This yogi in his dhoti in Benares
stood on one leg.
One outstretched palm kept ice from melting
while the other fried an egg
Wearing nothing but a turban and a mandala
he dwelt in a Frigidaire
eight months chewing a ginseng root.
They don’t need air.
They are not dependent on the variables
that generally maintain us.
They show the autonomic nervous system who is boss.
A yogi can suck water up his anus.
swallow Kleenex and pull it out his nose.
A woman with a yogi for a lover
said he never came too soon,
yet sitting in his lotus with his thoughts on God
could spurt all afternoon.
I never met a lady yogi, but I hear they menstruate
when they please.
A yogi never laughs without deciding,
nor does he sneeze.
He makes his heart beat fast or slow, depending
on mind, not glands.
his hiccups, sweat and pupil sizes
He farts at will and never apologizes.
As a boy I tried to suck my belly under
ribs till I saw my spine.
Though I never tried a rope or cobra, I played
my ocarina for some twine.
I pounded blunt ten penny nails through plywood
and would have lain on it, no doubt,
if I could have got my weight all in one motion
evenly stretched out.
I wiggled my ears and pursed my sphincters,
crossing my eyes.
In school I sat with a stony gaze, engaged
in internal exercise.
But I surrendered as I aged
to the voluntary and involuntary
as discrete domains,
with uncontrollable regret enduring
riot in my veins,
incontinently wishing I could master
that skill or art
that could predict, if not manipulate,
the weather of my heart.
And yet my effort is no more to strengthen,
but to subdue my will,
to go through ego’s mirror and be whole.
Still you may see me sitting very still,
straining to throw off the mind’s control.
[from PUBLIC DOMAIN JUDSON JEROME published by Trunk Press, Hancock, Maryland, 1977.]