irregular peeps, by gerard sarnat

Homeless center lined up number one’s an amiable oldie-but-goody
AIDs tranny aboriginal samurai lookalike, mud caked above beard,
raven hair back in a bun, too taut sarong.

A victim of Michael Jacksonish reverse plastic surgery,
today Donn experiments with silver lids, left rainbow sneaker
other foot bare, mumbles about jail vs. suicide by cop or rail.

Psychotic to the core, unenhanced by meth, s/he shuffles
to Leslie Gore’s It’s My Party I’ll Cry If I Want To, then
Bobby Darin’s Dream Lover which still makes my knees quiver.

Seventy-two years young secret-love Louise swishes by.
A complicated person who’s fashioned many obstacles,
daffodils and magnolias festoon her peacock-feathered conked hair.

Billie Holiday’s cocoa butter double,
demure in torn tight jeans and pink plastic sandals,
doesn’t even know I exist.

Rail thin horn-rimmed coal black El Greco, so manic he levitates,
poses his latest riddle, “How can you get swine flu at Nordstoms,
gobbling cheese on pork between white whiney gropers?”

Adrienne, our world-class gleaner,
“BEND DON’T BEG!” on her preachy keen T-shirt,
puts out organic apricots says she liberated from an orchard.

The crowd rushes by, almost knocks Billie down,
while Sid pleads as he does first of every month
for four little blue pills he can afford when SSI pays the bill.

The public health nurse offers up her own latex treats,
slipping him a fistful of red and yellow condoms
come in lubricated cherry and banana.

Kiki’s hoarding the Rough Riders™ for teens,
wagering the horny studs
might get ’em to wear raincoats.

Slim Shady’s gums babble to no one in particular, swigging
from brown paper, despite warnings, he sips any sauce he can
muster to knock off the rust; today it’s fine-as-wine antifreeze.

Big Bad Bill, weeping ankles wrapped in weeping rags, limps by
best he can to grab fungoid muffins, rancid tuna from the trash
‘fore we close, slinks back into his box ‘til we reopen Friday.


Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals (e.g., University Chicago, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Penn, University of San Francisco) plus national (e.g., Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Clementine, pamplemousse, Deluge, Poetry Quarterly, Hypnopomp, Free State Review, Poetry Circle, Poets And War, Wordpeace, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Indolent Books, Pandemonium Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Texas Review, San Antonio Review, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Fiction Southeast and The New York Times) and international publications (e.g., Review Berlin, Voices Israel, Foreign Lit, New Ulster, Southbank, Wellington Street Review). 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 global warming.

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