by Gerry Sarnat
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind — Bob Dylan
Pass your partner
shoulder to shoulder,
circle back, take a turn
then switch; sit round out –
breezy invisible COVID dances
proceed, infinite variations on theme.
Friday night, family that had been tight
Wednesday, (re)convened socially-distanced
in our backyard during cold windy June gloom
to maintain regular weekly Shabbat celebrations.
Toddlers’re strapped in chairs so don’t contaminate
elders, heaters get set, skull caps constantly blown off.
Although personally an atheist, I do successfully wrestle
content of prayers, which luckily a gruff Israeli son-in-law
sweetly chants in Hebrew so Coachie isn’t burdened by words.
It felt absolutely awesome being part of this four millennia lineage
of my Jewish people, often on the run or struggling with much worse
sorrow than cranky kids crying Challah! plus tired exasperated parents.
Saturday, day of rest, I unpack a rug shampooer, learn yet another new skill,
then begin Facetime circuits among six grandsons, reading to the youngest one
from Curious George’s Car Wash, where now we figure how to make toy conveyor
belts before Abba will take them through the real McCoy with windows rolled up all
the way in their own car, to a fourteen-year-old who wants me to critique draft of shtick
he presents tomorrow as co-chair of Los Angeles junior chapter of Climate Reality Project.
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind the answer is blowin’ in the wind. [Amen.]
– thanks to Poetry Society of New York
to verses using diverse
devices typically reserved
for online — listicles, how-to’s,
trends, Search Engine Optimization,
hashtags, hyperlinks, hyperbole, sensationalism
puff plus various assorted fluff: this poet is having
a little bitta fun creating content, criticism, entertainment,
which may entice beyond my established limited community.
Gerry Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, Poetry in Arts First Place Award plus Dorfman Prize; has been nominated for Pushcarts/Best of Net Awards; authored HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting The Ice King (2016); and is widely published including by Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Harvard, Penn, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, Universities of Chicago/ Maine/ Edinburgh, Gargoyle, Margie, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Northampton Poetry Review, New Haven Poetry Institute, Peauxdunque Review, Canary Eco, Vonnegut Museum/Library Literary Journal, 2020 International Human Rights Art Festival, Buddhist Poetry Review, Military Experience and the Arts, Cliterature, Brooklyn Review, Texas Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, San Francisco Magazine, New York Times, Berlin Review, London Reader. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH for distribution nationwide Inauguration Day. Poetry was chosen for a 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. Gerry’s a physician who’s built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO.