The light we seek
Is false
As it only leaves us
Wanting
For a moment
Eternally lasting
With safeties
Held in place

Unlike darkness
Since provoked
By that gimmick
Claimed enticing
Ever transient
Through illusion
Of what peace
Just doesn’t stand

As this air
Flees from our lungs
Wasting lifetimes
Soon escaping
Beyond capture
Chasing seconds
Now elapsing
With each breath

Losing days
On simple chores
Missing years
No man remembers
Finding God
Their humble servant
To what numbers
Plague His gift

And demand
We mustn’t sin
Showing protest
If resisting
Such deliberate
Modes of conduct
Deemed befitting
Without chance

Any hope
Should then exist
Praying doubt
Inspires anger
Letting passion
Cast some shadow
Over reason
Proven wrong

Since assuming
Faith can cure
Any danger
Within bodies
Caught between
Two worlds conflicted
Trusting souls
Before our flesh

Where this earth
Is all we face
When these feelings
Only matter
Praying symptoms
Start abating
Staying hurt
But still relieved.

– J. Pigno

I’ve thought about
Getting it
Over with

Dreaming
Of myself
In past tense

Believing
That might
Be easier

Than suffering
A morning
Again

Unable
To shower
Or dress

Sensing
My pulse
Grow erratic

While pressure
Increased
Without reason

Takes blame
From fear
Showing proof

Through numbers
Telling
But fickle

Measurements
Apt for
Disaster

When feeling
Your worst
Every second

Even if
Those pains
Aren’t real

Since death
Does not
Appear calm

Though peace
May follow
Thereafter

Assuming
God isn’t
Guilty

Of lying
How kings
Often do

Watching judgment
End
Our reward

Where forever
Seems
So elusive

Beyond this
Shadow
Still waiting

Agreeing
Light may
Exist

Consuming
One empty
Shape

Convinced
His body
Projected

Can find
Release
Off of panels

Upon lifelike
Walls
Laying flat

Now drawn
By dimensional
Rules

Between hurt
And prayer
Ineffective

To endure
That formless
Existence

As figures
Stuck
On a space.

– J. Pigno

I’ll reply
Online
To avoid my fears
In person
Till the keystrokes
Hide this grimace
Barely worthy
Of real
Eyes

When such dreams
Each finger speaks
Finds new courage
Hitting enter
Sharing stories
Only backspaced
If these hands
Should lie
Some more

Telling strangers
How I’m fine
Even though
Those words
Sit empty
Upon pages
Barely witnessed
Among forums
Marked for dead

Amid places
Left untouched
Hidden well
But always calling
Out to people
Feeling desperate
Where they plead
Without
Much choice

Searching nightly
For their chance
Between voices
Crying lonely
Across venues
Made of shyness
Lighting stages
Bright
At home

Like my spotlight
Gone unseen
Begging roses
Though I edit
Taking bows
While growing
Crippled
Living only
Behind screens.

– J. Pigno

Strength
Isn’t facing our fear
But accepting
The fact
It’s consumed us

Or agreeing
Such nerves
Remain heightened
Knowing death
Is a heartbeat away

With air
Which mustn’t escape
For what time
These lungs
Keep breathing

Speaking their mind
In protest
Through words
That defy
This release

From suffering
Heaviest weight
Upon chests
Not privy
To burdens

Still praying
Those answers
Await them
Within lifetimes
Already passed

Like mornings
When light
Doesn’t come
But diminishes sun
Behind grayness

Obscuring day
By obsessions
Hanging low
Beneath
Heaven’s fence

Seeing God’s saints
At their rest
Watching each man
Fail
How he changes

Stopping us
Catching
Quick glimpses
As children
Indignant for proof

Our existence
Endures
Beyond pain
Within that realm
So unhappy

Leaps of faith
Aren’t taken
Yet medicine
Saves
Without grace

All of them
Taking
No chance
On those who insist
They can jump it

Into yards
Containing salvation
Where souls
Find relief
Being safe

Since bodies
Delude
This belief
When Christ Himself
Appears naked

On a cross like ours
Between bedsheets
Stealing youth
Through age
Every night

One more sleep
Toward reprieve
Even if
Some hurt
Lingers daily

Pursuing
True resurrection
At request
Of the flesh
Unconvinced.

