I keep opening
Empty doors

Behind old dreams
Like curtains

Which hide those stages
Darkened
Beneath thick cloaks
Of red –

Where drama
Plays its ghosts

Hearing actors
Echo madness

Held inside
These phantom theaters
Plaguing silence
Rife with fear,

Knowing scripts
Have reached their peak

Much how God Himself
Intended

Posing questions
Leaving stories
Open-ended
Sharing grief.

Though His audience
Does applaud

Some refuse
Such adoration

Watching spotlights
Taint experience
Fade each rose
Between both feet –

Still just words
Whose frequent praise

Authors tears
Through honest readings

Only gained
By shedding wisdoms
After learning
Books can lie.

All dialogue
Seems absurd
While depiction
Precedes essence

Urging frowns
Around exposure
To what art
May hollow souls.

Every dogma
Betrays meaning

Digging access
Below courage

Finding pain
That secret entrance
Among gates
When faith should close

Broken latches
If they swing
Letting hinges
Draw attention

Deeming noise
Another vessel

For expression
Soon obscured.

  • J. Pigno

Believe
All possible outcomes
Now that lies
Have become our gospel

And whispers
The loudest of voices

Allowing their hate
To be known.

We’re complicit
Not only in ignorance,

But accepting
These deeds by silence

Like a country
Once bent on kneeling
Towards those hands
Which smack its face.

This siege
Shows every symptom
Through society’s
Selfish lifestyle –

Money,
An enabled illness,

Like pride
Some killer disease.

Deadly,
Though rampant still,

How similar themes
Remain telling

Even when nature
Expresses
Germs are also
Despicable men.

  • J. Pigno

There is no relief
While I’m waiting
Inside plush sheets
Where these headaches
Are the least of my
Waking nightmares
Which assure me
Fears come true.

Death burns
Beneath that face,

Making pressure
My only savior

To bind this brain
Growing desperate
For an answer
Even if scared.

I’m tired
Of pillows and worries
Like agonies
Kneading old corpses
Upon gentle slabs
Whose torture
Cradles traumas
Soft to their touch.

When will pain
Finally cease
On carousels
Carrying bodies,

Such feathery pits
Finding freedoms

At their bottoms
When falling so ill?

Escaping
Assumes all pain
Was worth what dream
Remains living
Beyond those eyes
Seeing blotches
Near their edges
Almost asleep –

Nauseous sounds
Getting louder
During silence
Echoing static

Tolling bells
Relentlessly ringing
Despite empty rooms
Still unchecked,

Leaving chambers
Harboring noise
Between eardrums
Playing loud music

After years
Demanding experience
Relieve deep rage
Through some song.

Perhaps,
Tonight I’ll expire
Watching TV
Cast its bright shadows

Upon walls
Whose filthy appearance

Reminds me
Hurt always lasts.

  • J. Pigno

Writing
Because you’re desperate
Is the only way
Words feel real,

Holding keys
To passions forgotten
Amid truths which spark
Each word.

Remembering now,
I’m confident
In embracing
This phrase once buried-

An instance
Pleasure surrendered
Or love itself
Did forget,

Tracing warmth
On lips grown cold
While her mouth
Had removed those vermin

Finding pain
Our perpetual vessel
Despite my bride
Saying yes.

I’ll dig up
Every last nightmare
Where spiders
Scuttle through memories,

Spinning webs
Around these failures
Deeply burrowed
Beneath raw earth –

Such talent
Unwillingly hidden
Under layers
Of happiest wishes

Keeps its answers
Shielded by waiting
For that moment
When dirt seems right,

Between daydreams
Hanging like threads
Around holidays
Sullied from sickness

And with smiles
Soaking up venom
Learning agony
Tells things best.

I’m back
For what youth expired
Trailing innocence
Dangling wisdoms

Breaking limits
Newly inspired
Chasing dangers
Crawling down walls.

