I follow smoke
Towards waking
Where the fires burn
From sunlight
As the rays beat down
Oblivious
To what dizziness
Fades like dreams

When existence
Emerges sideways
Knowing days just
Aren’t worth living

While burning wicks
Stay hurting,

Counting sparks
Such bombs expect –

An explosion
Oddly calm
In its nothingness
Tangibly rendered
By these agonies
Telling our senses
Fleeting feelings
Mean much more.

This experience
Making cinders
Values tears
Good men go seeking,

With solutions warm
Yet urgent
Now cascading
Down their face –

That tranquil drip
Through passions
Holding prayers
So often stifled,

Hiding God
Beneath wrong answers

Fearing freedoms
Thought long gone.

How we swallow
Empty flames
Facing threats
Emerging slowly

Every morning
Chasing pleasures
Kindling ashes
Rest has quelled,

Finding secrets
Held inside-

Faking silence
Before breaking,

Letting floodgates rip
Expressing
Every fear those blazes
Fueled.

Let all sadness flow
Regardless
Of bad standards
Life keeps heating,

Squashing tongues
Called expectation
Upon learning
Fate is dead.

  • J. Pigno

I remember
Before being married
My writing was
Effortless breathing

Through words which
Expressed each failure
As some vital air
For this soul –

An easy quirk –

Self-indulgent,

Though absurdly real
Without pretense

Felt prior to love
That escaped me
Giving reasons
Now understood.

Bare beauty corrupts
Every vessel
Once finding faith
In its sinking,

Still wishing
How bottoms of oceans
Would welcome ghosts
Seeking home –

Death’s dim abyss
Holding gems

Or secret ships
Buried deeply

Beneath what sand
Conceals treasures
Only words can tell
Getting drowned.

Her face
Is sun at fear’s surface –

Such presence
These moments worth staying,

But sadder songs
Exist always
Upon those seas
Where we float.

Happy endings
May often endure,

Though stifled lines
Become dangerous

If asking dreams
Why they bother
After stars themselves
Appear lost.

Our nearest night
Remains dark
Despite lighted paths
Over currents,

Reminding us
Poems will navigate
Fate’s charted course
Even more.

Forgive old needs
Begging hurt,

Like pirates scarred
Braving weather –

Never questioning
Miracles answered,

Just believing
Phrases persist.

  • J. Pigno

Our records don’t spin
Like they used to

All those years ago
Spent
In my basement,

Beneath billiard lamps
Unassuming
Where songs would
Speak
For our thoughts –

Never told
But uttered through
Music

When you’d come around
Still
Before leaving

Without letting me know
There were reasons
Behind every track
We had played.

I’m tired of
Silently waiting
For moments
Lost
Missing friendship

Under jagged holes
On this ceiling

Where bugs
Now squirm
Caught by webs –

Creeping slyly
Amid old memories,

Painfully strewn
Along carpets,

Showing stains
From feelings
Forgotten

Sipping colas
Spilled
While we laughed.

Though among such pests
I remain,

Watching spiders
Crawl
Across speakers,

Building homes
Best shared
Between loners

Finding dampness
Oddly preferred –

Existing once
Above ground,

Soon finding gloom
Almost pretty,

Never wasting light
Nearly absent
During daydreams
Caught
Below stairs.

How vinyl lasts
Over decades
Enduring shelves
Growing dusty,

But closeness
Will sadly
Expire

As time
Itself
Always proves.

  • J. Pigno

There are dishes
In empty sinks,

Small holes
On the basement ceiling,

Some drywall
Smashed near the carpet,

And clothes
Where chairs used to be –

As I’m staring
At edges left cracked,

Like tiny lines
Along trimming,

From days spent
Kicking these doorways
Over arguments
Distance has wrought.

“They never will
Fix this break
Even if their money
Held meaning
Beyond what work
Was more pointless
Than raising kids
Who will write.”

I tell my wife
Nothing lasts,

Watching spiders crawl
Beneath fixtures
Where lightbulbs dim
From the cobwebs
Inside that glass
Housing dust.

