Death row
Is that spiritual place
Where all men go
After losing
What God Himself
Has provided
In their privileged fate
Called love –

Our undeserved grace
Become flesh
Through partnership
Sullied by failure
After waiting years
For her presence
To redeem what soul
We have left,

Finding jail at home
With each thought
Like every belief
Being broken
And feeling condemned
Among memories
Vacant as hearts
Missing faith

She provided once
Knowing grief
Soon enduring days
Always hurting
Watching joyous times
Sully quickly
Over moments spent
Fighting back

Against selfishness
Making things cold
Growing farther apart
Despite staying
Getting angry
Since lacking connection
Needing empathy
Rather than sins.

How distance
Eliminates warmth
While drifting flames
Barely burning
Find lasting sparks
Provide lessons
When imprisoned
Behind crying eyes,

Arguing greed
Was the cause
But agreeing fear
Pulls its trigger
Learning panicked minds
Cannot reason
Upon answered prayers
Going wrong –

From those gallows
Nooses will hang
Stringing ropes which sit
Merely waiting
Near these ended dreams
Gone forever
Punishing souls
Still alive.

  • J. Pigno

These are the things
I can promise:

To never betray
What is sacred
By engaging pain
Through my anger
Which rarely forgets
You’re a saint,

Despite how fear
Often shows
From those past lives
Seeking to surface
Beneath raw hands
Always shaking
Before crying so long
After dark –

When her cheek
Is turned on its side,

Resting that head
Towards my pillow,

Feeling agony build
During sleeping
Knowing nightmares play
Missing sins

We forget
While staying awake
And finding each day
Still beginning
Instead of bad truths
Being swallowed
But thrown back up
If we rest.

Forgive how hurt
Reappears –

Remaining bold
Besides healing,

Swearing sometimes
Love means we suffer
Fighting constant odds
Fate has stacked.

Experience proves
Rain will fall,

Though marriage
Affirms looming sunlight,

Like commitment grows
Over decades
Quickly fading
Into death do us part.

Trading vows means
Trusting our skies
Zigzagging across
Without reason,

Following storms
Unspecific
But certain enough
Faced as one –

An oath
Two together must take,

Yet separately
Bearing real burdens –

Pledging failure
Strengthens endurance,

Merely answering
Prayers trailing clouds.

  • J. Pigno

My eyes
Can barely see light
In the thick
Of this early morning
Where grayness sits
As an omen
Since uncertainty
Always comes,

Having ignorance
Follow suit
On that brink
While misery beckons
All our favorite fears
With daylight
When depression burns
Like sun –

Much too harsh
For hiding pain
Parting clouds
Unveiling chaos
Casting shadows
From every failure
Some avoid
By hiding away.

I keep committing
Fate’s cardinal sin
Hardly knowing
What threat is coming
Whether losing life
Spent waiting
Or avoiding sleep
At all,

Watching nightfall
Soon approach
After hours
We wasted working
Towards another dawn
More dangerous
Than each one
Which came before –

Left ambiguous
Through hope’s design
Undefined
Despite God’s promise
Sharing details
Beyond death’s presence
Letting symbols talk
Instead

Across palettes
Streaking paints
Seeing tired skies
Grow golden
Yielding vivid dusks
So brilliant
Even radiance
Seems less sure

How tomorrow
Could even exist
Facing constant risks
Still hurting
Those who dare
Defiant waking
Fighting back
Though feeling drab.

  • J. Pigno

Here’s how things
Get ugly –

When the nightmares
Bleed into daylight 

And these feelings
Crawl like spiders 
Under skin so dry
It cracks, 

Where inadequate dreams
Can’t relate
To a world outside
Drawn curtains

While watching life
Pass slowly
Across screens that mock
This fate. 

There are scissors
Sitting near drawers 
Still pushing hands 
Losing reasons 
For removing hair
Going missing
With blindfolds
Over both eyes,

As I excuse this fear 
Buying games
Hoping sometime soon
They’ll relieve me 
Since playing now 
Doesn’t offer
Another way home  
Through escape. 

Only prayer 
Can merely provide 
Constant solace 
Sought through devotion,

Once relieving dread
Building slowly
During months we wait 
Spent alone, 

But becoming weak 
Facing truth
That tomorrow’s spark  
Remains dwindled 
Facing raging storms
Pouring water
Upon fires stoked
By our faith. 

Such brutal ends
Appear soft,

Gentle rains 
Before every deluge,

Hitting tempered glass
Along panels
Which protect us 
Behind thick walls –

Whether sleep
Or ignorant joys
Distracting minds
From obsession,

Each pleasure 
Is terror reminding 
A waking end
Has begun.

  • J. Pigno

On nights
When I dream in gray
That palace calls
Through shadows
Where feelings sit
Like portraits
Hung across its walls
Of stone –

Those lonely scenes
Obscured
Along blackened halls
Grown colder
From evening storms
Still hailing
Gentle crystals
Moonlight brings

Which traces peaks
Far off
Building distance viewed
From windows
Where each tower meets
Their heaven
Hiding secrets held
By clouds,

Every staircase
Climbing high
Chasing tiny cracks
Up turrets
While old mirrors stare
At phantoms
Framed with gold
Since ages past

Watching fear
Assemble death
Using broken glass
They’ve shattered
Piecing shards
For true reflections
Just to translate
What went wrong.

Such mosaics
Feature proof
How this manor rests
Near judgment
Atop platforms
Always looming
Between God
And frigid hell,

Waiting now
Though soon revealed
If our lonely minds
Should beckon
Finding fear more hope
Than reason
Behind doorways
Curtains mask,

Shielding corridors
Gone dark
Beneath mounting dust
Left floating
Amid nervous lives
Now sleeping
Carrying candles
Always snuffed.

