People
Jumping off bridges
Seem to be
All the rage,

Lacking
Need for explaining
As times like these
Prove hard

Where death
Is a basic statement
Of life which
Falls so easy

Since fear
Has offered freedoms
From heights
No man should plunge.

Yet I wonder
If God will judge
Those souls
Who bravely plummet,

Daring hell
Despite knowing
Such sin might
Break their leap –

Worried how
Faith confirms
Why conviction
Remains an answer

Toward humans
Facing disaster
Each day
We’re gifted breath.

Isn’t sickness
Penance enough
Or experience
Torture already,

Watching friends
And our families
Suffering pain
Without cause?

But cowardice
Never endures
Beyond moments
Rashly ventured

Garnering blame
Deemed sufficient
In eyes whose love
Loss hurts –

Spoiling
Beautiful ends
On chances
Apparently wasted,

Stealing
Memories cherished
Then sullied fast
After grief.

Even though
Flesh decays,
Tempting fate
Every second,

What minutes
Elapse with meaning
Far outweigh
Quick relief.

– J. Pigno

Sleep
Is appropriate language
In which God
Can tell us
Stories

From the world
Outside each window
Now that home
Has become
Our bed

Where life
Provides long rest
Yet clings
To sobering
Daylight

Reminding us
Time still passes
Even if
Such sun
Seems strange

During hours
Meant for work
Now a theater
Ripe
With leisure

Letting fear
Project its pictures
Under blankets
Pulled
On heads

Over eyes
Who grow concerned
Watching nights
Just entertain
Worries

Seeing stars
Across skies too vivid
Crystal clear
From worlds
At pause

Before films
Behind closed veils
Prove hits
While indulging
Solace

Upon screens
Viewing classics
Routinely
Most souls would agree
Should distract

Since images
Take their stage
And reveal
Sacred insights
Begging

To explain
How destinies
Tethered
Will collectively
Dream their fate

Performing
One-act plays
When an audience
Thrilled
Yet captive

Believes
These narratives
Witnessed
Replace moments
Actually seized.

– J. Pigno

These cinders
Coat my throat
As the pain
Goes down
Real easy

Mistaking air
For fire
While both lungs
Expel
Clear smoke

From a furnace
Burning steam
Within
This chest
Left begging

Between
What breaths
I swallow
To assume there is
Still hope

When gagging
On tiny coals
Too small
For life
Extinguished

By flames
Not fearing water
Since that ash
Will fill
Each hole

And line
Exploding veins
Through our mouths
Hung open
Daily

In disbelief
Now common
How those embers
Fuel
Such thoughts

Near death
At simple coughs
Wishing God
Was always
Greater

Than His heat
Which passes judgment
Upon sickness
Earned
With sin.

– J. Pigno

The road
On which we tread
Isn’t dirt
But ash between us

Amid trails
Of growing distance
Our new world
Can’t seem to grasp

Like one fate
That travels wide
Beyond making
Any difference

Besides leaving
Open stretches
Where dead men
Now matter less

Bending bridges
From their weight
Beneath bodies
Piled daily

Under sunshine
Falling golden
Upon faces
Blind from rage

Shining wrongly
Through this scourge
Sitting heavy
Where we dawdle

Watching Spring
Appear through windows
Mocking hours
With its warmth

Banging loudly
While each lung
Mourns fresh air
Becoming rarer

Than distinction
Among houses
Sporting rainbows
Between bars

Behind glass
Now battered steel
Begging insight
Into purpose

Spying neighbors
Carry sadness
Through those doors
They call their own

Pacing rooms
While taking calls
Wandering halls
Left unattended

Sharing nothing
But dead silence
So unsettling
Though at peace

Now suggesting
God has split
Altogether
Since that moment

Earth had sighed
Such tired judgment
Making yawns
We finally heard.

– J. Pigno

I get so damn
Excited
Since my heart
Wants to always
Stop

When the dream
Of pursuing meaning
Becomes
These words
Expressed –

Whether wrong
Or somehow clear
In their brief
And scattered
Rhythms

Still defined
Not by true answers
But what realm
God proves
Through verse,

Hanging value
On each space
Stuck between
Short lines
Uneven

Trading pauses
For salvation
If that phrase
Should move
One soul

Whose own vision
Seems unclear
Digging keys
Beneath
Those doorways

Finding choices
Never open
Broken handles
Called
Our gift.

Every artist
Knows how faith
Is a turning
Path
Towards freedom

After claiming
False surrender
Under rules
Instilled
From fear –

How all laws
Determine death
Hiding life
Behind
Old habits,

Altered only
With conveying
Conjured worlds
Where prisons
Speak.

– J. Pigno

I’m no safer
In my dreams
Than on tired days
Which follow
Such long
And anxious vigils
Praying God
Might help me
Sleep

While car horns
Blare outside
Just beyond
These open windows
Finding mornings
Without ending
Feeling fresh air
Touch this
Face

Learning sunlight
Proves no threat
To what sadness
Keeps us present
Despite begging
Every moment
For just one more
Chance
At rest

Even if
That nervous wish
Means attempting
Braving demons
Whose existence
Echoes anger
Upon whispers
Said
When still

Mocking eyelids
Hanging low
Tempting fear
With staunch expressions
From old times
Best not remembered
Flashing failures
Thought
Long passed

Gripping pillows
Like restraints
Knowing peace
Is unbecoming
Of those minds
Still screaming loudest
During slumber
Lost
Each night.

– J. Pigno

There are no
Heroes in death
Or war
Which eliminates
Bias

But the cruel
And breathless reminder
How our world
Has had
Its fill –

Still tired
We credit belief
In men
Who apparently
Wasted

What Earth
Had initially
Gifted
Before this cough
Made sense,

Now finally
Leaving us sick
Without even
Asking that
Question:

“If human lives
Were so sacred
Than why
Would they sully
Themselves?”

Perhaps
Only fools
Should grieve,
Passing these days
Without reason,

Losing business
Fearfully wishing
Their ills
Were tomorrow’s
Cure –

Finding failure
Means more work
Behind eyes
Unknowing
Though weary

Under systems
Heavy with burdens
All alone
Weighted down
On sin.

Since hope
Is appearing safe,
Selling masks
Where faith
Doesn’t matter

If assuming
God had intended
Torture
Was appropriate
Fate.

– J. Pigno