When the Buddha rose from the pipal tree
to climb the north by rocks and ice:
lotus and bolt,
It emptied him
In the orange springtime valleys, Buddha
socialized with yet-to-be Kung-fu-tze,
next to wizards Boen
with Shinto gods
Glancing at a mirrored lake, Buddha smiling
saw his red-skinned non-existing twin,
Amida, sprouting fully
Amida fixed on scarlet human eyes,
ears wearing scars like ice in milk
necks brittle as summer
No monk would teach them -- Path or Truths
or the Greater Vehicle in the Sky --
Their heads stood stunned,
“They need mercy,” weeped Amida, “I must
let down an avalanche of sympathy,
a balm to cool each soul.
To stand them up.”
A man named Kannon trained his sight away from
illusion. He got the skills and means but firmly
rooted himself in his
With tightened fist, he’d sworn at the stars:
“I could unsee you and deliver me.
Better however forever
to help my kin.”
How excellent to teach the Four and Eight to
cyclers exhausted on the wheel of
life death life death.
It filled him up.
Patrick Calhoun lives in Columbia, South Carolina, is married to a booksellers’ association executive and has twin adults and a recently acquired son-in-law. Previously working as an accredited librarian and an information services director at USC, he has now retired. He has taught the English language and modern American literature to inmates at a state prison. Patrick plays pool but ever since he’s worn bifocals, he doesn’t dare to hustle anymore. He has been published most recently in the Asheville Poetry Review. He writes two blogs: khandoit.blogspot.com and www.patrickcalhoun.blogspot.com.