On the counter
Behind old keys
I found items

Two small books
With daily verses
From the Bible
Which he’d read.

If you knew
My father’s ways,

Or had watched his steps

It’s still hard
To even consider
That real worship
Played some part.

Yes, in fact
Most other men
Whose beliefs
Mean more than riches
Would now find
Such strange behavior
At best.

Yet, my dad,
Though fearing age,
Taught himself
How heaven blesses
And forgives
Those souls left broken
As he fought
Through life too much.

For such quiet faith
In these soldiers
Born surviving –

Every callous act
Their weapon
Against details
Few will see,

When all circumstance
Means hell
While abuse
Becomes accepted,

Always losing
Constant battles
Over failures
Hate imposed.

Soon surrounded by
Fate’s wings,
They bear crosses

Until moments
Like this morning
Prove salvation

Even money
Loses trust
If approaching death
So quickly –

Perhaps sickness
Brings atonement
Silent converts
Can’t admit.

  • J. Pigno

I was wrong about
Poetry dying
Along with the world
Which breathes it
As our collective wills
Keep gasping
Despite this cough
That spreads

To eradicate
Beautiful words
And suffocate art
Still trying
Through crushing souls
By silence
Or extracting faith
From fear –

Rare benevolence
Hiding in shells
Now worried how hate
Turned lethal
Drawing lines
Where tragedy festers
Over politics
Evil has strewn

Like storm clouds
Harboring rain
Hailing heaven’s
Unfortunate judgment
Watching mankind’s
Quiet division
Become their creed
They have prayed,

Losing voices
Begging real change
Under sprawling grays
Forming thunder
Beneath dark skies
Casting shadows
Across faces
Mistaken for masks

Though needing hope
More than sin
Could ever allow
During endings
So slowly played
Even decades
Wait eagerly
Pacing towards grace.

Condemned men
Accumulate wealth
While believers
Paint every detail
Singing songs
Creating true visions
Reflecting dreams
Always pure

Since expecting
Nothing but grief
Until loved ones
Join them in praising
Meager blessings
Amid our apocalypse
Proving kinship
Beyond any doubt.

  • J. Pigno

The men who smoke
On corners
Bury words inside
Their ashes
And hide what dreams
Escape them
Pushing secrets
Through each puff –

Proving life
All empty breaths
As they kill both lungs
With sadness
Forcing smiles wide
Yet rotten
Like those yellowed teeth
Which show

Every crack
We can’t neglect
Chasing healthy goals
More damaged
Than such vices known
Could peddle
Before claiming fate
Will come

Should our leisure
Catch this thrill
Burning open mouths
Still silent
Forming better lines
From poets
Pursing lips
Around that butt,

For some prophets
Value soul
Over perfect lives
Less dangerous
Where obsession
Fuels resentments
Finding family means

And successes
Wasted time
Working honest jobs
In circles
Gaining little hope
While waiting
Across decades
Fearing death

When instead
True gospel hurts
Idling threats
Upon long faces
Hanging down
Though praying fire
Letting halos fall
Like sparks.

  • J. Pigno

How ugly
We all have become
In our updates
Like endless stardom

Where emptiness
Asks every user
If acknowledgment
Satiates souls –

That hunger
Abided by grief,

Denying death
As it passes,

Above these heads
Always waiting
For another excuse
To show off.

I’m scared
Still wearing my mask
Since viruses taint
More than bodies.

We deserve
Each strain that is coming
Posting pictures
Of Saturday night,

When you drank
And partied regardless
Thinking glee
Was somehow entitled
While families cry
Over corpses
But refuse vaccines
All the same.

An apocalypse came
Leaving texts,

Like livestreams
Touting disaster,

Citing proof
How steady employment
Distracts weak minds
From their end.

God’s forgiveness
Failed without warning
When humanity
Settled on gaming,

Worshipped cash
Before heeding science,

Wore garments
Spouting hate’s name –

Scrolling videos
Endlessly made
Which indulge those
Primitive habits,

Giving sickness
Ample advantage
Before this germ
Even spread.

“So disgusting”
Fully explains
What priorities
People admire.

Views dip,
Though “likes” keep repeating,
Meaning content
Never gets read.

  • J. Pigno

Today I’m still
Measuring lengths
And looking for hairs
That went missing
After shaving off
Pieces of stubble
Stuck to this face
Getting plucked –

Just constantly
Chopping these strands
And questioning now
If they’re even
Despite such care
Being taken
With rulers held close
Near my head,

Chasing confidence
Feeling so lost
Beneath those lines
Always slanted
Like awkward signs
Barely telling
How appearances
Never will last

Despite images
Stuck in our minds
And perfect skin
Lacking wrinkles
Wearing outfits
Stained by obsession
Finding style
Until we collapse.

Staying chic
Means dying through form
Killing time
From wasting existence
While freshening dreams
Growing rotten
Seeking youthfulness
Thinner than skin –

For beauty commands
Every fear
Though symmetry
Squanders its freedoms
Demanding sins
Achieve balance
Only God Himself
Could perceive,

Making elegance
Morbidly brash
Besides vanity
Breeding corruption
Watching grace
Become expectation
If glamor should fail

Since charm
Let’s agony play
Where attraction
Causes disruption
Leaving reason
Meaningfully absent
When staring at mirrors

  • J. Pigno

I believe in a dream
Grown complacent,

How lesser men
Win by exception,

Through ways which fail
Every value
This world insists
Is sincere –

Like some sinner
Now swearing his demons
Have become
Fallen angels forgiven
By breaking walls
Making prisons
From standard lies
We accept.

