4.3: annulets | Gerard Sarnat—new poetry & poetics
introduction by krysia jopek, Founding Editor of diaphanous micro
It’s a pleasure and priviledge to feature new poetry by the nationally-acclaimed Gerard Sarnat. The first section “from WIPING 2020 SLATE CLEAN [5+],” a section “from KAFKACETERA , the second section of “Irregular People: M-W-F,” from his book HOMELESS CHRONICLES: from Abraham to Burning Man (Pessoa Press, 2010), a brief statement of poetics, and previews to four of Sarnat’s published collections of books, all available for purchase on Amazon.
Sarnat’s post-postmodernist, experimentalist poetics builds off and beyond L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry. The short lines “from WIPING 2020 SLATE CLEAN [5+]” scroll vertically but cannot be read quickly because of the surprising jumps within lines and from line to line, the composition’s superimposition of original imagery (abstract and representational words) and contemporary political references. Sarnat critiques the highly-complex, disturbing political reality—skewed by former, twice-impeached president, Donald Trump, his refusal to concede to president-elect Joe Biden, and his dissemination of fake news to his equally-delusional followers. The first line with its apropos reference to Shakespeare’s Macbeth parallels the doomed Macbeth and Trump, especially now as the Senate Impeachment Trial is due to begin in just a few days.
In “Transformation,” the second section “from KAFKACETERA ,” the poet utilizes longer lines to create a creative, poetic narrative for the reader to experience as the event of the poem unfolds horizontally versus vertically as in the first selection of Sarnat’s poem featured in annulets. This section of Sarnat’s longer sequence juxtaposes Ashberian everyday American idiom (rooted in the important modernist poetics of William Carlos Williams) with provocative, philosophical inquiry. Sarnat incorporates references to our shared American TV and film tradition with references film heroes: “this latest loopy as if I metamorphed / from Tarzan to Charlie Chaplin.” The second stanza begins with “Daddy, I loved you as the sea horned moon” and speaks to the poet’s close relationship to his children and grandchildren.
Please enjoy annulets! We eagerly welcome comments, shares, and new followers of our diaphanous micro Facebook page. Thank you for reading / spending your valuable time here!
from WIPING 2020 SLATE CLEAN [5+]
1. Out Damn Spotify
Mac music faced
ending a weird year
acting as President
not of USA
(unless Trump quits,
but rather of Senate
rules in favor
of motion to throw
but no entity
has standing to sue
so then Flynn’s
martial law ensues.
Today you ‘n
I maintain minimal
beyond making real
trucks still come here
plus filling up
the bronze birdbath so
at least robins
can feel clean: males
bigger and redder)
in while their ladies
waiting to use what
* ritual purification
from KAFKACETERA 
Doors just opened. But this latest is loopy as if I metamorphed
from Tarzan to Charlie Chaplin. Obsessed with onomatopoeia and
assonance boxed sets? Give me a break: no Hemingway Left Bank
celeb seductee, if muses stalk moi, a Cheeto-eater in underpants
they might stalk anyone. Exceptionally dedicated never to publish
medically (Pops’ published over 400 so far), here I am at 64.
Daddy, I love you as the sea the horned moon.
The sun unconcerned continues its arc.
A she-wolf calls me home.
Martini glass near bare
one last golden egg, the germ I must grow and share
from HOMELESS CHRONICLES: from Abraham to Burning Man (Pessoa Press, 2010)
1. Irregular People: M-W-F,
Head of the queue, once proud pro QB, traded his rifle
for a gun, bizarro ex-con Gerardo charms my inner Howdy Doody,
“Hey, Doc Gerard, my brothas don’t buy we’z cousins!”
A hooligan calls hisself Morphyne on the clipboard,
just in from the tulies, bullshits a med school bud from Willets,
name can’t recall, wrote him Vicodan, dog ate ‘em – orders more.
“Sorry, Sir, we don’t do pain scripts here. I’m no shopkeeper.
Community clinics work better that way
for most everyone in the long run.”
“Screw you, dude, I was told you was different,
but you’re a prick like the rest.
Better be careful – or …”
Covering my back, big black cuz puts an end to that,
taunts the outsider, “You’re on the nod, tomato can,
– it’s time to move on, and make it quick.”
Injecting her weekly STD cocktail
through vermilion slattern Capris, I remind flaming Maria Diana
this ain’t the place to transact charnel house commerce.
My Chi-town chum Sam unhooks his bike from the train’s eco-rack.
Boom box atop paraphernalia balanced on handlebars,
crossing the ties, he rides over his latest paranoia.
“Ger, I’ve definite proof your smirks fibbed all along
about us both attending O’Keefe Grammar School – why screw
my head up the butt of your cryptic uncathartic clinical shit?
If you closed your eyes, maybe you could finally see something.
I’m gonna sic Legal Aid on your fucking friendship lip service ass
should you refuse to cease and desist.”
Alma Rose, all kindhearted lard and grins, heartache and breakdowns,
fiddles brilliant water color beach primitives of now foster twins:
I’ll buy one for rent money, try to get some into Stanford’s Fair.
My fave Mona Lisa sashays in, mustache trimmed, cig hung.
“Doc, is you collecting gutter art or buyin’ runty people?
In any case, them free sample shemale hormones sure work great!
Ain’t it time you start ooching them Christians
to raise that long green, get me on the tits and cunt fast track?
By the way, what color is they, Poles or Italian?”
A charming diabetic OCDer, Jill’s sexy ex-librarian fingers
finger Braille while sipping Styrofoam tea and sugar
– no NutraSweet ‘til we reopen day after tomorrow.
2. 67% Hopperized Bathos, from Melting The Ice King, 2016
Freshboy eye candy larva, after Latin class in the Harvard Yard, this puerile grub
put out 2/3’s the hard yards required to acquire Life Magazine’s worn mustachioed
thrift-shop-Brooks Brothers-tweed-jacket-torn-leather-elbow-patches + pipe persona
An apostate commonly caught up in the wash of a sunny big square state,
I got taught nodding Yessir to Pops and Gramps about pumping gas, slopping
the hogs then squeegeeing their crap off the pickup, in the end is what really counts.
Absconding self-conscious introvert, I bathed in Waldorf Cafeteria shadows
of cigar circles whose prodigies fueled my piggybacking doom: Disregard pale fools
who raised you, kiddo. That’s what this damaged rube from the other side of the Rockies
did while the splintered men’s room mirror futilely attempted to dispense PEZ.
50 years later Nordstrom redoers impart, Crayon remaining hair. Bleach teeth. Switch
out bifocals for contacts — which preps this moldering fart for a less than gala college reunion.
a brief statement of poetics:
“Real” life suffuses my work. High-stress medical career, leisure around family in a forest, confronting climate change. Humor and poetry interact with each other to keep this mid-septuagenarian feeling energetic, happy, and useful. Brave poetry is important to me because such gyrations elevate life, both by reading others’ work (think Rumi, Sylvia Plath, Frederick Seidel, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen) and creating my own which expresses Sarnat’s voice, makes me happy, perhaps keeps me young(er) Gerry.
more poetry collections by Gerard Sarnat:
more information on Gerard Sarnat
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, New York Times, London Reader and Review Berlin 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 whose 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.