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plant in soil of contemplation, reap in harvest of action

December 8, 2015


What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action, advises Meister Eckhart.

What have you planted in the soil of contemplation this year? What actions have led to the harvest you are reaping? Finding any poems?

    Sycamore Canyon  by Teddy Macker      
          for Vaughn Montgomery
The dead doe on the Pacific Coast Highway

was lying on her left side. She was almost

the same color as the dirt around her.

Whenever a car passed—it was Sunday

and people were driving the coast—

the fur on her neck would rise in the wind.

Her eyes were dry and cracked; they looked

like the skin of baked apples. They did not shine.

Her left hind leg was so broken it looked absurd.

A car must’ve hit. The doe defecated.

Windblown pebbles stuck to the shit.
The hooves were dusty and large. They did not seem

like the hooves of something dead.

When I reached down and picked up a front leg

I could feel the clarity of her old running.

She made me nervous. I was afraid she would stand up

and come alive. How many cars will pass tonight,

I wondered, and make the fur on her neck rise?

It saddened me no one would be there

to document every time this happened,

that no one would say, There, look.

The fur on her neck, it’s rising in the wind.
On Thursday, December 10, hear what Teddy Macker has harvested during a featured reading followed by an open mic hosted by Phil Taggart in the EP Foster Library in the Topping Room, 651 E. Main Street, Ventura.
Teddy Macker teaches a variety of creative writing workshops and literature courses at UCSB. He is also the faculty adviser for Into the Teeth of the Wind, the poetry journal of UCSB. His own writings—poems, short stories, essays, and translations—appear widely: the Antioch Review, New Letters, the New Ohio Review, Orion, Resurgence (UK), the Southern Humanities Review, The Massachusetts ReviewThe Sun, various anthologies, and elsewhere. Among his honors is the Reginald S. Tickner Creative Writing Fellowship of the Gilman School in Baltimore. His first book of poetry—This World (foreword by Brother David Steindl-Rast)—appeared in March of 2015 through White Cloud Press. An orchardist, he lives with his wife and two daughters on a small farm in Carpinteria, California. Read an interview with Teddy Macker here.
I will be there at the reading and open mic with my college composition students; for extra credit they have the opportunity to submit their writing to a class publication styled after Art/Life, a limited edition hand made art and literary magazine that published from 1981 through 2001; it was the longest-running international periodical of artwork made entirely by hand — including all copies of each issue. Read an interview with Art/Life publisher Joe Cardella here.
Art/Life published over 30 of my broadsides of poetry and art from the mid 90s until 2004, and I was a featured artist in 2003, when my pregnant belly and I graced the front and back cover. For examples, check out my publications pageKeep in mind however that this isn’t an art class or a creative writing class– at this point as an extra credit project I have no idea how many submissions there will be!



Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo is a maker of art in the rare Buddhist tradition of silk applique thangkas. His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessings to Leslie’s work and encouraged her to make images that speak to the spiritual aspirations of people across religions and cultures. Her free Weekly Wake-ups provide a thread of inspiration to set the week on the path to awakening.


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