Starting With the 38 Bus

Well the formatting in this post isn’t what I’d like after I copy and paste my writing. But, this post is so long that only my imaginary readers and me, myself and I could read it in its entirety anyway. So…I’ll not sweat the invisible stuff.


Starting With the 38 Bus

On the Number 38 rapid bus route going towards the Pacific Ocean, I watch mad men on Geary Street scream at pedestrians or themselves, depending on the moment. No one makes eye contact with these unpredictable souls.

No one else talks on the Number 38 bus heading west. Everyone messes with cell phones. So I sit and stare or scribble hurriedly about what I see, hear and smell. I’ll tell mostly the truth, but fiction, or at least my imagination, rides with me, too.

To my right, a mother reads aloud to her daughter as horns on the street blare “Watch out!”
She hears nothing except her daughter’s voice. I wonder what choices got them here on this commuter bus right now?

“Never Mind” was quickly written with black spray paint on a concrete retaining wall at Geary and Presidio Street.
But the recorded voice on this bus I’m riding says, “Please hold on.” Now I’m not sure what I should do. So I continue to ride towards the ocean blue. Or at least that’s what I hope it will be.

Lily’s Magic Alterations and Tailoring at Geary and Stanyon Street is across the street from a Cross Fit training gym where fit men
jump rope looking out the door on Geary Street. This bus ride is my temporary alteration. “Please hold on” says the bus voice as the bus doors close and people find seats.

At 6th Street and Geary on old woman wearing a men’s gray felt jacket picks white cat hair off the sleeves one by one. She gently flicks each hair towards the bus and never looks up. If you didn’t realize what she was doing, you’d just think she’s crazy. Not everyone is crazy out there or in here on the bus.

At 29th Street and Geary, a man with hair in a tight bun drags on a cigarette while nursing a to-go cup, but I’m not sure it’s coffee he’s sipping. I’ll keep riding on to 48th Street, but at 44th Street, Geary slopes down quickly. I finally see where the ocean meets the ground.

At Lands End the coffee is good, dark and includes refills. I shall quake with caffeine before I touch the ocean with my fingers. My coffee buzz counters the slow methodical moves of tai chi practitioners. I watch them as the surf crashes on the beach behind me.

There was a man at Lands End who screamed at the land, sky and ocean. His rage is directed everywhere at everything and everyone.
He took our attention and for a moment, became bigger than the ocean.

If I could surf, would I be free? What if I don’t surf until I’m seventy? Would the fish laugh as a shark made a meal of me? “Please hold on” I imagine the bus voice saying now. I could sit all day at Lands End. I could pretend I’m a local obscure poet. But the 28 bus route waits to cart me to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s not a sacrilege to say God hangs ten at the ocean of nature devotion. So I will imaginary surf on the 38 bus to Park Presidio Boulevard and switch to the 28 bus. But I can’t be late because I’m just drifting, looking and listening to whatever comes along. Yes, I’m a well-kept man on vacation. But, “Please hold on” says the magic voice from the bus.
Oh, that magic lady voice does so care for all of us.

At the bus stop for the 28 bus, a shirtless tattooed man’s back carries, I suppose, an image of Jesus. As if anyone knows what Jesus might look like? He prances on the tips of his shoes at the stoplight while others step aside adding distance from this mad man. He sips bright red liquid from a clear plastic bottle and returns it to a side pocket in his backpack. Maybe this is a modern-day Last supper, but I didn’t see any bread or apostles. “Please hold on” said the magic voice as the bus rolled on.

Perhaps God is testing us. God, he, she…a street bum and maker of a cathedral from a wave at Lands End. “Oh behave!” my Queen Anne might say if she rode this bus with me. I’d better be careful or I might hear heavenly voices no one sees. So I exit the 28 bus where everyone flees to see the Golden Gate Bridge equipped with selfi-sticks opened and ready. I attempt two hand-held pictures of myself with bridge and delete both.

I’ve run across the bridge before, maybe twice or even four times. But this time only my eyes will cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
Am I lazy at sixty? If I was on the bus a voice would now cut in and say, “Please hold on.” So see? Now I am hearing the magic lady voice without riding the bus, be it route 38 bus or 28 bus. But I feel great on this day of riding and walking. It’s a day of retreat.

