The Heart of the Matter
February 05, 2011
For Evelyne On Her 50th Birthday

164333_497968361157_656561157_6229135_6086662_n.jpgThe following is a piece I wrote and performed a few years ago at Evelyne's 50th birthday party. Enjoy!

This woman, my wife, your friend, is a major card in the tarot deck, an archetype, a queen, mythic, delicious, vital, alive. I have seen her in her full glory and lived to tell the tale.

She has her own Kingdom, this woman, and it is everywhere she looks. There are great castles there, fields of wild flowers and delight. Oh, and dragons there no longer needing fire to make their breathing worthy of attention.


This is a woman who got thrown out of five catholic schools in France. She used to destroy the nun's houseplants -- among other things -- not sufficiently content, shall we say, to wear the plaid uniform and recite some poorly translated catechism when the sun was shining and the world beckoned like an oracle.

Born in France, she grew up in Italy, then moved to America for what she thought would only be a few months -- another plan gone awry in God's great game of coming undone.

Her parents were orphans, her brother died when she was only 9 -- and for years, Evelyne thought she was the cause of his passing, having slipped him chocolates against the wishes of the powers-that-be when he lay dying.

She spent a lot of time alone in her room, looking at pictures, dreaming of places and possibilities neither of her parents, children of the war, could ever hope to entertain.

Yes, she was a dreamer, and still is. An imagineer. A scientist of seeing what remains to be seen.


Lao Tzu, as the story goes, had a dream he was a butterfly and, upon waking, asked if he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was a man.

Poor Lao Tzu, so much in the flow, but still confused.

I am sure if Evelyne was there she would have simply gotten him to volunteer to be the head of the costume committee for some over the top benefit concert for homeless butterflies. He would have danced until dawn, licking whipped cream off a spoon and changing his accent for the night.

The first time I saw Evelyne it was almost bibilical -- not in the "biblical" sense of biblical. No, it was more umbilical than that -- a kind of revelation, sight to the blind man, a kind of movement to the one who had stopped not because he'd arrived, but because he was afraid of not getting there.

I could not look at her too long. It was a kind of pillar of salt thing -- a pre-verbal, cro magnon, I'll-never-be-the-same-now-that I've-seen-her kind of thing. Why men start wars, wanting something significant to do when, in fact, they are scared shitless of dying into the eyes of a woman.


Am I making sense here? It was, if I can remember, a kind of higher octave she was on, a high note -- and oh those high heels!

She had a boyfriend, I think. I had a girlfriend. She was a Catholic. I was a Jew. She had a different guru. Pronounced the word "interrupt" interump and when I corrected her, looked at me like I was from Mars.

"Interump!" she would say again, "like when you don't let someone finish their thought."

She liked cats. I liked dogs (though I went to school with a lot of guys named "Katz" who ended up becoming dentists, unlikely candidates to be invited to one of her well known East 7th Street soirees).

I figured she went out with Senators or Ambassadors or Movie Stars. She seemed too cosmopolitan for me. Too fine.

How could I ever watch the Knicks around her -- the Mets? High maintenance, I thought. Her circle of friends circled the world: jazz musicians, artists, designers, dashing people with things to do and places to go.

The Dalai Lama's people asked her to design his poster. The only saving grace for me was knowing she was the one who had designed the Blimpy logo!


Yes, it's true. Evelyne Pouget, the amazing, gorgeous, multi-lingual, goddess creature before you is the one who created the Blimpy logo!

There was hope, I thought, even though I was certain every guy she introduced me to must have been an old boyfriend.

The Afghani freedom fighters had nothing on me! I knew all about hiding. Oh yeah. I'd been hurt before, ambushed, left to die in the cave of my suburban heart. No vavavoom French goddess was going to have her way with me: Mr. Quasi Buddhist Cool RoboMan Mr. I'm-So Detached You Might Mistake Me for a Retina Man.

Not once during the first two years I knew her did I kiss her. Not once. I liked being a frog.

There was a moment, though, when things... changed. Oh yeah. The transmogrification. Ice into water. Water into vapor. Vapor into the great reign of love. Suffice it to say, the veil lifted and I saw.

Or should I say felt.

I put my hand on her back one day in merry old Brooklyn and felt an electrical charge so strong it could have powered Kabul for the entire first year after the coalition of the willing departed.

Yes, brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and friends and the friends of friends and the children hoping for ice cream soon, I am more in love with Evelyne today than I have ever been.

She has been a great gift to me -- and to all of us -- a gift that forever opens.

Many see her beauty and marvel. I see the many seeing her beauty and marvel at the marveling.

But that beauty, my friends, goes deeper than any of us knows -- even deeper than she knows.


Muktananda, her Guru, saw who she was and marveled, too. She will deny it, of course, but I know and I will shout it from the rooftops no matter how she might deflect the attention she so richly deserves.

He liked being around her. And he, in his kindness, told her not to worry.

I wish Evelyne that moment now and forever -- the moment when the Master sees deep into your soul and tells you what you need to know and the telling is so charged with truth that you begin to change immediately without even trying.


Yes, Evelyne, I wish you a life free of worry (even though there are things to worry about). I wish you a life free of doubt, a life free of thinking more than you need to, a life free, a free life, free as the wind, free as the absence of wind, free the way your children run to you and leap into your arms, chanting your name: "Mommy, Mommy, oh my Mommy, Mommy Mommy Mom."

I wish you a life -- the next 50 years of your life -- filled with your art. With your painting and, more than that, the realization that you have the time to paint -- time and the life force beyond all time. The Elan Vital. The joy of life. The vive le France! Freedom kissing! Gigantic wheels of brie. Laughter for no reason. Dancing! Song! Poetry! Wildflowers everywhere! Waking the way our children wake, ready to play, ready for anything.

I wish you everything you forgot to wish for -- a life even grander than what you can imagine. And celebration of all you have, of all you have to give.


And throughout it all, throughout this holy migration into your 51st year, and the one after that, and the one after that, may you enjoy each breath, one at a time, every single day -- in gratitude and appreciation for the sweet, sweet, sacredness of life.

Evelyne's paintings

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at February 5, 2011 12:35 AM


Mitch not even the greatest romance novelist is worthy of writing a story of gratitude like that. I love that you love her so beyond. You are indeed blessed my brother.

Posted by: Chris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2011 08:51 PM

WOWWWWWWW!!!!! the painting of Gurumayi is coollllll......can't wait to see some paintings of Mr. Rawat!!!!

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 10, 2011 11:48 PM

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Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

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