Mom,
You always tell me
That people
Live forever on film.

Our mutual
Love of cinema
Is something
Exceedingly precious –

Consistently shaping
My worldview,

Continually
Providing solace,

And creating
Countless memories
Echoing
Beyond creation.

We share
A deep love of art –

Such fascination
With fiction,

Because fantasy
Means gauging experience
For us
And making it better.

It is the rubric by
Which we measure
The beauty of
Mortal narratives,

How we often
Strive for better
And aim to achieve
Like legends.

I always said
We are villains
Or heroes
Defending our purpose,

Action figures
In toy stores
For divinity
To open and use.

But you, mom –
You are immortal
To the people
Who feel your presence.

I am
Well beyond lucky.

I get the honor
of being your son.

There is no higher
Privilege
Than to hear your thoughts
Like whispers,

Believing
Your saddest stories
And fears of
Growing forgotten,

Bouncing off walls
Where daydreams
Are reflected off
Glowing TVs –

Gazing upon
Movie magic,

A type you wish
You had.

In fact,
What if I told you,
You were
That kind of magic,

Taking this time
To contemplate
The odds of
Mother and son?

Considering
Infinites variables,
The math which
Accounts for sharing,
One fated bond
Together
Only could Himself
Could bestow?

That’s how I swear
You and me
Are significant
Through mutual journeys
Revealing
Those answers waiting
Remaining blessed
Through hurt.

Your ripples
Scatter across
This pond of
Transient stories,

And to me
They are giant waves
In an ocean
You’ve given life.

How is that
Not eternal?

Remember now
You’re my star,

In our motion picture daydream
Tracing lines with lasting legacy,

A celebrity saint
Still walking
Her red carpet
Within these words.

Theaters outside
Go dark.

But the ones within
Stay lit,

As long as we’re willing
To savor
Those reels our time
Has shown.

I’ll always watch
What’s passed.

And I know you’ll
Be gazing back at me.

Heaven and Earth
So sacred,

Feature presentations
In-between.

  • J. Pigno

The Inner Harbor
Looked so gray
At the peak of that
Particular summer,

Covered by clouds
Nearly offset
With rays of sun
Peering through,

As I walked past crowds
Sharing tables
Along those fronts
Sporting awnings

Where couples would stop
For their dinners
Dodging such storms
Soon to hit.

It made me think
How my future
Was like those rains
Unexpected,

When seeing thick fog
All around me
Build over time
Out of fear –

Worried how lonely
I’d grow
And continue this path
Near the ocean,

Watching small waves
Rattle vessels,
Disturbing big boats
Even docked.

My seaside walk
Had persisted
Well into days
Beyond winter,

Through springs
And autumns apparent
As life still waned
Like that glow

Amid long skies
Hiding woes
Where hopeful beams
Appeared brightest,

Scorching this ground
Getting hotter
And burning each dream
Left behind.

I was lost
Among costumed faces
And stuck between
Visitors laughing,

Truly happy
Besides their partners
I was certain
My God wouldn’t grant

To men like me
Always jealous
As the city itself
Felt ignited

While vacationing pairs
Took their pictures
And attended cons
Dressing up.

My tomorrow
Was laced in regret
Staring back
On empty hotel rooms,

Having nightmares
About strange phone calls
From muses
Who never picked up –

A clock turned dim
Over stoves
Hanging near screens
Quickly flashing

Amid silent suites
Begging questions
Asking answers
She couldn’t reply.

My wife stirs slow
During sleep
As I grab her hand
Just to kiss it,

Still recalling
Those years long before her
When her husband
Was homeless inside –

Suffering fate
Not responding
Across those streets
Once congested

Where his angels
Strolled angry boardwalks
Hearing prayers
Facing heatwaves endured

In museums
Once wandering shipwrecks
Pushing limits
Of imagined disasters,

Throughout memories
Become second nature
The August
Baltimore died.

  • J. Pigno

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

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

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

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

Every deed
We witness in daylight
Has counterparts
Equally shadowed

And incentives
Dancing like spiders
From projections
Selfishly shaped

During nights
Spent gloating alone
Behind closed doors
Always working

Where walls see curves
Without question
Across empty space
Filling cracks –

Such darkened lines
Taking form
When sins themselves
Lacking filter

Draw souls
Defined by obsession
Over broken lies
Need creates.

These villains
Believing success
Tout sickness
They call motivation,

Taught all their lives
Through example
Trusting promises
Borrowed on fear

Though never fulfilled
While aware
Or trying so hard
There is meaning

Despite learning
Fixations will murder
Any moral
Worth trusting before.

Real heroes
Don’t get those rewards
Yet innately know
They must suffer,

Just wasting this time
For experience
Among God’s gifts
Truly free –

An unsaid grace
Breath implies
Beneath quiet skies
Sharing whispers,

Telling awesome tales
About rescues
Along bumpy roads
Faith agrees

Keeps worship
Appropriately placed
Between humble trails
Often taken –

Rarely mocked
Since public exposure
Appears tougher
Than obscurity shares.

  • J. Pigno