The privilege
Of losing sleep
Bears splinters
Which pin
My soul

Against what flesh
Feels rotten
To death
In this bed,

Like a shell once
So inspired
Which is now
Just vomiting

Giving me
Countless wishes
For words
That actually

Without much thought
Or need
While emphasis
Seems less

When expression
Forcibly rendered
Cuts fists
Since handling
Wood –

Those sharp
And pertinent dreams
Tearing skin
Through days

After years
Of juggling faces
Sporting masks
From terms

These lies
Show fallen logs
How each verse
Hides precious

Shedding bits
Beyond description
Housing needles
Might touch  –

Rather than
Idle threats
Missing points
Sharp angles

At times
Our fear
Smooths edges
Among knives
Called life itself.

– J. Pigno

That screen
Which glows all night
Reminds me
Time’s not moving
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

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

The scrotum
Of poor investments
That made life
So incredibly

Whose existence
To give back
Beyond what breaths
Not taken

Bore words
Undeniably fruitless
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

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

Where devotion
Proves prodigious
Through this flesh
Like lies –

A gift
Believed inside
Open mouths
Whose questions

Wasting efforts
Building friendships
Over decades
By loss.

How romance
Grows undone
Learning bodies
Their purpose

Long before
Such chances settle
On which moment
Gives birth.

I swear
Its proof persists
Among hearts
Now finding

Spreading poems
Between hoaxes
Shedding light
While darkness

Dead men wishing
Feelings blast
Within veins
From traumas

Hiding needs
All humans cherish
If addictions
Less hard.

Though perhaps
These phrases last
Even when
Raw passions

Upon waiting
For permissions
We assumed
Our parents

Pounding futures
Into dust
Knowing debt
Killed more
Than kindness

But demolished
Any semblance
And desire
To have

– J. Pigno

I believe
How these aging toys
And the dream
They once

Hide a kid
Whose wish
Has been silenced
After putting them
Back in their place

For nothing
But repetitive tasks
And stubborn lies
Which keep

At encouraging
Days worth living
What fears
Became work

Before songs
Only heard inside
Each soul
Still committed

To an innocence
Openly humming
Those melodies
With relief

By characters
Forever pure
Whose fantasies
Our existence

For tomorrow’s truth
Such play
Is perpetually

On salaries
Making us sick
Trading angst
While we
Socially distance

From imagining
Human potential
As some child’s
Being hugged

Now together
Just sharing space
Even smiling
Though they seem

Knowing soon
Separation beckons
Upon shelves
Facing decades

– J. Pigno

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

From the wallet
Filled with reasons
For believing
Had none.

That’s me
Unworthy of air –

Finding hope
Where cash
Was folded

Along threaded lines
Through denim
Near their dollars
On seams,

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

Bearing needs
No soul can grasp.

Good art
Shows signs
Of wear,

Just as fashion
Its story –

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

– J. Pigno

Somewhere just off the boulevard, there is a mural of a homeless man shivering during winter while the rain makes tears appear – pouring gently down his face, unintended but too perfect, by God’s nature proving worthy of that symbol lost through sun.

He sits among these relics starting soon to look abandoned – shopping malls and shuttered storefronts, crowded centers fallen dark.

Amid empty parking lots emerge signs of faintest protests, along streets with fading echoes with the sound of passing cars – whose sirens would keep him fleeing if not for his stoic image, immortalized on buildings like a vision of crumbling brick.

For art is his only place now, a reason to still endure between the once-bustling mainstays of my youth grown eerily silent – despite cops and shattered glass, the rage which marches forward from an ongoing encounter with what finally proved us wrong.

To him, this plague doesn’t come as a surprise or tragic bombshell.

It was the curse that always was, the hurt which festered slowly, a proof of genuine malice in his bleak and damaged hole – a pit where victims begging get the things they never want:

Hunger, fear, and apathy raining judgment like they’re right.

He just needed a warmer coat. He didn’t ask for a job or role, with cash that wouldn’t comfort as it never could save the rich.

Yet we plead each day for a cure, thinking mankind need not suffer for millennia of petty evils building slowly to this point.

You see, the gig is up. Your professions, banks, and politics.

Your unjust laws and answers wielding authority like some knife.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why our time has passed.

About sin, about our choices, about sickness running rampant.

About fated repercussions making so much sense they hurt.

Like that image forever gazing upon
those who mock his freezing, I too am bleeding anger near the curbside of this world.

