Categories
Issue 3 Poetry poetry

Eratz Israel

Gerard Sarnat is a retired physician who has built and staffed homeless and prison clinics. He was also a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. As a writer, he has won First Place in Poetry in the Arts Award, the Dorfman Prize, been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcart and Best of the Net Awards, published four collections and appeared in Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Pomona, Brown, Columbia, Wesleyan, University of Chicago periodicals as well as in Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, American Journal Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, LA Review, San Francisco Magazine, and The New York Times.


1. Land Of Abba’s Words

לִיאָב —
Liav in
Hebrew
means,
“I have
a father”
which’s
abba in
English.

Born in
USA to
an Israeli
dad who
only spoke
his native
tongue to
boychick
everywhere

plus my
daughter
who is
bilingual
and wants
their two
year-old
to be even
more so

in Jerusalem
to stay with
daddy’s fam,
out on street
our toddler’s
perfect accent
turns to Mama
to ask, Are we
in Abbaland?

* Land of Israel

2. Hyphenated Wo[rl]d

Complex globalized
Me Too life we live

one grandson, Liavy
Bazry-Sarnat out of

Israel & the US of A
out of Iraq/ Turkey +

USSR/ Belarus by way
of Poland/ Germany

OR Sarnat-Bazry on
another day if wind

changes directions –
like when Mother’s

cognomen was cleansed
from Geshundheit to

Gerard (my first name)
during World War I —

this healthy youngster
learns without thought

now how to talk/ step
in so many shikhlekh*.

* shoes in Yiddish

3. Spirit Of St. Louis: Jive Isn’t A Color

Front of his bus, Lindbergh made it across the pond uninterrupted,
but our stopovers to Israel included Lambert Field
just after Ferguson’s shooting of the Brown boy
by an Anglo cop.

Admitted snapshot through an overpriced soda straw,
bootblacks and conked porters still flimflammed like The Fifties
— unlike Chicago’s O’Hare which seemed cosmopolitan.
St. Louisans marked by melanin validated my impression why they split.

It was one of those eye-popping experiences where our jaws
were too busy dropping to talk: Felt like when my family drove
through Mississippi — minus black and white drinking fountains, I think.
That was my first time back to The Show Me State since left as a child.

4. Carefully Careless Whereas In Germany Aspirin’s Considered A Dangerous Drug

“Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.”|
― Martin Luther King Jr.I Have a Dream

Eyes wide shut drunk, carefree Chevy Corvair swerve-coasting
down there, that curvy hilly stretch of Wilshire Boulevard past
the Los Angeles Country Club where they wouldn’t allow us Jews

a few of us tripping east toward Beverly Hills from a beach party
then stopping at a University High parents-not-home sorta orgy,
four in the morning, Mom and Dad waiting at the back door warned

…and now if this continues, you’ll have to figure out how
 to find another place to live, which I did summer of 1963
before we all drifted off to college and real shit began to hit the fan.

54 years later, after a lifetime enhancing altered states with Quaaludes,
grass, cocaine, mescaline, psilocybin, ketamine, ayahuasca, an alphabet
soup of DMT, 5-MeO-DMT LSD, STP, PCP, MDMA and g-d knows

having navigated through med school, academic plus CEO gigs,
taking care of the homeless, Israel, and making a run at writing poetry
while maintaining one wife and a strong family without hints of addiction

beyond pushing the limits of luck, I am free at last. To paraphrase
a good friend and fellow physician, Fortunate at this septuagenarian stage,
I can have pain, but do not suffer. However, that being said, if the hurt

reaches a certain threshold — mainly unable to sleep or walk because of it,
I don’t hesitate to use whatever pharmacology is required since who the hell
cares if this “retired” old dude gets dependent on Xanax or Tramadol?

5. Cowboys

Oy
why
and how
risk-taking
cardiovascular
surgeons (mostly
boychicks) back in
the day were thusly
considered is another
story…but nowadays
this same term refers
to those who can lasso
icebergs from Antarctica,
tow them to where they’re
needed for water (there’s nada
down there near South Africa’s tip),
then lariat up all their plastic garbage
(our earth’s in toto exceeds humanity’s
mass) to Israel which recently promised
a final solution (pardon me but I can say such
because I’m Jewish) to that humungous problem
plus desalination plants since they are able to produce
more H2O than not so Holy Lands might use over eternity
well as to come full circle on the way home to sunny California
some ID’d as Paradise by tugging Eretz Israel to Catalina for safer keeping.

Gerard Sarnat is a retired physician who has built and staffed homeless and prison clinics. He was also a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. As a writer, he has won First Place in Poetry in the Arts Award, the Dorfman Prize, been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcart and Best of the Net Awards, published four collections and appeared in Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Pomona, Brown, Columbia, Wesleyan, University of Chicago periodicals as well as in Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, American Journal Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, LA Review, San Francisco Magazine, and The New York Times.

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