A controller
Left unplugged –
This relic of
Short-term freedom,
Sits on top
Old carpet
Where each stain
Proves patches
Speak,

From these hands
Which fumble cups
Sipping cola
Laced with sadness
As its flavor
Mocks such sorrow
Leaving sweetness
Like some
Curse

On my tongue
That tells what’s fake
Quicker than
Those memories
Perish
Watching decades
Dance through shadows
Flipping channels
While I stare.

They invoke
Synthetic light –
Stations summoned
By my choosing
Through thin fingers
Struggling gently
Against buttons
Hard
When pressed,

Where resistance
Seems absurd
Since my sanity
Grows distracted
Facing levels
Beyond dangerous
Losing lives
I can’t
Repeat

Every evening
Fate ignored
Becomes leisure
Duly challenged
By existence
Feeling futile
Amid games
God often
Plays.

– J. Pigno

The privilege
Of losing sleep
Bears splinters
Which pin
My soul

Against what flesh
Feels rotten
Sweated
To death
In this bed,

Like a shell once
So inspired
Which is now
Just vomiting
Phrases

Giving me
Countless wishes
For words
That actually
Speak

Without much thought
Or need
While emphasis
Seems less
Sacred

When expression
Forcibly rendered
Cuts fists
Since handling
Wood –

Those sharp
And pertinent dreams
Tearing skin
Through days
Expired

After years
Of juggling faces
Sporting masks
From terms
Unsaid.

These lies
Show fallen logs
How each verse
Hides precious
Timber,

Shedding bits
Beyond description
Housing needles
God
Might touch  –

Rather than
Idle threats
Missing points
Sharp angles
Threaten

At times
Our fear
Smooths edges
Among knives
Called life itself.

– J. Pigno

I believe
How these aging toys
And the dream
They once
Represented

Hide a kid
Whose wish
Has been silenced
After putting them
Back in their place

For nothing
But repetitive tasks
And stubborn lies
Which keep
Failing

At encouraging
Days worth living
Beyond
What fears
Became work

Before songs
Only heard inside
Redeemed
Each soul
Still committed

To an innocence
Openly humming
Those melodies
Tinged
With relief

By characters
Forever pure
Whose fantasies
Shaped
Our existence

For tomorrow’s truth
Disappointed
Such play
Is perpetually
Lost

On salaries
Making us sick
Trading angst
While we
Socially distance

From imagining
Human potential
As some child’s
Bear
Being hugged

Now together
Just sharing space
Even smiling
Though they seem
Saddened

Knowing soon
Separation beckons
Upon shelves
Facing decades
Ignored.

– J. Pigno

I am no longer
Your son

Because guilt
Is not my birthright

Like the money
Which still can’t answer

What questions
Your soul won’t ask –

As an incapable feat
For rage

Whose flame knows
Only matches

When experience yields
These passions

While igniting God
In hand,

For the lie that
Bears me grief

Within flesh
Whose silence lingers

Presuming
My spirit missing

At the tip of a tongue
You’d burned.

This body
Just can’t speak

Anymore than words
Could flourish

Where fires dance
Through kingdoms

Of dreams
You’d had me torch.

My phrase
Can’t offer cash,

My pen bring much
But solace

Condemned as faith
Unworthy

For the man whose life
Meant less

Than the joy
You’d wish I earned

While pursuing jobs
So pointless

And convinced
Such work held purpose

Beyond building ash
On lungs –

Like collected smoke
Thought breath

Within mouths
Whose air went missing

So the fire spread
From neighbors

Bragged its brilliant light
That glows.

Now forever
I’ll spend each day

Flooding waters
Upon sore voices

Quelling damages
Pouring phrases

Spilling verse
Amid embers learned.

– J. Pigno

We are all
Terrible dreams
As far my eyes
Can tell –

At least
From a backwards
Glance
Where life
Appears so long,

But never
In media res
Upon this proof
Conceding

To minds
Whose fearful
Sleeping
Deludes each sense
When woke.

Valueless
Though we believe
Our gifts make
Appropriate burdens

Like feelings
Expressed intently
Through an image
Etched
On flesh-

Our bodies
Masked with stone
Broken
By God’s great chisel,

Hammering tales
Off faces
Fixed
For forever
At last.

Those cracked
And colorless skins
Hold truths
Unsaid between us

Through statues
Stoically crafted
Made calm
While modeling
Death –

Beautiful art
Untouched
If assessed
Without that knowledge

How time
Apparently dawdles
Inside
These nightmare
Shells.

