Robert Wexelblatt: “Hsi-wei, the Monk, and the Landlord”

The Tang minister Fang Xuan-ling, who visited Master Hsi-wei in his retirement and recorded their conversations in his memoirs, relates the following story about the origin of the Master’s gnomic poem popularly called “Teacher Window.”

While he was making his way through Jizhou, it happened that Hsi-wei was invited to rest for a few days in a hillside monastery.  The monks were of the Ch’an sect, therefore exceptionally neat, disciplined, and, when not silent, economical in their communications.

Continue reading “Robert Wexelblatt: “Hsi-wei, the Monk, and the Landlord””

Tim Millas: “Cleo’s Vision”

Bad enough that Dale went to San Francisco for a three-month picture assignment without taking Sela, or even telling her he was going—he dumped Cleo on her too. And then the dog started to go blind.

At first Cleo gave no hints of anything wrong. Maybe less barky, but Sela figured that was because Dale wasn’t there to give her a cookie every other minute. Cleo never interested her much anyway. By dog standards she was cute: long body, short legs, big eyes, nose like a black strawberry. Otherwise she was awful, totally spoiled, snapping at other dogs and Sela too (or any girl who stole Dale’s attention), barking if they went out without her and then pissing the rug out of spite. She played Dale like a violin, but growing up on a dairy farm had left Sela unsentimental about animals, and unplayable.

Continue reading “Tim Millas: “Cleo’s Vision””

Francis Duffy: “Rubbish”

The few who knew of my scheme advised against it.

“Violates common sense” was their consensus. Hitchhiking coast to coast under pressure of deadline is daft. Will take far longer than you think plus too many pervs on the road. “You’ll be AWOL,” they warned.

I don’t dispute their point about common sense. But their other items are arguable because not one had ever driven cross country, much less hitched 3,000 miles. In fact, none had hitched at all.

“Only hobos do that,” they said.

Continue reading “Francis Duffy: “Rubbish””

Brady Peterson: “Summer’s Day”

Two women in a boat on a summer’s day—patches of light,
blue and white, an umbrella across the knees, the waning
century, before the death machines—sitting upright
against the backdrop of water and ducks.
Eight years before Monet—she is a painter determined.
Her mother diminishes her work as ordinary,
hoping she will heed the calling of her sex.

Continue reading “Brady Peterson: “Summer’s Day””