HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man takes us on a journey from the sensual, innocent stages of growing up to an end reflection on whether “these jottings (will) see the light of day” ...
Gerard Sarnat talks about his experience with the homeless as he wanders “the asphalt with a toolbox of hope.” He is at his best when concrete and earthy. He describes Big Bad Bill, a dumpster diver with “weeping ankles wrapped in weeping rags” as he searches for “fungoid muffins, rancid tuna” from the trash. In “Irregular People: M-W-F,” written in short three line stanzas, we encounter graphically who the poet sees on his rounds at a community clinic-“ a bizarro ex-con,” Mona Lisa who “sashays in/mustache trimmed, cig hung/ Them shemale hormones sure work great!” and “Billie Holiday's cocoa butter double/ demure in torn tight jeans and pink plastic sandals / doesn't even know I exist.”
Who are the homeless in this collection? They are the people of the street obviously but also the homeless are the WW11 refugees of his roots, the kids like himself who grew up coping with a multicultural world of the American melting pot. In the poem, “My Odyssey, My Iliad” we see the author far from home trying to return from the wars and the constant battles of his professional life as a modern day Odysseus. Here he becomes most lyrical and the cadence carries the narrative of the poem along with it. “Polishing off today's lineup of dopers and loners/ users and losers, screamers, moaners, schemers/ smashed shoulders and dreams.”
The Homeless Chronicles is an interesting, often lyrical response to the historical and personal passage of time, the man and the writer from Abraham to Burning Man.