Winter 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Three Poems
   Gerard Sarnat

America The Beautiful, Spring 2008

K Street slick-suited pigs with earrings
slither and connive how to lobby Congressfolk
into their crosshairs dead or alive.

Up Constitution Avenue, busloads
of sunburned tourists in Bermudas
look like hot dogs, sausage burst
from pink casings; they dither like deer
in the headlights as rainbow babels of locals
bid to take them to China Town to the west
for smoke tea duck or east to the White House
to see lame duck Bush  -- or just plain take 'em.

The gaggle instead chooses to waddle to DHHS
to visit their ex-Senator who now guides the ship.
Ushered into a lift where they're packed
as sardines, a handwritten revised manifest,
recently dated, permits the same number
of occupants (20) but scribbles over
the old poundage (3000), replacing it with
a new decree (3500) -- a fine case in point
how Washington DC makes such a difference
dealing with the nation's obesity epidemic.

Woman Ironing

Rounding Guggenheim's bend
toward Picasso's teen masterpiece,
pretending to listen to Audio Guide,
instead, I turn it off to voyeur a high school
rainbow in from the boroughs.

When the gaggle stops in front
of the prodigy, I eavesdrop their babel
just as one sober pierced dude
whispers to his crew:

“The bleak blues and grays
weigh down on all working class mothers”
-- while most others still gossip
away about this and that.

As the herd drifts over to
Woman With Yellow Hair, I hear two who sport
pink and purple Mohawks debate
whether zit or tear on Maria Therese's face.

There Is a House

Come closer, my love, don't be shy, it's all right.
Let them go, all these months our not speaking.

Sure, we've had ups and downs; yes,
your borrowed words turned me into a prophet.

I became New Orleans' voice, their Sybil,
a pseudo-Rumi to the needy,
a certifiable public TV guru -- while you,
the muse I sucked dry thieving your spirit,
profited not at all.

Times have changed, dear one; the wheel turned;
Katrina's taken back what you inspired.

My manuscripts, diskettes and flashdrive
detritus rot in the hurricane's muck 
flashfloods ripped from our bungalow.

Even notebooks and computer hoisted high
on shelf tops that last minute before fleeing
floated as I was rowed away. 
(Did you see the Picayune's photo
of your boom box near the ceiling?)

Anything left?  Not much.
Let's see what that fancy Miami firm
can do with the hard drive --
extorting a king's ransom I don't have
on the off chance of recovering random verses.

So please come back, help clean up
this god-awful mess: our once sweet home
now stinks like a Bogalusa cow patch.

Work with me to salvage us, or I'll give up,
gut the place, move on. Ghost town inside-out,
my moldy core prays for your return.

Don't walk away, say something …
just don't be a Sphinx ripping my innards
'cause I can't solve some riddle.

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