gerard sarnat

Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built/staffed homeless clinics, a Stanford professor/healthcare CEO who’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus four grandkids and more on the way. Gerard Sarnat’s been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards and is widely published including by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Johns Hopkins and in Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, Blue Mountain Review, Brooklyn Review, and LA Review. KADDISH FOR COUNTRY was selected for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day nationwide. “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for his 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. Collections: Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). 



“Broken windows and empty hallways

A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray

Human kindness is overflowing

And I think it's going to rain today.”

-- Nina Simone, I Think It's Going To Rain Today

1. In Your Other Face


In the Co-op, hippies nodded, Nice bandana on her!

At the park, Japanese grandparents smiled, She’s so sweet.

The child’s 102 year-old great-grandma wrote after I emailed

a photo, Eli's kid looks more like a girl than the girl. Love, Mom.

But my son and his wife -- who seem to be fueled by how others mistake

Ben Blaze’s long hair for a DSM dysgender code, have no plans to visit straight-edged barber.




i. Hickory Dickory, Whose Is Biggest: What [Several Things] Are Wrong With This List?

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” ― Maya Angelou


From Time Magazine’s The 100 Most Significant Figures in History*


1 Jesus

2 Napoleon

3 Muhammad

4 William Shakespeare

5 Abraham Lincoln

6 George Washington

7 Adolf Hitler

8 Aristotle

9 Alexander the Great

10 Thomas Jefferson

11 Henry VIII of England

12 Charles Darwin

13 Elizabeth I of England

Scanning above POTUS XLV might Twitter,

Screw approval ratings! And fuck Lizzie

 -- soon I’ll be on top of THIS list!!



ii. Energizer Bunny haiku


Trump days -- eight hours

jiggling cable rabbit ears

-- jack attention span.


iii. Call me 7-Eleven cause I’m open all night.


During the Barak era, I was zeker content with

Amerikan kindness of strangers passing this queer

wooden shoeless homeless hunk & his kid spare change

in the rain as they got off their Memphis streetcars


but now that it’s become Donald J. Trump Billionaire

who is inspiring small business entrepreneurialism,

Stella + this frigging Irishman with expired green card’ll 

bootstrap to succeed as drug-dealing red light undesirables.




This evening’s Barak’s last in The White House family residence.  Mister President, many of us sure will miss that disciplined, Seven almonds, not eight.  As POTUS XXIV,  you were so famous for late night snack as well as other restraint. I’ll shed tears of happiness if Trump’s Inauguration’s rained out.


3. OEDIPUS WRECKS  [7]      

i. breathless & other spells

but no period yet.

men’s hierarchy

my own menarche


periods. school

nurse rest periods.

college career kids


más o menos bien


what after the pause?

inside Mommy

Lamaze bumped 

from her bubble


while she watched

Godard’s maybe

most famous movie


big red hand balls,

little pink tricycle,

plus other commas

ii. XY  -- From A Newborn


Who are you

Up there, far away where I can’t see,

Ominous voice and no touch?


Even if I don’t like

The eyes or  tone or feel --

Having Mommy, I’m touched.


Will this become me

The way it always is, Daddy,

Never close or personal?


iii. From A College Boychick


Crossing the Plaza's Free Speech Movement hallowed ground

in the late sixties, a Stanford medical student unusually wearing coat and tie to attend a Berkeley conference with my father, we spied a lovely familiar face in the crowd.  Dad knew her as my sister's high school friend; I, as a buddy's nice ex-girl who was moved to freely speak me into my place at a party or two when I was maybe too full of myself, or too stoned, or very likely both.


I remained quiet, apparently disinterested, while Pops asked what she was doing that summer before her senior year.  "An anthro major castrating rats on a research grant."  A part of me wanted to sprawl on the ground in front of Sprowl Hall, grovel, declare myself yours forever.  But luckily this contemporary smirking male chimp, though very attracted to her, waited a year and a half until he'd sowed some wild oats, was a little more mature, and had a fighting chance to woo this lady who has been his love ever since.


