Two Buckets of Dirt

Two Buckets of Dirt

We tossed and we turned.
We shredded and dreaded.
We traded and threatened.
“It’s yours! You have to take it.”
“It wasn’t mine. It was yours.”
“It was mine, but I don’t want it.”
“It was mine, but you can take it.”

As we sorted, we talked,
made up stories too.
Made up lies when we needed to.
Just to get on through the getting through
after our parents had dropped dead.

We cleaned out the attic.
We cleared the storage shed.
We searched under each and every bed.
We piled things in a dumpster,
burned documents on the grill.
We drank all dad’s old booze,
it didn’t make us ill.

We redistributed a lifetime of things.
Double-barreled shotgun,
gold pocket-watch on a chain.
Silver trolling motor,
bushel baskets of notes and cards.
Photographs stuffed in trash bags like leaves.
Nothing’s left behind.

What about those two buckets of dirt?
Buckets of dirt from an open-pit diamond mine.
Back when dad seemed to lose his mind
taking us to Arkansas for a get rich vacation.
We sorted dirt and rock all day
searching for the perfect diamond.
Even filled two buckets and hauled them home
so mom and dad could keep searching.

My oldest sister took those buckets to her home,
dumped the diamond dirt on a flower bed.
She never said if that dirt sparkled.
But somehow I just found 7 diamonds.
They’re sparkling now inside my mind.
Yeah, sparkling bright inside my head.
Can you see them? Can you see them?

Gregory Zeorlin 10/2/2017 @ 11:15pm

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The End of History

The End of History

Let us remove all history.
Let us erase all tradition.
Let us purge ourselves of every story
until we arrive at this moment…
Adrift, but free of ancient ties.

Let us round all edges.
Let us soften the contrast between us.
Let us muddle all hues.
Let us blend in, fit in and slide in.
Let’s let everything go until
each and everything about us is
going, going…gone.

Nameless Historically Ambiguous Art

Historically Ambiguous Art

 

Let us forget the names of every bridge.
Let us forget the names of every street.
Let us forget the names of every building.
Let us forget the names of every river, stream and creek.
Let’s not rename but un-name everything.

Let us void anything referencing any moment
from any past anywhere at any time.
Then we’ll meld together and hum.

Let us make music into a single note…
A buzzing droning sound without words.
It’s what we’ll hear in our heads
after we’ve freed ourselves from history.

Let’s unburden ourselves of words by severing their roots.
Let’s excuse ourselves from all languages.
Let’s build another tower of babble and hum.
But then, what is that?

Aldkfji ierjddl adlfkd oeirue
oeiruei sldkfjv aodif, alsdkf.
Eoridk lsdfkjdk aldkfdk irkrp,
oeik oaidfd ldkfdjdk.

111000111000111000
00011100110011001100
110011001100110011001100
000011110000111100011100

Gregory Zeorlin 5/11/2017 @ 7:33am

Reading a Poem

Blue Spot

Blue Spot

 

Reading a Poem

There’s never a delay
in reading a poem.
The words don’t spoil.
The spaces between the words
don’t split open or compress.
And the periods
still make you stop.
See?

 
Gregory Zeorlin 12/10/2016 @ 8:14am
This was my email reply to a friend who said
he was sorry for the “delay” in reading a poem
I had recently sent him.

SHARE THIS POEM IF YOU WISH.

Christmas Circus

Christmas Circus

There’s quite a show happening
on our Advent Wreath.
An Advent Wreath arranged on a white oval plate
with a cushion of evergreen leaves
and twigs with red-orange berries.
An Advent Wreath sitting
in the middle of the kitchen table.

There are two black specks rappelling
down the candle sticks!
And another speck of spider stringing
tiny silky lines from the pink one
to the three purple ones.
Three trapeze artists rehearsing,
with the greatest of ease,
for the annual Christmas circus.

Gregory Zeorlin 12/5/2016 @3:28pm

(SHARE this odd poem if you wish).

 

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

SHARE this poem if you wish….

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)

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