Somewhere just off the boulevard, there is a mural of a homeless man shivering during winter while the rain makes tears appear – pouring gently down his face, unintended but too perfect, by God’s nature proving worthy of that symbol lost through sun.
He sits among these relics starting soon to look abandoned – shopping malls and shuttered storefronts, crowded centers fallen dark.
Amid empty parking lots emerge signs of faintest protests, along streets with fading echoes with the sound of passing cars – whose sirens would keep him fleeing if not for his stoic image, immortalized on buildings like a vision of crumbling brick.
For art is his only place now, a reason to still endure between the once-bustling mainstays of my youth grown eerily silent – despite cops and shattered glass, the rage which marches forward from an ongoing encounter with what finally proved us wrong.
To him, this plague doesn’t come as a surprise or tragic bombshell.
It was the curse that always was, the hurt which festered slowly, a proof of genuine malice in his bleak and damaged hole – a pit where victims begging get the things they never want:
Hunger, fear, and apathy raining judgment like they’re right.
He just needed a warmer coat. He didn’t ask for a job or role, with cash that wouldn’t comfort as it never could save the rich.
Yet we plead each day for a cure, thinking mankind need not suffer for millennia of petty evils building slowly to this point.
You see, the gig is up. Your professions, banks, and politics.
Your unjust laws and answers wielding authority like some knife.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why our time has passed.
About sin, about our choices, about sickness running rampant.
About fated repercussions making so much sense they hurt.
Like that image forever gazing upon
those who mock his freezing, I too am bleeding anger near the curbside of this world.
Paying us no mind, they still laugh at broken poets, cutting wrists for final traces of what soul we may have left.
Finding goodness wasn’t easy way before these doors were closed.
It appears almost impossible after seeing their locked response.
Pretending things are better, blaming everyone but our hate – anticipating order when that normal killed us all.
Don’t put rainbows in your windows, hang a cross for dead men walking.
That’s us, despite our efforts facing failures streamed online.
How do I even write waking daily with no meaning – learning more and more these verses are just words so few will read?
And if they do, how will it change them, or stir their soul entirely?
Truth is, it probably wouldn’t, as it hasn’t since I’ve tried.
I’m tired of chasing muses thinking angels shed their wings for the sake of manic dreamers painting freedom as their grave.
Tomorrow is losing heaven at these gates of hell’s expression – this canvas so damn empty of those colors hope might bring.
That image, he is me, as I am that unseen figure watching passersby ignore me sporting paper masks and bags.
My scene is open trauma, my graffiti tragic willingness to disclose whatever insight waning faith has blessed through doubt.
Somewhere just off the boulevard,
lies a book that has my name.
You’ll never get to read it.
Like that man, I’ve grown too cold.
– J. Pigno