The Heart of the Matter
October 05, 2017
SPOKEN WORD and ENCHANTING MUSIC FOR YOU: This Thirst!

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A collaboration between Stuart Hoffman and myself. His music. My spoken word. Enjoy!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2017
I Take a Few Deep Breaths

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On a good day
I take a few deep breaths
and feel God's primal tide inside me.
A force of nature they are,
coming from who knows where.
They continue, these breaths,
one slow motion wave at a time,
and take everything I have
back into the ocean.
Nothing remains,
nothing at all,
just the blue sky overhead
and the shell of a body
at ease, at rest, at peace,
now thankful for a power
greater than me
hiding in my breath.


Some inspiration for you
My book of poetry

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2017
Poetry of the Heart

Best to view full screen


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:29 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2017
HAFIZ: Becoming Human

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"Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about 'His great visions of God,' he felt he was having.He asked me for confirmation, saying 'Are these wondrous dreams true?'

I replied, 'How many goats do you have?'

He looked surprised and said, 'I am speaking of sublime visions and you ask about goats?'

And I spoke again, saying, 'Yes brother -- how many do you have?'

'Well, Hafiz, I have sixty two.'

'And how many wives?'

Again he looked surprised, then said, 'Four.'

'How many rose bushes in your garden? How many children? Are your parents still alive? Do you feed the birds in winter?'

And to all he answered.

Then I said, 'You asked me if I thought your visions were true. I would say that they were if they made you become more human, more kind to every creature and plant that you know.'"

-- Hafiz

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:56 AM | Comments (6)

June 08, 2017
Four Loring Baker Poems

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THE JOY OF STILLNESS

Perhaps there's nowhere left to go,
Nothing more to plan,
Time to sit on my own front porch
In the afternoon's blond light,
Listen to the garden sing
And taste the joy of stillness
As a soft summer wind
Moves a smile across my face.


LET IT SIT

Someday, perhaps,
A better battery!
Meanwhile, you must
Let it sit,
Plugged in awhile
To keep it lit.


ADJUST YOU MUST

Moment to moment,
The clay still wet,
The sculpture is formed,
Adjust you must
Before the kiln.


THESE OLD CLOTHES

These old clothes
I've worn for so long
Are getting stiff,
Stained and wrinkled,
Please don't think
They make this man,
Let your wisdom undress me
If you can.

Loring's book of poetry:"Invitations to the Good"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

Seek the One Beyond the Veil

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2017
The Reading

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2017
Be Empty Like the Sky

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:16 PM | Comments (2)

April 24, 2017
Some Might Call It Dancing

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Unspoken Word

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2017
There Is a Wall in Mexico

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Watercolor: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2017
The Shortest Pilgrimmage

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2017
Enjoy as Much as Possible

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Heart of the Matter is happy to present a poem by one of it's long-time readers and all around great person, Janice Wilson.

Let's be jolly,
let's be merry
in the face of the difficulties on earth,
this is a revolutionary act
to enjoy as much as possible
the chance to breathe the air,
drink the water,
eat the fruits of our abundant earth,
delight in the beauty abounding here
reaching within, honoring our hearts.
Let's fly in the sky of beauty,
let's be jolly,
let's be merry,
death has all our numbers,
we do not know when it will come up,
how funny, ridiculous our situation is,
tis foolish not to be in joy,
silly humans at the circus of life
there is great ignorance around
but also great wisdom,
choose wisely,
let's be jolly,
let's be merry.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:27 AM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2016
Beneath the Tree

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Lots of people think that if you have a Master all your love goes there -- leaving not much left for the other people in your life. This is not true. The love a Master awakens in a human being is overflowing. There's plenty for everyone.

The old routine of focusing only on the "Divine Beloved" and treating the other people around you as if they were second class citizens is a sure sign you haven't understood a single thing.

Anyway, in celebration of 25 years of marriage to the exquisite Evelyne Pouget (today is our anniverary!), here is a poem I wrote to her a few years ago. The feeling only deepens as time goes by and I continue to realize how precious this life is -- and how fleeting. PS: It is best read aloud...

BENEATH THE TREE

This is a piece of paper.
It used to be a tree.
Birds lived in its branches and sang.
In the winter it stood naked
just like you and me.

