some poems, a few anthems, and a song of repair 

11 poems - 2007 to 2011

"there once was a very wise man
who laughed his ass off
and without an ass to kick around
he laughed even harder"

- ancient beatpoet proverb   

all this fiddle

an army of poems marched out my door
            set out to conquer something
            i guess
            those poor soldiers never followed orders anyway
            loose words wearing their poem-masks
            flimsy and gorilla brained
all dressed up in duct tape
i threw a dozen pencils out the window
            brand new, freshly sharpened
            free to roam
            to find the lost words, lost worlds 
            or whatever pencils desire most
let them fly like arrows into ultimate awareness
perhaps the pencils will meet up with the poems
            in unexpected places
            drainage ditched
            amateur chess matches and hotdog stands
            perhaps complete each other
            and make love in parked cars
            connect in ways i could never imagine
maybe they’ll send me postcards


road trip


we can travel together
                kick back in the lap of a classic chevy ragtop
                engine block roaring bold existence
                soaring down huckleberry highways
                the eyes of god spinning
                and every loose strand of your ponytail
                painting the desert blonde
we’ll hunt down all the blind spots
                eyes too wide to have corners, we’ll make up names
                for the stuff maps leave behind, trash-heap landmarks
                lost truckstop civilizations, the grand madness of utah
we’ll decorate the dashboard like noah’s ark
                with your collection of plastic pez dispensers
                mickey mouse and donald duck and whatever
                that frog-looking thing is suppose to be
                i’ll laugh at your cheap toys, you’ll make fun of my ugly hat
we can bum rush a million sideroads
                or linger too long in time traveling roadside restaurants
                jukebox juiced, shuffling dozens of yesterdays
                eat hotdogs and watermelon in a winnemucca parking lot
                pour bottled water over a broken radiator
                in arizona heat waves
you can make a map
                of cloud formations, i’ll navigate the radio
                we can kill the static with philosophical gibberish
                or sing along with hillbilly fiddles
                scratching out lazy love songs
we’ll take shelter
                in each other, and motel showers too small for two
                take epic naps and ruin most of our clothes
                in a piece of crap laundromat
we can witness the heartbeats of alien cities
                i’ll admit I’m lost, and you can lead me
                thru santa fe streets, explore the festival of summer
                mingle in the heat of human nature, make totem poles
                out of strangers, drink the local wine and tell true-ish tales
                of exodus and diaspora
we’ll pose like stray dogs
                in tourist trap photographs, you all ragdoll beautiful
                me in my ugly hat
we’ll merge in and out of uhaul caravans
                in grapes of wrath formation
                across the four dimensions of america
                black and white and asphalt gray
                and you can crash in the backseat, paint your toenails
                whatever color you want
we can vanish into blue mountains
                the way all good expeditions do
                a gospel of impulse
                nothing but myth
                and a trail of sunflower seeds    

bowl of soup

first, the rice goes into the soup
then the fish
carrots, mushrooms, leeks
the poet stirs it with a stick
and the song that he sings, wordless and off key, goes into the soup
and the smoke of the fire, bits of drifting ash
whatever the wind brings along
                remnants of rain
grains of earth and herb from a thousand plowed fields
mountains crumble in the poet’s mind
become loose boulders rolling
become round and smooth and wise
some grind down to dust and wait for the next mountain to rise
                some travel the valley
seventeen perfect pebbles roll within reach
go into the soup
the last drops of saki and a tread from his shirt, into the soup
he adds the vanishing memory of youth
all the leftover laughter of summer festival
                drunk friends
all the footsteps that stumble
                dew drops
                                                lonely cricket
into the soup and stirred with a stick
the spirits of scarecrow and firefly, into the soup
the stars and the moon above, tangled in the gravity of soup  
crash into the soup
soup becomes universe
the poet sits, symmetrical in silence
(night - highway - fire - soup)
he holds the bowl with both hands and takes little sips
                the soup is hot
“clear view
In the soup kettle…
The milky way”
Kobayashi issa (priest “cup-of-tea” of haiku temple)

the aneurysm (inspired by “the thinker” by auguste rodin)