I’m on the 28 bus heading to the 1 bus. “No Stops or Turns” a sign says near the Golden Gate Bridge. “Please hold on.” We do until we can’t hold on. Then we let go. On I go to California Street where I’ll exit and take the 1 bus. All this effort made just to head towards the Powell Street cable car. It’s OK, I’m a tourist.

Once off the 1 bus a short walk is made to the cable car. The car’s empty and the conductor sits on a bench smoking an electronic cigarette. “Get on if you want. Sit or stand, whatever you want” he tells me as vapor leaves his mouth. I ride the cable car to enjoy the sounds of the antique machinery. This turn of the century technology could have gone electric by now. But the clattering operating levers and smoking wooden breaks makes the ride more than transportation.

The now on duty conductor says to a co-worker, who hops on to ride but is off duty, “He (referring to another employee not present) came on like a rock star.” “But they won’t keep him. He can’t handle the pressure” he says while ringing the bell on the cable car like a jazz percussionist.

The end of the cable car line is one block away. The next riders wait at the turn around point. I exit early and walk back to the Hotel Nikko where doormen smile at each customer passing through the door. I ride a polished elevator to the 19th floor where I get a bird’s eye view of a magic crazy city. “Please hold on” down there. But it’s obvious many people have lost their grip.
Gregory Zeorlin 10/13/2016 (A day in San Francisco, CA)

Knowing, Watching, Waiting

Grace Cathedral Labyrinth, San Francisco, CA.

Knowing, Waiting, Watching

Oh you know I want to believe
in something more
than me or you.
I want to believe in something,
more than us.

But this thing called religion.
Well I’m not sure I trust
all it’s made up to be.

I’ve said it once
and I’ll say it once more…
Not sure God entered through
any church door.

But don’t slam that door on me.
I’ve been wrong so many times before.
Or maybe the door is open wide,
so vast it’s unseen.
As if we’ve walked in and out,
and out and in not even knowing it.
And God’s unknown too…

Or maybe the door only exits
as an opening to the outside world,
where God’s knowing, watching and waiting.

Gregory Zeorlin 10/14/2016 @ 10:43am.
Inside Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA


Art Isn’t a Shelter

Art, regardless of its form, is dead. Art has always been dead. The romanticized view of art includes giving art a soul, a spirit or even an unexplained energy.  But art is dead, has no pulse and is cold. Art is a concept, a thing, a string of words, musical notes, an inanimate object, a product sold in the art market, a commodity.  I’ve kept a studio practice for over 30 years and this idea of lifeless art is fairly new for me and a little unsettling if I only stay on the surface.

Clouds For Lease.

Clouds For Lease.

But if I dig below the surface this lifeless thing called ART does enhance life.  It can introduce us to a range of thoughts and emotions. However we should not tag the actual emotions or feelings to art. Tag them to ourselves.  This is what art does…It’s a door that we choose to open to get access to our emotions, feelings and ways of seeing.  Passage through this door is often a luxury. We wouldn’t pass though the art door if we were seeking food or shelter. Art does not feed us. Art is not food. Art is not a shelter.

Finally, I note the coldness of art…the lack of a pulse. Art is not alive. Even dancing human bodies are only a series of motions that end.  Those artists who sacrifice all for their art…forgoing marriages, children and strong commitments to other people end up alone. They become just another notation in an art history book or the maker of some thing in a private or public collection. They create a void in their lives that art cannot fill.

I am an artist. I make things and write poetry ( but none of it has a soul. I am also a husband and father…and it is this part of my life that fills my heart and soul.

My Olympian Throne

My Olympian Throne

The day is young the goals are high!
My television set is glowing.
The Summer Olympics are on again,
“Go America!” my patriotism is showing.

I’m in my chair and set to go!
I’ll cheer my team while knowing,
the refrigerator’s full of cold cuts
and America’s beer will be flowing.

It’s the Olympics say! I know what I know!
I’ll coach my team to gold!
I’ve learned a lot by sitting in this chair
that sports a bit of mold.

When the race is tough and I’ve had enough
to the refrigerator I’ll retreat.
I need to eat a little more energy
to fight away defeat.

Beer and meat are the training tools,
as we Olympian champions know.
Eat quickly and don’t drink too slowly
when going for Olympic gold!

