The Next Neighborhood Over, by Radiance Angelina Petro

The Next Neighborhood Over

By

Radiance Angelina Petro


Trying to follow the sound

Of the cicadas is what it’s like

Trying to follow the sound

Of god.

 

Cicadas throw their voices

And you can think one

Is right up in that tree over there,

When, in fact, it is actually

In a tree in the next neighborhood over.

 

Trying to trace the sound

Of god one finds oneself

Tracing figures in the air,

Or wishes on the shore.

 

 

Listening to the sound

Of god is much easier

Than asking the source

Of that sound questions.

 

When the cicada stops singing

And falls unseen

From its branch high up

In the tree, the silence

Signals us that change is here—

 

We realize waiting for answers

Is foolish and a waste–

Autumn is coming.

 

So we had better be prepared.

 

When we notice

There is no singing in the trees,

When we realize we have forgotten

Entirely about the sound—

We know winter is here.

 

And if we don’t do something

Outlandish and daring

In order to try making the sound

Ourselves,

Our ears will freeze over with regret,

Our hearts will harden from lack of use.

And our dreams—the ones

We used to use as compasses

To follow the sound

Of god, will be carried away, like

The shell of a cicada,

Like the shell of a sound,

Like the shell of a god

That used to play

Hide and seek with us

From the next neighborhood over.



 

 




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Runner

Runner
By
Joseph Anthony Petro
I am a runner. I have spent my whole life
Up to this point running from things.
Pain, for example. I run from pain,
And the past, the future, and the truth
Of myself. Sometimes I run long distances
Before even realizing I’m running; but there I am
Running—things flying by in my wake and there’s no time
To lose. Sometimes the road gives way
And a ledge or a wall suddenly appear
And I find myself collapsing out of nowhere
Into a ball of exhaustion and shame.
Sometimes I run headlong into the very things
I am trying to avoid since they feel
So strangely familiar. And sometimes
Time does the running for me, like
On the days I lose myself staring at the ceiling
As the summer afternoon runs by my window, like
A ribbon of light filled with the sounds
Of children playing and lawn mowers
And passing airplanes.
Lately, another more tragic truth has revealed itself:
I also run from things no one should ever
Feel compelled to run from. Things like
Joy—pure, unadulterated joy. Joy that encompasses
Pleasure both earthly and heavenly—joy
That doesn’t know the difference between the two;
Joy that includes perfection and imperfection,
Fullness and emptiness and once again,
Could care less which is which. Joy that’s comprised
Of puddles, whimsy, praise, and just the right amount
Of mischief. And most of all a joy constituted
With divinity—the steady, ringing divinity
That shimmers just below the surface of all things.
Sometimes I run from that very joy.
Today I see and accept that I am a runner,
And in this moment—this one, this one right here
I choose to pause, collect myself, breathe and focus
And hone in on joy. I see it up ahead,
It looks like a field of darkness illuminated by a carnival of fireflies,
It looks like a horizon blooming with light and song.
I see it. I breathe it. I taste it. It’s there.
So here I go, I’m running again,
Only this time I am going to run straight towards joy,
And I am going to keep on running
No matter what anyone says or does not say,
No matter what anyone does or does not do,
No matter what happens or does not happen,
No matter what appears to be or actually is—
I am going to keep on running until the running
Becomes dancing and then I’m going to run some more
Towards what I was and what I am created for.
I am a runner and I am going to run towards joy.

 

 


 


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It All Starts With a Question

It All Starts With a Question
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

 

It all starts with a question.

Somehow, someway it gets spoken

Or simply lifts into your life, like

Morning.  Either way

It appears and your life changes.

Perhaps it sings into your life, like

Morning birds that say:

“Flock! Tree!  Let’s Go!

Stay! Sun! Fly! Wings!”

Maybe it gets puzzled up in chatter.

Perhaps it crashes into your life, like

A tree branch through your roof.

Perhaps it stands unspoken for years

In a corner of the room, like

A lamp without a lightbulb.

Perhaps it drifts into your awareness, like

The fragrance of morning coffee,

Old books, or the air just before rain,

No matter how or when it arrives,

The thing to do is to remember:

There is a quest in every question.

And sometimes questions

Need to be followed casually, like

A child on a walk in the woods,

And sometimes questions need to be pursued, like

A lost child in a carnival.

And sometimes questions simply need

To be acknowledged, and the answers

Pale in comparison to the fact

That you were finally able to ask whatever it was

You so desperately needed to ask.

And sometimes the answer is so utterly everyday

You miss it, like a stop sign or a dandelion—

At least I do–

And sometimes the question and the answer

Arise together, like

The butterfly in the cocoon,

Or the bird in the egg,

Or acceptance in the sorrow,

And sometimes…sometimes,

It all ends with a question,

And when it does,

The thing to do is to remember:

There is a quest in every question,

And no quest is ever deemed unworthy

Simply because the end winds up being

Another beginning, or the “X marks the spot”

Ends up being the very place

Where your knees touch the ground

Or your eyes search the sky,

And no quest, no matter what

Any staunch individualist says

Is ever meant to be traveled alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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