My sleep
Is the change
In cadence
I fear will invite
Its dance

By a heart
Whose beat
Seeks rhythms
Which believe
Each nightmare song

Holds tempos
Screams can’t break
Even when
These eyes
Should open

Still closed
After suffering
Silence
Upon mornings
Come too late

Between concerts
Death will play
Within chests
Like tambourines
Banging

Hitting drums
Through skeletons
Rattled
Thinking flesh
May soften blows

While this brow
Bleeds angry sweat
Beneath bedsheets
Warm
From turning

Switching sides
As harmonies
Shatter
Left disturbed
Since ears who ring

Always hear
Such roaring veins
Hoping noise
Should claim
That body

Now enduring
Palpitations
Choosing rest
For practiced
Tunes.

  • J. Pigno

That booth
In the far left
Corner –

It’s where
I last felt
Special,

Amid days
You’d take me
Shopping
And buy us
Lunch
For two.

Back then
There were no
Words

Or lies
Of gifts
Which spoiled,

Just dialogues
Sharing existence
To narrate
Love
They implied.

But, mom,
I’m an old man
Now
Whose prose
Means less
Than silence
Between these lies
We’ve fashioned
If fantasies
Dreamed
Could talk –

Soon imagining
Death can’t come

And joy once lost
Should linger

Among those
Memories cherished
Where sunshine
Still seems
True,

Coming through
Such windows clear
Looking out upon
Parking lots
Empty

In brightness
Showering strangers

That walked
With bags
Towards home.

My mind since
Seems so full

Obscured too much
By answers

While your smile
Wide
Holds questions
Like sun
During times
Long gone.

Only age
Proves solace
Awaits
Within tears
Wrinkled eyes
Might glimmer
Reflecting
Apparent divinity
Inside souls
Youth stays
Left behind.

I’m your little boy
Who sits

Eating fries
Yet savoring
Moments

On forever
Our afternoon
Journeys

At a mall
How heaven
Will look.

  • J. Pigno

The beautiful thing
About words
Is the way they
Prove
We’re living

Through a phrase
Which keeps
Enduring
Despite what eyes
Should grace

Or believe
That page which
Turns
And bemoans
Those quiet judgments

When readers
Choose
Such meaning
Despite how ink
Can change

In time
Not always sure
Their opinions
Have much
Reason

For condemning
Faded margins
Still imbued
By God’s
Right hand

Bleeding souls
On empty space
Trading paper
For art’s
Sickness

Swearing fires
Spread His message
Atop heads
Whose passions
Burn

Scribbling text
No man escapes
Leaving lines
Like age
Incarnate

Now immortal
After chasing
Fame as hollow
Found
Near death.

I am proud
My verse exists
But alone
This need not
Matter

Learning flesh
Prohibits glory
Playing roles
While feelings
Last.

– J. Pigno

That screen
Which glows all night
Reminds me
Time’s not moving
Outside
This bedroom window
Where the cold
Still passes through

As if fresh air
Could change
What thoughts
Keep proving restless
Among these
Recent relics
Like gifts of days
Now gone –

Too soon
If one should ask
How fear appeared
In tandem
With death its
Frequent shadow
Upon doorsteps
Quickly closed

After hearing
Fate has come
Seeking breath
Without exemption
Breaking locks
On shuttered houses
Stealing lives
Before they wake,

Deeming sleep
Life’s certain end
Wasting hours
Barely dreaming
Between cycles
Lacking meaning
Knowing reasons
Just repeat

For avoiding
Solemn prayer
When our TV
Flashes comfort
Bleeding light
Around those edges
Within peril
Come each night.

How new danger
Feels so real
Beneath pillows
Over faces
Losing air
We steal regardless
Letting slumber
Smother faith,

Since all heavens
Seem absurd
During hours
Darkness lingers
Finding God
While flipping channels
Staying anxious
Though He laughs.

– J. Pigno

Kid,
You’re only as
Special
As the wallet from
Which you came –

The scrotum
Of poor investments
That made life
So incredibly
Wrong,

Whose existence
Failed
To give back
Beyond what breaths
Not taken

Bore words
Undeniably fruitless
Despite
How much
They say.

I’m not worthy
Of silver rings
Or some vow
No faith
Could promise

At the hands
Of decent persons
Sharing love
Which God
Demeans,

With each dream
I always chase
Thinking verse
Tells more
Than worship

Where devotion
Proves prodigious
Through this flesh
Entwined
Like lies –

A gift
Believed inside
Open mouths
Whose questions
Linger,

Wasting efforts
Building friendships
Over decades
Bound
By loss.