"the thinkin' dude" by ziggy zagmyer 

he had an aneurysm
            right there on the steps of the museum
            a crash landing of sorts
between greek myth and nuclear physics
i heard a sharp pop, like a small caliber gunshot
            witnesses were concerned
            and then not concerned
some say his heart was made of styrofoam
others say a pearl, all clammed up
some say he’s a fake, imitation of humanity
            hired by some egg-head committee
            to pose superior, ponder a footstep
            pretend a few heartbeats
just a hollow shell, knock but no one answers
sometimes magpies perch on his shoulder
            whisper in his ear
            secrets are safe here
only gods and fools and small ugly birds talk to rocks
as a boy i would sit on his knee
he would flex his muscles and make a fist
            punch himself in the face
trying to dislodge all those dark thoughts
but dark thoughts are like miller moths
            in a windowsill
            kill one
            and two more appear
we sang sex pistol songs in rain shelters
            waiting for the bus
            we shared a sandwich and a migraine
            watched lithe and determined women float by
imagined them dazzled and bewildered and naked
            in the arms of our dangerous poems
he’s not drunk, just socially awkward
            and a little homesick
            for secret islands of nowhere
between stonehenge and silicon valley
his name is lorenzo, a pisces and a winter
a governor of renaissance, a generation x stacker
philosopher and ice cream vender, inventor of wagon wheels
            patron saint of farris wheels
            old wounded warrior
veteran of multi-colored revolution, feet scarred mile markers
his mind tattooed in blue lightning
and i was there when it flashed   
the aneurysm, right there on that pedestal
witnesses will tell you, i tried to save him
but i couldn’t wake him
perhaps these ugly birds can breathe life back into him
              fill him up with earth-babble-dream-nectar
              the nonsense of life
              the wonder


"the thinking dude"

copyright ziggy zagmyer

pretty waitress perfect of fools


she’s a lovely cold sculpture, marble nude with her head cut off
a sexartwar reality keeps the rattle snake that bit her
in a peanut butter jar, like voodoo
she’s a painting of a painting, a revlon reproduction
venus on the half-shell, phosphorus and effervescent, arms wide like
happy hour and everybody’s glow in the dark expectations
coming true
she wears a uniform of fingerprints, her angels in aprons overshadowed
by dogs playing poker, howling her attention
she cleans up and collects whatever beerbelly heroes leave behind
nickels quarter dimes, her rent money jingles
she’s a time-traveling daydream, her mind leaping thru wormholes
body serving smiles here, head swimming in future grace
on long bus rides she rearranges mental furniture (symbolic sofas
in relation to symbolic windows, grand pianos on top of glass coffee tables
on top of brass buddha candle holders)
acrobats and ballet daredevils   
she stuffs her soul into shoes too small, stretches her body into double shifts
overtime in underground nightclubs, basements full of hey-dudes
and hey-bros in hey-ho-lets-roll rattlesnake bliss
licking each syllable- hey girl
she’s twenty-seven now, still standing in a doorway, evolving
revolving in and out of fear and doubt and circles of dead inception (sex-
see her scrubbing tables? see her bleaching her reflection?
scratching thru the surface the varnish comes unglued, see her
wash away? the moment splits in two, a small voice becomes urgent like
some twisted edvard munch screaming
put the wardrobe back on the mannequin
pose it in the kitchen, the display window
back up on the pastry tray
slip out of her mona lisa cage
where the black earth washes her feet
removing miles of bad road
turning stone back to flesh
winter-thawed and summer-bound
singing reunited gaia-heart
(i am universe
i am
        i am
see her holding the moon in her hands?
of poets and fools


cycle of the moth

so this moth sits on the back of my hand, examining my substance
and the circumference of all things
                                             human, and with or without comprehension
of the odd shaped man-contraption, will drop dead
living but a single day
weeds grow in the fields below cool shades of sky
and worms play with ideas of immortality
(mortally wounded flied dangle from spider webs
like spider snacks in spider traps in a way that only dead flies can)
the mortally wounded chevy nova sits flat against the gravity
of dirt road, uncertain of motion
                                             suspended in summer
                                                            wandering in thought
becky and mick in the backseat talking, i am in the front
stevie ray plays little wing on some distant frequency
she crushes out a cigarette and lights another
then opens her mouth to let her confusions flutter:
               how come violets and blue, and not violet?
               How come the ocean is blue, but rain is gray?
               if the eye in the sky sees everything, can it see itself?
               is everything watching everything?
               when dogs dream, do sleeping cats awaken
                                           screaming with nightmares?
               and we’ve been waiting here for hours
               if the tow truck never comes for us, does it still exist?
                              we consider this
and suddenly hear the sound of one hand clapping
as i slap another bug crawling across the dashboard
(it all comes back to me, the primordial memories
like buzzing swarms of bees, or bees that swarm buzzingly
swarming memories of primordial buzzing that comes back to me
like hot kilowatts of bees)
it all comes back to this moth, a dusty paper god
               who lives but a single day, and spends it
                                                            banging against the windshield


