I believe this plan
Is intended
To break our world
Farther apart,

Allowing fears
Now accepted
As an ordinary pain
We must face –

Avoidable death
Giving warnings
Despite policies
Inching us closer,

A strategy made
From neglecting
What normalcy
Meant all along.

That’s how leaders
Persuade,
Following trends
Which will teeter

On uneven points
Tipping over
Into open holes
We could fill.

It’s obscene
Though easily fixed,
Often failed
Yet rarely attempted

Since ignorance
Offers such excess
Taught like prayers
In their schools –

The answer
Was never relief
But falling down
When we notice

Earth swaying
Still getting things dizzy,
Always ready
For another decline.

Business exploits
Every angle
Where profits explode
Through obsession.

Progress implies
Little details
Of disasters born
From success.

  • J. Pigno

Remember,
They’ll barely believe us

Banging at walls
In frustration,

Threatening meds
Without feeling
That heaviness
Hard on our chests –

Taking shallow breaths
Over sinks,

Weighed down
By fears now belittled,

And begging them still
Every second
For some air
Unworthily gasped

Despite knowing how death
Second guesses
Every failed attempt
At distraction

Like a symptom
Strangely persisting

While envisioning hope
Through neglect.

Such thoughts
Can cause certain ills,
But minds alone
Get persuaded

Hearing these words
From another:

“Anxiety tricks
What is real.”

I’m loved
Yet silently judged
Even when sick
Beyond caring –

Crazy to those
All around me,

Feigning concern
If provoked.

So call EMS
Or your doctors
Blaming weakness
Yet never quite sharing

Their own strength
Gaslighting victims,

Hearing laughs
Being carried away.

  • J. Pigno

“View yourself the way
God sees you.”

That’s what my wife
Often preaches,

But accepting my soul
Isn’t comfort.

Actually,
It hurts even more.

She thinks heaven
Can challenge these lies
About worth
Or success too elusive
And fleeting like days
I have squandered
Finding wisdom in pain
Now instead –

These remembered wars
I endured
With multiple lives
Long behind me,

And people I loved
Among memories
Haunting each dream
I’d forget

When the hurt would build
During nights
Such unfortunate ghosts
Turn upon me,

Creeping through thoughts
Writing verses
Without paper or pen
At my side.

Quietly,
I suffer my sins,

Feeling symptoms
Consuming this body –

Eating at faith
Always trying
To fight those deaths
Coming soon.

They tell me
My mind is to blame,

Mere anxiety,
Just nerves without courage –

Sensitivity,
An acquired weakness
From believing this world
Murders hope.

Can anyone prove
That it won’t-

Killer plagues
And racists in power,

Capitalist pigs
Selling answers
Even Satan himself
Thinks are wrong?

They exploit us
With every exam,

Our doctor’s touch
Silent judgment

Against fearful hearts
Growing desperate

Facing demons
Blamed somehow on them.

I’m numbered,
A person made sick –

Begging for help
Where aid falters,

Hearing loved ones
Criticize blindly
As breathing
Gets harder each time.

What’s left
Is no vote of confidence,

Letting parents
And friends I call strangers

Mock this man
Still childlike –

Penniless,
Sexless, and numb.

I guess that means
Being beaten
Is the man upstair’s
Way of healing –

Through His graces
Reminding me daily
Some dumb words
Shouldn’t be said.

Poems
Are my last attempt
At finding air
Despite choking.

After all,
Many have told me
I’m not an “emotionally
healthy guy.”

  • J. Pigno

My thoughts
Are on open wound

Since dreams
Are unconscious evidence
Of the murdered mind
Still bleeding

Long after its death
Took place –

These spoken knives
Gone dull
Before empty threats
Showed daggers

And wielded swords
From memories
A weaker man
Could forget,

Like specific days
Intact
Within this realm
Abandoned

Where details sit
Omitted
Beyond what scenes
Flash back

If their pain
Appears too strong
Upon throbbing woes
Once buried,

Leaving scars
While being experienced
But vague
Behind closed eyes.

Most footprints
Covering tracks
Will tread old ground
Uncertain,

Seeing signs
Yet seeming ambiguous,

Having trauma
Become much more.

My phrases
Erases each trace
Those redundant lines
Make nervous,

Highlighting words
Unstable,

Using phrases
Victims may know.

Some moments
Martyr our souls
By feelings gained
When learning

How slaughter
For feeling accomplished
Means losing
Poetry earned,

As expressed
Through honest beliefs

Sudden screams
During nights so restless
Demand we tell
Just waiting,

Often loud
Before fading away.

  • J. Pigno

Somehow
You became that dad
All of us thought
Was just fiction –

The man who hid
Behind cameras
For a laugh
When his cover was blown,

Seeing families at home
Watching still
Long after that tape
Had been rolling

Over years now
Making us smile
Through cliched lines
Turning true.

Every joke
Had hinted beliefs,

Despite first
Appearing too raunchy,

In better days
Bringing real laughter
Like Friday nights
Watching Bob’s show –

Where commercials
Seemed so unimportant
Comparing such words
Shared between them

Among kids,

Amid relatives gathered,

Gaining morals
From this guy who’d pretend.

Perhaps it honestly
Wasn’t an act,

Mostly shtick
Held tightly together
By these genuine threads
Still connecting
Every viewer grown up
With your name.

I imagine
Heaven’s studio audience
Live before God
Getting ready,

Awaiting those gags
Always filthy,

But soon
Hearing wisdom instead.

  • J. Pigno

These nerves
Cannot be blamed
For what this heart
Speaks blindly –

An uncensored pulse
Which carries
Such missing beats
Exposed,

Through tunes
Of natural hurt

And fear’s
Discordant rhythm

Where cadence breaks
From danger
Brushed aside
With absent cause.

