Gary Wilkens

Heart for the Dharma Upon hearing that the Buddha would be passingthrough their country, three good monkswith hearts for the dharma set out to see him. As they left a storm arose, making the way hard.The wind stung and the rain bit-one monk fellbehind with illness, while the others went on. The storm rolled from the sky, but the two monkspressed ahead. Resting along a road one nightthey were robbed, beaten and one monk killed. The last monk was left alone in the wilderness,barely alive in his ragged robe,until a bird flew ahead and whistled him a song. He followed the bird until he came to the gardenwhere the Buddha was to be preaching. He searchedamong the flowers and trees but was again alone. He sat upon a rock, wandering why his journey hadbeen so hard only to miss the Buddha. Suddenlya group of monks neared, asking where the Buddha was. 'Oh, monks,' said he, 'I have come to a garden of beautieswith a heart for the dharma, but all I find is emptiness'.Upon hearing this all the monks became enlightened. Mahayana Love Poem
In a worldbuilt of Nothing
the seamssplit
and the Nothingnessseeps through
and oozes all overthe carpet
as when
I tell youI love you
and youdon't
respond. Gary Charles Wilkens, Assistant Professor of English at Norfolk State University, was the winner of the 2006 Texas Review Breakthrough Poetry Prize for his first book, The Red Light Was My Mind. His poems have appeared in about 50 online and print venues, among them The Texas Review, The Cortland Review, the Adirondack Review, The Prague Revue, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume II: Mississippi.