– J. Pigno

I know only
Of empty lungs

And joy
In appearing reclusive

Behind closed doors
Where sickness
Is the light
Which creeps on through

Despite what world
Remains
Beyond walls
As distance needed

From day
Still peeking gently
Through cracks
Like precious breath –

An ecstasy
Deemed unfit
For pleasant men
Who suffer
Through lands outside
My window
Where such poetry
Goes unseen

And burdened not
With grief
Or weight of pain
That lingers
Till sadness
Finds its treasures
Among virtues
Learned by verse,

But only through
Each phrase
Which should capture
Words insistent
On affirming
Time has passage
Within bedrooms
Missing sun

Telling me
I’ll wage
Daily war
Across this margin

Agreeing
Blood holds meaning
Being spilled
From mind and pen

Coughing up
These prayers
Toward forevers
Grown indignant
Inside chambers
Trading whispers
For my heaven
Fallen dark

Begging angels
Bless this page

While muses
Steal their thunder

Fighting madly
For survival
Choosing art
As faithful death

Convinced
God had no chance
At relieving
Such expression
Once believed
A healthy outlet
Now instead
My only gift

Per His staunch
Yet fatal hope
Slaying lines
From welling trauma

Using writing
As my altar
For whatever feelings
Kill.

– J. Pigno

I can see their
Streets so slick

Smell the grease
Rubbed between
Each palm

As it makes
For a fine
Concoction

To lift thick hair
With a quiff

As they sit outside
Waiting for passage

To the bakeries
And bars
Of their forebears

Leaning on walls
In old leather

Jackets held tight
With both hands

As the night
Grows brighter
From waiting

For these building signs
To turn neon

And glow
Like triumphs
Still looming

As they step
Into shadows
Beneath.

Coffee cups
Reaching their lips

Cigarette sparks
On their fingers

Pizzerias
Filled with laughter

Of men whose time
We can’t know

Or imagine right
In its place

Fathoming
A deadly
Habit

When equal
Lies
Were just pleasures

Of that blissful
Crime
They call youth.

Dawdling
As kids will do

Down blocks
Whose homes
Remain lighted

Where the smell
Of red wine
Permeates

Mingling
Often with garlic

Dispersed
Among flickering
Pictures

Caught
By the living room
Walls

While the analog set
Murmurs static

And yells escape
From the kitchen

Bouncing off
Plastic tablecloths

And fine china
Used
Only once.

The rugs so torn
From their feet

And halls too crude
For those pictures

Of saints
And ornaments
Special

Near a plaque
Whose Christ
Is sad

Above
What family sits

Picking up
Fear
By its bootstraps

Believing strength
Their aggression

And bravado
Permanent faith.

To us
That’s old
And wrong

Medieval
Almost as courage

But then
It was right
For endurance

Using pain
Toward achieving
Their goals –

A wife
And child
Ignored

Words
So cold
They were whispered

Or hollered
Louder than feelings

Suppressed
For the burden at hand

During evenings
Out
With the guys

Forgetting
Work was their sentence

And heart attacks
Mission accomplished

To lift
Such bricks
Like they’re stones.

– J. Pigno

Even now
As I write
My heart rate
Just won’t dwindle
Or ease what racing
Demons
Lay dormant
Beneath this skin

When falsehoods
They call help
Just stave
How death impending
Hangs his scythe
Above me
Boldly calling Jon
Back home

As I’ve never felt
Such pain
Or these shallow breaths
For hours
Built of torture
By those masters
Who believe
Their answers right

While I pray
God never asks
If my actions
Warrant judgment
Thinking fear
My only weakness
And His trial
Feeling sick

Even while
This organ sprints
Stealing minutes
Hardly worthy
Of that penance
I keep facing
Every time
My pulse should skip

Being told
My nerves are shot
Or I’m anxious
Since believing
How the curtain
Will be falling
Very soon
Upon my stage

Taking bows
Before each joke
Speaks its mind
Without reaction
Where an audience
Thinks I’m faking
Being truthful
While they laugh

Never hearing
How this voice
Wanted nothing
But assurance
Or at least
A clap of comfort
To acknowledge
He was here.

– J. Pigno