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A Great Passive Thrust of Creativity (Dream Poem #8)
by Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike

Someone once told me that I look exactly like
Saskia von Ulenbarch. She lived in the 1600s
Rembrandt married and painted her despite snubs
From her family; a sordid tale of money and lust

Few understand as the years advance how it is
Our species relies less upon written and spoken
Language. We must learn to be somehow more
Responsible about what we say, and to whom

Why do we drive the long way around to get home?
I argue with a director over singing with a non-singer
In the catacombs we struggle to meet dreadful quotas
We snap and snarl. Upstairs we make angelic theatre

I go through a daily cycle of work then throw myself
At last, exhausted, in even greater abandon, onstage
Following a visit from a dead friend in a blue sweater
I get deserted in the Bronx at an institutional hotel

There are mirrors in the bathroom stalls; doors don’t close
I’m given a dungeon-like room with a spongy mattress
’40s decor, dusty, tatty, sweet. I unwind on the Hudson
Visit a penthouse with my therapist to see his panorama

Back home in Manhattan, cockroaches besiege my apartment
My sub-letter fills my kitchen with an inch-deep coat of water
The floor becomes an electrified grid; roaches the size of rats
And rats as big as dogs sizzle, scream and die. Silence.

I strain to maintain balance while yearning to be subsumed
Forbidden spoons watch casually from an adjacent room
I swim sideways through a sewer in a death and life struggle
Emerge with a sense of things being—well, not so bad

Gazing through plate-glass windows overlooking a luculent
Forest, I see a homicidal killer posing as a plainclothes cop
His lovemaking bears an uncanny likeness to grooming
Water rituals set me afloat without maritime coordinates

I climb a mountain to seek relief; wind induces astral travel
In the stratosphere, people decide to don their parachutes
In dichromatic grief they wail over the great Julian Beck,
Dressed in a modest burial suit. He holds a single blue rose

A ripe friend in an old age home flirts brazenly with
A buxom nurse. He promises to pay for my pandemic
Dental work. Why has he taken such a prurient interest in
My mouth? He likes what I say and wants to keep it clean

A little girl in an oxygen tent, incontinent, soiled but clad
Richly, apologizes as we lower her fever to clean her up
Who is this child? She looks like Saskia von Ulenbarch
Dead at age 29, manipulating Rembrandt from her grave

I look at the child-Saskia closely. She does look like me
My guides tell me I am being squeezed back into my body
Before I’ve quite returned, I dream of an erstwhile lover
Standing in the doorway laughing, seductive, confident

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike is a writer, actor, singer, director, activist, and caregiver. Joanie’s writing appears in At the Edge, clockwise.wordpress.com, Daily Jewish Forward, Dissident Voice, International Worker, Maintenant, NYArts, Silver Birch Summer Anthology, The Great Gatsby Anthology, IDES: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, and Womannews. Her most recent play, RelationShifts, was read at Dixon Place and TheaterLab in New York City. Her poetry collection, An Alphabet of Love, is to be published by Barncott Press (London). Joanie is a veteran member of the legendary Living Theater, actor/director with the dada/surrealist theater company DADAnewyork, and co-founder/co-director of Action Racket Theatre. She lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and Manchester, New Jersey.