Why I Quit 6 AM Yoga

by Stan Rubin

The way heart and soul
are transformed to Wisdom
is not as the yogi promised

in the rented space in the shopping center
where students gather before work
to test the body,

its garland of pains
and spoilage
that is never ending.

You must practice continually,
to reach the place
where body and mind

know their own nature, he said.
You can sit forever
or twist and bend

into many shapes
without disturbing
the winds that blow through you

–guilt, shame, desire–
because those who hurt you
and the ones you hurt

will remain forever
inside this body,
caught between the eyes,

threaded in the heart muscle,
invisible flames you can’t breathe out
that make every breath burn.

I wake before dawn anyway.

Sometimes a plane passes overhead like a planet.
Sometimes it goes the other way.

I am attentive as the birds begin their ruckus.