What was it back then that seemed so hot about Hecubean,howling,

bra-burning, power-hungry, vengeful, wombless "vagina dentata"

(castrating vagina with teeth) women obsessed by modern man's

sexual performance? Why did Hector, Cassandra, and Paris' mom,

the wife of wise King Priam, almost always bring up a strong case of priapism in me that had to be most forcefully strapped down?


iv. Love Me Do Touché


-- thanks to Vuong Quoc Vu


There’s stuff about poetry which sure brings out childhood’s

Sisyphean labor of your tough selections.  


There is something sweet and pure, joyousness plus warmth

from summer days we carry with us still. 


It is just like being in a French bakery, where counter shelves

are stacked high with delicious pastries. 


A banquet bevy of sumptuous golden crisp almond croissants

one after another I wish that I could have.


Keep American verse alive vibrant, keep creating beautiful art

to defy her Trump sadness --  keep singing!


v. TransIt










vi. Confessions Of A Moveable Brothel Serial Franchise Eschatologist


 “This is going to leave a bad taste in a lot of people's eyes.”

   -- anti-bussing Congressperson Louise Day Hicks, 1916- 2003


When I barely made it back from making mad love

on Bateaux Orange in the Seine to a bit more sane

New Haven Connecticut, just behind the truck stop's

forsaken Orange Julius, a familiar working lady’s

French kisses soothed my nerves while they sutured

my box of goods which turned out unexpectedly to

be downright friable rather than pliable like the past.


Nothing much happened clickedity-clicky early, so

after consulting the boss’s Ouija board, their union’s

risk management officer advised declining moi’s

business but the women did not, thusly I digress

from that new girl who was a Massachusetts mill

town runaway addict before we got even friendlier

spooning in a Boston Back Bay Friendly’s Restaurant.


Bottom-line of which is Gownie houses Townie in

liberal-leafy Brookline close to JFK’s birthplace near

J.P. Licks Ice Cream Flavors where our fam rented

her modeste rooms in return for cleaning up + caretaker

services if I’m off doing anthropology “field research”

in Paris then eventually also assorted last lick favors

which led to this present particular perplexing situation:


A once regular Our Girl Sunday Mass/ Legal Seafoods

Lunch Package Deal kind of gal became some defrocked

oyster cracker atheist Irish Catholic who despite  wife’s

insistence on paying for what used to be a perhaps

unsterilized coat hanger’s denouement, nixed any further

discussion of even vaguely considering the g-d knows

possibility having an illegal no less mortal sin abortion.


Three months after a real bird in the oven horror show

when the rat-sized newborn plunked out prematurely

during a 9/ 10 pain insanely short two hour back labor,

barely enough time to make it from home to a hospital

where some 12 year-old med student head up her ass

pretended to be a seasoned vet who knew how to deliver

my firstborn while staff scrambled to locate actual docs


then fat like a cow nursing its runt, not talking much,

gaping stretching barely stitched vagina making misery

punting on having sex with his dad, sleepless-depressed,

just at the point I want to get rid of the kid to my mother

(dreamt he threw it in a garbage can like you read about

in the newspaper), Baby begins to smile radiantly at us -

suddenly all is good in the world & our little fur family.


vii. Toot-Tooting My Flute Fugue


-- gracias, Blinky



No Frerejean Freres flutes for

penultimate penthouse parties.


Nada snazzy Sabriözel suits

or defalcated designer dresses.


Dude ‘n dudesses, wez on da

street doing the curbside crawl.


Whose eyes ain’t met down

there squatting apartment stoops?


Is those gov’t GoPros shining

out from shitty sewer grates?


Zoot-bros let loose their pit

bulls then zip guns toward us.


Toppum hood hoodlum hoods,

drink up them side alley scams


or sleazy doorway romance

-- every gutter calls her a pro.


Roadside drugs welcome me;

corner gigolos unmandatory.


Sirens be comin’ for Mama

and still Enrico plays on.




ii. FX’s POSE: Black Brawls Punchbowl & Ivory Pure Windmills

I'll be down to get you in a taxi honey
You'd better be ready around half past eight
Ah baby don't be late I want to be there

When the band starts honey. -- The Darktown

Strutter's Ball, Shelton Brooks, 1917


Disinvited by 99 44⁄100% rest of your world

which make their living on the street doing

aluminum siding


Ovenbird lays her five-spot under a light post

cause that’s where hoodlums or transvestites

ventually find us.


