Look For Signs, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Look for Signs

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Having bipolar disorder is like…is like…..

Huh? Oh, um…ideas are coming, just wait a second,

I must write them down.  One is about air

And how we all depend on it to lift us in our lungs

And in the tires of our bikes and cars;

The other is about the wings of demons

And what would happen if the wings

Became angels and decided not to carry the demons

Around anymore.  Wait, I’ll be right there.  I just have to

Get these ideas down so I don’t forget them.

Huh? If I don’t write them down the Muse

Might get angry and start ignoring me—

Passing me by when she’s handing out gifts—

Just…..wait a second.  No…..wait.  Don’t wait.

I am not sure how long this will take—the poems will suck

No matter how they turn out anyways—all my poems

Suck.  Why wouldn’t they?  I’m a piece of shit.

Huh? Why would I say that?  Because it’s true.

It’s also true I am a visionary and these ideas

That are coming—the one about air and the one

About the wings of demons—as soon as I turn them

Into poems they will change modern poetics forever.

Yes, even though they’re shitty.  Modern poetics suck too—

And I am a modern poet.  So…wait….if you want to.

I am going to write these ideas down before we talk—

The Muse is waiting, she won’t be denied.

Huh? Where is she?  She’s here, inside, and she’s there

Behind the moon and that tree.  She’s in your eyes…

Wait….there is another idea.  This one is about

How we talk with our hands, and wait, there is another.

This one is about why we feel it in our teeth

When we crunch snow with our boots.  Oh wait,

You don’t feel it in your teeth when you walk

Over snow and it makes a crunching sound?

Told you these poems would suck.  No. No. No.

I am not saying the gifts from the Muse suck.

No. Never.  Ever.  Her ideas are always pure gold—

It’s just they distill through me and I suck

Which, of course, colors the ideas, making the poems suck

That I make out of the ideas.  You see?  No?  It’s OK.

No one does.  Just know this—air lifts you

By your lungs and by the tires of your car, demon wings

Dream of rebelling and flying off the demon’s back,

And, and, the next time you walk over fresh, wet snow,

Touch your hand to your jaw and feel the crunch

From your boots shooting right there in your teeth,

And then, once you know these things—once you believe me

That she will be upset if I do not write them down right now—

Then, maybe you will understand, maybe you will know

What it’s like to be bipolar, but probably not—by the time

You catch a glimpse of understanding I will be

Dead.  It’s inevitable, isn’t it?  I mean, I cannot go on this way

Forever.  God wants me home and demons are clawing at my heels

And the depression is crushing my bones—I feel it

In my teeth, and then, and then, and then…Huh?  Why?

Why kill myself?  The ideas the Muse will give me

Bodiless will be heaven-flavored and better than ever.  But don’t worry.

I will get them to you somehow.

Look for signs.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 




Donations go towards paying medical bills. 

Stop the Killing, Stop the Hate, A Memorial Day Message By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Stop the Killing, Stop the Hate,

A Memorial Day Message

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 “Jesus loves me this, I know.”  Do you?

 

Many die every day fighting wars both inner and outer, for freedom–yes, for freedom–in a country meant to protect the freedoms of all individuals–in a “Christian” nation supposedly founded on equal rights for all.   Transgender people like me fight to exist, to pee, to not have to justify and explain my right to simply live.  Every solider that died for American wars fought to keep people like me safe.

 

We are not a threat to “American Christian values.” I am not a threat. There has still, to this day–ever been one recorded incident of a true trans person harming anyone in any public bathroom EVER, and yet dozens and dozens of politicians and “religious” people have been charged with sex crimes and no one is murdering them (not that we should, of course).  We are not a threat to the radical feminists or to the radical, so-called, defenders of American values.

 

There is a wiki article that shows how the war on transgender people only gets worse and worse.  These are people fighting wars and battles simply to exist in their own country. Of course, many have been murdered and were never reported. Many, many suicides happen every day and are not listed here. These are murders too.  And the people inciting violence on them are responsible for their deaths—the pastors, politicians—the parents who kick their kids out of the house, the bullies who torment them—they are all responsible for killing the human beings just trying to fight the battle for their right to exist.

 

Notice how the numbers increase year by year. It is no coincidence that the more hate is spewed from so-called Christian leaders and politicians the more transpeople die–the more on the LBGTIQA spectrum die (yes, I know, and the media gives it all more attention and that accounts too for the increase in numbers).

 

Stop the hate. Stop the murder. Stop the suicides. Love your kids like real parents should. Love and accept your family members like real families should. Protect your loved ones.

 

While we remember the lives of those lost for our country–remember they died for people like me—that I may live with the same freedoms as you.