credo quia absurdum

(the hoax)
so these scientists these crazy what’s wrong with you scientists
put an ancient vase on a record player, applied a laser
and some super science, digital scanners, noise filters and
crossed fingers
(f.m. – frequency modulation – funky magic)
set up wine glasses and crockpots with little cocktail weenies
and held the world’s greatest strangest séance
they made sculpture giggle
                imagine their surprise
six-thousand-year-old young girls laughing so loud they leave grooves
                not gods
not wizards, just girls, children of clay, born of flesh, translated to breath
expelled from happy lips and pressed back into clay on a potter’s wheel
i want to believe
because it’s so absurd
because i want to know laughter is eternal
                                in the fossils and footprints of my ancestors
in the homemade toys i slingshot into the future
                i want to believe in that grace
and i want to dance with the shy blond girl
                in the white dress, in the frieze of life
                feet splashing
in a garden of green paint, laughter thick as plaster
                                and spin her till her dress falls off
and i should rescue this princess bohkara
reclaim it from this cold thrift store
                too precious to leave on the floor
listen close and hear mothers teaching daughters eternal knots 
this will be my blanket, and i will sleep and dream
                in the footprints of elephants
and i can stare hours and hours
                into vinny’s whirling stars, big wind fist
                                                                punching the moon
my eyes go all rapid cycle dream-optic oscillation
all those brushstrokes screaming blueblueblueblueblueblue!
i want to live in a museum
                                                i want to lick all the art
i want to eat their hearts
                convinced they’re made of cinnamon rolls and raspberry jelly
                porkchops and cheesecake
                and the psychic breathmint of eucharist
and i want someone to drink this poem, taste my fever
                my tire fire, my words wide open leaping into
                                                                frequency modulation
space and time never forgetting a single note of music, every echo
ocean in a seashell
highway in a hubcap
                giggling girls
                                in a cookie jar
somewhere in a distant future, deep in the long-gone of mankind
                travelers from a more flexible universe
bubble-headed paleoacousticologists on safari
                some crazy what’s wrong with you alien race
                finding our remains
finding this world a dead relic, a lazarus bowl, soul jar bursting with ghosts
point a record player needle at this mess of human milieu and discover
                the human voice:
rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
and e pluribus unum
and today is a good day to die
and i’ll have a blue, blue-blue-blue-blue christmas
and mr watson come here
and this puke stinks like beer
and the poets lie too much
and frog leaps – sound of – splashing
and i want to fuck you like an animal
and a pocket full of poems, ashes, ashes, we all write poems
(and remember, this is just a hoax)
and everything was beautiful
nothing hurt

various haiku

baby ducks
just little ripples
in mother’s wake
on sappa creek
we tie our ponies
and pick chokecherries
this year
the peach trees blossom
only butterflies
supermarket milf haiku

smiling, she blushes
purple as the plums
in her basket
robert frost reduced to haiku and tickled to death with zen madness

