Monday, April 16, 2012


Sometime in the latter half of 2011, my friend Odette and I started going to Candlelight Yoga. The class is from 8-9pm, so work couldn't be an excuse, and it kept us from eating or drinking too much on any given evening. (You have to behave before yoga, and afterwards, what's the point of indulging when you've just zenfully burned calories?)

We were under the impression that it would be a soothing end to our days, one hour of breathing in candlelight and exhaling our day.


It's power yoga, people. It is one very, very intense hour, set to *fabulous* rock music (no water trickling over stones for this group), led by the amazing and talented Alexis.

It kicks. your. ass. In the dark, so no one sees how much you're sweating, panting, releasing. And you love it, because you still get to spend an hour breathing in candelight, exhaling your day.

The first class I went to was the first time I'd ever done pigeon pose. It is hard. We hold each side for enough time that you feel toxins leave your body but not so long that we get stiff. I usually need help getting my hips aligned with my feet, the earth, any sense of graceful balance.

So here Odette and I are, bent in new ways, and I just start sobbing.

The below poem was originally titled "Yoga." I have renamed it "pigeon pose." It is a decade old today.


pigeon pose

a full body experience
our instructor reminded me
of someone he would have liked
small frame, perky breasts,
I-dont-care hair
another member of the class had his hair
except in gray

as soon as I started sweating
I could smell last nights boy
in my skin
I could smell him waking me up
his fingers on my bare skin
lips against breasts against clitoral moisture

then, during stretches that were
contortionistically painful
I thought of the ways
you manipulated my body
bringing my arms forward,
refusing to listen to me breathe
as you inhaled my soul
exhaled your lies
spread my legs at ninety degree angles
and bent yourself over

I almost had to leave the room
during the last moments
"Feel all the stress and tension
slide out of your feet
out of the palms of your hands"

here I am, lying in so many memories
of love, of hate, of hurt
here I am, arms outstretched
my back curled similarly
to the way it straightened
under you

the friend Im taking classes with
on our way back to campus
windows down, sunshine and pollen flooding us:
"Gosh, you know, that relaxation part at the end just made me want to pray."

Yep. Me too.

April 16, 2002

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