(Penguin Press, NY 2019)


Mornings can also be places where starlight is stored. Reading some #MaryOliver—Upstream was the second-to-last thing she ever published. I met her in 2006 at the Tattered Cover bookstore in LoDo (Denver lower downtown). I had to hear her readings from another room—the room was packed. Then I waited three hours to have her sign four books. When I got to the front of the line and she saw the books, she heaved the collective sigh of drained emotives and intuitive wordworkers—she nodded at me, stood up; and quietly went out into the dark dripping alley for a goddam smoke break. (She did kindly sign them on her return, smiling, light blue eyes twinkling behind reading glasses on a silver chain.)
This woman woke with the morning. Walked with the doe in her forest. Plucked shells from the sand like diamonds. She loved her dogs, living and passed on. In fact she published a whole book of poetry, Dog Songs, for them. She loved her wife of over 50 years who passed on before Mary did. So she knew lonely. A shaman of the earth—Mary Oliver left us a collection of maps (poems & essays) to show us the way—to her truth and lessons learned—if we should ever care to find her, that is—her and the doe, and the shell and the pond, moon and foot of the sparrow—and the pain of being different and the pain of childhood trauma (which she endured from her father) and how to love anyway—regardless—for five decades; and how not to kiss only a human being (‘let your body drink in the juice of the sweet wild blackberries and love what it loves’)—but, also a kitten born without one eye; a weed along the roadside; a savage parental wound; the thinnest thread of a dying lover’s final words; and mostly, most importantly, how to press your lips softer to the breast of Mother Earth and know her heartbeat.

Wisdom for your day my friends.
And calm should you need it
to remain balanced.

Love yourself bigger today.
Than you did yesterday.


Below: Mary Oliver w one of her beloved friends (Pinterest).

One response to “Heartbeat

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