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

I’m afraid of this
Terrible question
Which eludes all chance
At description,

Attempting to tell
How it strangles
Hope’s neck
From a rope each day –

That faith
Always gasping for breath,

Religiousness
Hung on the gallows

Where desperate hands
Begin reaching
Around knots
Still choking these words.

It shames those thoughts
Fighting back,

Still obsessed
About publicly killing
Beliefs long held
But uncertain
If God is right there
By my side,

Tightening doubt
More defiant
Than life’s
Routine execution
Every time
We follow examples
Few agree
Are better ignored –

Some Messiah
Like seeking success,

Our salvation
Through phantom achievement,

Leading such whims
Across landscapes
Towards Calvary
Heaven forsakes.

No redeemer
Will stand alongside
False martyrs
Now bearing their crosses,

Knowing sinners
Deserve sickly penance

Since Christ left Earth
Long ago.

  • 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

My mother spent
Months on our couch
In pursuit of relief
Never coming,

Eating nothing
But rice cakes with honey,

While staring at shows
From her youth –

Day after night
Watching sitcoms
Hearing laugh tracks
Constantly playing
Over bad jokes
Said by dead actors
Whose faces told more
Than I wished

About sadness
Hidden through grins
Shielding this truth
She admitted,

Spitting her food
Feeling nauseous
And reminding me life
Will get old,

Swearing soon
Such love falls apart
As time fades hope
Upon aging
When physical ills
Obscure passion
Since God appears rude
If you pray

Begging for health
Hardly better
During time lost home
Facing sickness
Out there
Set loose among dangers
Or inside these shells
All the same.

Incisions
Leave soulless holes
Like that terrible meal
Lacking flavor,

Still savoring food
Missing substance

Long after those sutures
Have healed.

Perhaps surgery
Offers some glimpse
Of apparent faith
Fear induces,

Slowing hearts
To stop them entirely
While claiming a cure
May await –

How mom knew pain
Would endure,

Waking up,
Finding misery lingered

Despite false hope
Called “recovery”

Just prolonging tastes
Always bland.

  • J. Pigno

There is an absence
Fear cannot fathom
Until that hole
Gets torn open,

When the space itself
Becomes meaning
And emptiness
Assures you of faith –

A heaven in loss
Merely waiting
After hope falls through
Chasing freedom,

Like wishes fulfilled
Despite failure
To determine today
As some gift

Or God’s bad dream
Always playing
Behind those eyes
Missing chances

For surrendering sleep
Wasting nightmares
Divinely instilled
By that fate.

Our choice
Finds agony ripe
On vines long hung
Over pleasure,

With nothing at stake
Beyond living
Among lazier souls
Left at home –

Those saddened minds
Taking breaks
Between phone calls
Friends never answer,

Drawing peace
While exhaling such anguish
Through breaths so short
From unrest

Upon pages blank
Needing pictures
Where memories
Assemble their puzzle

Across margins
Poems should bury
Beneath blotted truths
Disarranged.

These words
Are messy relief
Yielding solace
Veiled amid clutter,

Seeking company
Dead despite speaking
Off immortal lines
Believed flawed –

All lonely liars
Descend
Ink’s shadowy pit
Hiding mirrors,

Since reflections
Offer them purpose
Being idle
Yet oddly engaged.

  • J. Pigno

I’m caught between
Death and fiction
Where my days feel
All the more meaningless
As time blends now
With experience
Shared on a screen
Sitting still,

While idling well
In that room

Having captive dreams
Fear imprisoned

Inside this house
Become canvas
Leading painted lies
Believed true –

Those colorful tales
During sleep
When freedom leaves
Fleeting impressions
Across short nights
Spent escaping
No awakened mind
Could express

Pressing buttons
Or clicking these keys,

Wishing hands held flesh
Over plastic,

Scratching at glass
Showing numbers
Mistaken for words
We once knew.

Every need
Grows increasingly ill

Since our lasting sins
Always bargain
Hope is worth what debt
Greed develops,

Getting bigger
Yet somehow too small –

Fitting pockets
Tucked behind souls
Such tinier toys
Keep connected,

By threads unseen
Though invasive,

Like emptiest lives
Entertained.

  • J. Pigno