For months
I’ve sought relief
From this ceaseless
String of symptoms
Which break me
As they worsen
Till my mind
Responds in words

So the fear
Of coming death
Is that much more
Substantial
While harnessing
How it festers
To convey
What hurts me most

Narrating
Sudden twists
Of traumas
Inconclusive
Deemed by doctors
Mental
On papers
Pushed and signed

Fake
As stabbing pains
From neurotic thoughts
Obsessive
Awaiting their final
Chapters
Between cracks
In hospital walls

Among beds
Where sinners lay
To confess their penance
Readied
Through torture
Of each motion
Or test
Performed with grace

As diagnostic
Pleas
For a cureless ill
Which begs them
To prepare their
Tragic endings
By embracing
Fragile bones

And lives
As ruined saints
Who find their God
When swearing
By heavy-handed
Suffering
That relieves their art
Of choice

From destiny
Fallen sick
To the dream
Of martyred wishes
Like truth
I battle daily
Uncertain
What comes next

Poems
Hardly rich
As they pass
Without absorbing
The fullness
Of each notion
Which comes with
Losing blood

Thankful
There’s no way
To express
This body failing
Through phrases
Worth sustaining
What rots
Inside my guts.

– J. Pigno

I’ve been
Called “faggot”
Enough
To know that
There’s no family
For a man like me
Unworthy
Of anything but
Blood and spit

Even when I take
Their brunt
Of insults thrown
Too easily
As forms of love
Kept ignorant
From the ones
Who said
They care

So detachment
Fuels relief
Where anger
Is better managed
As a loathing
Rife with secrets
Which startles
This aching
Soul

Pining
For better days
Or times
When hate
Left silent
Was seething
All the while
Though trinkets bought
Were gold

Preserving
Gems intact
Of the relics
Saved for nothing
Like pictures
Housing wishes
Of smiles
We always
Faked

Among memories
Kept in bins
Beneath stairs
Of darkest basements
Cheap
And unassuming
Of the pain
Contained
Within.

– J. Pigno

Don’t act
Like you know
Those depths
Of raging nausea
Which embitter
My aching senses
And force my hand
Towards death

Wasting
The last of days
Through hours
Spent on counting
Long seconds
Between these minutes
To feel each pang
Of hurt

As bile
Toasts its glass
Raised
With stomachs churning
And delivers
That ugly message
Of deliverance
Meant to hurl

Ready
If I’ll ever be
For this exit
Not quite suited
To a legacy
Undigested
Of poetry
Left behind

Glad
I wasn’t a man
To appease these verbs
Who made me
By virtue
Of supposed “gayness”
That manifests
In my words

Not the kind
You’d ever use
But create by
Gorgeous sickness
And utilize
As that compass
To navigate
Seething pits

The sort which
Have you bleed
Just enough
For beauty waiting
Among trash
And hopeful rubbish
To burst
Inside your chest

Like pockets
Of noxious gas
And vomit
Set on spewing
What arrogance
Finds me queasy
From consuming
Pain so raw.

– J. Pigno

Let’s see
If I really die
When pushing
My heart
To its limits

In these tried
And tested
Gauntlets
Of obsessive compulsive
Relief

Raising my pulse
Too fast
While I bike
On an empty
Stomach

Drinking
An excess of water
In hopes
That my weight
May drop

By the time
I wake up
Depressed
From restless dreams
Come morning

Where terrors
Turn into daylight
And sunshine
Reminders
Of sleep

Which never
Provide
Enough grief
As much as this need
For adrenaline

When writing
Exposing those frailties
Like bleeding wounds
Dry
On a page

Through sweat
My lingering
Chance
To lose all breath
For a moment

And capture
That genius in transit
As it travels
From heart
To this phrase

Even before
I can choose
To stop
Such habits
Cold turkey

Knowing
Some might be
Dangerous
Despite the fact
They bring words –

For the world
Is used to
Seeing me
Naked
Without any clothes

Thank God
I’m just a poet
It’s okay
I pass away
Nude.

– J. Pigno

There is always
A sense of
Closure
In places we least
Expect

Like on faces
Of those children
I could swear
Were nearly
Yours

Shining
Through each smile
As their mother
Held them
Gently

Telling me
She was gifted
After heaven
Took you
Back

Thinking
There was no
Chance
For hope or
Second-guesses

Until her eyes
Beheld them
And miracles
Grew so
Real

Much like
I had wished
Would happen
For these
Questions

Open
As they festered
In the years
Since you had
Passed

Leaving
Little room
To interpret
My own
Demons

Believing
That this absence
Was hurt
I dare not
Face

When I struggled
To persist
Despite
What warmth
You gave me

Feeling
Undeserving
Of tutelage
You had
Shared

Knowing
I wasn’t there
As they mourned
Your soul
To bury

Because
My recent heartbreak
Was just
Too much
To take

Even
Where you had
Tried
To get us back
Together

Bridging
That massive distance
I feared
More than
My life

Proving
Just how brave
That woman
I came to
Cherish

As a real
And loving
Mentor
Was guiding me
All along

Right up
To this day
Learning
You still are
Watching

Hearing
Your daughter
Mention
How to you
I meant so much.

– J. Pigno

Really
It’s just me
Now

Left
To my own
Devices

Startled
As I am
Empty

Relieved
No help
Ever comes,

Despite
This loudest
Scream

Or cry
That’s barely
A whimper

Come lights
With sirens
Blaring

Through quiet
Thick
As that dark.

Regardless
Of constant
Need

No matter
What cage
I can rattle

Or noise
Which warrants
Attention

From bars
I gather
Are best,

When apathy
Mounts
To belief

Of death
From fears
Unspoken

Among silence
So bravely
Indifferent

Like a body
Slouched
All alone.

Perhaps
They’ll find
Me too

Upstairs
Passed out
On the toilet,

Cold
And pale
Unresponsive

After dreaming
The ambulance
Came.

– J. Pigno

I live each day
For God
Even though things
May not
Seem it

When yielding
To these anxieties
Which keep me
Shackled
At home

Believing
Only in prayer
As the power
To what may
Question

Answers
For a soul
Left begging
This miracle
Which never appears

Like damges
Already done
From years
Of faithful
Service

To a dream
With martyred
Chances
For tomorrows
Always at war

Within
This deepest trench
Obscured by
Shells
Now empty

Teeming
With painful remnants
Of bullets
From a past
Which kills

Knowing
The fault is mine
Regardless
Of best
Intentions

Or sincerest hope
And wishes
To escape
These cannons’
Bursts

As they riddle
An ashen sky
With dark
And powdery
Fragments

That scatter
And line
Our faces
Like debris
Of fallen worlds

The ones
Our hurt creates
By destroying
Risk
Of happiness

Expecting
Routine disaster
Among ruins
We make
Ourselves

Fearful
I may just end
When life
Might grow
Too pleasant

Passing
From sudden illness
As the smile
Just reaches
My face

Cause mom
I’m going to
Travel
For I want
Such desperate freedom

From images
Of constant
Heart attacks
Amidst rides
And moments of fun

Thinking
I’ll break that nerve
Which tethers
Me down
Regardless

Of defeat
By frequent submission
To the safety
Of remaining
In place.

– J. Pigno