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

 

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.

Noise

Well, noise….Sometimes you have to make a little. But you must know when to stop, too.

listen to the crow sing

listen to the crow sing

Imaginary People of April

 

Imaginary People of April*

An imaginary person,
once said to me, or someone,
“Hey! Don’t send me
any more of your poetry!
Cause’ I don’t need any poetry.
All I need is television!
Can’t you see? Good god man!
Why can’t you see?”

 

So a name was dropped from the list
of imaginary people needing poetry
because another imaginary person
had lost their imagination to television.
And who can blame them?
It’s so pretty inside there.

 

Then another imaginary person
said to me, or someone, “Hey!
Hey don’t send me any poetry!
Dammit no!
Cause’ all I need is a telephone.
Yeah, a telephone
with a screen that glows!”

 

So that imaginary person
was dropped from the list
of those needing poetry.
Cause’ with a cell phone
you rattle words and text them too.
And what would an imaginary person
do with poetry,
I ask you?

 

Yet another imaginary person yelled
right at me, or someone,
“Don’t send me any of that poetry!
Oh no! What I need is
small batch fried chicken from KFC
and hand rolled taquitos, too.
Skip them hand written poems I’m telling you!
I can’t eat words and neither can you!”

 
So I, or someone, deleted that imaginary person
off the list of those needing poetry.
Fat had gained another mind.
And maybe cheese is more pleasing, than poetry.

 

Unfortunately another imaginary person
texted me, or someone,
“What the hell! More poetry?
What I need is more football, basketball,
baseball and wrestling too!
I don’t need any poetry you wimpy fool!”

 

So I, or someone else,
deleted and deleted
and deleted some more
until every person needing poetry,
was off the list.
But not a single person
removed from the list realized
poetry was gone.
Every person needing poetry
became part of a poem.
And these imaginary people slowly faded
into the unread poem until they were
forever and ever, forgotten.
Like this poem.

 

Gregory Zeorlin 4/3/2016 11:30pm

*April is National Poetry Month. Who reads poetry? Perhaps writers of poetry work for imaginary readers who should be allowed to fade away.  But if you do read poetry, you can read my new digital book titled “TEN CENT POETRY.

Magical Common Words

Follow me to TEN CENT POETRY

Follow me to TEN CENT POETRY

Isn’t it interesting how common words in language get used so many ways? Two people can use similar words but mean different things with them. This summarizes what poetry is to me. Basic words become magical or unremarkable, depending on arrangement and interpretation. Writing poetry becomes a perspective…it is how one sees. And reading and interpreting poetry also becomes a point of view. There are variables beyond the writer’s control. Writers arrange words but the words get tossed around in everyone’s minds.

I’ve arranged words for 40 years now. Do the words of an unrecognized writer seem different from a known writer? The same question comes to mind between an established artist and an eternally emerging one. All this tossing doesn’t really matter as long as one keeps working.  Because in the long run, we’ll stop running but some words (or art) might remain.  Not a bleak assessment, just a fact that clarifies and releases one to try more. What are we waiting for? What excuses must we stop tossing around?

So, all of this just to introduce a few readers (and many imaginary ones) to my book titled “TEN CENT POETRY.” Do the words of an unheard of writer mean less? No they do not.  Is it worth spending time reading the work of an unheard of poet? You’ll have to decide that on your own.

I invite you to read my book. Click on the cover to download the pdf or use link:

http://www.zeorlinart.com/Ten_Cent_Poetry_BOOK_v1_secure_v1.pdf

TEN CENT POETRY. A book by Gregory Zeorlin

TEN CENT POETRY by Gregory Zeorlin

I welcome your comments. If you enjoy the book, please send the pdf to your friends…Surely others are awaiting poetry by an unestablished, yet increasingly contented, person like me. Surely.

Thanks!