It’s not very hard
To perceive
I’m the king
Of the privileged

Losing my breath
With each blessing
Which hurts more
Than any grace

By these gifts
Which scathe
Like belief
Riddled with glass
That has shattered

And scattered
Through grains
Without notice
Along this coast
Doubting waves

As oceans engulf
Many ships
In my mind
Growing faithless

Where daydreams
Beyond beaches
Into jagged remains
Leaving scars –

How agony floats
Certain vessels
While others
Just sink
Into vagueness

When reality
Every moment
Worth swimming back home
Towards the shore,

Since scapegoats
Notice no blood
As conviction
Their redness

But merely
Savor such burning
As seawater’s
Enters wounds

To redeem
Those forgotten
Counting each sand
Chasing pebbles

Remaining hurt
Now on purpose
Below every

  • J. Pigno

Maybe hearts
Keep acceptable distance
To preserve what love
Remains fearful
Like a child whose wish
Knows no answer
Other than faith
During growth

And hope feels real
Despite life
Crushing each dream
So elusive
While outlasting truth
Ever honest
Though hardly close
When we reach

Towards harsher fates
Drawing near
With our changing plans
Seeming futile
By attempting feats
Never certain
Since assuming roles
Without choice

If embellished lies
Were some cure
Where sickness speaks
Small hyperboles
In demanding pills
Always empty
But expecting results

Now dosing frowns
For their farce
Selling scripts
Called faraway friendships
Numbing needs
Only humans will suffer
Through medicine
Traded on touch

Until loneliness
Doesn’t suffice
Behind phone screens
Getting thicker
Taking videos
Sadly mistaken
As substitute souls
Being near.

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In that dream
He stood at the door

His hair all frizzed
Running wild

As if telling me
Chaos is natural
When meaning itself
Appears bold

Leading us soon
With a chord
Off strings wound tight
Forming coils
At the head of his axe
Almost wooden
If frets weren’t souls
Which would sing

Strumming their voice
Belting out
What prophets alone
Couldn’t muster

Making those notes
Speak of gospel
Since music was made
To uphold

Such fortunate nights
Become news
After terrible days
Facing silence
Where God sat still
Losing sunshine
Behind thick clouds
Causing rain

Letting silent prayers
Always beg

Or endure through storms
Hearing thunder

But enjoy loud bangs
Bringing rhythms
Drums will beat
Seeking noise

Needing every pulse
Now attuned

How Bob might use
Trailing poems

Tugging small threads
Over puddles
Guiding weary ears
Fearing words

Drowning melodies
Tethered by rage
Once built on hope
Drawing pictures
High fidelity sounds
Paint abstractly
Yet inherently feel
Playing hard

Swinging ropes
Some sinners might climb

Though dangling faith
With resistance

Fighting empty lines
Against heartbeats

While lyrics inside
Remain screams.

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Our trees
Bear colorful lights
Shining within
Every window,

Through glass which
Captures that magic
Hiding those stars
Very small –

In each twinkle
The distant past,

Burning so bright
Like time’s memory
Of a fiery life
That once sparkled

But now seeks peace
Before death.

I must fear
How winter proceeds
Despite such warmth
Seeming certain
Around holiday hearths
Always glowing
Where families sit
Sharing gifts.

They can’t understand
Why tragedy
Follows their merriment

When agony’s wrapped
Besides presents
Every Christmas Eve
Spent at home –

Just feeling too sad
To face what truth
Begins mounting
While clocks ring out
After midnight
Telling me still
There is hope –

If God was birthed
Long ago,

For His purpose
Relieving all judgment,

From mankind’s fate
Getting darker

As my own ills
Appear much worse.

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We ruin our lives
With regret
Since pursuing
Supposed forgiveness
From the pain which
Promises nothing
When grace
Is purely received,

Never gained
But already earned
If belief means
Suffering greatly
After failures’s faced
Become mountains
Moved by faith
Now instead –

These tethered hands
Always forced
Until that day
We are sorry
After learning God
Doesn’t bargain
But provides free gifts
Unlike us.

Effort itself
Cannot change
This weakened flesh
Making choices
Towards sinful work
Merely dreaming
Of transient hope
Built through hurt –

Moments lost
In their riches
Like memories found
Seeking penance
Beneath each wrong
Weighing heavy
Until those souls
Truly grieve

What family formed
Throwing stones
Where honest love
Stood neglected
Over years spent
Praying on empty
Wishing money
Might fill them again.

Redemption speaks
Under stress
Between bad days
Finding chances
Offering threats
Hardly worthy
At rejecting
Heaven’s approach –

Steadying hands
Steering fate
So determined
No one would notice
How human flaws
Shape existence
Still learning mistakes
Never miss.

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No one believes
I am sick ,

And perhaps
That’s part of the illness –

Forever ignored
Despite pleading
For assistance from pain
They can’t see.

