1. Third Coast
Discarding “see me” THC cartridge pen,
instead pen put to parchment paper,
much more measured
than if attempted in person
I raise questions whether
after so many years, we two have
a forthright friendship or are still
simply coasting acquaintances?
Do both pull our own weight,
don’t flake while the other
waits half an hour on a corner
outside chosen restaurant once again?
This dunce has been harboring discomfiting
implicit bias not yet front of mind
which feels like you sometimes violate
my personal trust – plus probably vice versa.
Waves of conflict ringing in ears
after summoning such courage to write,
will each of us step up to offer self-disclosure
and emotional support, or drift apart?
2. On My California Coast Men’s Group
Six of us left entering our second quarter century
together, a few already lost to dementia
plus death, we are a fluctuating
that undergoes natural human aging.
Lower testosteroned biologic shifts
both costly and evolving
may be experienced as psychological sea changes
-- even occasional apparent fruition
some uncontrived connectedness, intimacy.
At times I am just this bitty cork
bobbing on a less than pacific ocean
whichever way currents dictate.
No longer young palm tree fronds
hula in synch (or not) to the humid breeze’s song.
Aloha means Goodbye as well as Hello.
Bonus: Spiked Roller Coaster
From once pacific brain
grazing around hotel pool
after a stranger offered you
free drinks from management
mine raced full monte like bevies of Atlantic Beach casino slot machines before grifted I inevitably flatline.
Only much much later after
recovered, back in the room
my wife discovered that while
away her jewels were stolen.
Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently Gerry is devoting energy/ resources to deal with global warming. Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals (University Chicago, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, University of San Francisco) plus national (Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Circle, Poets And War, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Texas Review, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times) and international publications. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons with a sixth incubating.