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

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

What nature
Doesn’t realize
Is that kindness
Matters less
To the proud
And winning people
Whose triumph
Offers more

When playing fate
For freedom
Regardless
Of its context
With wars
Made of decisions
By declaring
Bets are off

Now choosing
Bigger dreams
Over gains
Both small and waning
Relinquished
From their prisons
As wishes
Built on chance

Still meaning
To proceed
Despite those odds
Against them
Beyond all worth
Or measure
Of the hope
Which conquers death

Fear
Not of their loss
But a God
That means conceding
To the vagueness
Of forgiveness
Like evidence
Showing grief

As hurt
Which must propel
And drive their marches
Forward
In a wave
Of frenzied masses
Who claim each battle
Dear

Knowing
That they’re wrong
And proving
Games are vile
While swearing
Something special
Is deserved
For those engaged.

– J. Pigno