State of Arcane Art? & Other Poetry by Gerard Sarnat

Carpe Diem Series

Gerard Sarnat reminds us of the preciousness of life and how fragile it can be. Take a moment to read his remarkable work and let it encourage you to make the most of today and everyday!

My Favorite Line: “But in the looking, you may find freedom to ask,

Thusly, what is truly happening here now?”

State of Arcane Art?

up poobah…
here I am, a doctor
who practiced
in two meccas,
Stanford/ Harvard
med schools,
back during
relative Dark Ages,
today read
enlightened treatment
for COPD
with supplemental 𝑂2
& “handheld
fans” (!!!!)
still fundamental
Rx before
resort to opioids for
of breath.


i. Post Traumatic Growth Doomsday

Almost 75 years, sequestered, counting her/our fears, separated
from only companion she could touch —
last shelter dog left in kennel after run on that gloomy market

–with a very long history of insulin-requiring diabetes mellitus,
cardiovascular disease, Guillan-Barré,
intubated, dialyzed with pneumonia + incurable acute leukemia

Bonnie Doon’s got nada timeouts, only exit moves so she spends
precious hours not too near loving family,
doesn’t waste remaining I.C.U. time warp rending sterile garments.

ii. Diamond Birthday Party

— R.I.P. B.T. (1944- 15Oct20)

There we were,
perhaps 50 of us Stanford community squares
the gem which you are for making it to year 76.

After ICU bout
of about two weeks intubated well as dialyzed
with underlying
insulin-requiring diabetes/cardiovascular disease

on top of morsel
sized modest Guillain-Barré residuals plus more
recent incurable
acute myelogenous leukemia, new pneumonia etc.

somehow now
hero-spouse’s steely-eyed determined perseverance
managed young house staff and keep patient aroused

so that morning
of lunch event, just an hour until our festivities’ launch,
all those tubes
got removed right in time for loved one properly fêted

then says Thanks!
along with few of her signature ripping razor-sharp barbs
indicating truly
“with it” before minutes after virtual get-together ends, she

passed peaceably happily hypoxic.

Impermanence Embraced

— thanks to David Cohn

We think time’s linear, that past becomes present and present becomes our future.

Though if look at experiences more closely — there are no present moments.

Each seems empty of any solid existence. Cannot be found.

But in the looking, you may find freedom to ask,

Thusly, what is truly happening here now?

Strong call to return home to wildwoods?

To sit under bodhi tree with primordial

natural awareness, unconditioned,

deathless, unborn. Commit to sky,

allegiant to allow clouds to pass.

So sages have taught us…


Gerard Sarnat 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 2021 and previous Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published including in Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Arkansas 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 Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Chicago and Columbia presses. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a 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 three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future

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