My mother had
Bought me a train,

The kind which played
Lights and music,

To remind
How her child is crying
Still somewhere inside
This old man.

I won’t let mom
See any tears
When hearing that toy
While remembering,

Wishing those scenes
Weren’t daydreams
But forever our time
Spent alone,

Not stories
My wife will just learn

Or ghosts
Left having long lunches
Between tables
At restaurants shuttered
Before all hurt
Became real –

Sundays spent home
Without meals,

Worrying sick
Over nothing,

Fighting so long
Even baskets
Bearing gifts
Cause problems
Too much.

Christ did rise
Every Easter,

It’s what we were told
Despite grieving

These once great lives
Getting ruined

Finding sin
Means losing belief –

By doubting God
Through each fear
Built on death
Always looming,

Like being grown up
Around family,

Always silently
Suffering pain.

Thoughts don’t age
But our senses
Fail those truths
Staying youthful,

Deluded
From knowing disaster
Inevitably falls
After joy –

Behind bright rains
Beneath rainbows
Over grasses
Carelessly watered,

Letting storms
Taint better horizons,

Thinking clouds
Serve blossoming truths

None will feel
Gaining figures
Speaking of love
Soon eternal

Since smiling dolls
Offer solace
Innocence holds
Lacking voice.

  • J. Pigno

I’ve never been
Quite this relieved
From feeling so
Utterly hopeless
When living in fear
Of each heartbeat
Now losing their strength
More and more;

These arrhythmias
Breaking that pulse,

Finding misery
Closer to freedom,

Beyond what breath
Remains fleeting
While clutching my chest
Late at night –

Where God Himself
Wouldn’t pray
Near windows cracked
Along bedsides

Still ignoring words
Barely whispered
Those lonely streets
Never hear

Under fading lamps
Like our own
Watching burning bulbs
Get extinguished

After bearing light
Over decades
Letting surges
Bring them relief

Through electric
Taken by mouth
Sharing answers
Tragedy beckons
If swallowed whole
Before eating
Letting medicine
Numb every nerve

During episodes
Happening fast

(Merely real
But hardly accepted),

Almost comfortable
Knowing death’s coming,

Swearing pills
Will work very soon.

  • J. Pigno

I can’t shake
The ceaseless swaying
Which prevents my days
From meaning

But inspires
This reeling body
To fight
By standing still

And answering
Riddles with verse,

These unsolved ills
Now spoken,

That become my lines
Redacted
With a fear
Soon censoring souls

Through dizziness
Capturing ways
Such honest words
Feel dangerous

When weighing on minds
Left spinning –

So disturbed
Yet oddly content

While orbiting
Every last dream
Ruined where lives
Fake purpose

Around their hopes
Revolving,

Forgetting how needs
Will whirl.

  • J. Pigno

There is no truth
I can face
Other than having
Misgivings
About this faith
Getting ruined
By appropriate thoughts
Feeling sick –

These crippling nerves
Always touched

And raw from blows
Being traded

During lifelong bouts
Against symptoms
Still swinging each punch
Under belts,

As sinister hands
Find their groove
When pummeling souls
Needing respite,

Battering wills
Weakly breathing
After doubtful lungs
Take abuse.

My belief
Is constantly torn
Between fighting God
Or His errors,

Worried since death
Means confronting
Sins man makes
Losing trust

In despicable needs
Nature yields
Proving selfish ways
Offer safeties
No deity’s plan
Could imagine
If love were the reason
It cared.

Perhaps such rage
Can confirm
How survival works
While existing –

Hating how heaven
Just watches,

But knowing that fear
Provides grace.

  • J. Pigno

Every single day
Things die,

To the point where
Faith doesn’t matter

And existence remains 
Between heartbeats
Still skipping like fears 
On repeat –

These thoughts
Which embitter belief,

Feigning hope
Despite knowing it’s senseless,

With an end before grace
Unexpected
Seeing God himself
Have a laugh.

We are those eyes
Looking back,

A grin unsure
Why it happens,

His cosmic joke
Given purpose
After suffering ills
Heaven sent.

These memories
Are words merely said,

And pictures our phones
Will keep showing
Off immortal glass
Where we idle

Forever till dirt
Takes us back.

  • J. Pigno

Death appears
Outside of shadows
We mistake
For a permanent darkness
Inevitably reached
By these journeys
Intersecting at ends
All the same,

Those beaten routes
Never found
But somehow walked
Seeking meaning
Along old roads
Always dirtied
With grit underneath
Every sole

Getting kicked up now
Close behind
When following strides
Nearly faithful
To travelers there
Well before us
Where experience
Gathers like dust –

Such sinful specks
Falling down
Below tall trees
Blocking sunlight
So their shining rays
Become symbols
Pointing towards God
Almost seen

If staring real hard
Between leaves
Among lost trails
Housed in forests
Each life must pace
Going forward
While still showing guilt
Looking back,

Believing how lines
Choose our fates
Through footprints left
Across decades
Spent wandering days
Fearing judgment
Rather than tracing
This path.