  • J. Pigno

I write for my dream
Which dwindles
In the midst of these
Hopeless verses
Whose fears
Are a pending encounter
Beyond what life
Still remains,

Where agony means
Keeping peace
When days pass by
Without speaking
What urgent needs
Always fester
Holding feelings back
Very long

While emotion seems
Better dead
Than awaiting words
Never coming
Out of silent rage
Wishing sunlight
Were cloudy skies
Pouring faith

Over arid lands
Lacking truth
Growing empty lines
Missing purpose
Or blessed fruit
Bearing wishes
Yielding harvests
Nourishing souls –

Those sacred rains
Hailing tears
Only angels shed
If inspired
By doubting saints
Sitting vigil
As despair shows 
How they will pray,

Merely idling
Tempering pain   
Through secrets kept
Between notebooks
And demanding proof
Among messes
Their chaotic minds
Can believe

Renders beauty
Measured on whims
Seizing moments spent
Facing chances
Finding daily work
Provides nothing
Except further guilt
Wasting art

So easily killed
Shutting mouths
Losing every gift
God has granted
Leaving deepest thoughts
Across pages
Human eyes can read
But not share.

  • J. Pigno

He mumbled
Below short breaths
How people will
Call him a loser,

Since killing bugs
Professionally
Just didn’t mean shit
In this world –

An unfortunate view
Many held
About those whose role
Seemed revolting
And appeared absurd
When comparing
Much fancier jobs
Against pests

Which crawled on floors
Where they worked
Trailing daring paths
Behind humans
Whose privileged lives
Never bothered
Noticing ants
Underneath,

Like the man
Still chasing that roach
Or enduring weeks
Trapping vermin
Soon telling me
Even his family
Had mocked such feats
Every day.

Yet strangely,
He lifted one sleeve
Now showing tattoos
That depicted
Christ our Lord
Shedding teardrops
Alongside words
Spelling fate,

Feeling somehow
I’d also believe
That story once shared
Of his car crash
Swearing death itself
Revealed heaven
After passing away
Long ago –

True experience
Blessing deep gifts
No judgmental soul
Can appreciate,

Attaching worth
Without knowing
Significance waits
Beyond flesh.

Like insects
We often cause fear,

Inspiring pain
More than passion,

So divinity chose
An exterminator
To reveal
Better places exist.

  • J. Pigno

They’ll only
Think of the children
When it suits those needs
More pressing –

Banking profits
Turned from exposure
To a lethal germ
Called school.

Education
Isn’t their goal
But imposing guilt
Through standards
And broken homes
Made possible
By suggesting work
Brings success,

Since returning now
Appears “safe”
Despite this plague
Running rampant
Crossing anyone
Daring such vengeance
While ignoring facts
Which scream

Over every mouth
Trading views
Hearing leaders’ laws
In denial
Letting imminent threats
Approach youngsters
Whose single choice
Must comply

Where politics
Failing both ways
Face angry mobs
Claiming virtues
Supersede
All absent morals
Still clearly defined
Seeking cash –

Lacking masks
Yet pushing beliefs
Missing measured truths
Speaking volumes
About dangerous lies
Purely ignorant
Swearing normalcy
Always returns.

Our teachers are caught
Between devils
Telling them hell
Seems appropriate –

Fearing for jobs
Getting harder,

Losing faith
Better efforts can work.

Even innocents
Remain expendable
If potential growth
Never mattered.

Kids hate class
With good reason
Because systems failed
Long ago.

  • J. Pigno

My legacy
Isn’t these words
But the hope within
Still dreaming
Which reveals
That child dwelling
Deep inside this soul
Who dares

To speak what truths
Men lack
Even if their jobs
Hold meaning
Or successes claimed
From money
Find fulfillment
Seeming less

Than those answers
Earned through fame
Since achieving goals
More urgent
Where our basic needs
Prove futile
Learning every heart
Needs care

While engaging
Fated paths
Between dotted lines
We scribble
Along journeys lost
When growing
Over pages drawn
By hate

Tracing borders
Nearing death
Knowing boredom kills
All passion
If believing age
Our wisdom
Despite seeing youth
Build strength

Outside endless days
With fear
Besides learning joy
Is freedom
Finding God Himself
Existing
Beyond labor waged
For naught

Where intentions
Make us whole
But commitment
Murders pleasure
Wasting precious time
Obsessing
Chasing failures
Deemed mature

Feeling right
Yet oddly sad
Missing precious scenes
In color
Trading innocence
Optimistic
Getting old
Like shades of gray.

  • J. Pigno

My teachers
Never spoke of poets
Whose histories
Withered in secret
Like breeding grounds
Breaking tradition
Obscuring truths
They’d neglect

Until that day
I discovered
Many muses dwell
Amid shadows
Left purposely draped
For no reason
Across this stage
Feigning words

Where feelings hide
Between pictures
Each conjured verse
Claims to show us
Yet tells through lines
Often staggered
Through cadence heard
By default –

An inherent beat
Being played
Across lengthy tales
Failing senses
Besides our gift
Speaking rhythms
Spilling fancy lies
Over verbs

Where among old dreams
We remain
Still scouring books
Finding meaning
Or a purpose held
Tracing legends
Whose mysterious ways
Seem divine

Since magic thrives
Beneath dust
Even time itself
Has forgotten
While idling strength
Soon diminished
When modern eyes
Seeks its cures

But guiding fools
All the same
In desperate need
Lacking vision
Believing art
Their cruel mistress
Still dangling love
Above fate,

Once observed
Yet hardly defined
Like liturgies lost
Wasting worship
On wishes made
Begging fortunes
From inspired fears
Going wrong.

  • J. Pigno