Happening upon Patañjali, author of the ancient Yoga Sutras, in the JFK Transit Lounge – a poem by Vikram Masson

Happening upon Patañjali, author of the ancient Yoga Sutras, in the JFK Transit Lounge

Sir, you would be surprised at what we’ve built.
In New York, we’ve hoisted Himalayan structures,
heated and cooled by underground steam networks;
made innovations in structure and design—
tubular systems, the framing of steel—
so they withstand torrents of every kind.
Many live easily to one hundred years,
taking miraculous potions that halt disease.
Yet republics have splintered and recombined;
their armies still muster to maim and kill.
And we still cannot escape old age and death.

People still hanker after trinkets and baubles;
seek money and sex incessantly, and smoke
on the pyre unfinished and unhappy.
If you stayed, I have no doubt you would be honored:
progressive companies would pay you to speak,
you would be featured in magazines, could
knock Deepak Chopra from his chintzy perch.
But you may be shocked at what yoga has become:
All manner of contortions and twists,
in hothouses and gyms, for “wellness” and stress relief.
No longer needed to find the witness within,
to escape the morbid merry-go-round.

 

Vikram Masson is a lawyer by training who lives in Richmond, Virginia. The interests he wishes he had time for: playing solos on the tenor ukulele; learning how to chant in Sanskrit; and flying weaponless drones with a license. 

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