She said
I was now
Her enemy

And perhaps
That hurt me
Most –

Knowing
This heart
Couldn’t handle

Anymore beats
That should
Skip

Out of learning
The worst
Isn’t death

But assuming
Fear
All around it

Preserves
What life
Can betray us

Faster
Than breath
Should escape,

From lungs
Whose air
Is belief

Each symptom
Felt
May distinguish

Between
These senses
Deluded

By panic
Or dread
Without cause.

Since friends
Are forever
Some curse

Holding times
Too dear
For forgetting

Within
Both hands
Put together

Aiming blame
Like guns
At our heads,

Confirming
Love doesn’t
Last

When parents
Raise
Little children

As thorns
Not blossoms
Excited

To share
Such flowers
They bloom.

– J. Pigno

I’m even
Running from dreams
On the days
Which follow
Phantoms

Into heartbreak
Self-inflicted
By what fear
My symptoms
Show

When remembering
Life went wrong
Each time
These thoughts
Should wander

Since my body
Tells of torment
Bravely speaking
If it
Shakes

With wildly
Flailing limbs
Sharing stories
Few
Would mention

Or believe
Their rightful duty
To express
For those
Who break

Like chest pains
Without cause
As my pulse
Spikes
Every morning

Rising quickly
Out of wailing
During showers
I once
Loved

Seeing mom there
At her edge
Sitting quietly
Near my
Bedside

While that constant
Blank expression
Suggests blame
More sad
Than death

Where forever
Grows so black
And my wedding
Just doesn’t
Happen

Resting empty
Outside being
In a place
No warmth
Exists

Or these words
Affirming love
Saying sorry
For such
Anguish

Still believing
God is waiting
Despite nights
My sleep
Says no.

– J. Pigno

What will I do
With my time
Now that
There isn’t
Any?

Perhaps
Just sit complacent
Jotting poems
If they
Come

While believing
Life may end
Dreaming words
Whose lines
Are comfort

Still surprised
How hours linger
On behalf
Of meaning
Lost

To this hurt
Which mustn’t wait
For some cure
No man
Can fathom

Calling strength
True twisted healing
Without prayer
Some think
As weak,

Though its not
The drug they seek
Or that pill
Such doctors
Promise

Missing faith
In long equations
Balanced only
By our
Fears

Wishing death
Undue delays
Judging God
Like ancient
Magic

Despite answers
Often summoned
From intent
Once chasing
Proof –

Yet instead
Remains unseen
Gifting grace
Beyond
Old shadows

Casting doubt
Upon dark faces
Choosing daylight
Be their
Veils

So each moment
Seems sincere
Growing brighter
Since
Those questions

Might persist
Outside existence
Known by artists
As new
Birth

Feeling blessed
This morning bleeds
Thudding heartbeats
And brief
Pauses

Between headaches
Hope has murdered
Knowing heaven
Can be
Said

Where defeat
Is not unique
Like each symptom
Fate may
Worship

Turning phrases
Into conquest
Via stories
We leave
Here.

– J. Pigno

The light we seek
Is false
As it only leaves us
Wanting
For a moment
Eternally lasting
With safeties
Held in place

Unlike darkness
Since provoked
By that gimmick
Claimed enticing
Ever transient
Through illusion
Of what peace
Just doesn’t stand

As this air
Flees from our lungs
Wasting lifetimes
Soon escaping
Beyond capture
Chasing seconds
Now elapsing
With each breath

Losing days
On simple chores
Missing years
No man remembers
Finding God
Their humble servant
To what numbers
Plague His gift

And demand
We mustn’t sin
Showing protest
If resisting
Such deliberate
Modes of conduct
Deemed befitting
Without chance

Any hope
Should then exist
Praying doubt
Inspires anger
Letting passion
Cast some shadow
Over reason
Proven wrong

Since assuming
Faith can cure
Any danger
Within bodies
Caught between
Two worlds conflicted
Trusting souls
Before our flesh

Where this earth
Is all we face
When these feelings
Only matter
Praying symptoms
Start abating
Staying hurt
But still relieved.

– J. Pigno

I’ve thought about
Getting it
Over with

Dreaming
Of myself
In past tense

Believing
That might
Be easier

Than suffering
A morning
Again

Unable
To shower
Or dress

Sensing
My pulse
Grow erratic

While pressure
Increased
Without reason

Takes blame
From fear
Showing proof

Through numbers
Telling
But fickle

Measurements
Apt for
Disaster

When feeling
Your worst
Every second

Even if
Those pains
Aren’t real

Since death
Does not
Appear calm

Though peace
May follow
Thereafter

Assuming
God isn’t
Guilty

Of lying
How kings
Often do

Watching judgment
End
Our reward

Where forever
Seems
So elusive

Beyond this
Shadow
Still waiting

Agreeing
Light may
Exist

Consuming
One empty
Shape

Convinced
His body
Projected

Can find
Release
Off of panels

Upon lifelike
Walls
Laying flat

Now drawn
By dimensional
Rules

Between hurt
And prayer
Ineffective

To endure
That formless
Existence

As figures
Stuck
On a space.