Our parents dreamed
Of success
Through the lens of lies
They were given –

Those glasses
Skewering vision
Long after its sight
Proved wrong.

Funny how fate
Was engaged
By circumstance
Chasing expression –

Two spouses
With raging devotion
Towards poetry
God would provide.

I believe
That’s how we relate –

Idling for days
Amid stories,

Catching movies
Or marathons binging
Between bedsheets
Finding escape.

We’ve realized
Together how art
Is the driving force
Of our marriage-

A connection
Fueled by obsession

Or childhoods
Fostered through fear.

It‘s okay
We can’t afford life,
For the peace we seek
Is internal –

Your mortgage
And baby left crying
Still scares us
Greater than debt.

But today,
I can have four walls-

Crumbling now
Over decades,

Neglected
Yet always inspired
Among old ghosts
They retain.

There is food
And plenty to ponder.

My pen will suffice
For this moment.

I have miracles
Falling around me.

Almost everything else
Provides less.

  • J. Pigno

I’m tired
Of material things
That are expressions
Of spiritual boredom
Becoming my source
Of sole comfort
After seeing this world
Fall apart-

Buying clothes
Like I’ve somewhere to go,

Or visiting friends
Like I used to,

All married with kids
Planning futures
More expensive
Than buttons I click

To consume those goods
As distractions

[To ignore long days
Without poems]

And convince myself
Buying t-shirts
Can redeem
This failure to write.

Yet everything
Dirtied by stains
From eating foods
That I shouldn’t
Reminds me joy
Is elusive
Even if such faith
Remains bought –

Praying objects
Sitting in space
Watching persons waste
Precious daydreams
Can provide some cause
For existing
Outside this flesh
Gaining weight.

These pounds
Are an obvious symbol
Of burdens earned
Chasing feelings
So transient
Nothing can capture
Such fleeting glee
When unwrapped.

I’m pursuing debts
Which condemn me
Before my God
Who is failing
At keeping life
Worth existing
As basic things
Fade away –

Our holidays
Grilling outside,

Each vacation
Feasting with family,

Every privilege
Squandered by judgment
Through a virus
Humans ignored.

We deserve
All seasons alone.

I’ll purchase time
By seclusion.

Take tomorrow and cough
Till your breathless.

Why does money
Make heaven exist?

  • J. Pigno

We are truly
Luckier than most
To maintain these
Simple moments
And preserve
What innocence dwindles
On the winds
Our mouths should make –

Now carried
Through lips which kiss
Just feeling
Those memories linger
Where light will dance
Regardless
Around each sphere
Faith blows,

As colorful orbs
Grow big
While pushing breath
Too precious
For anything
Besides such silliness
That dictates love
Between souls –

Becoming whole
Despite age
Finding childhood
Waiting in secret
Seeing spouses
Appear as children
Outside
So neighbors can watch.

How they play
Ignoring their state
Learning fantasy
Conquers all reason
By imbuing life
With adventure
Or easy joys
Getting popped

Over driveways
Under hot sun
Hearing God
Beneath every whisper
Utter miracles
Spoken by laughter
Trading smiles
Honestly grinned.

Such priceless days
Leave us fast
Knowing soon
Tomorrow expires
Before freedom
Fades from existence
Working weekends
Entirely booked –

Tell me happiness
Isn’t worth death
When eternity
Echoes this pleasure
Together
Awaiting contentment
Until bubbles burst
Nevermore.

  • J. Pigno

Be thankful
When gaining debts
As the trauma
Of making profit
Deceives
Our best intentions
While fueling
What hunger grows,

Since animals
Bury their bones

And chew
Such excess morsels

With arrogance
Harbored by triumph
Through victories
Founded in war –

Those feasts
Dependent on sin

Like answers
Lacking all context,

Still forced from God
Whose failure
Was creating man
So lost

Learning circumstance
Manages fate
Even if real passion
Drives us
Towards happiness
Needing approval
Or fears
Acknowledging death.

Yet wealth
Means even less
During days
Turned obligations,

Finding pain
Between each slumber
Until morning
Calls too soon –

Believing work
Is key,

Though effort
Appears more futile

Than throwing cash
At problems
Hard labor
Often provokes.