 

Don’t dishonor their memory by standing by and allowing another new civil rights battle and genocide to be waged on people like me on our watch. Don’t dishonor their memory by hating people like me and supporting those who would take away my freedoms or have people like me wiped from the face of the planet.

 

Transgender people like me and all other LGBTQIA people have never been a threat to “Christian” values.  If those values were so strong, so rooted in the “true religion of God,” then no one should fear their ever being harmed.  My rights do not invade yours.  Your ability to marry whomever you choose is in no way effected by who I choose to marry.  Prove how solid and true your values are and LIVE them.  Jesus NEVER hated people like me and he would weep to know how many parents kick their children out of their houses, or bully them to suicide.  Jesus would weep to know people like me are killed for simply being who we are—who “God” supposedly “made us to be.”  Jesus would be appalled to see his name, his teachings used to spread needless and shameful hatred, violence, bigotry.  If your truth was so strong it wouldn’t need defending from transpeople who just want to pee in a public restroom–who just want to LIVE in peace.

 

If you go to churches of any kind–temples, mosques, any type of religious body–advocate for us–for me.  Write to politicians and tell them to wage war on the issues that matter—poverty, crime, homelessness, student debt, pollution, and so on.

 

Memorial Day.

 

Let’s not make any more memories of those killed in the line of duty–abroad–or here–here with people like me just trying to live our lives in peace–here in our families, in our towns, in our schools, in our sacred places of freedom.

 

Peace, Jennifer

 

me selfie


 

 





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It All Started With a Box of Darkness

It All Started With a Box of Darkness

by

Joseph Anthony

Last night my dear friend Mindy sent me a quote by Mary Oliver (the best poet in America of the last 100 years, maybe even ever):

 

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

 

I read that and as so often happens, words and images started flowing. Sometimes they come like a flood, right away, rushing and gushing–exploding all over the page; other times it’s a more gradual build, images and words finding their way into me slowly, like the dawn. Last night it was the former. It all came out in one brief, satisfying, healing torrent of images, words, and insights.

 
I went with the current on Twitter. Sometimes the constraints of the 140 spaces is a perfect discipline to channel the flow. Other times it’s silly to even try. Last night, the Twitter format worked fine.

 
So thank you Mindy for the initial share; thank you Mary Oliver for writing your wildly luminous poetry; thank you Muse for coming to me in the form of Mindy and Mary; and thank you also, Dear Darkness, of whom I am learning so much from, thank you for being full of light. So many times the depression feels only like utter and complete blackness. I am learning, little by little, the more I simply keep walking, that as soon as the darkness begins to feel overwhelmingly isolative (isolate=from the Latin: to become an island), that exact moment—if I tell someone, find a way to share the hidden pain, the secret suffering, then the darkness blooms into light, into lessons, into invaluable help for myself and others, and I can breathe again. For deep depression is nothing more than the suffocation of the soul.

 
Last night, I didn’t drown in the darkness. I was able to swim. Thank you everyone who helps me to do this. The trinity of diseases: addiction, depression, and isolation, often go hand in hand and can lead to the final darkness. I needn’t go through anything alone again, ever. You don’t either. May my journey through the heart of darkness bear witness to this truth: bring others with you—not dragging them into the chaos, no, bring them with you into your heart, invite them—the safe ones into where the secret hurts live, and the burdens, whatever they are, will become light, the yoke becomes easy (easier). For wherever two or more are gathered–there, in the midst of them, is salvation from the fears of being vulnerable, of showing one’s weaknesses, of being so-called-perfect. There, in this place, this holy space of breath and of embracing–the common experiences, the threads of compassion, identification, love, and eventually ultimately wonder, creativity, and dancing, weave us together into the shared fabric of humanity.

 
Thank you all.

 
The Poems in order of their appearance:

 
Wherever I go, I carry a box of darkness handed down by generations. Inside are echoes of sorrows; and light, beautiful, hidden light.

 
***

 
I speak, the box of darkness closes; I am silent, the box opens. I weep, the box closes, I sleep, the box opens; I sing the box disappears.

 
***

 
I reach inside the box of darkness and find a key. A door appears. I stand, set the box down, and go, go to fall into the shimmering light.

 
***

 
Three words: “Box of darkness,” open secret passageways to the soul. I’m going, take my hand, let’s go find the way back to now.

 
***

 
Where are you? I cry. Here, says the Beloved. Where? I demand. Here, says the Beloved, Where you left me, inside this box of darkness.

 
***

 
One day, I slipped the box of darkness under my bed, not wanting to see it again. When I got home that night, my room had become the box.

 
***

 
I never know when it’s going to come, this rush of images. I only know to slip into it and allow it to river through me to wherever it goes.

 
***

 
Goodnight. I open the box of darkness, slip inside with a blanket. I close the lid. And when I open my eyes to the darkness, I see light.