WTF AFTER SUPPOSED SIMPLE COSMETIC OPERATION
1. Have a Nice Day
The good news was a dear bud
With plenty of health issues
Made it into the hospital.
Bad news another close friend
Called to say that twin sister
Has brain cancer……….
Then phoned back two hours
Later sobbing yesterday’s
Done as just outpatient procedure
Shockingly revealed thigh biopsy
Shows terminal leiomyosarcoma.
Afterward a daughter FaceTimed
To express elation regarding
Both kids so I feel better.
3. Oy agony, and/ or…?
Danny boy picks me up
dressed in slick black suit
wearing cool chauffeur’s hat
& N95 with windows cracked
to drive absolutely Mister Crazy
north on 280 headed toward town
of Colma, zoned as Cemetery Row
across San Mateo–>Hayward Bridge
which Craiger rode on his motorcycle
in the other direction a gazillion+ times
to attend Wednesday night Men’s Group
or Bodhi Tree gatherings in Ger’s meadow.
End of fooling around, pall is settling in as
approaching The [San Lean] Dro, we brothers
don’t know what to expect from dearest buddy
had just learned of malignancy, now attempting
to sus out whether or nada imminent death sentence
who requested while living still easy that three of us
celebrate an ecstatic spring day in sweet tiny backyard
with windswept squeals wafting over neighbors’ fences
I imagine emanating from kids’ 1st of season wading pool
while Oakland-bound planes zoom in ‘n out among clouds.
Gang of four (sometimes joined by friend’s wonderful wife)
admires exuberantly blooming flowers outside –– as well as
angels, neon + other fishies seemingly so very happily thriving
within humongous tank on way (masked) inside for bathroom breaks.
Although a pity can’t puppy-pile during these Corona virus-laden times
my admittedly original apprehension given real circumstantial exigencies
melts away quickly subsumed under warm relaxed glow of being together
intimately, whether weather turns chill (Rosanna covered each in blankets)
sunny smiles intermixed with comfortable silence expressing such deep love in all directions – devastating sadness banished for this current present moment
capped off by feast of bountiful Bing cherries along with local Ghirardelli chocolates both thoughtful hosts have provided. These ineffable connections exploring new territory
ultimately offer awesome bittersweet satisfaction rather than unadulterated pure happiness — a place to rest from physical and emotional pain with a little grace,
perhaps even wisdom.
But more importantly in Craig’s words, summing up our four hours, “Spectacular joy
Just what I wanted.” Hopefully fuel to store for use during future’s potentially exhausting
5. INTROSPECTIONS [iii]
i.our appallingly tall orders?
we were born
plus all die
I will be there
may want me too
a calling there now
their horrible pallbearer later
ii. Hours Of Crisis, Potential Doom
Am I quiet standup guy
You always thought
That Gerard was
—Or is our truth
And are other mens’
Needs during dark
Nights of the soul
With power to
Compel optimal love
Plus compassion as
Well as sacrificial
Defines being egoless mensch?
iii.Harvesting Our Good News During Bad Times
When odd Grim Reaper appears,
There is nothing like a dear friend.
One for whom you would do anything.
And vice versa as if were both close relatives
But without any obligatory requirement of blood.
6. GERRY’S VARIOUS FORMALITIES [v]
i.Gerryatric Dating kouta
End game could come any time
—Main thing’s to be kind.
John Wayne style appraised — dude hides
self from me — macho,
you pretend should not notice.
that’s how we were raised
iii.who woulda guessed? tanka
we spent that first night
then morning before rest of
our lives together –
though Mom’s initial question’s
Don’tcha know he’ll divorce you?
iv.leiomyosarcoma diagnosed haiku
one day he’s Senior
Basketball League All-Star — next,
dear Craig, men love you,
try to become better friends.
many sleepless nights…
7.An Ethical Dilemma Without Obvious Answer?
Thousands of nurses
Ostensibly for safer
Protection plus patient
But management claims
At issue but arguably already
Than elsewhere and so lockout
All of which, if we were talking
Or candy bar factories collective
Ger supports workers: now it’s about
Who are sick — might die without hospital care.
Chimp trained as a vigorous general internist
In a much much earlier era
Before primary care medicine’s hollowed out
(Which having been an HMO
Takecare exec you take some responsibility for
But that’s whole ‘nother story)
Now well past my salad days, I am attempting
To help equally or older aged
Friends navigate their way through healthcare
System gives ‘em zilch support
Or resources needed to have a fighting chance
For achieving optimal survival.
Currently serve too many buddies + loved ones
Seem recently to have lost track
Of numbers…during spare time, mozy over to
Access personal options locally
Regards when partner (maybe Ger?) becomes
1st to require own out-of-home
Facilities: it suddenly occurs to me there is big
Premium if institution (ugh hate
Such concept!) for Senior Living as adjacent
Assisted Living, Memory Care
& then Skilled Nursing so whoever goes down
Those proverbial tubes 2nd can
Walk right next door to take care of/ continue to
Fancy spouse without necessity
To rely on ability to drive or someone else to do
In order to retain independence
Allows us not to be rushed visiting his/her mate.
Soon’ll review plans with our kids
Begin to understand options (one prefers crawl into
Hole, disappear; whereas other seeks
Thrive ‘longside grand/children) — start negotiation.
Gerard Sarnat has been nominated for the pending Science Fiction Poetry Association Dwarf Star Award, 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 Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published including in 2023 San Diego Poetry Annual, 2022 Awakenings Review, 2022 Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County Celebration, 2022 Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival Anthology, Pocket Samovar, Free State, The Broken City, Sandy River Review, Three Rooms Press/Maintenant, New World Writing, The Font, BigCityLit, HitchLit Review, Lowestoft, Washington Square Review, The Deronda Review, Jewish Writing Project, Hong Kong Review, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Arkansas Review, Hamilton-Stone 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 NYU, Slippery Rock, Northwestern, Pomona, Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Columbia, North Dakota, McMaster, Maine, University of British Columbia and University of Chicago and University of Virginia presses. He is a Harvard College and Medical School-trained 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 progeny consisting of four collections (Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham To Burning Man, Disputes, 17s, Melting the Ice King) plus three kids/ six grandsons — and is looking forward to potential future granddaughters. gerardsarnat.com
|Why Poetry? |
FREQUENT QUICK BURSTS SUIT MY PERSONALITY
Who are you currently reading?
What poets/artists have impacted your work?
CONFESSIONAL SCHOOL, RUMI, FREDERICK SEIDEL, WANDA ZAMBORSKA
What are some features of poems that you look for when reading poetry?
HUMOR, WIT, WISDOM, CRAFT
Are these part of a larger collection?
WHATEVER I FIRST SUBMITTED TO YOU IS THE LARGER UNIT
Do you have any other projects that you’d like to point readers toward?
NOT THAT I’D CURRENTLY TALK ABOUT. EACH OF FOUR PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED COLLECTIONS GREW INCREASINGLY DEMANDING AS MY STRIVING FOR PERFECTION DROVE ME TO ASK A LOT OF EDITORS, PROOF READERS, GRAPHIC DESIGNER ETC. — NO LESS MYSELF. IF A WELL-STAFFED REPUTABLE PRESS APPROACHED ME, I’D CONSIDER DRAGGING MY 78-Y.O. BONES THRU THE STRESSFUL PROCESS AGAIN.