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

My mother says
Death seems undignified,

An embarrassment
Equal to aging,

Our weakness
Inevitably waiting
Despite trying so hard
Just to fail –

Frailness which means
We will fall

When the truth is
It’s running towards something

Hungry for hope
Beyond sickness
Holding us back
In these shells.

I think lives fade
Cause they must,

How night shields sun
Behind darkness,

Lasting today
Without question
Until stars burn out
After long

Knowing God
Hides answers too close
Among heavens
Delaying such brightness,

Spanning aeons
Once shining their wisdom

Still seen amid skies
Over Earth.

When breath feels weak
Air gets precious
Like gifts faith proves
Become special

Staring fate head on
Always looming
But beautiful
And real nonetheless.

Perhaps pain
Keeps convincing that fear,

A foundation
Shaken by suffering –

Prolonging
Her disbelief only

Now dreaming
No horizon exists.

  • J. Pigno

There are nightmares
Too gorgeous for sleep
Which bleed into
Nervous daydreams
My mind will encounter
If wandering
Around those thoughts
I can taste

Like memories
Caught on this tongue
After rainfalls
Made from her teardrops
She sheds off clouds
In my bedroom
Knowing soon
I will open that mouth

To proclaim those lives
Never gone
Before savoring
Beautiful losses
Still showing those reels
Now projected
Behind both eyes
Open wide

Where old films play
Without sounds
But our senses
Trace every moment
Each experience had
Left impressions
Whether smells
Or sickening warmth

Those painful words
Become lines
Over tunes unheard
Missing lyrics
An open wound veils
Beneath crimson
Hiding melodies
Made from their scars

Envisioning pasts
Beyond touch
Such traumatic love
Sweetly torments
During liturgies
Writing these poems
Feeling phantoms
Tug at my pen.

  • J. Pigno

Tonight
This window is cracked
So the passing winds
Which keep blowing
Across tired streets
Can remind me
That life still exists
During sleep

In a room
Only lighted by screens

Whether phones
Or movies on silent

Left playing
For reasons uncertain
Other than fearing
My pulse,

And taking it
Numerous times

Though trying real hard
To stay focused

Beyond symptoms
Keeping things stirring
Like updates
Speaking of war

Such darkness
Eerily states
When flashed across
Silent devices
Between fingers
Fumbling keyboards
Searching out news
Always bad –

Still nervously
Pacing these floors
Dragging both feet
Along carpet,

Just fearing that death
Soon expected
While missiles
Explode overseas

Since heartbeats
Echo those drums
Declaring disputes
More erratic
Than peacefulness
Ravaged internally
I am scared
Will never return.

  • J. Pigno

Dani,
Please take them away –

These feelings which
Persist into nausea,

Sweet nothingness
Swelling like vomit
In the pit of this chest
Losing air.

Find me relief
If you will,

One doctor whose words
Aren’t judgment –

Another day out
Without worry,

Not time spent
Further apart,

To keep smiling
Under those masks
For the sake of our vow
Always tested
During eras consumed
By pure evil
And symptoms my mind
Can’t control.

Or is it my heart
Skipping beats?

My lungs missing breath
Without answers?

Are these ailments real
Beyond fearing
That end which looms
For us all?

My life is now raw
To the touch,

But your own
Can save it from burning,

By applying that love
God has given,

Still believing
All grief is a cure.

I must kiss you
Now while I can,
So remind me
By laying down gently –

Next to me
Adjacent as always,

Before our world
Grew insane.

  • J. Pigno

I pull at this
Tangling thread,

Like a line which
Slowly unravels,

And believe each edge
To be different

Despite knowing
That string is the same –

An imbalance
Perceived by deceit
My abrasive thoughts
Keep repeating

How sandpaper rubs
Against metal
While withering down
Over time,

With lopsided views
From one end
Through tightening knots
I’ve imagined
Behind choking eyes
Falling victim
To tears they cough
Losing grip.

These matters
No mind should endure
Make sense
Around fleeting obsessions,

Arrogant needs
Loosely settled
When fixating long
Under lights –

Following threats
So benign
Even tethered hearts
Never notice
Those ropes between hands
Making gestures
Just begging their help
As we pick

In mirrors
Still seeing mistakes,

Arguing truth
Has its questions,

If flaws must show
Despite trying

Almost everything wrong
For relief.

  • J. Pigno