I’m a prop
For the theater of man
In which my role
Remains little

As its tool
Of impeccable sadness
Once thought to be
Something of use –

Whose mask
Remains terribly flawed
While each hole
Shows struggling morals
At performing acts
Most egregious
Like appearing sane
Before crowds,

Since an audience
Perceives only flesh

Rather than tears
Along edges

Sporting that half
Still accepted
But ignoring marks
Well obscured

Leaving honesty
Trailing behind

Along tired scenes
They will rotate

Thinking memories
Performed by actors
Are valid dreams
We uphold.

What monsters
Believe this play
Are desperate fools
Selling tickets
Wasting their lives
Turning profits
On agony caused
Every night,

Peddling freedoms
Drama demands
Players wish
Was improvisation

Telling jokes
Only pain finds funny

Having hope fall flat
Across stage.

No laugh
Should successfully land
If humor itself
Assumes hatred
Will inherently bring
Little chuckles
From imposing lives
So obscene,

Exploiting lines
Being read
Proving stooges pure
Can fall victim –

Like me
God’s glorious instrument

Who disrupts
Through behaving
Off-script.

  • J. Pigno

There was never
A brighter sunshine
Than the days when
God seemed close
Between each cloud
On mornings
Where that light above
Felt free

Which peeked
An incredible glimpse
Through His candid skies
Unveiling
What blue proved dreams
Lay waiting
Beyond these signs
Hung low

In relative terms
By sight
Looking out upon
Motel cities
Like blemishes
Glowing with neon
Obscuring stars
Come dusk

After asphalt
Grew too hot
And then burned our feet
While playing
Lost among those cars
Left idle
Sporting plates
From states so far

Leaving honest tips
Near tables
Atop dressers
Counting scratches
Behind TV sets
Still broken
Telling news
Without its sound

Under lamps
My mom had fixed
Housing crumbs
Or wrappers crumpled
Grabbing cookies
For some dinner
Within alcoves
Humming noise

Saying junk food
Nourished souls
Passing quarters
If she made them
Often waiting
For new tourists
Rarely willing
To share change

Since they noticed
Empty rooms
Curtains drawn
And working parents
Only seeing
Swaying palm trees
Not how desperate
Dawn appeared.

  • J. Pigno

I’m forever
Breaking a promise
That day
On the old white porch
Atop sagging boards
Which splinter
Creaking loudly
While we speak

Since reflection
Proves unsure
Your are even there
In spirit
After waking soon
From dreaming
Where that farm
And sunset waits

Looming shyly
Behind veils
Tinged with orange clouds
Still standing
Somehow drifting
Throughout memory
Turning dark
Before they pass

Though our shadows
Lightly singed
By long fingers
Flames can mimic
Clasp at specters
Slowly fading
Cracked like hands
Whose art is touch

Expressed only
If they split
Showing cracks
Have certain beauty
Spelling wisdoms
Sharing secrets
Only shattered hearts
Will tell

Once inspired
Without cause
Now assuming
Time has stolen
Every meaning
Visions carry
Losing subtext
Moments gain

Seeking hindsight
Via death
Or perhaps
Fate’s other poem
Turning phrases
Between blessings
Wasting lifetimes
Novels gain

Trading glares
As we had wished
Would insist
God’s magnum opus
Wasn’t swearing
Magic answers
Made success
Of failure‘s prose –

This belief
I hoped came true
Found disdain
Behind your smile
Knowing damn well
Writers struggle
Just to claim
Their final say

Buried deep
Beneath old graves
Lining driveways
Outside homesteads
Deceased idols
Long inhabit
Mocking passions
Digging graves.

  • J. Pigno

My sleep
Is the change
In cadence
I fear will invite
Its dance

By a heart
Whose beat
Seeks rhythms
Which believe
Each nightmare song

Holds tempos
Screams can’t break
Even when
These eyes
Should open

Still closed
After suffering
Silence
Upon mornings
Come too late

Between concerts
Death will play
Within chests
Like tambourines
Banging

Hitting drums
Through skeletons
Rattled
Thinking flesh
May soften blows

While this brow
Bleeds angry sweat
Beneath bedsheets
Warm
From turning

Switching sides
As harmonies
Shatter
Left disturbed
Since ears who ring

Always hear
Such roaring veins
Hoping noise
Should claim
That body

Now enduring
Palpitations
Choosing rest
For practiced
Tunes.