My days
Are an endless threat
Of combatting
Various symptoms
Whose invisible scars
Always surface
Without any
Obvious cause –

A war on life
Leaving marks
Hidden by looks
Seeming youthful
Yet aging beneath
Holding secrets
This heartbeat alone
Only tells,

Though it survives
Defying skips
More persistent
Than dwindling hope
Hardly faithful
God may change
What’s to come.

Waking up
Means trying again
At appointments
Where laughs remain common
While doctors uphold
Their appearance
So tomorrow proves
Emptier still.

Another place hurts,

Not like before
But unusual,

Feeling too sore
Beyond normal –

How many things
Can get worse?

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What’s it like for them
Looking back down,

Watching us laugh
While we gather –

Leaving once more
Feeling lonely,

Just awaiting that time
To return?

These occasions grew cold
With our age,

As the world itself
Became sicker
And masks hid frowns
Always missing
Before each face
Posed a threat.

Now feasts
Must celebrate fear,

Lingering still
After healing,

Kept far too long
Behind latches
Where thoughts
Were safest reprieves –

When staring back out
Among cars,

Passing through streets
Fallen silent,

During seasons lost
Touching windows
Letting glass tell tales
Seeing lights

Share familiar warmth
From afar

But strung across roofs
Trading signals

How life moved on
Despite illness
Once killing those souls
Caught inside.

My hope
Believes heaven’s remorse
Is festive cheer
Raining softly,

Washing that hurt
Wishing snowflakes
Prove relatives dead
Remain close –

Shedding God’s good grace
Off of clouds

Beyond all doubt
Between teardrops

Inspiring faith
Burning brightly
Alongside trees
Seeming dim.

Happiness means
Going home,

Even staying put
Merely knowing

Love’s holiday
Never abandons

Since together endures
High above.

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It’s been so long
Since I thought of you,

Dreaming we’d met
During high school –

Sitting in back
Of that classroom,

Wishing you real
In my head.

I’d think about
Places we’d live –

An apartment perhaps
Off of Lake Shore,
Where we’d paint our days
Using oils
Across old walls
Turning grey

As the kettle would steam
Every morning
And sunshine peaked
Through our windows,

Holding me tight
While you smiled
As your red locks bobbed
When we’d kiss.

I’d often pretend
You were there,
Hoping for years
I could find you,

Driving down
Michigan Avenue
With my cousin in tow
At the wheel –

Seeking my muse
Far away,

Leaving New York
Ever desperate

On a personal whim
So ridiculous
I’d swear it was love
To this day.

Now I’m sickly,
Married, and old,

Adoring my wife
Just as special,

Telling her once
There was Mia –
A Chicagoan girl
With peach hair,

The saint whose name
Became grace
When a sad man’s soul
Remained lonely,

An angel whose face
Offered solace
During years spent
Seeking that warmth.

She’s the proof of God
I would need
To meet my spouse
Who was waiting
After years of prayers
Begging romance
For a poet whose fate
Appeared grim.

I’m an artist
Because she exists,

I’m her bluesman
Wailing on high notes –

Blessed by the hope
She did give me,
Always high
Despite feeling so low.

When I die
Those curtains will lift,

Like memories
Unveiling her presence,

As words did express
Over decades
What beautiful truth
She revealed.

  • J. Pigno

I know why
The cold winds howl
And why we’ve no choice
But surrender
As agony takes
Every moment
From relishing warmth
So unfair

By weakening pits
Barely sparked
Seeking embers lost
During winter
As dwindling tongues
Suffer blizzards
While iciest twigs
Kindle none –

Those frozen homes
Needing flames
Finding empty means
Where surviving
Outside their doors
Having heart attacks
Shoveling snow
For dear life.

We’re perpetually
Caught in this hole
That begs more blood
Being wounded
When prayers won’t work
Asking idols
If frigid blades
Cut us best,

Such dangling knives
Above high dreams
Getting sharper
Until that wish
Becomes dangerous
Killing through hope
With each sun.

How beautiful flakes
Hide despair
Uniquely shaped
Though intending
On murderous storms
Bringing sickness
Appearing quite soft
Still at first.

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You were always there
After school,

Like a home
Never taken for granted,

Without bullies
But TV heroes
Where childhood woes
Found escape

And hopeful dreams
Fighting back
When victory proved
Even simpler
Than enjoying shows
Teaching lessons
So strength is found
Looking deep

Inside such souls
Crying out
Despite how life
Keeps its villains
Hidden by grins
Pushing forward
While needing relief
Never asked.

Sometimes hurt
Seems to win,

And that’s scary enough
Being famous,

Cheering aloud
Forcing courage
Just watching those fans
Smile back –

Feeling forcibly lost
Among stars,

Facing blackest space
Getting darker,

Obscuring their glow
All around you
If focused on pain
Building up.

Tough men
Break apart too
As our champions
Stoically bearing
Weights unseen
Behind cameras
Success will hide
Before long.

My tears
Are about what’s passed,

True glory
Only hindsight offers
Knowing previous tales
Grow immortal
Since legends explode
Upon death –

Glorious light
Across skies
Innumerable kids
Can now stare at,

Healed through sun
Heaven powers

White yet green
Blazing bright.

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