Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike







Without You Is Still With You

To Nathan


June 16 is Father’s Day this year

And for the first time, you are not here

There’s no one to gift or to embrace

There is no sign of your beautiful face


I clean out your dresser reluctantly

Throw away clothes with impunity

A gift from a friend, your embroidered name

Your friend gone too, I weep without shame


The house is so empty and still

I continue beyond my own will

I sense you but nonetheless

I want more, I must confess


I do understand that eternity

Is something belonging to you and me

That life is but an interruption

Corporeality an unseemly disruption


Sappho’s words still bring balm to the soul

Science and math render continents whole

Akra, Sumeria, China and Mahd

Reach across time and cannot be ignored


Such bonds as ours are without time

Within our hearts and terra prime

Beyond the rules and beneath the word

Faintly whispered yet always heard



Fahrenheit Forfeit the Glue


So it comes to this: What do you wish to communicate?

I have nothing with which to educate or inform anyone

For whom is education formed, who is formally informed

The informat has nothing to do with the education infovat

The internet has no information with which to freely educate

No information is available to inspect the current abrogation

Info for short, netiquette for conduct modification, indoctrination,

ArtificiaI Intelligence nation a preparation for systemic prevarication?

The banners and popups guide readers to accept a halo of consumerization

I have nothing to learn or teach, to inform, convey or preach, no speech

No words, no thoughts, no drafts, no draughts, no sots, no robots

Nothing to educate, nothing to insinuate, nobody to cunnilingate or fellate

Somewhat deflated to come so belated uneducated in thrall

To the panopticon over all watching and teaching, porning, informing

Reforming the threshold via inculcation of a flaccid, faltering nation





A one-legged man sat in his wheel chair

Regarding a three-legged chair kneeling on the sidewalk

“What you need is some wheels, my friend,

Said the man with a knowing wink


But the chair wasn’t having any of this

“What you need, sir, is some sensitivity!

You have no idea what I’ve been made to endure:

Pompous asses, fat asses, bony asses—all kinds of asses!”


The man considered this varnished diatribe and replied,

“I feel for you, my friend, but take courage

Whereas you’ve been set upon by being sat upon,

I’ve been put upon and blown apart by poverty and war”


The chair could not, however, be consoled

“My man, your kind never learns its lessons

You just plunder and splinter folks like me in rainforests

Then exile us to your infernal ass-populated cities »


The man was beginning to lose his good humor

“Now listen, you dried out confabulation of sorry twigs,

I approached you with friendship and compassion

But now you’re starting to bug me out”


“Chill out, Roller Derby,” the bitter chair spat,

“I lost my home and my leg and my moms, I got no job,

No woman, no insurance—could you just help me out?”

The three-legged chair leaned pitifully on the concrete


But by now the one-legged man was disgusted

And he rolled away softly whistling “Alouette”

While the chair was left to ponder its gnarled fate

For the rest of its wooden-headed days



Addressing “To Have or To Be”


My Name Would Be Myopia


Get up, get down, Joanie

Get up and be a clown, Joanie

Gravity sucks

Be a clown who clucks


And put it inside

Aerial vision

Clown on a mission

Where am I?

I’m a clown in the sky

Find your up-down

Existential sad clown

Find your down-up

Get your Pozzo clown up

Clown in a slime pit

Where she doesn’t give a shit

Wholly-holy roly-poly

Zim-zum Zen

On a bed of guacamole

Finding inner truth

Clown in a porn booth

Do you really want to fly?

Grow roots, then try

Do you want to be a tree?

The toll rings for thee

Be a clown, be a clown

All the world loves a clown

Make your own raving image

In a Dixie cup scrimmage

I’m a lost-found clown

In this flimflam Funkytown



After Shalimar the Clown


When artifice is stripped from theatre, the theatre transforms.

The stage becomes unpredictable and dangerous. As in life.

When the clown comes on stage, the genie roars out of the bottle.

When she (or he) makes her entrance, proportion disappears.

Everything on stage is magnified to the nth to the 10th degree.

Some critics would call the result “overacting,” or even bad acting.

I take umbrage with the critics. I would call this outcome “reality.”

Reality is neither beautiful nor tidy. Reality is embarrassingly excessive.

Like “overacting.” Or even bad acting. Reality has no sense of proportion.

Oosh! Scenery topples, props slip out of hands, costumes disintegrate.

Swoosh! Every actor becomes a costumed klutz, stripped of grace.

Voices are gravelly,  untrained, lack modulation, need to learn diction.

The whole thing is a mess, just a mess. However, as you might guess,

When artifice is stripped from theatre, theatre virtually becomes life.

Sex is no longer unctuous and sumptuous, it is sloppy and crude.

Love is no longer object, but subject, sentencing us to the jail of banality.

War is no longer epic, but is revealed as the hell it truly is, and worse.

It takes on a life of its own, writes its own scenes, strays from the plot.

Prosperity is shown to be the height of abnormality; a majority starves

While a few suck substance from the boards and leave them breathless.


When theatre is stripped of artifice, the golden nude actors lie basking,

While the circus that remains, chills our bones and leaves us asking.



Cesenatico 1

I was walking to the Adriatic
But I got lost on purpose

Sidetracked by little wooden boats

A dog rolling in the nets

The smell of fish in early sunset

The lure of Utopia, that is, no place
If I lose my baby will I console myself

With the famed mosaics of Ravenna

My lover is a jealous guardian

He thinks the seepage is my fault

Suspects I let someone else enter

With his defenseless issue inside
He tries to seed me with jealousy

Expects me to quake and confess

I’m in no mood for that kind of play

One sire is more than adequate bycatch

I’m no lascivious shopkeeper

Nor do I comb the sand for shells
Got lost on the way to the Adriatic

Distracted for a time by a cappuccino,
Silly spaghetti Westerns on TV
One fleeting moment of drift, then

Italian speaking cowboys hushed
By the pounding of unborn blood












Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike is a writer, actor, singer, director, producer and theatre arts worker for people of all ages and people of all ages with disabilities. Her work appears in such pubs as At the Edge, Chez Chez, Helicon Nine, Heresies, International Worker, Jewish Daily Forward, La Mia Ink, Maintenant, Ovation, Silver Birch Anthology, Womannews and Zeitriss. She is published in Between Ourselves: Letters Between Mothers and Daughters (Ed. Karen Payne, Houghton Mifflin) and Women in American Theatre (Eds. Helen Krich Chinoy and Linda Walsh Jenkins, Theatre Communications Group). Her chapbook, The Character Poems was published by Chez Chez, and she is poetry editor and contributor at and guest writer at A veteran of The Living Theatre, she directs the dada/surrealist company, DADAnewyork and is co-founder and co-director of Action Racket Theatre. Awards and grants include: fellowship from SOUL Sanctuary (a retreat for social justice activists and progressive change agents); grant from Foundation for Jewish Culture (for play, And Then the Heavens Closed); artist residence at Edward F. Albee Foundation “The Barn” (to complete play, Inside); Bronx Council on the Arts Community Action Grant for development of a play, Words from the Melting Pot (a theatre work about immigration, culture and heritage collectively developed with people with disabilities attending Beth Abraham Adult Day Health Care center); and a New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Decentralization Grant (for play, 12 Steps to Murder…a civilized walk). She is presently working on poetry, a science fantasy novel and her fifth full-length play.



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