I'm a retired teacher and school administrator and I've written poetry, seriously and less than seriously, since I was a teenager. It's only recently that I've taken seriously the idea of sharing my poems beyond these four walls—where they're met with great acclaim by my wife and sometimes by my daughter—and my poems have appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies. My chapbook, Exactly Like Love, has been published by Osedax Press, and a second printing will be available before the end of the year.
Christmas at the Yoga Retreat
No holly, no lights, only the tree outside, lonely, unadorned,
but come to full term with the help of some higher power
which saved it from man’s need to turn trees into monuments
to whomever he turns when life is at low ebb.
For a moment now, it’s decorated with a winter bird or two,
and some orphan-snow in the crotch of a branch,
but we’re just a few days the other side of the solstice,
and the mothership, this creaky scow of ours, seems to be stuck on a sandbar
as it tries to right itself and chug a new path through the multiverse.
Now we can’t see much through the growing dark,
though those who study the calendar assure us there’s some hope ahead—
and it just so happens: Should we chuck it all for the sake of meditation?
becomes the very subject of tonight’s meditation.
Our leader tells us, This is the last full moon there’ll be on Christmas . . .
and then, looking around at our mostly aging crew
formed in an expectant circle, blurts this accidental truth: . . . in some of our lifetimes.
The way our days insist on crashing so predictably to their end
seldom gets spoken in Canyon Ranch or Parrot Cay, those tonier joints
where more room will soon be needed for advanced yoga poses
by the young and lithe Brahmin--and where we tell ourselves
we have no intention of spending the last few shekels of our bounty,
much less the frankincense and myrrh, left from our previous incarnations,
we keep stashed, against bad tidings, in our underwear drawer.
originally appeared in Exactly Like Love published by Osedax Press
One polite handshake and already she knows
my chakras are out of alignment
and I’d better get them aligned and quick.
She starts on my crown: Violet, she claims.
Not virile enough for the likes of me,
but what could one so young know
of my particular brand of manly?
Then she works her way slowly down
to the area where my third eye
ought to be; I try hard to see —
and though I’ve never known from indigo,
her hands are cool like a field of blue flowers.
She sprays me with fragrant oils
that might make more tolerable
the faint smell of derision and doubt
that always seems to surround me.
She’s working too hard,
but what choice does she have
having chanted, and so sincerely—
May all beings be whole and be healed;
May all have whatever they need—
I’ve kept my spine straight enough,
legs crossed, on the verge of numb,
eyes tight and close to tears,
all to seek solace in that sacred space
you claim to keep between wake and sleep.
Oh, meta God of Metta,
I paid my fifteen bucks,
to spend this tremulous hour,
in the neighborhood of your presence—
but am happy to come this close
to one so full of wonder she believes
there’s something more to believe
than how chilly it is down here,
waiting for you, as always,
on the hard gym floor.
© 2016 Alan Walowitz
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