Working the Traps

Yoga Joe - Bulgakov

Yoga Joe

Pose 1: The Swan in the Mist (Yoga Joe Decides to Ignore the World Around Him)

Yoga Joe sees flowers along the edges of the carpet

Impressionist paintings along the bare corridor

water lilies dripping onto the grey cement

Yoga Joe does not acknowledge the Zookeepers

as such, but stretches his hand into the lush jungle

and seizes a banana

Pose 2: The Barking Dog (Yoga Joe Decides to Take Action)

Yoga Joe throws his banana at the Zookeepers

and refuses to be told where he can and cannot eat a banana

which he now regrets throwing at the Zookeepers, who keep it as evidence in his upcoming trial

Yoga Joe consults a lawyer, who tells him that the Zookeepers have every right

to treat Yoga Joe like an animal as long as he continues to throw bananas

that technically aren’t his

Pose 3: The Cat Lapping a Creamy Plate of Warm Milk (Yoga Joe Decides to Join His Oppressors)

Yoga Joe counts the bananas left in his cage cupboard

and realizes that if he resists the urge to throw them at his Oppressors

they will spare him the legal talk and threats

Yoga Joe walks away from the briefing with a smile on his face

two dozen bananas in his briefcase

and a bottle of Victory Gin*


* Victory Gin is the grim drink of defeat in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. His description of it at the beginning of the novel is as grim as his description at the end: “Winston poured out nearly a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down like a dose of medicine. Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of his eyes. The stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club. The next moment, however, the burning in his belly died down and the world began to look more cheerful” — “He took up his glass and sniffed at it. The stuff grew not less but more horrible with every mouthful he drank. But it had become the element he swam in. It was his life, his death, and his resurrection. It was gin that sank him into stupor every night, and gin that revived him every morning.”


Bulgakov (After Reading The Master and Margarita)


Master of legerdemain, auteur de haute conscience

I salute you, Bulgakov

who beneath the subterfuge and the downtrodden

beneath all the writers crushed beneath the yoke of Stalin

Pilate, or Dionysius the Greek

beneath the sheer unbearable heaviness of being

you manage to transfuse with fitting words

what we fear, here on the other side

of the system's weight, but cannot speak


Next: Doubt’s Dominion: Rapt Angel

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