  • J. Pigno

There are days
When the morning sun
Feels as if
It has a beating pulse,

Spreading such warmth
By waking
Through these veins
Of scattered clouds

And gushing
God’s promise kept
Like that hope which
Bleeds from heaven

By radiance
Burning with prospects
Since tomorrow
Begins once more –

Where those skies
Keep shining light
Seeping in
Between my windows

Here for now
Soon gone forever
Once impossible
Yet so real,

Hearing hearts
Still beating steady
During hours
Truth seems brightest

Before darkness
Claims this cadence
Nature echoes
Between sleep.

  • J. Pigno

My nights
Are a tortured canvas
On which dreams
Can paint their worries
Leaving streaks
Of scary futures
Staining scenes
Like blotted ink –

All these visions
I can’t flee

Or avoid
By praying daily,

Those empty pleas
I bargain
Beneath bedsheets
Soaked in sweat,

Every evening
Floating free
Over coffins
Where my loved ones
Gather mourners
Throwing flowers
Besides caskets
Housing bone.

For some fears
Will still remain

Though I choose my colors
Darkest,

Hiding memories
Forming thickest
Inside substance
Made of ash –

Facing death
Towards coming days,

Finding sunlight
Mixes nicely

Among shades
Whose waking palettes
Seem important
Besides black.

Yet my bad ways
Keep repeating
Thinking drawings
Have existence
Outside sketches
Demons conjure
Within confines
Called our nerves,

As they outline
Every wish

Then divide them
By obsession

Doing math
That predicts nothing
Proving faith
Just doesn’t work

While both eyes
Are closed to God
Signing portraits
Through His promise
Letting art
Hide better angels
Behind terrors
Sleeping brings.

  • J. Pigno

Somehow
I always miss

When the aim
Is easy targets

Like forgetting
Memories useless
Whose presence
Lingers still –

Within this mind
Unsure

Some bullseyes
Even matter

Now wavering
Through these feelings
Shifting centers
Out of place,

What pasts
Have grown askew
Watching lifetimes
Turn indecent

Twisting traumas
Into moments
Dreams keep playing
On repeat,

Hanging crooked
In my sights

Staying focused
Towards redemption

Hitting walls
As fear intended
Blocking progress
Beyond doubt

Over distance
Never bridged

Hardly breached
Yet seeming bigger

When our task
Means shooting arrows
At such figments
Made from straw.

All agony
Follows guilt
Deeming prospects
Far too dangerous,

Soon illusory
If accepted

Most deceptive
By their reach,

Leaving monsters
Lurking deep
Even though
Old evils dwindle

Once diminished
Chasing freedoms
Behind answers
Anger marks –

Where today
Resumes that goal
Scoping scarecrows
Gaining practice

Knowing failure
Offers vision

Swearing loss
Another chance.

  • J. Pigno

I’ve watched lives lose every semblance of real hope and fair redemption in pursuit of this fucking “hustle” that we’re told is worth our souls.

For the Bible warns its readers against serving dual masters, and yet still, we always fail one thinking somehow God won’t care –

Like that lord of making money and the Christ we pray ignores us, as each person writes their downfall citing reasons said secure.

But what’s safe is far from murder of our innocence being threatened, as we steal and stab towards greatness claiming tables beg more food – how our families might just starve, when in truth, they’re probably hungry not for feasts but faith more nourished than these sins could understand.

Who assigned such ugly terms turning all men into convicts – every child another player thinking games mean growing up?

Like adults, they learn to win cheating rules so rigged they’re broken, chasing prizes death can’t envy knowing life itself is hell.

Those eternal risks we wage aren’t questioned much by people, looking outwards upon failures knowing greed will trump their code – that high standard often blessed before turning into envy, never seen as devils birthing further evils we should fight.

I’ve heard mothers tell their sons that they hate them for not working, and fathers wish their children would employ what demons sell.

I’ve let lovers try to kill in pursuit of being normal.