  • J. Pigno

He’d find
His faith in boxes
On the stoop
Where dreams
Would languish

Like proof
Of childhood wishes
Left behind
Since days
Grew long

Handed over
With no words
Ringing doorbells
Loud
In silence

Watching shadows
Walk off slowly
Through that entrance
Closed
By glass

When tomorrow
Came too soon
Inside cardboard
Shrines
He worshipped

Housing solace
Gone so easy
After praying
Things
They sold

Were redemption
Bought online
Or true need
His itch
Had promised

Was important
If uncertain
Any item
Could quell
Fear

Always present
Within mind
Tearing tape
Each hand
Would fasten

Thinking someone
Touched this parcel
Hoping joy
Should last
Much more

Than an object
Might provide
For salvation
Hawked
Yet fleeting

Finding God
Delivers answers
Bringing shame
From empty
Gifts.

– J. Pigno

He’d woken from
His dream
That was filled with
Fallen ashes
Of a winter dark
And frigid
Showings futures
He had feared

Huddling closely
Behind logs
Tightly holding
Hands which trembled
As he heard
His father whimper
Catching fallout
On his face

Watching snow
Bring end of days
As his mother
Left their shelter
Soon exposed
To die besides him
Knowing hope
Had long been lost

Startled only
By that scream
While the motel lights
Had flickered
Come this morning
God revealed them
Like bright signals
Flashing sun

At a brick
And mortar chimney
Near the roadside
Not too distant
From his window
Glazed with moisture
While November
Howled its winds

Catching glimpses
Of that fate
In the early dawn
Emergent
Sniffing scents
Of burning wood chips
Smelling griddles
Sizzling meat

Stepping out
Upon new routes
Where his nerves
Had left him stranded
Along 209
So quiet
Among cars
Who barely passed

Strolling gently
Towards that path
Amid houses
Dark like ruins
Braving leaves
And fallen branches
Finding plaster
Smeared with blood

Upon lime
Which seemed untouched
From such fingers
Frail or mortal
Hiding age
Beneath each detail
Proving art
Had taken life

Seeing Mary
Shed her tears
Crimson red
But oddly gorgeous
Yielding gifts
No man desired
Learning marvels
Carried doom

Humbled still
Before his God
Taking heed
Of truth apparent
Feeling prophesy
Revealed purpose
Beyond omens
Sleep disclosed

Dabbing stains
Below Her cheeks
Asking questions
Sobs had answered
Without peace
But gore indignant
Easing sins
His heart contained

Gaining foresight
From its source
Chasing grace
Through Pennsylvania
Now discovered
Between shambles
Life delivered
Everyday

Getting back
Inside that truck
Thinking nightmares
Meant forgiveness
Driving off
Without that sculpture
Never mentioned
Once again.

– J. Pigno

And now there is
No more sin
As your kiss
Still pains me
Most

Even though
Our mouths
Hold answers
Even God Himself
Can’t speak

Said between
These earthly drills
Like long trials
Hard
But telling

Shedding reasons
Skin confesses
From before
Both lives
Commit

Over decades
Lost on lips
Seeking partners
Fair
If willing

Feeling wrong
Besides connection
Or devotion
Faked
By choice

That despises
Mortal need
When indulging
Quests
Which linger

Building friendships
Fallen victim
While these hearts
Grow bored
So quick

Fumbling solace
After thrills
Thinking real
Means joy
Too fleeting

Always fighting
Hoping futures
Break those fears
Such bonds
Create

Banking fate
Upon decisions
Merely forced
Where love
Seems errant

Trading lies
Since every promise
Beckoned rings
Their hands
Won’t wear.

Now I see
This truth is harsh
Pledging death
Should part us
Only

Simply gorgeous
Once intended
But in hindsight
Marred
With use

Proving pleasure
Honors men
Yet destroys
What soul
Pursues it

Giving vows
That sacred purpose
For redemption
Flesh
Can’t ruin.

– J. Pigno

The man
Whose talent dreamed
That his life
Might be important
Has now
Discovered failure
Offers so much more
Than shame

In poems
Left unsaid
And their values
Learned through silence
With each meaning
Lost on answers
Only words could prove
Are wrong

Chasing Hell
Between those lines
Finding flesh
Shares common phrases
Touting death
As human triumph
Best expressed
If gone for good

Gaining secrets
God won’t share
Always passing
Precious pages
Down to sinners
Still intruding
Upon nothing
But such peace

Where my heaven
Quiets speech
When tomorrow
Remains honest
Before breathing
Feels so empty
Even dialogue
Stifles air

Stealing days
I just don’t have
Wasting winds
Time often carries
Across decades
Deaf from waiting
Every moment
Chances scream

How forever
Bores this soul
Facing judgments
Come too early
Loudly claiming
Tranquil wishes
Never tell
Of true success

But diminish
Present gifts
We exchange
By staying vocal
Despite fearing
Insignificance
Blunders prove
No mind escapes.

– J. Pigno

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