This melancholy clump of battered gay clay

oxymorons, doctors tell me only answer’s,

Have to amputate.


iii. Organ Recital on the Golden Anniversary of a San Francisco Happening


Wind chimes, prayer flags hung from windowsills of the North Beach studio -- this antique’s been massaged here for years by a body language teacher.


The taut rubdown-doctor’s Om and Tibetan bowls shudder my wellspring before I wobble to church for last day of the month’s Old-Timers Lunch.


Though the steeple’s cross is gone, our Buddhist sangha has preserved the fragile harmonium Ginsberg donated to us back during the Vietnam War.


…I was a hapless Stanford Medical School student down in Palo Alto when Allen gave a concert and read poetry alongside Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Lew Welch at North Lights Book Store where Ferlinghetti passed the hat to bail fellow draft resistors out of jail…


Mindful loving-kindness circle, those of us who no longer lotus, prowess shut down, tilt toward euphony meandering from the rafters.


My half hour’s listless respiring to create now’s present moment, after the bell’s rung, we munch veggies and comfort food while kvetching lists of aches and pains…


Haven’t been well since telling whoever’d listen, “I’ve never felt better,” which too light in the loafers dropped the other oxford, hubrised into barely walking pneumonia…


Delicious things - chugging cheddar, gulping silence and darkness alongside tapioca, licorice, muesli slathered in nectarine - sate me, waylay the pain, bake off night sweats, deep dish draining sinuses while the clock pushes two as it has these three weeks’ downstairsup marasmic contrapuntal fugue rhythm licking vanilla from doorknobs on a dysthymic 'frig treadmill with weird bearded twins, Bin Laden's man al-Zawahiri hand-in-hand with Ginsberg, while a veiled Hamas guy refusing to play harmonium gushes, "Kalpa after kalpa, we Bedouin epicures love hummus more’n Jews.”


Wits spread crunchy as walnut butter in a Petri dish, G-d petrifies I’m allergic, got TB or chopped chicken liver lung - will my woozy anti-body blot out Hezbollah free Ferlinghetti?


Hocked mucusopathy looks like gristle with raw veins: is this yesterday’s blueberry tofu - or plugs of bronchial pulp?


Do you recall when MDs began to advise, Smoke to lose weight? Did Lao-tzu say feed a fever, starve a cold - or the opposite?


Physicians like me don’t know from old wives: did I catch it out with wet hair? Will matzo ball crucibles inoculate flu antigens to chew viruses?


Have you read the New England Journal claim cauldrons of simmering spinach quadruple gamma interferon so goody-goody T-lymphocytes can chomp adenoidal bacteria, maybe HIV?


Monotony my motto, again I pop pills, drip drops, spray inhalers, guzzle awful red stuff, cuddle in bed tenderized in Trumpian torpor with today's overcooked insomnia tormenta -- wait and see.


5. Sharing Mary


RIP William Agee, 5 Jan1938 – 20 Dec 2017*



At Havad College

when I attempted

with no pre-med

studies to get

into HMS,

their dean


me with

a note:


“Sir, we,

have been

made aware

you were for

a time severed

from The University

when one nun ‘friend’

got caught in flagrante

delicto in a roommate’s bed.”

An informer

said, “this male 

hasn’t demonstrated

a necessary ability to

manage his own affairs

no less those needed to get

through Harvard Med School -

let alone help requisite patients

manage profound health affairs.”


* riffing off New York Times obituary 27Dec 2017 which details

this rising-star CEO’s ill-fated affair with subordinate Mary Cunningham

who was pressured to leave Bendix Corp when he was accused of “favoritism.”

Bonus: BDSM haiku


bad day submitting

manuscripts, my post pobiz

mission’s submission.

Bonus: Identify Crisis Life Line 

Gays survive AIDs

gender roles softening

men nursing babies

maybe our generation’s

only plusses so let us
hold off on her frivoles.