Real pleasure
Remains unknown
Among bounties
Long years squander,

Chasing agony
Pain misinterprets
For successes
Never enjoyed.

  • J. Pigno

As a young boy
I was eccentric,
Living in worlds
Of wishful thinking

Choosing cartoons
Over homework
Even though my grades
Stayed good.

My peers
Would often bully
What they judged
As far too different.

Some teachers
Found me obnoxious,
Quoting movies
None had seen.

I shared my head
With heroes
Sporting powers
Few could imagine,

Trading days
Most kids played baseball
For controllers
Guiding this hand.

They were not friends
To speak of,

Though those characters
Left their impressions

On that screen
Believed by dreamers,
Playing games
Whose quests felt real.

Soon pictures
Became words,
Yielding poetry
Through obsession
While I struggled
Finding acceptance
Even when my voice
Grew clear.

People always
Couldn’t tagree
How creative souls
Will wander,

Like small children
Reject guidance
Stifling passions
God makes true.

Instead,
I returned home
Reading books
Exploring freedoms,

Telling stories
Drawn by artists
Just as ostracized
As me –

Their exaggerated lines
And big eyes
Demanding feelings
From each arc
Such champion suffers
Learning goodness
Conquers all.

Perhaps power
Is contagious,
Forcing changes
Never noticed –

I was suddenly
Much more brazen
Like those anime
Had conveyed.

For a time,
I veered off-path,

Chasing girls
And wild wishes,

Despite fearing
Every moment
Without fantasy
Was unclear.

Now today,
I’m a married man,

A rare adult
Who can’t accept it,

Still in love
With what imbued me
With real meaning
Long ago

For I’d rather die
Than bend
Or give up
These toys and figures –

My favorite shows
Or consoles
Which distract me
From this lie.

“Otaku”
Is what they call us.

We’re not lauded,
But detested.

This just shows
Our chosen hobby
Proves reality
Seems absurd.

  • J. Pigno

Are the lives we lead
Even special
When work is our
Paramount goal?

Man’s arrogant means
Become worship
Of disappointments
Selling false hope

While making cash
That we need

Never questioning
Where it converges

With idolatry
Often accepted
By ones whose faith
Offers none,

After losing sleep
Over decades
Since missing days
Believed empty,

Feeling fantasy
Provides all reason
Grace endures
Beyond this point –

Now idling long
In such pain,

Pretending still
Nothing matters,

Though mounting bills
Pummel whimsy
Before these costs
Should add up.

Some heartbeats
Pulse for a dime
No God worth love
Would require,

Existing here
Lacking rhythm
But praying soon
They might cease,

Breaking cadence
Pleasure provides
Until harder jobs
Demand pacing
What tempos
Flesh will inherit
Seeking prominence
Dancing alone.

Remember,
Quiet disproves
Beguiling tunes
Faking promise
More vapid
Than loudest successes
Torment brings mouths
Singing those songs.

Music tells
How silence is grand,

So try real hard
To just listen.

That pacing
Remains too nervous
Playing ballads
Peace did forget.

  • J. Pigno

Why do I keep
Wearing crosses
When religion
Has abandoned phrases
If poems speak
Soulless verses
Wishing my pen
Still believed?

Goddamnit,
No one can hear me.

Jesus Christ,
These reasons for dying

Still appear
Along pages scrolling
So the world can read
As it texts,

Lacking notice
Or feelings considered

Through fear
Their fingers have motioned

By virtue of faith
Ever missing
Ignoring truth
With each click.

Perhaps, we all should
Sport cellphones

Rather than symbols
Most sacred
Around those necks
Leaning forward,

Praying answers
Await us online.

This media
Is an infinite hole
Where hopeless words
Remain floating
Between portals
Recycling torment
Through pictures
And videos lost –

Every daydream
Gaining exposure,

Catching demons
Tempting attentions,

Where agony shown
Becomes content
Our depression thinks
Deserves more.

People never ask,

“How can he write
If better words
Always will linger,
Despite trying
While clutching at idols
Who prefer other charms
Over yours?”

  • J. Pigno