Poetry from Gerard Sarnat

Theater Of Your Absurd

Arguably during life’s central act,
drama included both of us finishing
education and training, raising our family 
plus finding fulfilling work; I was the adult
more in need of nurturance, well as support.

But during one of these last smaller phases,
maybe approaching a decade now, it occurs
that I, more often than not, am likely partner to
give in excess of receive. Fair’s fair, reciprocation
fine ‘n dandy unless Gerard’s basics aren’t being met?

Thanks, Stanford Medical School

While passing on their short-lived plan you get joint Ph.D. in social psychology then oy veh become an academic shrink
(Didn’t happen); when I chose The Farm because of virtue of five not-standard-four-year curriculum, which unlike maybe say Havad, seemed extremely convenient for kid who never took any college pre-med--also since pass-fail rather than grades-although first semester was flunked by Nobel Laureates teaching biochemistry’s ust-review course for most classmates 

---But all new to Sarnat….Schmoozing one noon with Dean’s Office secretary he reveals Faculty Senate now’s looking
at my exam book as example of students on LSD: specifics being absurdly wrong I complained to Chairperson they should at
very least, give Gerry a chance to defend self against charges. He expressed guilt t denying due process, and after Gerard
ranked tops on year-end final exam, R.M. look it upon himself to make things right. Although I used extra downtime to major 
in San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll; I luckily ended up sponsored by sequential Internal Medicine Department honchos for plum internship then junior residency at Beth Israel Hospital!

subtle absurdity

some folks (perhaps all, & I am just not observing other bodies)
have commodity runs, maybe changing glasses frames every year
whereas Gerry only gets new ones if my style is no longer available
would guess occurs in neighborhood of once per decade
though yesterday
for a very 1st time you began to understand or realize, after 2-term-President
or even cicada lifecycle periods of wearing that single quite old pair of slippers
over last most recent era, it appears Sarnat’s become sooo promiscuously volatile 

Gerard Sarnat has been nominated for the pending 2022 Science Fiction Poetry Association Dwarf Star Award, 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 2022-2023 San Diego Poetry Annual, 2022 Awakenings Review, 2022 Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County Celebration, 2022 Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival Anthology, The Font, BigCityLit, HitchLit Review, Lowestoft, Washington Square Review, The Deronda Review, Jewish Writing Project, Hong Kong Review, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Arkansas Review, Hamilton-Stone 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 NYU, Slippery Rock, Northwestern, Pomona, Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Columbia, North Dakota, McMaster, Maine, University of British Columbia and University of Chicago and University of Virginia presses.

He is a Harvard College and Medical School-trained 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 progeny consisting of four collections (Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham To Burning Man, Disputes, 17s, Melting the Ice King)  plus three kids/ six grandsons  — and is looking forward to potential future granddaughters. 


Poetry from Gaurav Ojha

FREE, IF your past can’t recognize you for what you are now 

Free, IF you know that the face you carry is a mask that has been unmasked many times

Free, IF you realize that you are a pretender that you always wanted to become 

Free, IF you can think even when they want to think for themselves but they can’t  

Free, IF you let your life speak rather than measure your being on the shadows of other lives

FREE,  you want to try again, even IF you have been tested out many times

Free, IF you remain interested in something just to feel its resonances in your bones 

Free, IF you can travel on a bumpy road that doesn’t have any destination 

Free, IF you can let go of everythings you have for who you are 

FREE, IF you realize that your a selfish gene and you are only here for a brief survival

Free, IF you recognize the difference between having and being  

Free, even IF someone  closes the door on you, we are all under the same sky

Free, IF you can imagine a possibility even when without any probability

Free, IF you can walk in and out of the market without buying anything

Free, IF you can suspect what you have been told with what has been discovered 

Free, even IF you have chosen the most traveled way, you know there is no other way out   

FREE, IF you are not framed within an idea or identity, which says you are us/not like them  

Free, IF you can meet someone for that moment, without diluting her present with past

Free, IF you know that you have to carry a rock to the hilltop and roll the burden down 

Free, IF you realize that it's just a circus in rounds and the audiences admire their clowns 

