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

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 has won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize and been nominated for Pushcarts. Gerry’s authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016) which included work published in magazines and anthologies including Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, OCHO, Brooklyn Review, Lowestoft, Tishman Review plus was featured in New Verse News, Edify, Poetica, Songs of Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords and Floor Plan. Deronda Review, San Francisco Magazine, Radius, Foliate Oak, Dark Run, Scarlet Leaf, Good Men Project, Veterans Writing Project, Anti-Heroin Chic, Winamop, Aois, Poetry Circle, Tipton Review, Creative Truth, Harbor Village, Indian Ruminations, KYSO, Flagler Review, Rumblefish, Poets and War, and Ordinary Madness’ debut feature sets of new poems. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for distribution as a pamphlet in Seattle on Inauguration Day 2017 as well as the next morning as part of the Washington DC and nationwide Women’s Marches. In May “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for Gerry s 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan; the Harvard Advocate accepted a second plus Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, etc. in and outside the US accepted concurrent pieces. In August Failed Haiku presented his work first among over a hundred contributors. Late in 2017 Beautiful Loser’s main spread was Sarnat’s poetry accompanied by an interview. In January 2018, among other acceptances, six Sarnat poems were featured in True Living Documented Relentlessly [TL;DR], his work was front page in International Journal Of Modern Poetry, and pieces were accepted by Australian and Indian publications. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he has three children, four grandkids.