The Heart of the Matter
July 15, 2012
Last Night Beyond Words in Woodstock


I wrote this piece last night at Karl Berger and Friends' awesome evening of gone beyond music in Woodstock. They opened a crack in time and space for those of us in the audience to enter. (The following piece is best read aloud).

I have a perfect seven-letter Scrabble word in my hand but nowhere to put it. It just doesn't fit.

The word is astounding, Olympian, holy, -- the perfect blend of consonant and vowel, but I just can't lay it down if you know what I mean.


So I'm sitting, amazed, struck dumb by my knowing -- like the time, as a young man, when I experienced such a cosmic revelation that I had to write it down -- which I did -- infinitely content for the moment at having expressed the secret of life, my own personal scripture needing no confused disciples to argue, years later, about what it meant -- me still ecstatic the next day, contemplating whether or not I should start my own religion or speed dial the Dalai Lama and read him what I wrote to claim my rightful seat in some exotic realm only 3,000 year-old Tibetan monks have ever heard about, but dare not speak, afraid their telling would dissipate this moment's sand mandala of love.

Yes, it was that kind of moment I was having -- or maybe it was having me -- so I grabbed my trusty notebook and opened, like a rose, to the page now home to my sudden revelation.

Not my revelation, mind you, as in mine -- not something I could claim as the one who had had it. No, I was simply the caretaker of the knowledge every jazz musician worth his weight in the spaces between notes understands before playing.

That's what I'm talking about -- the moment when the blind piano player, alone in a room with no hope of high tipping tourists getting past the bouncer, takes a very long breath and exhales.

It was precisely at this moment that I opened my notebook, curious to read that which the rhapsody of my soul was only preamble to.


I must say I was surprised at how little actually made it to the page. Most of it, like the first 64 years of my life or the entire universe, was empty space.

There were only a few words on that page, each one an orphan from a faraway land, the memory of caravans where no mirage abides, no grave robbers, no time, the place where madness and sanity are the very same thing and always have been.

"What did I write?" I wondered. What hieroglyph of my need to know had found its way through me in a blinding flash, last night's secret stash from a thousand gypsies dancing around the fire.

Four words. That's all there was. Four words -- none of them longer than four letters. One of them only two.

There it was -- my entire revelation, my night's escapade into the far reaches of knowing reduced to... just... four.... words -- like a stunned fan of Miles Davis backstage at the apocalypse with only enough time to say.... "Thanks, man... For everything."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 15, 2012 10:37 PM


That was finger poppin' good, my man. You are such a great word jazzer. Up there with the best of them. Thanks.

Posted by: George Dragotta [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2012 08:34 AM

Whitmanesque! Dylanesque!
Ecstatic visions, perfectly carved:
Pure MD!

Posted by: j bhutu-ji [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2012 11:50 AM

Whitmanesque! Dylanesque!
Ecstatic visions, perfectly carved:
Pure MD!

Posted by: j bhutu-ji [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2012 11:51 AM

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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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