Out There

Out There

There’s frost sparkling on the lawn chair.
I do not dare go out there,
in my boxer shorts.

Picture me, or you, turning blue.
Puffs of steam float out our mouths.
Most birds up North have gone South
or just now pass overhead wondering…

“What are those humans doing down there?”
Well, we’re sipping coffee
in our underwear.

But of course not!
There’s frost sparkling on the lawn chair.
But in the spring, I’ll be there, half-bare,
coffee steam rising to boost you home.

Gregory Zeorlin 12/1/2016 @ 7:45am

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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)

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

Good Messy Living

There are spots where I live which encourage conversations. The screened porch is one of those places. And even though I have not left home, the porch is a neutral zone where I can momentarily suspend some of the mundane domestic tasks which fill a day and night. I sit out there by myself, or with my wife, or with a few friends and let words take us somewhere that is not planned out. Or, I enjoy sitting in silence.

Most of us have over-planned days.  We do what must be done so we can eat, have a place to sleep, something to drive and pay taxes. If we kept life this simple, we wouldn’t succumb to well planned marketing that confounds our waking hours. (But some toys are great).  Our physical, mental and spiritual homes become crowded as we trip over various types of chaos. Some of you are better than me at disguising states of disorder but everyone makes a mess in life. There is always some spot that becomes undone or neglected.

My yard has places that are gradually going wild. A couple of lawn chairs placed by a fire pit in the fall manage to become props for wildflowers in the spring. Letting nature take its course can have unexpected rewards. While I could strive for a patch of deep green St. Augustine grass it would not compare to some rogue asters and other wildflowers coming to take over. So that spot in the yard goes untouched by the lawn mower until everything has gone to seed.

052.jpg web

Sometimes the seeds from such places generate weedy wordy blog posts like this one or poetry or even songs. And this is why it is good accept some disorder in everyday life.  Of course, taking this point of view to the extreme has few benefits. So I’ll take the middle unkempt ground…nothing’s perfect but life is good anyway.

April Twenty-Second Twenty-Fifteen

April Twenty-second Twenty-fifteen

On this “earth day”
the cosmos opens in my yard
a single golden glow reminding me
how large the world is
beyond my plot of weeds
and fading prayers of St. Augustine.

Gregory Zeorlin 4/22/2015 @ 7:12am

Click here, there or anywhere to read more poetry.  And share this post, too? Yes, please do.

Why Run

I’ve run for over 10 years. It started due to driving my kids to early morning practices before they were old enough to drive. Initially I got them there and napped in the car. But one morning I joined the runners and my sleepy first run changed my weekly routines and improved my life. Now I’m mainly a trail runner as street running is not as satisfying. My reasons for running continually change. This poem summarizes my thoughts about running. You can share this poem with other “runners” or those who are thinking about running.

 

Why Run

When I run
I sometimes trail the body
watching it move
and leave me behind.

When I run
I am sometimes riding inside
as a conductor of a machine
attempting to exert control.

When I run
I am sometimes a sensor
a check engine light
a low pressure gauge.

When I run
I am sometimes a leaf
a twig a stone
clinging to the bottoms of my shoes.

When I run
sometimes I am an unidentified animal
in pursuit of or fleeing another
or moving just to move.

When I run
sometimes I am writing a song
or finishing a work of art
running just beyond my reach.

When I run
I am free for a moment
grateful for mobility
I am a breeze.

When I run
a familiar path
is always changing
depending on my mind, body and soul.

When I run
I never know
what to expect
so I run to find out.

Gregory Zeorlin 4/11/2015 @ 10:15pm

Sunday’s Praying Mantis

 

Sunday’s Praying Mantis*

 

You,

praying mantis.

Yes, you…

Yes I do see you on that window.

You’re outside looking in.

You’re watching we two-legged beings

process down the church aisles

while glancing out the windows.

 

Somehow you’ve always known

God’s out there waiting, with you.

So now you’re both pulling the weekly joke.

Yeah, yeah I know…

Look at us now inside this place again

counting the minutes

until we can wander outside

just like you two have always done.

 

See you soon!

 

Gregory Zeorlin 10/13/14     11:34am

*(A reoccurring fleeting thought while inside a church).