If I had known you then before we both had lives
we called our own,
I would have kissed you more than once
beneath its cool September shade,
I would have read you poetry, the songs of saints
who longed for God and nights
when darkness was the sword they carried by their side.

Small deer would come and stare at you,
wondering in their strange and silent way
how you became so much like them,
living in the city as you did.

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You would turn to me and smile,
half here and somewhere else,
heart about to open like the mouth of one whose mother's breast was near.

I'd suckle you, but don't know how,
feed you berries cooled in snow,
wipe the sadness from your brow,
and just when you were thinking it was time to go,
take your hand and hold it --
proof again that even if we had to die
the time we loved was all we ever had to know.

Your heart
(the place no man had ever been,
the prayer you are, your Master's twin)
would fly and I would meet you there
beneath the tree,
drunk with love and majesty,
knowing you were sent to me
by the only one who loved us both.

Unsure of who I was or what you were about to feel,
you'd pull your knees against your chest,
lean further back against the trunk,
moving as you always were towards roots
and the endless possibility that called to you
beyond the man now child at your breast.

I'd want to tell you everything, the ache, the need,
the quaking God within my bones
that like a sudden thunderstorm from Mars
releases me at once from all my loneliness and pain.

What shall I do with my hands here?
Touch you?
Pray?
Pluck something from the sky
that you might recognize the feeling
most men hide from you in fear they'd never love again?
Could you take it -- my looking at you -- the adoration
that moved me to hold you in the first place?

Would you look the other way or wish I'd leave
so neither you or I were left to interrupt eternity,
the refuge of a perfect life beneath a perfect tree?

I'd do my best to take my cue and look beyond your eyes,
but seeing nowhere in this world to rest my gaze,
I'd circle round and round until I met you once again
beneath the shade of my eternal longing.

The rest?
A masquerade,
pure escape,
a pilgrimage away from you,
the one in human form who called me here
and wasn't sure and isn't clear and doesn't know
and cannot say what both our hearts have understood.

Was there a nest above our heads, a cloud, the moon?
Was the light reflected in that lover's sphere
once stolen from the sun?

I take your hand,
I kiss your lips,
I hold you and am gone.
And then?
A small deer speaks, the Master grins,
the dance of love begins again.

Excerpted from Thirst Quench Thirst

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:47 AM | Comments (3)

September 07, 2016
A Six Pack of Kabir

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Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive. Jump into experience while you are alive! Think... and think... while you are alive. What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.

If you don't break your rope while you are alive, do you think ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic just because the body is rotten -- that is all fantasy. What is found now is found then. If you find nothing now, you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death. If you make love with the Divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is, believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work. Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

(Translated by Robert Bly, from Kabir, Ecstatic Poems)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:55 PM | Comments (3)

August 19, 2016
Soaked!

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I wrote the following upon returning home from one of Prem Rawat's events, in Australia, a few years ago.

People ask me what it was like being with you five days in a row. Here's what I tell them: It was like spinning around in a monsoon, cup in hand, trying to catch the rain. Every time I noticed my cup was full, I opened my mouth to sing, but my mouth filled up with water. I gulped, I drank, I bailed my boat of joy. Somehow, in between the tidal waves of love and my odd little habit of trying to understand what in the world was going on, I heard what you said: "Get wet! Get wet!"

When the Rain Begins
Unspoken Word

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:18 PM | Comments (3)

August 02, 2016
Announcing the launch of my new blog: UNSPOKEN WORD

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I am happy to announce the launch of my new blog: UNSPOKEN WORD: THE POETRY OF LIFE -- short blasts of inspiration, reflection, and gratitude accompanied by photographs, illustrations, and paintings from my Facebook friends and other unusual suspects. If you want to receive an email alert whenever there is a new post, simply subscribe (in the sidebar) and be sure to respond to the "verification" email that you will receive soon after. Enjoy!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2016
Facebook Poetry of the Heart

Two weeks ago I asked my FB friends to send me photographs they'd taken and really liked for me to accompany with some poetry inspired by the images they captured and set free. Here is the first wave...

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2016
They Are Still Laughing

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2016
What I Have Understood

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The one who inspires my poetry
Full Moon at Sunrise
Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:36 AM | Comments (1)

June 21, 2016
The One for Whom You Create

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Poets, lose your pens. Painters, toss your brushes in the sea. Musicians, give your instruments away, then go for a long walk. When you're done, keep walking. Notice the beauty all around you. Don't try to remember a single thing. Breathe. This holy moment is your poetry, your art, your song. Do not concern yourself with giving it form.

