Even
The hippies
Held jobs.

But me?
I can’t
Just settle

To wait
For loss
Incarnate

When work
Means art
Comes last –

Where hurt
Is painful
Sex

And misery
Finds us
Begging

In bed
With dreams
Less stellar

Now fucked
Without much
Love,

For applause
Is hardly
Grand

And rewards
Such easy
Payment

After chasing
Down our
Freedoms

So forever
Is sweet
Escape

From lives
Of stolen
Men

Old gods
And empty
Blessings

Like hopes
Which keep us
Willing

Though hells
I must not
Yield.

– J. Pigno

I willingly
Accept these sins
As products
Of misunderstanding
For ways
In which God
Has intended
So humans may
Savor this flesh

As even
The smallest kiss
Is recalled
With absence
Of pleasure
When the biggest
Part of me festers
On sex as a danger
To love

By threats
No heart can redeem
If gaping wounds
Imply weakness
And wallowing deep
In said torments
Brings feeling
Through poisonous
Gains

Like bleeding out
From our wills
To replace what need
Is delinquent
By allowing
Responsible anger
To soften
Such blows
We inflict

Before falling down
Upon knives
Opening tears
Without purpose
And ignoring
Cues
Of our morals
To thread such cuts
With that stitch

Like reasons
For remedied ills
Determined quick
By our choices
Lonely as days
Between moments
Holding lifetimes
Raw
In their hands –

How I wager
Death
Against faith
From a fleeting truth
Among bodies
Longing for touch
As their purpose
But denying loss
As some end

Kneeling hard
Under weights
Like bottles
Stones
And persistence
Of heaviest lies
Bearing answers
Trapping fate and chance
Underfoot

So memories
Vaguely smother
Such breath
That’s left to remember
What women
Were merely
Addictions
And partners
The honest cure

Trampled
Though I remain
Beneath this past
Still victim
To a standard
Yielded within me
From emptiness
Driven
By bliss.

– J. Pigno

If it means
Being one
With the things
I always
Care about

Until I can’t
Anymore
And day comes
I’m long
gone

Believe
That special way
No woman
Could dare
Replace

Or feeling
Barely satiate
To fulfill
Through oddest
Peace

What I’ll always
Keep in
Faith
Despite where doubt
Remains

How normalcy
Breaks this worship
So purpose
Has no
Cause

When feet
And tainted flesh
Whose soul
Is now
Transparent

Crashes
Like this train wreck
Bold
And caught
On tracks

Brilliant
Just the same
At feasts
Of mangled
Metal

Beckoning
Unsung heroes
To disasters
Where they
Rest.

Damn
If it wasn’t
Pretty –
The fire
I kept burning

Yes
I’ve bravely ridden
This mess
Of words
Which crashed.

– J. Pigno

I watch
My parents hate
Through a lens
Of entitled sadness
Allowing fear
Once festered
To eclipse what good
They’ve done

Though I try
And break their chains
With dreams
Of stunted freedoms
Alive
Despite that innocence
Which whimpers
While it fades

Wounded
Where we lay
In pools
Within our madness
Running red
Like rivers
Of a deep
And bloodied lie

Insular
As these means
To escape those locks
So drastic
And needles
Housing failures
Which scrape
Against these walls

Wrestling
Tethered fates
Atop what pins
Sustain us
Yet pierce
Like hushed resentments
Of convictions
Barely shared –

The lies
And status quo
Sharp
Without much changing
Or a desperate
Quest for answers
Disguised
As easy bail

Digging
Daily knives
Further
When I cower
By avoiding
Moving forwards
To rewind
Two decades back

Knowing
Finding jobs
Or the promise
Of some future
Is equally
As upsetting
As this lifetime
Spent at home.

– J. Pigno

Have you ever
Experienced pain
That barely
Scratches
The surface

Of cracks inside
Unnoticed
Which can rarely
Even be
Fixed

In the middle
Of marathon years
Where days
And nights
Grow changeless

Sleeping
For longest seconds
Just to realize
You’re screaming
Awake?

Wired
In restless chains
Of a mind
Tied down
With faces

On a sea
Of empty answers
That anchors
Dreams
Like boats

Filling
Each time we crash
From tears
Which drown
Our chances

Coasting
Shores of memory
Too close
To the rocks
Once rough.

Flattened
By hungry waves
Eating
Away at
Jetties

Dulled
As natural
Barriers
Erode from
Raging tides

Rising now
With hate
Toward waters
Black
And dangerous

Swollen
While they ripple
To capsize
Ships
Still whole

Claiming
Wild surf
Is the reason
All rafts
Plummet

Into oceans
Dark as yesterday
When the depths
Of hurt
Call out

Seeping
Through this
Space
Which breaches
Faulty senses

Bewildered
By such fissures
As the water
Flows
Through hulls

And wrecks
Whatever lasts
During moments
Not quite
Peaceful

As the evening
Falls to ruin
Knowing fear
Can never
Sail

What vessel
Rife with holes
Floats
Atop this
Feeling

That disaster
Brings us
Closure
Even though
Forever sinks.

– J. Pigno

Teacher
Cop
Or leader

They all
Conspire
The same

To exploit
Our basic
Weakness

And embrace
What fear
We loathe

By choice
Of becoming
Weeds

From hate
Sown deep
In gardens

Clandestine
As new
Flowers

For rejecting
Art
Which speaks

Through love
That grows
On vines

With faith
Like plants
Unruly

Free
Before they’re
Severed

When cutting
Hearts
At roots –

These herbs
Now firmly
Trenched

Among soils
Harsh
And arid

Missing
Much needed
Moisture

Of life’s
Most basic
Gifts,

Where nature
Knows
Its place

And clouds
Can barely
Threaten

What heaven
Holds
As answers

Or keep
These fields
From rain.

Such roles
Are hardly
Dirt

But rather
Grass
Misguided

Cause any
Seed
Of power

Bears fruit
With no
Control.

– J. Pigno

I can never
Just seem
To wait
Or savor
A fleeting
Instant
As if time
Itself
Is a challenge
Or affront
To the fact
I exist

Believing
I’ll never
Sit still
To ignore
What fears
Remain looming
Low
Like clouds
Among gestures
Grim
As fate
Overhead

Between
Such lines
Once traced
By the hand
Of heavens
Indifferent
Now drawn
As a sullen
Reminder
All lives
And days
Must pass.

– J. Pigno