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Sunday, June 22, 2008


by Gerard Sarnat

Homeless hubbub 'cross from posh mall,
beside railroad tracks, sad cold facts:
a bold disheveled unleveled ghostly street Jesus
-- shoulder straggly beard and hair,
bare feet on shards and concrete --
guards courage cart lifted from Safeway
(full of garbage). Remote unto himself
in ragged rank raincoat,
hands grasping storm soggy Bible,
he gestures absurdly to birds, preaches at trees,
celebrates amidst the leaves and shit,
screeches to no one in turded Stygian grottoes
behind chic Silicon Valley restaurants
beyond a heater liberated from patios above
to the center of the center where bored drugged
libeled disabled unhoused unlucky sick men
gather to suck luke coffee,
rejoice in day-old discarded raspberry tarts,
some awaiting deliverance -- others the bus.

In hole-y dissolute jeans, old hiking boots,
ill-fitting ill-suited navy blue parka,
gnarly mittens, ratty ski mask
pulled over nose and ears;
I wander the parking lot
from here to there then back again,
black bag grasped tight (clean syringes within),
rasp good cheer, sometimes feed,
sometimes bark advice, always proffer care
-- deeds to show somehow someone cares;
while well-meaning volunteers,
mostly Stanford students (one Aspergian)
alongside retired Social Register church-goers
(compassionate lefties surviving on trusts)
stare at me playing doctor, a hard-hatted healer
laying hands on a Jesus and his brothers.

Gerard Sarnat splits time between his San Francisco Bay Area forest home and Southern California's beaches. He is a seeker and Jewbu, married forty years/father of three/grandfather, physician to the disenfranchised, past CEO and Stanford professor, and virginal poet at the tender age of sixty-two. Gerry has recently been published or is forthcoming in Aha!Poetry, AscentAspirations, Atavar, AutumnLeaves, BathysphericReview, Bird&Moon, BlackZinnias, BlueJewYorker, ChicagoPoetry, CRITJournal, Defenestration, Etude, EZAAPP, Flutter, FurnaceReview, HissQuarterly, Jack, Juked, LanguageandCulture, LoudPoet, MyFavoriteBullet, NewWorksReview, Nthposition, OrigamiCondom, PensonFire, PoetsAgainstWar, Rambler, RiverWalkJournal, SlowTrains, SoMa, Spindle, StonetableReview, SubtleTea, SugarMule, ThePotomac, ThievesJargon, UndergroundVoices, UnlikelyStories, and WildernessHouseReview among others. Just Like the Jones', about his experience caring for Jonestown survivors, was solicited by JonestownAnnual Report and will appear later this year. He is currently working on an epic prose poem, The Homeless Chronicles. The California Institute of Arts and Letters' Pessoa Press will publish his first book. Gerry is a member of Poets and Writers, qualifying in both Creative Nonfiction and Poetry.