– J. Pigno

I’ll reply
Online
To avoid my fears
In person
Till the keystrokes
Hide this grimace
Barely worthy
Of real
Eyes

When such dreams
Each finger speaks
Finds new courage
Hitting enter
Sharing stories
Only backspaced
If these hands
Should lie
Some more

Telling strangers
How I’m fine
Even though
Those words
Sit empty
Upon pages
Barely witnessed
Among forums
Marked for dead

Amid places
Left untouched
Hidden well
But always calling
Out to people
Feeling desperate
Where they plead
Without
Much choice

Searching nightly
For their chance
Between voices
Crying lonely
Across venues
Made of shyness
Lighting stages
Bright
At home

Like my spotlight
Gone unseen
Begging roses
Though I edit
Taking bows
While growing
Crippled
Living only
Behind screens.

– J. Pigno

I know only
Of empty lungs

And joy
In appearing reclusive

Behind closed doors
Where sickness
Is the light
Which creeps on through

Despite what world
Remains
Beyond walls
As distance needed

From day
Still peeking gently
Through cracks
Like precious breath –

An ecstasy
Deemed unfit
For pleasant men
Who suffer
Through lands outside
My window
Where such poetry
Goes unseen

And burdened not
With grief
Or weight of pain
That lingers
Till sadness
Finds its treasures
Among virtues
Learned by verse,

But only through
Each phrase
Which should capture
Words insistent
On affirming
Time has passage
Within bedrooms
Missing sun

Telling me
I’ll wage
Daily war
Across this margin

Agreeing
Blood holds meaning
Being spilled
From mind and pen

Coughing up
These prayers
Toward forevers
Grown indignant
Inside chambers
Trading whispers
For my heaven
Fallen dark

Begging angels
Bless this page

While muses
Steal their thunder

Fighting madly
For survival
Choosing art
As faithful death

Convinced
God had no chance
At relieving
Such expression
Once believed
A healthy outlet
Now instead
My only gift

Per His staunch
Yet fatal hope
Slaying lines
From welling trauma

Using writing
As my altar
For whatever feelings
Kill.

– J. Pigno

I can see their
Streets so slick

Smell the grease
Rubbed between
Each palm

As it makes
For a fine
Concoction

To lift thick hair
With a quiff

As they sit outside
Waiting for passage

To the bakeries
And bars
Of their forebears

Leaning on walls
In old leather

Jackets held tight
With both hands

As the night
Grows brighter
From waiting

For these building signs
To turn neon

And glow
Like triumphs
Still looming

As they step
Into shadows
Beneath.

Coffee cups
Reaching their lips

Cigarette sparks
On their fingers

Pizzerias
Filled with laughter

Of men whose time
We can’t know

Or imagine right
In its place

Fathoming
A deadly
Habit

When equal
Lies
Were just pleasures

Of that blissful
Crime
They call youth.

Dawdling
As kids will do

Down blocks
Whose homes
Remain lighted

Where the smell
Of red wine
Permeates

Mingling
Often with garlic

Dispersed
Among flickering
Pictures

Caught
By the living room
Walls

While the analog set
Murmurs static

And yells escape
From the kitchen

Bouncing off
Plastic tablecloths

And fine china
Used
Only once.

The rugs so torn
From their feet

And halls too crude
For those pictures

Of saints
And ornaments
Special

Near a plaque
Whose Christ
Is sad

Above
What family sits

Picking up
Fear
By its bootstraps

Believing strength
Their aggression

And bravado
Permanent faith.

To us
That’s old
And wrong

Medieval
Almost as courage

But then
It was right
For endurance

Using pain
Toward achieving
Their goals –

A wife
And child
Ignored

Words
So cold
They were whispered

Or hollered
Louder than feelings

Suppressed
For the burden at hand

During evenings
Out
With the guys

Forgetting
Work was their sentence

And heart attacks
Mission accomplished

To lift
Such bricks
Like they’re stones.

– J. Pigno

A water bottle
Sits
On the shelf
Where I may perish
Besides
My bedroom window
Shuttered tightly
During sleep

To denounce
What day may bring
Though rest which
Sees me tremble
With an open mouth
Still gasping
Begging liquids
From thin air

Denied
That arid breath
Since each terror
Leaves me longing
Between these sheets
Entangled
Like a bush
Of sweated death

But stirring
If I must
Long enough
For thirst to notice
How resistance
Seems indecent
Staring God
Right in the face

By His vessel
Left real close
While remaining
Ever fearful
So no hand
Or desperate fingers
Could seek respite
Out of reach

As that drink
Eludes my grasp
Amid dreams
I cannot finish
Waking often
From this penance
Feeling parched
Alone at night.

– J. Pigno

I wake up
As that child
Whose been running
And out of breath

On that playground
Where my leisure
Is the illusion
Time should wait –

For this innocence
To unravel
Like my swing
Which winds from usage
Ever telling
In its motion
No new heights
Just could be reached

While remaining

Back and forth

Since enjoying
Constant pacing
So ideal if seen
As changes
Though such truth
Is simply fun,

Unrelenting
Through each game
Of obsession
Without purpose
Or some product
Besides feeling
What love God
Must have bestowed

When our triumphs
Often fail

And good health
Expires always

After chasing
Dreams of meaning
Off that seesaw
Pure as faith

Trusting death
Is sure release
Into frolic
Without hindrance

Viewing heaven
Amid slumber

Interrupted
By life’s grief.

– J. Pigno