The One for whom you create deeply loves what you just didn't do.

From Full Moon at Sunrise
PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:34 PM | Comments (3)

June 18, 2016
Off the Coast of Love

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Off the Coast of Love

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2016
Some Might Call It Dancing

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Excerpted from this book
Illustration: Leslie Dietrich

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2016
Give Everything You Have

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:04 AM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2016
The Wise Woman Does Nothing

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Oil pastel: Evelyne Pouget
Poetry earrings: Lao Tzu

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2016
Non-Thought for the Day

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More (or less) where that came from

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2016
The Beautiful Sadness of Longing

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There is a beautiful kind of sadness -- one most people think they shouldn't feel -- that needs to be celebrated. Or, if not celebrated, then at least welcomed like the evening's last beggar at your door.

This sadness is divine, the experience most people assume to be an absence but, in reality, is the presence of the primal longing for the Beloved.

It would be easy to conclude that this feeling is a disconnection from joy, an unfortunate amnesia that would make an easy target for well-meaning givers of advice to quote from their favorite scripture. But I am not talking about this garden variety form of sadness. I am talking about another kind -- a holy melancholy that sculpts, deepens, and refines from within.

Like the dusk that follows day, it is not devoid of light, but only a another shade of light.

Yes, it is darker. But so what? Isn't it the darkness that allows the stars to shine?

When a human being is in the presence of their Beloved, it is easy to feel joy. Like leaving home in the middle of a storm, it is easy to get wet there.

But when the Beloved departs (ah, the paradox, the late night debates -- does the Beloved ever depart?), an uncomfortable feeling arises.

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The moon is full, but you are empty -- thirsty for something to fill you again, but the only thing left to drink is a bucket of tears and you cannot find the handle.

Off in the distance you hear the sound of cello. Is it sad or beautiful?

Drawn by the music, you follow, feeling your way, singing silent songs of praise and wondering if what you hear is the sound of your own voice or your name being called.

You know, and have always known, that the Beloved has left the world behind as a gift. But you do not want the gift. You want the Giver.

The above piece with music and images
Photo #1: Jesse Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:29 AM | Comments (2)

January 29, 2016
These Days I Write Poetry...

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2016
Give Everything You Have

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2016
The One Who Teaches From Within

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2015
You Are the Water

I am very much enjoying my visit to Amaroo and the chances I am having to listen to Prem Rawat speak to the 4,000 people, from 60 countries, that have gathered here this week. What follows is one of three poems that popped out of me today. (More excerpts from Prem's 9/10 talks tomorrow morning).

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2015
Disguised as Myself

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2015
Poetry of the Heart

Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2015
They Are Still Laughing

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2015
I Rode My Breath

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2015
I Pray at the Altar of Your Lips

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2015
Some Might Call It Dancing

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Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:39 PM | Comments (4)

May 18, 2015
Off the Coast of Love

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:21 PM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2015
MOTHER'S DAY IS COMING

If your mother is still alive, you may want to consider forwarding her this wonderful video of Billy Collins reading "The Lanyard."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2015
I Share My Poetry Too Soon

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Painting: Annie Lawrason

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:44 PM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2015
The Gift

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2015
Home Sweet Home

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2015
The Divine Paradox

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PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2015
This Longing, This Ache

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Photo: Ira Meyer

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2015
Somewhere Off the Coast of Love

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My wife tells me I should pay more attention to details -- the house, the car, the lawn -- there's a thousand things, by sunset, that need to be done. She's right, of course. It's true. If only I wasn't floating many miles off the ground today, caught in the updraft of a single gaze from you, spinning like a thousand cyclones off the coast of love.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:33 AM | Comments (4)

February 21, 2015
One Week After Valentine's Day

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Poetry of the heart

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2015
Full Moon at Sunrise

Excerpts from my book of poetry (Best viewed full screen).

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2014
Li Po Speaks

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"You ask
why I make my home
in the mountain forest,
and I smile,
and am silent,
and even my soul
remains quiet:
it lives in the other world
which no one owns.
The peach trees blossom,
The water flows."

