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.

  • J. Pigno

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.

  • J. Pigno

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.

  • J. Pigno

I think about you
Every morning
When amethyst skies
Feel most sullen

As sunlight creeps
Behind darkness
Faint with dawn
Newly birthed,

Hearing that laugh
In my bedroom
Where friendships past
Aren’t memories

But echoes of dreams
Sharing stories
Reliving those days
Gone for good.

My phone never rings
Getting texts
Or occasional calls
Like it used to.

Parenting now
Must take precedence
Over those left back
Staying home.

This early start
Can embellish
How different our worlds
Were becoming

During hours once shared
Never ready
While being big kids

Is fatherhood worth
Giving up
Everything new
Which reminds us

How life
Still isn’t so serious
By proving now
Age always sucks?

Enjoying our youths
While they last
Means someone must stay
The bad influence.

Maturity just
Doesn’t sound pleasant-
Nothing seems fair
Getting old.

  • J. Pigno

All I can write
Are eulogies,

These prayers
Of implied expiration,

Between each line
Growing mortal
In the sense
Such poems take tolls –

How feelings alone
Appear cruel
When scrawled across notes
Barely noticed,

Inside my phone
Behind passwords
Hoping my wife
Could soon guess.

Some eyes bring
Fierce expectations
Upon what words
Remain hidden,

Until that day
Quickly follows
When few but our ills
Would expect

If feared
With its hastened approach
Though expressed
By honest affliction –

Indebted through art
Sorely lacking
Since missing beliefs
Facing death

Which trails
Behind every phrase,

Mocking presence
Increasingly precious,

Memories held close
Gaining meanings
Hindsight might yield
Even more.

Then fanfares blare
Among ruins
Scribbled at night
Where completed,

Watching her sleep
As this heartbeat
Starts to give way
Under stress –

Jotting down dreams
She recalls,

But for me seemed real
While together,

Falling now hard
Into darkness
Sharper than spite
Loss relates

After being so sick
Far too long
And accepting how fate
Tumbles gently
Off castle walls
Below heaven
Like towers we built
Seeking God.

  • J. Pigno

I am young again
Often while dreaming
As mom stays close
Where the waves break,

Standing on docks
Near our shoreline,

Watching steamships
Sink off that coast.

Somehow those boats
Aren’t vessels,

But harbingers
Speaking of sadness,

Now what’s to come
After sleeping
When adulthood
Wakes me once more –

And yet
We’re back every night
Still atop old piers
Over darkness,

Watching bows submerge

Soon tearing apart
While they drown.

Just imagine
A life after death
Left blackest
Beneath every ocean,

Seeing such depths
All around you,
Though eternally
Needing escape.

Waking up
Feels fairly absurd,

Damned with faith
Facing morning,

Like wreckage
Assuming salvation –

At least in hell
There is light.

  • J. Pigno

Tell me God
Have I earned this dread
From which there is
No escaping,

But dreams that cause
Living shadows
Even though such threats

On bedroom walls
Across nights
These chest pains squeeze
Like constrictions
Of blood flow
Cut from delivery
Back towards a heart
Still distressed-

Watching fears grow real
Along ceilings,

Letting terrors
Wake without ending,

Noticing webs
In each corner
As those spiders endure
Under skin.

My anxieties
Aren’t just bugs
But remaining thoughts
Always crawling
Where eyes can’t see
Every movement
Insects make
Weaving nests.

Their existence
Prevents any rest,

Denying that peace
Never certain,

Knowing agony
Presumes all happiness
Is nonsense
Hardly worth rest –

A poor pursuit
Seeking hope
Through our daily deaths
Wasting hours
Which lets each nerve
Soon unravel
Closing both eyes
To what kills.

Sometimes pain
Conquers hope
Despite how sun
Follows morning,

Murdering days
Before ending
After hurting so long
Needing change,

If believing lies
Slumber sells

Through memories
Challenging faithfulness,

Lethally felt
Since experienced
During memories
Rearing once more.

  • J. Pigno

This rain has proved
Heaven’s whimper
Like the tears of God
I’ve been needing
Since discovering
Hell is conviction
By virtue
Of smiling suns

And their harshest rays
We can take
During seasons
Better off thirsty
Where droughts prove long
Without begging
Such empty skies
For a flood –

Like mysteries
Missing each piece
When crying clouds
Never answer
What puzzle endures
During daylight
Obscured much less
Than we’d wish

As heavier air
Carries words
Tasked through dreams
Seeking questions
Before each thought
Loses meaning
Just drinking from wells
Going dry –

Burdened too much
Under loads
And still asking rocks
Despite knowing
That life drinks dirt
Growing desperate
Feeling parched
If inquiring stones

How water appears
Ever rare
Even though hell
Remains vacant
Unleashing its wrath
Via beauty
Expecting dawn
Shimmers bright

But anticipates
Shifting beliefs
Subverting faith
Every morning
These changes come
Bringing showers
Cascading relief
Turning grey.

I love those sounds
Puddles make
Outside my room
Gently calling
Enough so hope
Isn’t stagnant
Or comfortably warm
Seeming stale.

  • J. Pigno

Wind carries dust
Over bookshelves
Shrouded in dimness

Beneath curtains
Fluttering softly
Near these windows
Sharing that breath,

Where filtering sun
Barely seen
From my ottoman
Hearing such noises

When nature sighs
Getting older
As the hours seem slow
All alone –

Each daylight
Robbed of its strength
During winter’s pass
At seclusion

So peacefully felt
Sitting sadly
Wasting lifetimes
Staring towards screens

And depleting time
Seeking proof
Of existence earned
Between movies

Letting illness
Become an obsession
Still lost among thrills
Playing games.

Those toys just can’t
Or pine for worlds
Beyond limits –

How I struggle
Remaining important
Despite writing again
Without need

Since controllers
Replace every thought
Just hanging on hands
While they fidget

From now knowing
Tomorrow’s repeating
This grey afternoon.

  • J. Pigno