Paying us no mind, they still laugh at broken poets, cutting wrists for final traces of what soul we may have left.

Finding goodness wasn’t easy way before these doors were closed.

It appears almost impossible after seeing their locked response.

Pretending things are better, blaming everyone but our hate – anticipating order when that normal killed us all.

Don’t put rainbows in your windows, hang a cross for dead men walking.

That’s us, despite our efforts facing failures streamed online.

How do I even write waking daily with no meaning – learning more and more these verses are just words so few will read?

And if they do, how will it change them, or stir their soul entirely?

Truth is, it probably wouldn’t, as it hasn’t since I’ve tried.

I’m tired of chasing muses thinking angels shed their wings for the sake of manic dreamers painting freedom as their grave.

Tomorrow is losing heaven at these gates of hell’s expression – this canvas so damn empty of those colors hope might bring.

That image, he is me, as I am that unseen figure watching passersby ignore me sporting paper masks and bags.

My scene is open trauma, my graffiti tragic willingness to disclose whatever insight waning faith has blessed through doubt.

Somewhere just off the boulevard,
lies a book that has my name.

You’ll never get to read it.

Like that man, I’ve grown too cold.

– J. Pigno

Belief is an error in judgment, as faith is the fear which sings – a means of admonishing reason to nurture what soul gets lost.

It is beyond this strange discovery I catch my God at rest, sleeping beneath these memories of a life whose dreams make words – pure phrases said out loud along pages of raw feelings, inspired not by sacrifice but pursuit of a Lord unknown.

Whispers amid worry. Conviction out of darkness. Peace too undeserving for a man whose art costs work.

And yet His glory dictates, like passion from empty space – setting my fate into motion with a muse whose needs grow worse.

Her orbit finds me reeling at the center of doubt incarnate, juggling terms unsettling while Christ pours wine from sound.

Each syllable, an uttered gift – miraculous as they are fleeting.

Sweet, but never perfect – for heaven holds secrets well.

My suspicions of something greater drive pain pronounced as gospel, embellished across my margins as marvels revealing sin.

Such questions aren’t bad, it’s their truth which has me running.

I’m biding time expressing missing angels found through prose.

Aged as finest spirits, flowing rich like rivers endless – shallower than I’d promised touting praises verse should fake.

No sentence written well ever told of hell within us, implied only between wisdoms spoken shyly veiling dread.

How death will always come, stealing further things of beauty – undermining seeking purpose by preserving flesh past tense.

And books, they hide those scars, without witness but our Father – a deity so expressive Bibles bleed their worth on stage:

A church where hearts can burst, hearing triumph came before them, learning endings penned by devils were just drafts our souls could read.

I confess my only choice had these poems drink of scripture, spilling answers better swallowed since divinity always lasts.

– 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
Who are dolls –

Defective toys
Become gallant
By virtue of gifts
They can

Through instructions
Pushed as agendas
To approve
Their marketed

No glue
Can repair our cracks
Than lies
Sell plastic

While parading
Treacherous glories
Behind masks
Whose figures

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

Learning figures
Considered better
Claim dibs
On remaining

Last time I checked
We were flesh
Not pressed
In factories

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

If success
Expresses truth
Which expose
False idols

Owning roles
That question heroes
Whose feat
Was collecting

– J. Pigno

I am no longer
Your son

Because guilt
Is not my birthright

Like the money
Which still can’t answer

What questions
Your soul won’t ask –

As an incapable feat
For rage

Whose flame knows
Only matches

When experience yields
These passions

While igniting God
In hand,

For the lie that
Bears me grief

Within flesh
Whose silence lingers

My spirit missing

At the tip of a tongue
You’d burned.

This body
Just can’t speak

Anymore than words
Could flourish

Where fires dance
Through kingdoms

Of dreams
You’d had me torch.

My phrase
Can’t offer cash,

My pen bring much
But solace

Condemned as faith

For the man whose life
Meant less

Than the joy
You’d wish I earned

While pursuing jobs
So pointless

And convinced
Such work held purpose

Beyond building ash
On lungs –

Like collected smoke
Thought breath

Within mouths
Whose air went missing

So the fire spread
From neighbors

Bragged its brilliant light
That glows.

Now forever
I’ll spend each day

Flooding waters
Upon sore voices

Quelling damages
Pouring phrases

Spilling verse
Amid embers learned.

– J. Pigno