How romance
Grows undone
Learning bodies
Fail
Their purpose

Long before
Such chances settle
On which moment
Fate
Gives birth.

I swear
Its proof persists
Among hearts
Now finding
Answers,

Spreading poems
Between hoaxes
Shedding light
While darkness
Calls

Dead men wishing
Feelings blast
Within veins
Collapsed
From traumas

Hiding needs
All humans cherish
If addictions
Seem
Less hard.

Though perhaps
These phrases last
Even when
Raw passions
Dawdle

Upon waiting
For permissions
We assumed
Our parents
Said,

Pounding futures
Into dust
Knowing debt
Killed more
Than kindness

But demolished
Any semblance
And desire
To have
Sex.

– J. Pigno

My breath
Deep inside those
Pockets
Is the change
You’d wished
Held meaning

From the wallet
Filled with reasons
For believing
Life
Had none.

That’s me
Unworthy of air –

Finding hope
Where cash
Was folded

Along threaded lines
Through denim
Near their dollars
Placed
On seams,

That dividing line
Like fear
When cruelty sworn
Was shelter
Becomes answers
Dreaming freedoms
Between fringes
Cut
By truth.

These ties
Are tattered cloth,

Our ambitions
Different measures –

Such anger
Wounded bodies
Patching lies
We’ve always sewn.

My blood
Has only words,
Never rags
Or leather pouches

Holding wealth
Which fears us
Naked,

Bearing needs
No soul can grasp.

Good art
Shows signs
Of wear,

Just as fashion
Tells
Its story –

This “loser son”
Will sport them,
Each abuse
Called “love”
They sold.

– J. Pigno

There is no poetry at the end of days.

Just whimpers of unwanted prose amid dialogues we can’t seem to process or shake – dreams which stand in the way of once clearer words, and tomorrow’s sad paraphrasing of a life that could have been promised if not for the lies of sin which always win their moral gamble.

You see, bad men build worlds out of clever turns of phrase. They erect verbal monuments to everything but the meaning we seek, the flesh which speaks as a testimony to the God we can no longer interpret after years of talking too fast.

Then they tear them down by the end of a twisted, arduous sentence – every bit as painful as their colorful terms make it sound.

I should know. I moved their period where it didn’t belong almost every single minute of my life, fighting below thick rubble of that spiritual weight to make art which sought air beneath what evil had been imposed during years of heavy conditioning.

The truth is, I was not valued much by those who wished money were my muse, nor was my futile crusade to cure fire with ashes whose sparks were just not bright enough for any significant change.

Perhaps my talents were less.

Maybe I just didn’t try hard enough (after all, they love to call you lazy when the plot of their mortal narrative seems all but worth a minute of your effort).

Most likely, it was my off-the-cuff rebellion which persisted long into adulthood that pitted every person I love against me – this bizarre imperative which leaves me seeking tie-dye journeys and idle afternoons for a glimpse of peace where creativity grieves its own shadow.

Yet, above that silhouette is a sun growing tired of laws. Of injustice. Hate.

Sickness, madness, and destruction.

Exploitation from every which angle, and a virus that may just be divine intervention if not for the fact it is killing the most innocent among us.

Yes, in the sense that it persists to remove us from one another, this beast IS manufactured . Not in a lab per se, but from ethical abandon so widespread that not even Christ himself could redeem this mess on a cross of some burning skyscraper’s heated steel.

I remember being scared of new mornings, of worrying whether or not my emerging consciousness would be met with constant yelling or a barrage of insidious news stories echoing the tumult of my home’s broken dynamics. Hell, I’d still get out of bed even with a rapid heartbeat and chronic pain beyond the diagnosis of any such “heroic” physician who claimed it was the raging of an unsettled mind rattling the cage of its own imposed prison.

But never to the point of yielding. Not to the extent of defeat.

Now you’re seeing me break and I believe these cracks are real.

I question if I’m even whole anymore, a person with a soul whose exposure to such insanity can endure further traumas expected to be met with vapid smiles on my aging face – if I can somehow stand the fact progress has come to a permanent halt and everyone around me pretends like normal exists just beyond this daily precipice of extinction.

