Gerard Sarnat – Five Poems


i. Glow Of Chicago Winters Past

Parka-gloved bad boys

subnivean positioned,

conspire, throw ice balls.

ii. Mid-Septuagenarian

Gradually aging

as my snow white hair descends,

winter says sadness.

iii. Broken Winter Pastoral

Trump shook up snow globes

which to opponents looked like

they were full of shit.

iv. no longer pure as driven snow haiku [2]

sleep paralysis

stage – take snapshot poem, return

to your fitful dreams.

sadly, most nights Ger’s

septuagenarian slumber’s

multi-act battles.

2. Present Moment Snowflake tanka [2]

Buddha had lots goin’.

Family, health, wealth, athletics,

fame. Shiny objects,

poems passed. Meditate. Relax

into luminosity.

So let you be free.

Just naturally. Aware

of all postures. No

censoring.  Without some dark

our true light does not exist.

3. Snowflake

Despite what’s known today about permanent atrophy

of the amygdala’s discipline center

accompanied by irreversible hypertrophy

of the brain’s pleasure center in young teens who smoked weed;

probably if a high schooler now,

yes, with a little help from my friends

I’d get educated how to remain high most the time.

Instead I loved Mr. Painter’s geometry class,

the satisfaction of proof = proof, but didn’t Mr. Crean’s physics

where it wasn’t clear the bald human light bulb

understood a fig newton up from down.

Underlying these judgments, and only in retrospect,

there was something about the former’s translucent kind eyes

and the latter’s yuck-yuck somersault appeals to the peanut gallery

which made one adult male authentic and to be taken seriously,

the other not — of course that’s totally subjective,

probably based on father figure projections blah blah.

Different eras, I’ve gazed through different prisms.

Mama’s womb to curdled boobs, toys revolved around circles,

orbs of hormonal manna, playing alpha ball of all sorts

sucking apricots through zucchini, a Casanova couch-surfing cherries,

valvular foreplay, lubricated sphincters, curlicue semen

DNA petting spills, rolling in the hay.

X ray vision undressed, penetrated women.

As a work-hard-play-hard flowerchild I did it up swell.

Eventually a more complex shape blossomed downside up in both retinae.

During my seventieth birthday party on Tel Aviv’s sunkissed beach,

though no diehard fan of America’s Pentagon,

a three-dimensional dodecahedron flashed over the Mediterranean.

The five members of our nuclear family appeared symmetrical without hierarchy.

Equal gravitational forces of love flowed in each direction from every angle.

Then heaven melted.

4. Dance To COVID’s Music

An ode to nice, neurotic

Jewish boychick’s own

Odin/Valhalla battle

mode muse:

Omm….odious Goyem

happier holler (but not

on our Shabbes as we

chant, chew challah)

oy, some of that more

nostalgic pre-war’s

past fave pleasures,

one warm image

Gerry picking out your

perfectest ever

local grocery

store produce

— particularly if such

could then eventuate

in much sweeter

melodious melon

syncopation, become

available nowadays

even right through

my snowy winter

given the Southern


summer ships

‘em up north

although what with

Corona, I am so

very absolutely

grateful to

have opportunities

to gobble orange

cantaloupes which

may get delivered

no matter should

they rot too fast

— or honeydews’

green cardboard

drossy tastelessness

since most often do

never ripen — plus

oval watermelons

frequently freezing

in frig, red centers

completely gone to

an unkosher mush.

5. My Own Private Berlin Post First Magical Snowfall

We don’t talk about it much – and maybe it’s only Dick and me old enough so far –

but ya know the way


you’re more and more  “out of it”

when trying to function in society?

Perhaps felt disproportionately among those of us who spend some time

in fast-paced urban settings. 

In the US that’d more likely be coastal elites –

driving in San Francisco and Los Angeles is increasingly difficult –

though Chicago ain’t no picnic.

But even night-driving into the forest where I live is a hassle.

Clerks and those behind me in checkout

(as it were)

lines are conditioned to be increasingly restless

expecting this generic old person to slow things down. 

And everything costs so much you’ve quit even trying to make sense of it

except for big price-tag items?

So what the hell is it with Netflix where for like $8 a month I can find genug

good new interesting stuff to keep me happily busy?

Tonight I stumbled on this series called Abstract: The Art of Design.

The first show from Berlin, to Lou Reed’s eponymous mini-sound tract,

is on Chistoph Neimann and his illustrative art.

Berlin reified the experience since I was recently there, it’s a hotspot

for young Israelis (a happening place, free education, good jobs, lower cost of living) AND it got warmed up and personalized walking-talking-eating-smoking with Barry. 

Jusssst too great, Neimann’s such an inspiring but accessible creative genius!

Physiognomywise he reminds me a bit of John Oliver.

He’s done maybe 23 New Yorker covers.

The second episode is on Tinker Hatfield, the U of Oregon pole-vaulter

who has worked intimately with Michael Jordan to design their epic Nikes.

And lots more in the series left! 

Comforting and comfortable family — my uncle was born in Belarus

which used to part of Poland or neighboring more powerful countries —

and exciting media (books included, say re-reading Alice Munro’s short stories)

have become more important since I’ve put myself on a diet

to avoid Cable news and to balance demanding time resisting Trump

who’s threatening to downgrade America’s relationship with Germany in favor of Russia.

Bonus: snow cone chicanery

remember grand

son’s salmon-sepia sugar-smudged summer soda

fountain cutoffs?

Gerard Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for handfuls of 2021 and previous Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published including in Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Northampton Review, New Haven Poetry Institute, Texas Review, Vonnegut Journal, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, Monterey Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Review, and The New York Times as well as by Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Chicago and Columbia presses. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting energy/ resources to deal with climate justice, and serves on Climate Action Now’s board. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future granddaughters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s