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Patrick Calhoun



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

sixteen arms.


Amida fixed on scarlet human eyes,

ears wearing scars like ice in milk

necks brittle as summer

bamboo stalks


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

well-worn shoes.


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: and