I’ve found knives in pretty boxes wrapped in paper made of lies when her Christmas card had sworn season’s cheer is why she slayed me, skinned my flesh and mocked its weakness waving wisdom like her flag – feigning warmth by teasing hate, having kisses with disaster while she plotted leaving early because poets weren’t tough.

Now that face I can’t regain is a mask with painted symbols, trading mouths for false protection against judgments spread through air.

I’m voiceless insofar as these talents seem aggressive, falling deaf on ears ignoring every warning words can make.

Those who listen swear I’m nuts, and the rest believe I’m lazy, even if I’m earning penance pointing flaws out through my verse.

No, your “hustle” is a joke and I’m glad this phrase offends you – you’re the virus taking victims never asking if they cared or agreed with selfish whims called success by those without it, dragging kingdoms down besides you since that cash can’t buy you breath.

Heaven fails the ones who try, and rewards its idle heroes – crying champions of expression who create instead of earn.

Wealth is missing from that peace.

It is not a saintly virtue or your sacred quest which mandates choosing labor over love.

I’m sure this naive plea for revolt means almost nothing, even though my fear can’t save you from our natures flawed with need.

The contagious final gasp that we see on news each evening – its our equal end that’s coming whether wallets bulge or not – so I’d rather bleed in red, for what fate should wait beyond us, neither classy nor expensive where our roles do not exist.

Be kind and do what’s right.

That assumes your heart is beating before naming different bosses then ignoring dreams divine.

  • J. Pigno

I saw her face
In the paper
And immediately
Thought of you –

Wondering
If I’d became something
More than a man
Unknown,

Tracing days
Which lost their voice
During times
Much better valued
Than what way
This feeling lingers
Reading names
I can’t forget.

But still won’t
Though moments try
Passing judgments
Years keep making –

Thinking back
While looking forward,

Wishing sadly
We had worked.

Yet despite
How long I cried
There was always
Room for leaving

Once explained
In daily poems,

Now neglected
Held inside –

Hardly truths
Worth selling news
Keeping papers
Printing headlines
Bound to praising
Local heroes
Saving lives
Though earning cash.

See real dreamers
Missing marks,

Every addict
Beating demons,

All those artists
Chasing muses

Aren’t stories
People tell –

Swearing egos
Wearing thin
Showing proof
That life is worthy
Blessing some
Through failing others
Almost flawless
By design.

Though our fate
Means dying out,
All these writings
Offer chances

Left behind
Since silence lingers
Among souls
Who read as hope –

Unlike me
So awfully jaded,

Fairly certain
She’s remembered

Finding relics
Far from funny
Beneath captions
Laughing hard.

  • J. Pigno

Raise those kids
Like wolves
Who growl at the sight
Of weakness
To excuse what hate
Your privilege
Has reared alongside
That pack

As hunger
Becomes their excuse
For behaviors
Based on distinction
Where predators
Execute prejudice
Declaring
Difference is prey,

Never questioning
Evident fears
Or perhaps this
Negative instinct
From assuming
Otherness dangerous
Since beasts
Engage ignorant thoughts

Slaying nests
Hunting animals young
Finding bloodshed
Beyond satisfaction
Telling children
Murdering innocents
Should accompany
Natural success –

Such forests
Are filled with deaths
Inexcusable
Though they continue
Choosing greed
Over true coexistence
Seeking peace
Among dangers unseen

Beneath trees
And branches more thick
Learning bias
Leaves trails only witnessed
Below pathways
Paws always shuffle
Barely noticed
But knowing its there,

Unless traced
Between places obscure
Near emptied bones
Amid thickets
Piecing lives
Around artifacts gathered
Housing flesh
Whose failure insists

Triumphs empathy
Pouncing in groups
Upon creatures pure
Without motive
Eating berries
Carnivores damage
Simply begging peace
Among fiends.

  • J. Pigno