in a yellow wood
diverging roads make
no difference


bless’d are the graffiti artists
the undergods of underdogs
            canary kids tasting the atmosphere
illegal artists caught in the gleaming glory of police spotlights
recording history in black and purple block letters
            every word a bruise
bless’d are the bus stops where prescriptions can be filled
bless’d are the jackhammers, bulldozers, traffic cones
            urban madness blocking all the sidewalks
            bless’d are the dreamers who dream upside down
who dangle from the thinnest of wires, whispering at the world
            (hello fate, my name is bait)
bless’d are the mom and pop shops locking their doors
orphans in the aftermath of billionaire bubble-math
bless’d are the homeless men under the overpass, with long wiry necks
long shaking limbs, bones with beards, creeping out of their caves
like wolfs, or werewolves, or insane haiku masters:
            (hello friend
                        running for president
                        need campaign funds)
bless’d are the jalopies, the wild pilots of jalopies
philiosophers of practical jalopyism, bless’d are all things that
don’t know how to die, and the junkyards where jalopy’s dream
            of a mothership
bless’d is the hole in the dashboard where the stereo used to be
and the grace of a skilled thief who can jimmy a lock without smashing a window
            bless’d are the pawnshops that don’t ask
bless’d are the billboards, reminding us to by milk
bless’d are the coffin-shaped coffee shops, where all things can be viewed
thru coffee-stained windows, profound or profane
            frame by frame and thing by thing
            and receive our blessings
and even though i walk in the shadow
of a seventy-four story corporate headquarters
            i shall not fear
graffiti gardens glow in the dark, aerosol nightlights painted in combustible colors
knowable only to those who speak the language of drums, fists, heartbeats
            only those who speak the language of falling apart
putting it back together, pretending no broken or missing or stolen parts
bless’d are the graffiti artists
for they shall inherit these walls


secret door on the back of a photograph

too much factory district, too much winter bus stop
                too much rent and paper-thin paycheck
too many scrap metal scars
too much heart in my chest pinching lungs in half
too much gray landscape on the surface of my eyes
                too many holes in my jeans
too much is too much and she comes to me
                like something out of a jukebox
a renaissance
and i wash away in headsong
her arms
are long
like rope, so i climb up to her atmosphere, copasetic blue
a million cartoon parachutes
her face
is calm
always april, shelter from angry storms, and i fall asleep on her cheek
her heart
feels solved
like a vase, open ended vessel
                woman shaped wishing well
her thoughts
                are time machines, rosary beads, wind hitting a wind chime
with accidental pleasure
and she says to me
if the world is an actor, then the actor is a villain, and the strings of this machine need
oil and ambition, and the stage is a mirror for the hero in our heads, complicated symbols 
flashlights for weapons, trick coins and sharp pencils, if the world is an actor
                then the actor is a villain
she says
go deep
if it soothes
sink to the bottom of real
one eye flashing hazard lights, one eye filled with shadow fish
                exhale and evolve
love will remember your name, skip stones across the water
                trails to lead you back home
pastries fall off the back of a bakery truck
                and the ravens dive in
somewhere, a mangy black dog enjoys a brown leather shoe
somewhere, a photograph unfolds
fingers tracing the silver shapes, and jukebox prophecy rings
loader than a bus driver’s battle cry
you getting on or what?


guitar in a pawnshop

a gibson guitar more sunburnt than sunburst with a pawnshop glow, twisted neck
dead frets, hanging horse thief from a hook in a room made of dust and i wonder
                                                                                                  if fingers remember
                how to lick steel
                                                bend spoons
fingers cluster up and chunk-a chunk-a chunk-a, fingers grinding needles, fingers
pinching nerve cords (chunk-a chunk-a chunk-a) making minor god noise
                                                dropping harps from heaven
                                                                                throwing bricks at butterflies
fingers tighten and intensify
                twang-twang-twang-twist-twirl-chunk-a chunk-a-squeal
                a weasel in a bear trap, pipe wrench on a pipe bomb, fingers invert
                the in goes out, the out comes in, fingers wrap around the neck
                                                make this machine fight for breath
fingers maneuver impossible cliffs, sharp clefs, razor raw strings burn and glow
                                so hot, red hot radiator caps
fingers find tender spots along the timeline
                plucking individual moments pictures scars collisions, measuring so careful
                a lullaby with a smoker’s cough
fingers bleed punk junk redux
                decompose and unsing a symphony backwards thru a blender, scrape metal
fingers fly, speed of light fly, fingers lift-rise-soar-scream-roar and
fingers know the reasons, know what i long to be
                                pure sound
                                                no fingers, no strings, no magicians up my sleeve
                                                 just sound
                                                 high frequency blue sensation (waaaaaaaaaaaaah)
                                then fast elegant riffs descending down, riff down down down
                dwindling down into rumbling fog thunder, into pitch black amplified