A controller
Left unplugged –
This relic of
Short-term freedom,
Sits on top
Old carpet
Where each stain
Proves patches
Speak,

From these hands
Which fumble cups
Sipping cola
Laced with sadness
As its flavor
Mocks such sorrow
Leaving sweetness
Like some
Curse

On my tongue
That tells what’s fake
Quicker than
Those memories
Perish
Watching decades
Dance through shadows
Flipping channels
While I stare.

They invoke
Synthetic light –
Stations summoned
By my choosing
Through thin fingers
Struggling gently
Against buttons
Hard
When pressed,

Where resistance
Seems absurd
Since my sanity
Grows distracted
Facing levels
Beyond dangerous
Losing lives
I can’t
Repeat

Every evening
Fate ignored
Becomes leisure
Duly challenged
By existence
Feeling futile
Amid games
God often
Plays.

– J. Pigno

The beautiful thing
About words
Is the way they
Prove
We’re living

Through a phrase
Which keeps
Enduring
Despite what eyes
Should grace

Or believe
That page which
Turns
And bemoans
Those quiet judgments

When readers
Choose
Such meaning
Despite how ink
Can change

In time
Not always sure
Their opinions
Have much
Reason

For condemning
Faded margins
Still imbued
By God’s
Right hand

Bleeding souls
On empty space
Trading paper
For art’s
Sickness

Swearing fires
Spread His message
Atop heads
Whose passions
Burn

Scribbling text
No man escapes
Leaving lines
Like age
Incarnate

Now immortal
After chasing
Fame as hollow
Found
Near death.

I am proud
My verse exists
But alone
This need not
Matter

Learning flesh
Prohibits glory
Playing roles
While feelings
Last.

– J. Pigno

The privilege
Of losing sleep
Bears splinters
Which pin
My soul

Against what flesh
Feels rotten
Sweated
To death
In this bed,

Like a shell once
So inspired
Which is now
Just vomiting
Phrases

Giving me
Countless wishes
For words
That actually
Speak

Without much thought
Or need
While emphasis
Seems less
Sacred

When expression
Forcibly rendered
Cuts fists
Since handling
Wood –

Those sharp
And pertinent dreams
Tearing skin
Through days
Expired

After years
Of juggling faces
Sporting masks
From terms
Unsaid.

These lies
Show fallen logs
How each verse
Hides precious
Timber,

Shedding bits
Beyond description
Housing needles
God
Might touch  –

Rather than
Idle threats
Missing points
Sharp angles
Threaten

At times
Our fear
Smooths edges
Among knives
Called life itself.

– J. Pigno

That screen
Which glows all night
Reminds me
Time’s not moving
Outside
This bedroom window
Where the cold
Still passes through

As if fresh air
Could change
What thoughts
Keep proving restless
Among these
Recent relics
Like gifts of days
Now gone –

Too soon
If one should ask
How fear appeared
In tandem
With death its
Frequent shadow
Upon doorsteps
Quickly closed

After hearing
Fate has come
Seeking breath
Without exemption
Breaking locks
On shuttered houses
Stealing lives
Before they wake,

Deeming sleep
Life’s certain end
Wasting hours
Barely dreaming
Between cycles
Lacking meaning
Knowing reasons
Just repeat

For avoiding
Solemn prayer
When our TV
Flashes comfort
Bleeding light
Around those edges
Within peril
Come each night.

How new danger
Feels so real
Beneath pillows
Over faces
Losing air
We steal regardless
Letting slumber
Smother faith,

Since all heavens
Seem absurd
During hours
Darkness lingers
Finding God
While flipping channels
Staying anxious
Though He laughs.

– J. Pigno

Kid,
You’re only as
Special
As the wallet from
Which you came –

The scrotum
Of poor investments
That made life
So incredibly
Wrong,

Whose existence
Failed
To give back
Beyond what breaths
Not taken

Bore words
Undeniably fruitless
Despite
How much
They say.

I’m not worthy
Of silver rings
Or some vow
No faith
Could promise

At the hands
Of decent persons
Sharing love
Which God
Demeans,

With each dream
I always chase
Thinking verse
Tells more
Than worship

Where devotion
Proves prodigious
Through this flesh
Entwined
Like lies –

A gift
Believed inside
Open mouths
Whose questions
Linger,

Wasting efforts
Building friendships
Over decades
Bound
By loss.

How romance
Grows undone
Learning bodies
Fail
Their purpose

Long before
Such chances settle
On which moment
Fate
Gives birth.

I swear
Its proof persists
Among hearts
Now finding
Answers,

Spreading poems
Between hoaxes
Shedding light
While darkness
Calls

Dead men wishing
Feelings blast
Within veins
Collapsed
From traumas

Hiding needs
All humans cherish
If addictions
Seem
Less hard.

Though perhaps
These phrases last
Even when
Raw passions
Dawdle

Upon waiting
For permissions
We assumed
Our parents
Said,

Pounding futures
Into dust
Knowing debt
Killed more
Than kindness

But demolished
Any semblance
And desire
To have
Sex.