FREE, IF you can find ALL in NOTHING and Nothing in All 

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

to kill any horse around
welcome to the place
where laughter died
where the dreams of
innocent children are
hung from a tree for
the birds to pick at
and eventually
where the crosses are
burned with the same
gasoline that the police
use to trap the wrong
colors on the wrong
street on the wrong
side of this town
where the ghosts have
enough drugs on them
to kill any horse around
where old poets seek
a quiet death in some
abandoned relic of a
vibrant past
when the creative ones
only have violence left
run for the fucking hills
nice and festive
they have the christmas
decorations up at the
they look nice and festive
it's a quick smile before
the doom starts a few
doors down
sink deeper
old lovers laugh
at me as i sink
deeper into this
fucking depression
all chances now
officially pissed
toxic isn't even
the beginning of
but the urgency
of now still exists
one fist for the bottle
both fists for the gun
there's bound to be
a cold, lonely night
before too long
i should change my ways
my doctor told me
the other day alcohol
was slowly killing
i laughed and said
my plan was finally
he didn't seem
told me i should
change my ways
that train left years
ago i told him
i'm closer to being
one of my heroes
he said i should
pick better ones
i laughed and told
him if i would have
had his life of privilege
maybe that would have
been possible
a little closer than these old people were comfortable with
i was following a
blue car out of town
i was running late
and the blue car
couldn't give two
shits about going
the speed limit
i never tried passing
the car
i probably did get
a little closer than
these old people
were comfortable
i breezed by them
once we got on the
highway, never
bothering to even
look over
i was on the off ramp
getting ready to turn
when that blue car
came by in the other
lane honking the horn
and giving me the finger
i laughed
hopefully, i'll get the
chance to see that blue
car in town one day
you know, return
the favor so to speak

Poetry from Jalaal Raji


Oh Love, how unfair and rude are you
Shots without permission, of two hearts, one
Makes him suffer the pain of heart, one blur hue
While the other freely live in vain and fun
With your arrows and bow, one like the mouth
of a bay, you’ve made many a deceived sheep
fall in love with the mouth-watering wolf, its death
While he thinks he’d give him a sound sleep
And Echo with Narcissus, the narcissistic angel-boy
That her voice, in the cave she waited, vitiated to echo
And through you she avenged on the one that toy
For you made him fall for a self-nymph, his reflect

Harmless you look though armed
Can’t see that, because you’re blind
Though sweet you infect, you’re wicked

But the love of Aphrodite, your mother
Is one soft, gentle, loyal and tender
For she comes abreast only when you bid her
That sweet I crave for in, and further
On her lips I slept off when I kissed her
For her love compared to yours is sweeter
Shall you continue to make monkey fall for sparrow
And you, partially with Psyche, but your bow and arrow

Poetry from J.K. Durick


Stepping across, carefully, there’s a stumble

built into this, a foot on the closest stone

then onto the next and next, till you have

crossed with your feet, shoes almost dry.

I did this in a dream last night, like when

I was young crossing that stream by my

in-laws camp in Bakersfield. It would be full

in the spring, the water racing downhill and

only a trickle by late summer. Crossing was

the challenge and I was young enough to do

it without thinking twice. And I remember

the stream up by Bingham Falls, even earlier

high school, college, and when I was first back

around here. I would step off and feel safe, so

surefooted that it was just another thing to do.

Now, even in my dream, I stumble then step out

and over, afraid the whole way, as if the streams

have been waiting for me, as cocky as I was,

waiting for me, ready to get their revenge.



They flee from me

from fear or instinct –

grey squirrels, the few red

even chipmunks run

scramble away

and birds of every feather

color and size, fly away

from something they fear

and yet

there I am, filling the feeders

sunflower seeds and seed mixes

handfuls of peanuts every morning

a free soup kitchen of sorts

but they flee from me

even when I use my soothing soft

voice, the one I reserve for small children

and animals of all sorts

and I make a real effort to seem

harmless, calm, slow moving

and yet

they flee from me

as if there’s a line we never can cross

and they’ll flee from me

regardless of what I try to do.


                Last Day

With one day left before you leave

Planning becomes awkward

Dividing time between

The obligatory and the sentimental

Between the need to go and

The urge to stay

The what to do next and

The what can be left undone.

The hours slow down and

Then disappear

Get used up and are gone

As you become gone.

Last time I was caught in this

Awkward setting, this space and time

Twenty-four hours left

I walked around taking pictures

Random pictures of the place

I was leaving –

The table and chairs we sat in most

Afternoons, reading or just watching

The water around us

The statue we liked – that rabbit’s head

Its ears flopping forward

Even the couch and bedspread

And a single picture of my right foot

Held up to show the carpeting and how

Close my wife’s foot was on that carpet.

More the sentimental than the obligatory

But that’s what I did.