– J. Pigno

I’m no safer
In my dreams
Than on tired days
Which follow
Such long
And anxious vigils
Praying God
Might help me
Sleep

While car horns
Blare outside
Just beyond
These open windows
Finding mornings
Without ending
Feeling fresh air
Touch this
Face

Learning sunlight
Proves no threat
To what sadness
Keeps us present
Despite begging
Every moment
For just one more
Chance
At rest

Even if
That nervous wish
Means attempting
Braving demons
Whose existence
Echoes anger
Upon whispers
Said
When still

Mocking eyelids
Hanging low
Tempting fear
With staunch expressions
From old times
Best not remembered
Flashing failures
Thought
Long passed

Gripping pillows
Like restraints
Knowing peace
Is unbecoming
Of those minds
Still screaming loudest
During slumber
Lost
Each night.

– J. Pigno

Uncertainty
Fuels obsession
Which sees me
Losing my
Grip

As I wake up
Into disaster
On mornings
Found
Out of place

Where death
By fear
Still reigns
Becoming God
In our silence

Left worrying
Locked
Without answers
Behind doors
That kept us safe,

Now jailed
Between these walls
Waiting things out
For some
Reason

As if life itself
Should gain purpose
To continue
Beyond
This point

When normal
Remains obscene
While leaders
Appear
Every minute

So tomorrow
Might prove
Convincing
Though failure
Eludes their choice –

Still denying
Fate can’t change
Watching news
Show those
Not breathing

Stopping time
From advancing
Forward
Since together
We grieve all hope.

– J. Pigno

So what of this
Lonely end
I keep hearing
Will happen
Real soon?

Perhaps
Its our awesome
Blessing
Where peace
Is an airless breath.

Like a letdown
Easily faced
Despite
Such life
Left willing

Inside us
Fighting for answers
Tired
We’ve waited
Too long

With lingering fears
Unfair
Which prey
On sympathies
Rattled

By minds
Still wishing
Daily
Their time may
Eventually pass,

As they face
Those visions scared
Knowing somehow
Dreams
Don’t happen

While ignoring
Germs inside them
In that moment
Faith
Should come

Long enough
When prayers unheard
Become chills
And fevers
Holy

Proving hope
Beyond God’s heaven
Aren’t cures
But further
Ills

Where existence
Loses steam
More than lungs
Who’ve found
Sick pleasure

Sucking smoke
Through empty vessels
Till machines
Make torture
Last

Watching worlds
Fall at His feet
Seeing kingdoms
Cough up
Chances

Choosing sin
Upon destruction
Learning death
Was love
Enough.

– J. Pigno

This drum
Which will not cease
Is the death
I long to suffer
From heartbeats
Out of rhythm
That fear
Has proven strong

With its pacing
Missing cues
As discordant waves
Develop
Throwing fits
Inside my body
So innate
Disruption builds

Though unnoticed
During days
Voices drown
Pain’s poor percussion
Screaming poems
Over dangers
While I’ve little
Left to say

Despite anguish
Breaking through
Speaking volumes
By obsession
Yielding music
Much less scary
When in fact
Fate often lurks

Behind ballads
Softly played
Amid memories
Hushed and muddled
Waiting daily
For disaster
Dancing blindly
Losing breath

Telling God
His song resounds
Even if these lyrics
Struggle
To convey
My deepest hardship
Read aloud
But still unheard.

– J. Pigno

It’s true
I’d rather die
Than live in
A world
Like this

Which resembles
Almost nothing
Of what God
Had always
Planned

For His people
Feeling lost
Without choice
Or hope
For dreaming

New expressions
Found abandoned
By our nature
Frail
From fear

Growing weak
Through every breath
Stolen daily
As faith
Plummets

On one dime
No man expected
But those few
Who prayed
At home

Watching TVs
Crush their chance
To declare
Such private
Gospel

Pure salvation
Spilling answers
Between walls
Which hardly
Speak

Now accustomed
By default
Where relief
Is keeping
Quiet

Despite begging
Shuttered windows
Let us leave
Before
They close

Knowing somehow
Being blessed
Makes that illness
Much more
Special

Risking joy
Outside confinement
When precaution
Fails
Its task

Hiding truth
Behind closed doors
Seeing families
Spend
Each moment

Still unsure
Tomorrow’s promise
Seems sufficient
Though time
Wastes

Missing sun
Upon thick skin
Built while braving
Threats
Too modern

Since religion
Offers safeties
Beyond science
Grim
If wrong.

– J. Pigno