“Yo-yo”, “Ephemera” and “Bowels of Nursery”

Poetry Issue 12 by Gerard Sarnat


Epic refereed over-the-moon contests

were sponsored by Duncan Toys Inc

outside the best local movie theater

where we saw twenty-five cartoons

for a quarter. Plus the raffle winner

with the luckiest ticket got to bring

a box of chocolates home to mother.

String fully extended from its spool,

my youngest did not experience that

but instead was sacrificed to the gods

of Yo-Yo Ma wannabe cello teachers

who took little girls and boys hostage

[with the tacit assent of their parents]

to draconian weekend ur-competitions.


Active engagement in random circumstance

creating some spawns on almost a daily basis.

Flurry out of time busybody restlessness swirl,

primitive pleasure traipsing curious mindwilds.

Done with stressful lapidary honing drudgery.

Just mucking about intensive but mercurially.

A child looks at things: you can’t really describe

trying to work out sorta what life is as naïve.

Shooting stars screaming through digital galaxies,

many unkempt kids will find publishing planets.

Too much energy – another UFO dispatch waits

just around the corner – too superficial, hurried

-- unevenly bold -- dramatically engaged at best;

inconsequentially glib or decorative at his worst.

Convulsively spontaneous, endlessly enthusiastic,

extraordinarily prolific flow, change, mortality…

All well and good (though provisional, complacent),

reverse snobbism in pseudo-Buddhist impermanency?

* riff off The Pencil of Nature

Bowels of Nursery cum Nursery in Five Movements

i. Loose Lips Lackadaisia

Oh micro-mini-soul, you, my shirking ego,

your quotemarks would just hang there in the air

like wings without a bird.

-- Bill Knott, "Quote Unquote"

daisy-chain industrial-strength investopedia cunning lingua franca,

infamous anti-Goldwater advert

aired only once during LBJ’s ‘64 Presidential campaign,

filthy hydrogen


while peroxide or sunlight or Agent Orange proves

Lady Bird’s best shrink-wrapped nutsack dick-porn dis


ii. To whom it may concern

To whom it may concern,

I now choose not to address

directly, but you who can read

me should by all means feel free

to convey these feelings to my wife

of a half century: Dearest-dearest,

would it be okay to reconsider

cremation instead of our plots

between both sets of parents?

iii. Hickory Dickory Anonymouse

Incy wincy spider

climbed up the water

spouting poetry

Humpty Dumpty --

good egg once – his/her

yoke’s wheeled in.

iv. Septuagenarian Nursery Rhyme

alright ahem er yes sir

let’s try to zoom that perfidious makeshift

bedroom kitchen (microwave, mini-fridge

but no sink) into shape

hide teabags, rice cakes, bread and swizzlesticks

get some essential amino acids plus salad days

in the old Sunbeam Mixmaster before our suspicious kids’

or theirs' Shabbes visit jumping jack flashes

over Bubbe’s tarnished candlestix, my adult diaper tumult.

v. Once Pert (Hyperbolic) Geek

"...envy being best understood as empathy gone wrong..."

— quoting Martin Amis from Thomas Mallon’s Style Supremacist, 5Feb18 New Yorker

Termagant gobsmack, Nabokov fantasy’s nympholepsy

slud to post-menstrual mind’s mildewed mangy

samey slapdash pedophilic mess

I spent off–hours depilling rugs, sweaters or dancing shoes

bugged by generations of his fave felines

with terminal cat scratch fever

which distorted that ignoramus’s grand unified field theory:

unlike novels, poetry’s near-quiet nastyism

is a fundamentally irrational form.

About the Author

Gerard Sarnat


Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. He won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in academic-related journals including Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Arkansas, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Slippery Rock, Appalachian State, Grinnell, American Jewish University and the University of Edinburgh. Gerry’s writing has also appeared widely including recently in such U.S. outlets as Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Circle, Clementine, New Verse News, Blue Mountain Review, Danse Macabre, Canary Eco, Fiction Southeast, Military Experience and the Arts, Poets And War, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times. Pieces have also been accepted by Chinese, Bangladeshi, Hong Kongese, Singaporian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scotch, Australian, New Zealander, Australasian Writers Association, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Romanian, Swedish and Fijian among other international publications. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY for pamphlet distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day 2017. Amber Of Memory was chosen for the 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. He’s also authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons and looking forward to future granddaughters.