Starting With the 38 Bus

(This layout is not what I want but I don’t know how to correct it. But, this post is so long that only imaginary readers and me, myself and I will read the entire thing anyway. So…I’ll not sweat the invisible stuff).

This post recalls a day well spent drifting around San Francisco using public transportation. I take notes as I ride and sometimes they turn into buzz hacking songs. (I’ll post a link to a song at some point for my imaginary listeners out there in digi-world).

 

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 this 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.

Lands End

 

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.

 

Surf beach near Cliff House

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.

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 back 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)

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 (www.ZeorlinArt.com) 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.

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.

Jake & Jayleen Push Obscure Poetry

My last blog post had a big impact on many imaginary readers. Surely this post will generate even more interest by real and imaginary people out there. And if it does, read these poems from a digital book titled “Ten Cent Poetry” as they are real… http://www.zeorlinart.com/Ten_Cent_Poetry_BOOK_v1_secure_v1.pdf . (If anyone reads this, share it. Ah shucks, why not?)

Jake and Jayleen promote poetry

 

TEN CENT POETRY

My posts to this vital blog have been sparse due to working on a poetry book titled “TEN CENT POETRY.” It’s a digital book on a pdf file. No doubt the demand to read poetry by an unheard of poet will be high. Beat the rush and download the file today. (The pdf will work on a smart phone, iPad or other personal digital device). I suggest you read the book at your leisure. And since you’ll enjoy the book, please forward it so others can read it. Thanks in advance to anyone who actually shares my book with someone else.

white school bus ten cent promo v1 square v2

TEN CENT POETRY. A book by Gregory Zeorlin

TEN CENT POETRY. A book by Gregory Zeorlin

TEN CENT POETRY. A book by Gregory Zeorlin

Seeing You Now (a poem)

Seeing You Now

Picture only the young
embracing two hearts racing
faces free of sunspots
feet un-callused butts baby smooth

But minds can be young
years after a golden ring
slipped upon a slender finger
even without jewels draped over a svelte body
my bride exceeded all adornments
in that graced state anyway

And here we are now
in this pixel perfect world
of software altered blemish free
many eventually becoming
touch free from computer
chat room encounters
and digital dates

Let us hold each other
feel the time that love makes
our hearts beating as they will
year after years of being true
our eyes know each other
in ways the younger cannot see.

Gregory Zeorlin 2/10/2011 12:37pm

Artist’s Comments

I have a file cabinet full of poetry although I rarely memorize what I write. Occasionally a poem chronicles some event but my writing isn’t just for keeping a journal. For several decades I’ve wondered why bother writing these random poems (aka thoughts).  But since I usually include the date I write a poem, I’ll admit I’m starting to enjoy reviewing past pieces that were composed near the same date and month as now.

I wrote “Seeing You Now” on February 10, 2011. It seems to anticipate Valentine’s Day but I doubt I wrote it specifically for that holiday. Reading it four years after the date it was first written, the poem seems uplifting, quiet and even “tender” in a sort of non-commercial way. Or maybe I’m just getting too soft in my middle-aged man way of seeing?… Nah!

Share or re-blog this poem. Someone else might enjoy reading it. Thanks!

Smoke Signals

I am just about finished with cleaning my studio.  I try to do this before starting a new body of work. In the cleanup process I find all sorts of things in chaotic piles.  There are materials, ideas sketched on scraps of paper and poems that have somehow fallen under the work tables.

I’ve worked in my current art studio long enough to have a range of art from different periods  stored in it.  (You can view examples of my art at ZeorlinArt.com.  Some pieces are incomplete but still merit clogging up prime studio space. But good intentions eventually crowds an artist right out of the studio.  When I decide to deep clean I take a more hardened “slash and burn take no prisoners” attack.  Once the purging is over it frees my mind, body and soul.  I just try not to go to extremes and jettison things I would later regret.  Once the fire is going it is too late to back out.  I have done this.

I came upon a few boxes of my poetry books I wrote and included in past art exhibits.  I’ve written three books about 5 years apart.  The titles are “Around That House” (2004), “Going Somewhere” (2009) and “Not Memorized” (2013).  Those books hold selections of poetry starting from the late 1970’s and going to just last year.  The first two books are soft cover and the third is a digital book.

Thumbing through the soft cover books made me realize how I experience reading books and even magazines.  More specifically, I enjoy the physical nature of holding words on paper, flipping pages and carrying a printed mass around.  A digital book does not offer this physical experience.  I momentarily considered producing a paper version of the digital book but will not follow though. Few people read poetry by well-known poets so the odds of selling a poetry book by an obscure poet is not good.

Eventually we could be in a time of few printed books.  We will probably become accustomed to digital reading devices and the physical experience of reading a book will fade away.  It also seems the way we read is changing.  We tend to have less attention and allow more distractions into our daily life.  We spend more time sending short messages from smart phones and viewing images of things friends are doing.  Many of us drift for great lengths of time on the Internet.  We seem unable or unwilling to go deeply into much of anything.  How many bloggers will actually read down to this sentence?  And to those of you who do, thank you.  But in one sense, what is the purpose?

I think it comes down to seeking ways to bring substance into daily living.  There is not one vital source for information, content, meaning or “inspiration.”  And those who follow daily routines at work and home will even walk past opportunities that lay right in front of them.  It is not easy to seek ways to keep looking with new eyes when many eyes focus on electronic screens.

I am abandoning this screen and heading out to the studio.  I need to make more smoke!

Look into the sky and see if you can read my signals.

Obscure Artist Selling Strands of His Hair.
Includes FREE Art Bumper Sticker