That heaven
Still shits on us all –

Hailing judgment
Like excrement pouring
Off distant clouds
Always looming
Despite our tries
Playing nice.

I pity those
Needing its rains.

I’m ecstatic
With sunlight defiant,

Burning me up
Through indifference
And doubts
Just drying these fears

Where words remain
Openly stated
Across long lives
Choosing madness
Beyond false gods
Finding errors
Among lost souls
Who will write.

Triumph means
Willingly dying –

Leaving lines
Much louder on paper,

Silently bold,
Sharing wisdoms
No normal mind
Would perceive.

Get angry,
But stay very quiet,

Let them think
Your peace was agreement –

While idleness thrives
Yielding torment
Empty pages
Could only enjoy.

Suffer each prayer
Towards creation.

Art must express
Feeling broken.

Cheat if required,

Though bending rules
Should suffice.

  • J. Pigno

I keep wondering,
“What’s my reason?”

Waking up
Sweated and nervous –

Staring at screens
Searching headlines
For the answer
Sleep never tells.

That quiet room
Filled with sun,

Like morning grief
Peeking gently,

Soon speaks how light
Subverts meaning
Through mocking days
Never bright –

Repeating lines
Gaining steam

Over two years now
Going missing

In a world so wrong
Even nightmares
Feel much more real
Than this work.

Why offer truths
Hardly seen,

Or expose some soul
Needing purpose

Through hollow words
On devices
Still held by hands
Losing grip?

For tomorrow
Another disease
Reserves its place
Beneath heaven,

While an idle God
Becomes restless
Destroying faith
Standing back –

Only when dead,

Removing joy
Where defeated,

Finding worship
Merely deceitful
Since expression fuels
Empty prayers.

Yet history loops
Over symbols
These worried minds
Keep reciting
As poems warn
Of destruction
If art should end
Besides hope –

Watching apathy
Set me free,

Letting boredom
Indulge such hatred –

But allowing fear
Every silence,

Claiming arrogance
Triumphs all will.

  • J. Pigno

I follow smoke
Towards waking
Where the fires burn
From sunlight
As the rays beat down
To what dizziness
Fades like dreams

When existence
Emerges sideways
Knowing days just
Aren’t worth living

While burning wicks
Stay hurting,

Counting sparks
Such bombs expect –

An explosion
Oddly calm
In its nothingness
Tangibly rendered
By these agonies
Telling our senses
Fleeting feelings
Mean much more.

This experience
Making cinders
Values tears
Good men go seeking,

With solutions warm
Yet urgent
Now cascading
Down their face –

That tranquil drip
Through passions
Holding prayers
So often stifled,

Hiding God
Beneath wrong answers

Fearing freedoms
Thought long gone.

How we swallow
Empty flames
Facing threats
Emerging slowly

Every morning
Chasing pleasures
Kindling ashes
Rest has quelled,

Finding secrets
Held inside-

Faking silence
Before breaking,

Letting floodgates rip
Every fear those blazes

Let all sadness flow
Of bad standards
Life keeps heating,

Squashing tongues
Called expectation
Upon learning
Fate is dead.

  • J. Pigno

I remember
Before being married
My writing was
Effortless breathing

Through words which
Expressed each failure
As some vital air
For this soul –

An easy quirk –


Though absurdly real
Without pretense

Felt prior to love
That escaped me
Giving reasons
Now understood.

Bare beauty corrupts
Every vessel
Once finding faith
In its sinking,

Still wishing
How bottoms of oceans
Would welcome ghosts
Seeking home –

Death’s dim abyss
Holding gems

Or secret ships
Buried deeply

Beneath what sand
Conceals treasures
Only words can tell
Getting drowned.

Her face
Is sun at fear’s surface –

Such presence
These moments worth staying,

But sadder songs
Exist always
Upon those seas
Where we float.

Happy endings
May often endure,

Though stifled lines
Become dangerous

If asking dreams
Why they bother
After stars themselves
Appear lost.

Our nearest night
Remains dark
Despite lighted paths
Over currents,

Reminding us
Poems will navigate
Fate’s charted course
Even more.

Forgive old needs
Begging hurt,

Like pirates scarred
Braving weather –

Never questioning
Miracles answered,

Just believing
Phrases persist.

  • J. Pigno

Our records don’t spin
Like they used to

All those years ago
In my basement,

Beneath billiard lamps
Where songs would
For our thoughts –

Never told
But uttered through

When you’d come around
Before leaving

Without letting me know
There were reasons
Behind every track
We had played.

I’m tired of
Silently waiting
For moments
Missing friendship

Under jagged holes
On this ceiling

Where bugs
Now squirm
Caught by webs –

Creeping slyly
Amid old memories,

Painfully strewn
Along carpets,

Showing stains
From feelings

Sipping colas
While we laughed.

Though among such pests
I remain,

Watching spiders
Across speakers,

Building homes
Best shared
Between loners

Finding dampness
Oddly preferred –

Existing once
Above ground,

Soon finding gloom
Almost pretty,

Never wasting light
Nearly absent
During daydreams
Below stairs.

How vinyl lasts
Over decades
Enduring shelves
Growing dusty,

But closeness
Will sadly

As time
Always proves.

  • J. Pigno