Some nights
I just can’t breathe
From a pulse
Which keeps me awake
Throbbing
Inside my center
Felt along each vein
Grown tense
Within this neck
Left stiff
Among pillows
Thick and strangling
Smothering air
In comforts
So plush
Their touch could kill
While stealing dreams
Intense
By which my life
Is threatened
And dangling
Just above me
On these ceilings
Dark with fear
Where white
Is imminent death
And such cracks
Their sullen reminders
How my art
Has fallen victim
To a dependent sleep
Disturbed
When phrases race
With hearts
And morning words
Are wasted
To convince this mind
Its worthy
Of some truth
Beyond its sun
And life
Outside my bed
Like one prison
Soft and waiting
Each evening
I rise startled
Still gasping
For that chance.

– J. Pigno

My heart swells
When I look
At that rare
Yet infinite smile
Spread gently
From cheek to cheek
Across your
Glittering face
With dabs of
Heavenly pink
So bright
Between your dimples
In true and definite
Passion
Of this soul
Which speaks
My name –

What real
And miraculous
Fortune
To believe
You’re certainly
Mine.

– J. Pigno

I have no skill
But persistence
In the face
Of appearing dumb
When staring down
Blank pages
From thoughts
Which seem to escape

Like words
Not often claimed
At these moments
Feelings strike me
Still convinced
There is catharsis
If I somehow
Find their place

Fitting truth
Between each phrase
Where such proof
Is open spaces
Holding gifts
Within those margins
Scribbling answers
Outside lines

Now determined
By my will
As some story
Disconnected
Once abandoned
Through indifference
Incomplete
While making sense

Drawing beauty
Without choice
Or that chance
Most cannot fathom
Is expression
Gaining purpose
For this reason
God would know

How all verse
Drives me insane
Though I pray
It keeps repeating
What inspires
Every artist
Forcing meaning
From their soul.

– J. Pigno

I wait for you
On this couch
Near the first place
We had kissed
Telling myself
Old stories
From a time
Our world had hope

When summer air
Did wane
And autumn chills
Grew distant
As these hands
Which reached for solace
Found forever
Being grasped

Though my fingers
All alone
Plucking strings
Of stiffened metal
Strum at chords
That say them better
Than these memories
I can’t face

But receive
Through open notes
Broken tones
And partial ballads
With such sadness
Barely measured
From one melody
Incomplete

Speaking songs
My silence wills
Amid hours
Made of panic
Passing judgment
While I’m pacing
Towards this future
Unfulfilled

Fearing death
Appears as fast
Among dreams
We’ve come to witness
Are those wishes
Growing dangerous
Where fruition
Takes our breath

Finding God
Between her arms
Stealing life
With every smile
Taking steps
Far into heaven
Never waking
If I must

Just remaining
So she lives
Falling ill
From being frantic
Knowing love
As real as this is
Has my tragic fate
In store.

– J. Pigno

I’m forgetting
How to exist
With each word
That’s left unspoken
From this child
Held within me
Like these poems
Losing voice

And their phrases
Missing breath
Through such lines
Of broken rhythms
Skipping beats
Which have no pattern
By some meaning
Unresolved

In a heartbeat
Said with ink
Telling lies
I’m still believing
Building walls
Around my answers
Deep inside
This splintered lung

Taking air
That soon escapes
Seeking terms
On fleeting currents
Hasty drafts
And fading seasons
Where these gusts
Are empty winds

Holding fate
Like blowing leaves
Chasing gales
Of days expired
From old times
I keep forgetting
Out of innocence
Sullied quick

Beyond pasts
Which linger slow
Over lengths
Sustained indifferent
To what dreams
My soul aspires
Gasping hard
For blessed death

Trailing close
Each uttered verse
Far behind
Our God awaiting
Whom he’s gifted
Free expression
Riding coattails
Of their work

Failing life
By gaining faith
Finding truths
Among my demons
Making mountains
Out of molehills
Writing prayers
That won’t convince.

– J. Pigno

It’s so damn
Superficial,
Such pursuit
Of material wealth;

Living in
Vacant mansions
With your family
Left outdoors

Where some of us
Always wait
For our chance
To finally enter

What castle
Begs this damage
As disclosure
Of lost gold –

Real treasure
Missing stones
Like their rare
Yet sparkling glitter

From old faces
Hiding plainly
Among boxes
Stashed and stored,

While keepsakes
Craving souls
Still imbued
As family relics

Endure attics
Throughout ages
Made of dust
And darkened space

Finding light
Shines empty grace
Proving faith
Has little meaning

When our torment
Is expecting
Every day
Will meet its end

Behind windows
Sitting draped
Within basements
Called our bedrooms

Under floorboards
Fallen victim
To the bulk
Of men above

Counting checks
Their demons cash
At expense
Of being widows

Barring wives
Or living children
From that sun
On upper decks

Till wet ceilings
Slowly cave
From old pipes
Near splitting plaster

Bearing leaks
Which weigh too heavy
Cracking holes
Across each seam

Learning burdens
Surely crash
Upon cellars
Once neglected

Just as riches
Only matter
To those kings
Who dwell above.

– J. Pigno