Gregory Zeorlin 8/12/2016

Beyond the Comfort Zone


Beyond the Comfort Zone


Try to avoid going beyond the comfort zone.
Don’t ever trip or take a tumble.
Do what we know over and over again,
for a while we’ll even avoid some troubles.


Shun all those questions we cannot answer.
Let’s just know what’s already well-known.
Limit our quest and be the very best,
at spinning on our own point of center.


Don’t enter a room full of strangers
lest we lose our sense of importance and control.
The world is big, even bigger than us,
such realization is a blow to our fragile egos.


We’re creatures of habit, me and you,
we avoid what seems foreign or nearly new.
But I’m going to trip and tumble, just you watch.
Or join me just beyond the lines of the comfort zone.


Do you want to try something new?
Step out of a rut we’ve made so long and way too deep?
Over and over we form neat lines and rows
before going complacently to prepaid graves with tombstones.


Let’s be brave for once or even twice.
Why not be set free while we’re still living?
Sing a song, do a dance, write a poem, take a chance
of stepping beyond what’s already known.


Life’s troubles will eventually find us, ready or not.
And deepest dreams will fail to appease us.
We’ll toss and we’ll turn or try to run away,
from many things we’ve trapped too long inside us.


What does it take to jump beyond the comfort zone?
Tomorrow’s too far away and yesterday’s long gone.
If you wait till things seem perfect you’ll miss another chance
and get buried head to toe, in the comfort zone.


Gregory Zeorlin 8/8/2016 @ 11am
The adult world is a place of people set in our ways who become skeptics and cynics. We avoid change out of the fear making mistakes and not looking perfect. We focus on our public image at the cost of neglecting our human spirit. We miss out on doing things that could enrich our lives even if we must trip sometimes to do them.

This Place

Words are words and poems are poems regardless if they’re written by a known poet or someone unknown who uses words to record ideas. After all, we choose words and arranged them to serve our needs.  Is this a disclaimer before posting a poem? No. Just an acknowledgment to those out there who have a similar thought about writing.  Of course, most of those “out there” are imaginary since so few will ever read this post. Hello, out there.🙂  Share this poem if you wish. Thank you.


This Place

The world is a wondrous place,
a ponderous place too.
We humans push and pull in races
to gain, dominate and subdue.

The world could be a perfect place,
but only if there was no humans race.
We’re here today and gone tomorrow
regardless if we pray, beg, steal or borrow.

So we’ve made the world imperfect,
imposed our will against nature’s design.
Call this human nature,
we’re animals of chaos, order, logic and magic.

The world is not a perfect place or tragic,
it is the only place we can be.
We could race away in a space rocket
but we’d return, eventually.

We’ve yet to find a way
to permanently break away
from this place we’ve damaged
intentionally and so haphazardly.

In pursuit of more, forever more
we have made the world a lesser place.
But it’s not too late to stop blaming others
for the holes in our bodies and minds.

We’re animals in cages.
We’re animals in pens.
We’ve worn a path along the fence that keeps us in.
We’re sickened and enraged by eating the news.

We don’t know if we should scream or howl.
Some scratch and bite anyone in reach.
We’re bruised even when no blue shows on our skin,
the swelling still harms every soul.

No one knows the answer.
There is no one answer,
only multiple ways of seeking to comprehend
the ways of being human from birth until our end.

The world is a wondrous place,
a ponderous place too.
The earth could’ve been a perfect place,
(but such a lonely place) without we animals
of chaos, order, logic and magic!

Gregory Zeorlin 7/18/2016 @ 9:14am

Zeorlin: Texas Regional Artists Exhibition

I’m happy to let everyone out there on the other side of this computer screen know about an upcoming exhibition which includes 13 pieces of my mixed media art….


The Texas Regional Artists Exhibition opens on July 9th at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Longview, TX. The July 9th opening night festivities go from 7 to 9 pm. The show runs through September 24, 2016. There are 4 artists participating in this museum exhibition.

I will show 12 pieces from my “Veil Series” and one mixed media sculpture. When you come to the museum make sure your cellphone has a QR code scanning application ready to go. The sculpture includes QR codes (Quick Read) that link the viewer to collections of poetry, simple blues-folk songs, lowbrow bumper stickers, odd videos and my “imaginary friends” like Average Male and Red Face.

Gregory Zeorlin Veil 75. 2014 Mixed media painting

Gregory Zeorlin
Veil 75. 2014
Mixed media painting