Gerard Sarnat




Fred Astaire Said Tomato, I Say Tomato


Lily-white PM Francis Urquhart becomes POTUS

Frank Underwood who gasses and hacks to death

red-blooded Americans but still destroys Barak

Othello Obama’s favorabilities in the latest Reuters poll.

So on the exact day more than a half millennium

since the last House of York and Plantagenet dynasty’s

hunchback remains were exhumed from a blood-stained

car park grave, given a burial fit for a king,

why’s my binge-watching Prez Kevin Spacey

and Robin Wright’s portrayal of his First Lady

Macbeth, the cunning Claire Undertaker in Netflix’s

House of Cards, considered decadently wrong,

while over one blue weekend your gobbling

catsup & mayonnaise Earl of Sandwiches

plus all the chapters in Dobbs’ English pol novel

the series’s based on, is judged quite decent indeed

though Ian Richardson’s Maggie Thatcher –- more Richard III

than Tom Sawyer’s Becky – blackmails foes with photos

of them with rent boys, tosses troublemakers off

Parliament’s roof with the zeal of Shakespeare?



Artiste POV

Atonement, at least the HBO movie —

I read McEwan’s bestseller but don’t remember

— blasts open a countryside castle

with my whipsmartlaserfocused heroine

(not Keira Knightley’s Cecelia lovely I suppose

becomes the female lead if you stick with On Demand

which I probably won’t) whose names I don’t know

typing “England, 1935.” The jaunty beanpole

with straight blond hair plus bangs

says, When you write “castle,” 

a reader might see flags waving under Northern Lights, 

the medieval village below.

She sees everything always forever as if blocking a scene.

Takes the pinpricks with the ecstasy

but mostly seems oblivious to both.

The girl is twelve thirteen or fourteen.

Instead of like me beginning at sixty-three.




The month after Daddy died, I bought Mom a toy

poodle just like the one

she nursed at home during high school graduation.

Mommy called it Flo

after the original accessory named for Grandma

Florence: For the most part, Ma

spoke about not getting over her very first pooch

passing when she’s young —

after which Grandpa dumped Mama in boarding

school over in Florence…

I changed the subject by resurrecting a sepia photo

from my parents’ honeymoon

in Alabama where they rode exorbitant white stallions

while both also chain-smoked.

Jaunty fedora, Father looks just like a movie star.

Mother turned to me, Who’s that?

Taking Flo II for a walk, feeling as anonymous

as the patches of grass

between sidewalk and curb, when we got back,

now that Dad’s not watching, I won’t cook

covered casseroles or anything I don’t want to eat.

Out of rank pettiness,

I gave the dog food, gave Mommy’s maid Maya

dogfood, give Mama nada.


Location Location


Basket cases of Auschwitz apostates will that their ashes be scattered

at Gucci’s & Dodgers Stadium so their daughters & sons might visit…

Forest Lawn cut loss leader deals with W.C., Errol, Clark, & Humphrey

among nebulae of movie stars in order to attract lesser full pay satellites.

Pierce Brothers Inc.’s black hole gobbled up Marilyn Truman Zappa

& angled for Jack Palance Rod Steiger futuristic father figures and suns.

More down to earth Hillside invested in the borsht belt firm, Jolson

Benny & Berle while Hollywood Forever landed Bugsy ‘n Johnny Ramone.

Pops’d have none of it, opting instead not for pristine ocean views

but staking value claims in the bleak Simi Valley tulies where he plus

Mommy could be parked in peace where the kids won’t come, far from LAX

but within room service of gas fumes and crash site freeway miasmas.

Albeit took us a few decades, Dad made it his idea to flip eternity

from the boonies back into City of Angels science fiction as long as the cost

of such a switch would be born by his lax children — which we did.

* Anniversary of the death of a Jewish parent, sibling, child, or spouse


Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering’s Subject Matter


Slept in, I wake to microwaved neck warmer,

French Roast brewing, French Toast to plump me up

while avoiding Pop’s obit in the LA Times.

My wife speaks softly, “We’ll go when you’re ready.”

Tortoiseshells turned in from everyone but the funeral director

who demands signatures and a fat check, I feel like Greta Garbo

fleeing from the casket room fast.

Hefty staff in black suits and shades are my blocking back wedge

to put off being confronted by the consolation

of friends and family — I hide away under the white gazebo

before joining mourners as the rent-a-rabbi calls us to order.

After the service, a veiled bombshell offers

the handle to my shovel-ready JewBu son

who whispers he’ll dig the same for me,

that living in the present is over-rated.

At first I regret not leaping into the pit

until noticing that for the first time in years,

Mom wills herself to see as well as veritably hear

what’s really happening around her.Nodding

and smiling graciously, she thanks all the eulogists,

invites the crowd back to the house for deli and schnapps.


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