let me be unsliced, unsoiled
And the fabric of my pain unsewn
And unstitched;
Let my unspoken desires be sung and uninhibited;
Let any unsteadiness be steadied with unshakable confidence;
Let my innocence be untainted, untarnished, and unstolen;
Let my need to control be untethered and unmoored;
Let my self-hatred be unthroned,
And my soul be untrodden;
Let me finally be unwound,
Unwoven and unafraid;
A gift of an old life unlived–
Lived now and shared
In the land of unending acceptance
Of myself.
Let this be my undoing.
.