  • J. Pigno

First,
You have to find God
And remember
That fear is essential

If establishing
Love as a constant
In the face
Of staring down death

Since bullets
Escape being noticed

(Shot far away
Seeking their targets)

Still distracted
Happily guessing
What grazed some flesh
Leaving marks

When only this faith
Remains sane
Knowing illness
Betrays our existence
While aging itself
Becomes reason
For seeking relief
Never sure,

But powerfully felt
Nonetheless

Holding hands
At bedsides uncertain

With beeping machines
Asking questions
Missing answers
Where angels keep score –

Between us
Exchanging those words

Or acknowledging time
Quickly passing

Needing nothing
But smiles like sunlight
So tomorrow endures
Despite clouds.

They’re nearing again
Much too soon,

Drifting off
Yet never quite distant,

Seeing dusk unfurl
Orange ribbons
Over heavens
Merely waiting above –

Watching darkness
Paint beautiful scenes
After meeting day’s glow
Slowly fading,

Letting moments express
Fleeting romance
How these whispered breaths
Linger on.

I’m kneeling right now
Reaching lips
Close besides me
Swearing hurt matters,

Kissing her
Sharing life’s meaning
Even inches away
From an end.

  • J. Pigno

I’m calling for mom
In my sleep,

Banging on walls
Needing answers,

Always waking when
Watching those spiders

Weave webs on my mind
Without rest.

These terrors
Cause fluttering beats

Till I’m screaming for help
Every second,

Soon hooked up
To scoreboards with heart rates

While tugging at leads
Which can pull

On chest hairs
Still dirtied from sweat

After exercise
Turns into suicide

Becoming real scenes
From these nightmares

Soon feeling that pulse
Out of whack.

I’m carted to
Bed Number 2,

Hearing EMS leave
Making comments

About pains
Whose source remains mental,

Letting arrogance
Speak for itself.

Why am I back
At this place,

Having doctors
Belittle my symptoms

And blame only nerves
Despite seeing

The signs which deserve
Being scared?

How many nights
Must my wife

Watch strangers insult
Her sick husband,

Including his name
Along patients

Whose ills
Are poetically missed?

Such plights go ignored
Turning meaning

Over feelings
We symbolically suffer,

Serving purposes
Only God reveals worthy

Facing hospital walls
Far too much.

She kisses me
Knowing I’m gone –

Alone in my head
Writing stories

I thought one day
Would be novels,

But now they’re just stays
Overnight.

  • J. Pigno

Danielle rests
By my side,

Her hastening breaths
Making echoes,

Off the ceiling
Now covered with shadows
Our dimly lit room
Still reveals

Come mornings
Both hands are entwined

Leaving sweat
Where space used to linger

When I was alone
Chasing specters
Off reflections
That TV projects –

Some shows which
Got me through nights
Finding this heart
Far too heavy,

Beating so fast
There were instruments
Kept at all times
Near my bed,

For once measuring
Symptoms of loss
While watching cartoons
Play on silent

And hearing those sounds
From dreamt terrors
Bleed into days
Hardly real.

Being married
Has offered no cure,

Always swearing these fears
Create figures

Just dancing on walls
While we lay there
Like parallel lives
Taking shape

During moments
Forgetting time’s passed
Between memories
Reminding me often
How loneliness
Waits beyond visions
Anxieties wish
Weren’t true –

Only noticed
If she falls asleep,

Since watching such forms
Never witnessed
Means thinking their world
Housing darkness
Has tainted what light
Love can grant.

God protects us
Under warm sheets,

Building faith
Despite pain’s reappearance,

Worrying less
After learning
Even phantoms revere
Certain vows.

  • J. Pigno

God is just
Another deep breath
And words
What our lungs are gifted
He allows
For expressing affection
Holding meaning
While that air may last

When achievements
All fade into dusk
And agony thrives
Every second
Along those vines
Shedding roses
Still growing their thorns
Between plants,

Despite petals themselves
Falling down
Where withering hearts
Never notice
Those budding beliefs
Sharing sustenance
Before loneliness
Suffocates life –

Our fearful drought
Needing hope
Since emptied lungs
Cannot exhale
So gorgeous greens
Retain beauty
Missing rain
How humans need tears,

Now begging relief
Without rays
But knowing such sun
Remains dormant
Still waiting on storms
Bringing passion
Behind thundering clouds
Bearing light

Until poetry
Sprouts from this dirt
Once savoring warmth
Always ready
Beyond darkening days
Staying quiet
Having faith
True purpose will bloom.

  • J. Pigno