– J. Pigno

I believe
How these aging toys
And the dream
They once
Represented

Hide a kid
Whose wish
Has been silenced
After putting them
Back in their place

For nothing
But repetitive tasks
And stubborn lies
Which keep
Failing

At encouraging
Days worth living
Beyond
What fears
Became work

Before songs
Only heard inside
Redeemed
Each soul
Still committed

To an innocence
Openly humming
Those melodies
Tinged
With relief

By characters
Forever pure
Whose fantasies
Shaped
Our existence

For tomorrow’s truth
Disappointed
Such play
Is perpetually
Lost

On salaries
Making us sick
Trading angst
While we
Socially distance

From imagining
Human potential
As some child’s
Bear
Being hugged

Now together
Just sharing space
Even smiling
Though they seem
Saddened

Knowing soon
Separation beckons
Upon shelves
Facing decades
Ignored.

– J. Pigno

My breath
Deep inside those
Pockets
Is the change
You’d wished
Held meaning

From the wallet
Filled with reasons
For believing
Life
Had none.

That’s me
Unworthy of air –

Finding hope
Where cash
Was folded

Along threaded lines
Through denim
Near their dollars
Placed
On seams,

That dividing line
Like fear
When cruelty sworn
Was shelter
Becomes answers
Dreaming freedoms
Between fringes
Cut
By truth.

These ties
Are tattered cloth,

Our ambitions
Different measures –

Such anger
Wounded bodies
Patching lies
We’ve always sewn.

My blood
Has only words,
Never rags
Or leather pouches

Holding wealth
Which fears us
Naked,

Bearing needs
No soul can grasp.

Good art
Shows signs
Of wear,

Just as fashion
Tells
Its story –

This “loser son”
Will sport them,
Each abuse
Called “love”
They sold.

– J. Pigno

Where does
The manual state
How being paid
For help
Is courageous?

Such bad advice
Has potential
At exalting
Men
Who are dolls –

Defective toys
Become gallant
By virtue of gifts
They can
Leverage

Through instructions
Pushed as agendas
To approve
Their marketed
Face.

No glue
Can repair our cracks
Anymore
Than lies
Sell plastic

While parading
Treacherous glories
Behind masks
Whose figures
Grin

At a point
All models break
Thinking parts
Get swapped
With reason

Learning figures
Considered better
Claim dibs
On remaining
Whole.

Last time I checked
We were flesh
Not pressed
In factories
Tested

Like effigies
Far from humble
Telling kids
Some dreams
Mean less,

If success
Expresses truth
Which expose
False idols
Fearless

Owning roles
That question heroes
Whose feat
Was collecting
Checks.

– J. Pigno

I am no longer
Your son

Because guilt
Is not my birthright

Like the money
Which still can’t answer

What questions
Your soul won’t ask –

As an incapable feat
For rage

Whose flame knows
Only matches

When experience yields
These passions

While igniting God
In hand,

For the lie that
Bears me grief

Within flesh
Whose silence lingers

Presuming
My spirit missing

At the tip of a tongue
You’d burned.

This body
Just can’t speak

Anymore than words
Could flourish

Where fires dance
Through kingdoms

Of dreams
You’d had me torch.

My phrase
Can’t offer cash,

My pen bring much
But solace

Condemned as faith
Unworthy

For the man whose life
Meant less

Than the joy
You’d wish I earned

While pursuing jobs
So pointless

And convinced
Such work held purpose

Beyond building ash
On lungs –

Like collected smoke
Thought breath

Within mouths
Whose air went missing

So the fire spread
From neighbors

Bragged its brilliant light
That glows.

Now forever
I’ll spend each day

Flooding waters
Upon sore voices

Quelling damages
Pouring phrases

Spilling verse
Amid embers learned.

– J. Pigno

I’ve done little
With my time
And perhaps
That’s now
Okay,

Considering
Nothing matters
In a world
Where life
Means shit –

Even still
Despite our tries
Or the pleas
Young souls
Keep chanting

Across streets
While bigots listen
Tightening cuffs
On innocent
Hands,

Wielding sticks
Like phallic threats
Threatening rape
Of minds
Unyielding

Twisting lines
Good gospel peddles
Watching despots
Claim
Those words.

How can justice
Even risk
Finding hope
Among these
Devils

Stealing faith
As freedom settles
Into fear
Once thought
Long dead,

Only answered
For such days
If each victim’s
Screams
Get angry

Growing worse
Until they notice
We will not
Accept
Such hate,

But yet somehow
Soon forget
Over decades
Filled
With excess

Blinding rebels
Behind paychecks
Thinking cash
Can cure
Old sins –

Which is why
I’ll never work
Or hold jobs
Beyond
This writing

Bleeding ink
For sticking fingers
Up at racists
Called
Rich men.

Don’t assume
We have some chance
Ending bias
Through their
System,

For true evil
Dwells eternal
Within actions
Laws
Can’t change –

Even God
Remains perplexed
By His Earth
Turned Hell
Incarnate,

So forget
Your fucking day job
And make art
Worth fighting
Back.

– J. Pigno