The Zombie Whisperer

I’m heading off to teach yoga in a few minutes and am having the standard-issue mix of dread and slight excitement at the prospect of cajoling people into doing unusual things with their limbs and their minds for 90 minutes.

I prefer teaching yoga to teaching writing. I always worried that teaching writing (excepting the occasional workshop) might kill my writing.

I don’t have that fear with yoga.  There is no killing yoga. It would just come back.  Like a zombie.

Zombies have outshined vampires and well-to-do housewives as a national obsession.  And seem in no danger of leaving.

I like magical creatures, mythologies, Sci Fi, and zombies.  I talk to trees and inanimate objects (and people and animals too)  and consider everything imbued with a spirit.  Including zombies.

I have the notion that, if the need ever arose,  I could reason with a zombie the same way you can sometimes reason with or whisper to a difficult dog or horse.

Maybe I’ll be in big trouble when the zombies come.  Or maybe I’ll have a lot of a work as a Zombie Whisperer.

I wrote  a short story, Zombie Hookers of Hudson, because I like zombies, and also because I was asked to contribute  fiction for The Marijuana Chronicles, coming July 2nd from Akashic Books.

Rather than drum up some long-ago shenanigans from my weed-smoking youth, I invented pot-smoking zombie hookers.  My zombie hookers are pretty benevolent.  Because they were invented by someone who thinks she’s a  Zombie Whisperer.

I think zombies are popular because we all think the world is ending.  Pretty much every culture and civilization since the beginning of time has thought their world was ending.  In our time, there may be more of a case to be made for this outlook. The earth is heating and the weather is getting really fucking wonky. Even some Republicans admit this by now.

Most of my life,  I’ve had recurring post-apocalyptic dreams.  As a youngster, I loved Planet of the Apes, Road Warrior, and Bladerunner because these movies looked like the landscapes in my dreams.

When I first moved to NYC at age 17, Bladerunner played every weekend at the St Marks Movie Theater.  And I went EVERY WEEKEND.  My friend Bliss and I would sit there, reciting it pretty much line for line, smoking lots of weed and cigarettes (this was Lower Manhattan in the 1980’s, you could shoot  heroin in your jugular on the subway and no one would look twice, though I never actually tried THAT) and cooing over Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah (those standing backflips of hers were particularly awesome, watch here, though it is heartbreaking.)

Sometimes, leaving the theater, it was hard to distinguish the barren, bombed-out-looking landscape of the Lower East Side from the sets of Bladerunner.

Movies like Bladerunner, Terminator, Planet of the Apes, 28 Days Later etc…are just manifestations of our collective unconscious same as Hieronymus Bosch paintings were in the 15th century.

Right now, our collective unconscious finds zombies particularly appealing. It’s somehow cozier thinking zombies will wipe us out than a series of weather events or biological warfare.

And yoga is the zombie of mind/body practices.

Yoga started a long, long time ago and, no matter what anyone does to it, no matter how many of us freaky yoga-loving loons interpret and transmit it, it keeps working and finding new converts and, for the most part, spreading well-being and some degree of peace.

Yes.  Yoga is a cult.  But,  pretty much everything is a cult.  Human beings like cults.  We like believing in the same things.  It makes us feel less alone.  We are a weird, conflicted species, celebrating individuality and original thinking, but all, at heart, believing the same thing:  That the zombies are coming and yoga will make it better.

Time to go teach yoga.

4 thoughts on “The Zombie Whisperer

  1. breathing in…breathing out enough times i hope will release the zombie hooker in me. words and breath matter

  2. Jim, I believe the zombie hooker in you was released a long time ago. And is thriving.

  3. Well Maggie, I’m a zombie because of yoga. I’m not sure I like being a zombie though. Aren’t they the living dead, or are they just dazed out and in a trance?
    Who put them in a trance? Actually, sometimes yoga wakes me up because of pranha. I like pranha energy. Andy, Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies. “Time to die…” at the end. Well, I’ll be a yogi zombie in a black wig cause that’s really my alter-ego as an artist: the black swan. Have fun teaching yoga. Guess I’m a fan.