I’m convinced we are witnessing Armageddon, that the final round of judgment isn’t some biblical gauntlet of obvious plagues, but a far more subtle culmination of chronic failures manifesting as death itself.

Death as bigoted murder by the state, death as invisible illness, death as the incarnation of the very myth I always said would steal my faith and expect me to get a job for the sake of finding out one day Satan digs his claws by virtue of sheer societal denial – a pressure so intense that few even have the luxury to say no and choose this aimless glory of heaven’s last artists condemned to suffer as wandering lunatics.

I’m unashamed to confess that this is me. And I’ll take that honor to my grave, knowing dignity outweighs whatever purposeless successes those who said they cared peddled as bargaining chips for their empty affections.

Today is the last of hope’s appearance. From this moment forward, the hours are a dangerous wager against what house will eventually fall.

Correction – has already fallen.

No amount of pretending, stalling, or act of desperate safeties can secure that kingdom teetering near the edge of blankness.

Again – there is no poetry at the end of days.

Just the grim, solemn expression of what blackness awaits in our sleep.

It’s time we yawn in unison.

Let’s pray we never wake up.

– J. Pigno

Where does
The manual state
How being paid
For help
Is courageous?

Such bad advice
Has potential
At exalting
Men
Who are dolls –

Defective toys
Become gallant
By virtue of gifts
They can
Leverage

Through instructions
Pushed as agendas
To approve
Their marketed
Face.

No glue
Can repair our cracks
Anymore
Than lies
Sell plastic

While parading
Treacherous glories
Behind masks
Whose figures
Grin

At a point
All models break
Thinking parts
Get swapped
With reason

Learning figures
Considered better
Claim dibs
On remaining
Whole.

Last time I checked
We were flesh
Not pressed
In factories
Tested

Like effigies
Far from humble
Telling kids
Some dreams
Mean less,

If success
Expresses truth
Which expose
False idols
Fearless

Owning roles
That question heroes
Whose feat
Was collecting
Checks.

– J. Pigno

I’ve done little
With my time
And perhaps
That’s now
Okay,

Considering
Nothing matters
In a world
Where life
Means shit –

Even still
Despite our tries
Or the pleas
Young souls
Keep chanting

Across streets
While bigots listen
Tightening cuffs
On innocent
Hands,

Wielding sticks
Like phallic threats
Threatening rape
Of minds
Unyielding

Twisting lines
Good gospel peddles
Watching despots
Claim
Those words.

How can justice
Even risk
Finding hope
Among these
Devils

Stealing faith
As freedom settles
Into fear
Once thought
Long dead,

Only answered
For such days
If each victim’s
Screams
Get angry

Growing worse
Until they notice
We will not
Accept
Such hate,

But yet somehow
Soon forget
Over decades
Filled
With excess

Blinding rebels
Behind paychecks
Thinking cash
Can cure
Old sins –

Which is why
I’ll never work
Or hold jobs
Beyond
This writing

Bleeding ink
For sticking fingers
Up at racists
Called
Rich men.

Don’t assume
We have some chance
Ending bias
Through their
System,

For true evil
Dwells eternal
Within actions
Laws
Can’t change –

Even God
Remains perplexed
By His Earth
Turned Hell
Incarnate,

So forget
Your fucking day job
And make art
Worth fighting
Back.

– J. Pigno

Mortal hearts
Are its actual
Cause

But cooked
By pride
So easy

Thinking cupboards
Bare
Have utensils

Or ingredients
Bad
Sitting low

Could inspire chefs
Who play
God

Yielding dishes
Grand
Beyond saving

Growing ripe
Through tainted
Promise

Eating fruit
Sharing sin
Thought prayer,

Wielding wealth
On privileged
Spoons

Within palms
Whose fists
Bear weapons

Chewing whole
While mouths
Hang open

Begging food
Though forks
Point back –

Worried sick
True hunger
Is judged

Making meals
Much more
Disgusting

From the fact
Such lives
Should perish

Still begging
Those hands
For a piece.

Though they tighten
Around
Each neck

Choking throats
With freedoms
Rancid,

Revealed
As gluttonous
Hatreds

All monsters
Believe
Keep fresh

Since agreeing
Flesh
Left raw

Tastes better
Only
When hurting

If based
Upon recipes
Biased

Now stirring
Rage
In this pot –

Served hot
On plates
Absurd

Knowing fear
Holds their daily
Menu

Which proves
How heroes
Hungry

Wish villains
Would hurl
That feast.

– J. Pigno