I’m naked
Through those sounds
Skipping lines
Like verses stuttered,

Spilling words
Obscenely honest
Palpitations
Sing instead –

Throwing lies
Between each pause,

Finding pain
Just never answers

Any question posed
By science
Anxious skeptics
Always ask.

Perhaps faith
Can save no soul
Even if belief
Feels certain,

Much how doctors
Preach their gospel
Using pills
All fools ingest.

Only men
Play God through work.

I see most
Place hope in numbers –

Yet my ills
Prove lyrical courage,

Making art
While catching breath.

  • J. Pigno

*Author’s note: This is technically a repost of a poem I initially didn’t feel ready to share. I finally found the courage to permanently blog it (a special thanks to Kae for motivating me). Hopefully, this inspires others to do the same with their own art. Let go of the shame, guilt, and self-hate. Love is all we got in this crazy world that’s on the brink. – Jon

My father
Insists I am useless,

To which my reply
Is silence –

For his truth
Warrants never responding
Proving failure
Has followed these words:

Shitty poems
Which no one will read,

And feats
I can barely accomplish,

Like jobs not held
Blaming laziness
Letting nervousness
Define all life.

I often believe
Work is sin
Since trying too hard
Remains futile
When breathing itself
Becomes painful
And worrisome
Knowing death waits.

But craziness
Always agrees,

For success deludes
Our perceptions
Most normal folk use
Leaving legacies
Better spent now
Than secure.

Perhaps I’m inane
As they say,

An amateur
Displaying less talent
Than any dumb jerk
Sharing verses
Where a million posts
Go unseen.

People should love
Something real,

Well another man
Telling sad stories
Wishes God were here
Right besides him
As he narrates days
On his phone,

Between moments
Such shouting subsides

When the house settles down
Before sleeping

Each night while lights
Shine their radiance
Over darkened halls
Sighting ghosts

Under Christmas trees
Hanging too low

Among empty gifts
Wrapped in boxes

As if presents alone
Imply meaning
Despite what’s inside
Getting lost.

Phantoms wail
Those collective sighs
Before morning comes
Bearing witness
To mounting woes
I’ve collected
Just running away
With my thoughts.

I’m a child
Who has gotten too old

Wasting cash
With pretty expressions

Of a time long gone
Like the holidays
When family and friends
Were still here.

This must be
Fate obsolete –

An existence caught
Amid pauses.

Hopeless, dad,
Like you called me.

How the hell
Does my wife even stay?

  • J. Pigno

We’ll go down
On God’s sinking ship
While we celebrate
A sea which drowns us

Leaving behind
All the wreckage
Of this year which
Didn’t end well,

With debris that trails
Far behind
Long after those waves
Consume vessels –

Flooding these decks
Where acceptance
Becomes reason enough
To still swim

For surviving at life
When it fails,

Plunging towards depths
More mysterious,

Swearing fate appears
Empty like oceans

Always lonely
And blacker than death.

Only fear
Can know water’s intent,
Drinking time
How faith swallows demons

Resurfacing now
After traumas
Keep dragging our world
Undertow.

Perhaps wreckage
May offer some glimpse,

Seeing days since passed
Often surface
If their meaning inside
Remains buoyant
Despite suffering loss
All endured-

During hardships
Pushing back love,

Fighting illness
By changing disasters

Into weightless dreams
Strength inhabits,

Maybe sick
But still staying afloat.

  • J. Pigno

It’s been years
Since I’ve seen that ocean

Or spent summer by the sea
With my parents,

But during winter
We wish for these memories
When arcades are
All boarded up

And shuttered
Behind snowy drifts
Collected on planks
Above sand dunes

Where driftwood sits
Always waiting
For another tide
To pull them back in.

Some images
Just aren’t thoughts
But a feeling which lasts
Beyond decades,

Eternally held
As experienced
Like our childhoods
Ready at will –

Those miracles
Better preserved,

Snapshots caught
Without cameras,

An image of mom
Winning crane games
Or dad eating sweets
By his bench.

Last night
I dreamt we were riding
Back home
Towards dusk’s coral promise,

After sharing
Each moment so special
Beneath fate’s sky
Glowing red –

One colorful scene
Become permanent
Inside this mind
Getting older

While accepting death
Almost ready,

Soon acknowledging fear
Is belief

Knowing God was there
Leaving traces
Now comforting sights
Gaining context

Missing fixtures
Captured forever,

Wishing some days
Never did end.

  • J. Pigno

There are angels
Angry from waiting
When I squint my eyes
Towards the sun,

Wishing these words
Weren’t stifled
As they inspire grace
Through its burn –

A fiery light
Meaning something
Beyond what day
Grows despondent

In this backseat
Watching full highways
Echoing songs
Loudly played

Over headphones
Bringing on tears
Seeing skylines
Pass through those windows,

Feeling band-aids
Pulling at punctures
Where IV’s bled
For so long.

Each pain suggests
Savoring air
Since December’s breath
Shyly offers,

Seeping through cracks
While agreeing
Suffocation isn’t being
Too blessed –

Losing time
Like philosophies stifled,
Slowly taken by graves
Without knowing

Or letting our world
Hear their beauty
Before God Himself
Calls you home.

Even heaven still
Hardly seems far
During car rides
Back to Staten Island,

If poems prove
Faith always values
Moments we seize
Before death.

That city just fades
Into dusk,
Though tomorrow remains
More elusive

Than certainty
Following sickness
Fear has assured
Will endure.

Finding hope
Never changes much,
Letting sadness
Sit under seatbelts –

Adjacent,
But keeping good company,
Now enjoying
Those very same sights.

  • J. Pigno