-- Li Po

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:55 AM | Comments (1)

November 03, 2014
Groucho and Jesus

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Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:29 PM | Comments (1)

October 20, 2014
This Thirst

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There is an aching deep within my heart that cannot be explained. It wakes me in the middle of the night and writes these lines, a kind of fishing in a great sea I cannot find by day.

This escapade is not the search for something new, it is not the need to find. More it is the being pulled by an unseen moon, how small birds, when days get cold, make their way across dark skies, how a feather falls to earth and a child, finding it, looks up, why dogs pace back and forth before a door as their master turns for home.

Ah, this restlessness, this thirst, this ache, this silent undertow inside that takes me back to the hidden spring where lions come to drink and snakes, why birds sing when they are all alone, and the long ride home on an empty train often feels like an arrival.

The above as a music slide show

Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:50 PM | Comments (3)

October 16, 2014
Centrifugal

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2014
Give Everything You Have

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2014
Every Breath is a Prayer

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www.premrawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2014
There Is a Poem I Will Write One Day

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There is a poem I will write one day (but this isn't it) that will describe, without a wasted word, what my heart perfectly understood the moment I first met you. Like a still pond on a clear day, you will be able to see your face in it and, if you are thirsty, drink. What you will see there will delight you, astound, amaze. So much so, you may end up removing all the mirrors from your house or singing all night long. Yes, I know I am writing a poem about a poem that is not yet written, but so what? Don't people speak of a God they've never seen? Trust me. The poem I speak of is coming soon, or, if not soon, then later, or if not later, then I guess this poem will have to do.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:20 PM | Comments (2)

July 28, 2014
The Doorways to God

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Tears are the doorway to God,
and so, by the way, is laughter,
breath, longing, death,
and the perfume of your first lover
lingering in the air you no longer breathe.
What, may I ask,
isn't the doorway to God
and what awaits
you on the other side?
If God is omnipresent,
isn't that power here with you now,
your empty hand
reaching for the doorknob?

What inspires me
Who inspires me

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:53 PM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2014
This Longing, This Ache

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2014
Speechless

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TPRF.org

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2014
May I Stay Here Forever

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Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2014
This Longing, This Ache

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PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2014
Ah...This Restlessness

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2014
Yo Ho Ho!

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2014
The Season of Perpetual Birth

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From this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:41 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2013
The Cafe with No Name

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Photo: Phil Silberman
Poetry: Mitch Ditkoff
Inspiration: Prem Rawat

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2013
This Longing, This Ache

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Photography: Ira Meyer
Poetry: Mitch Ditkoff
Inspiration: Prem Rawat

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2013
Something So Pure

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Photo: Ira Meyer
Poetry: Mitch Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:32 PM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2013
Drink What When

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2013
Every Breath is a Prayer

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More inspiration

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2013
Some Might Call It Dancing

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Excerpted from this book

Huffington Post coverage

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2013
There Is a Fabulous Underground Club Not Far From You

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There is a fabulous underground club
not far from you
where all the ecstatic musicians,
since the beginning of time,
are playing -- eyes on fire.
They speak a thousand different languages,
but understand each other completely,
having endured long winters,
several times a day,
with no one near enough to listen
or bring them tea.
None of this matters now.
Here in this cave of pure delight,
calling on muses spinning in great circles around them,
they are free,
holding a high note, together,
in perfect harmony,
like the hand of God.

Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:22 PM | Comments (4)

August 01, 2013
What Is This Strange Forgetting?

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What is this strange forgetting
that has taken hold of me lately --
this being unable to remember
that everything is
sacred, holy, and alive?
The absence of you, my Friend,
surely has something to do with it.
Your being gone has opened
a small hole in me,
a pinprick,
the kind blood brothers make,
but you are nowhere in sight.
Where are you?
Something is leaving me slowly,
there's a leak I cannot see.
A day's worth amounts to nothing,
a week's would barely fill a thimble,
but it's been months now without you
and I am starting to notice,
lurking like a stranger in my own shadow
and sleeping just a little too long.
Hey! I've got an idea!
Why don't you cross the universe today,
take a left at Alpha Centuri
and show up unannounced at my door.
That would be very cool,
I can't wait to see
the looks on the faces of my friends
who have been so diligently reminding me,
these past few days,
that you are already here.

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:05 PM | Comments (9)

July 27, 2013
Cruising with Rumi

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On a bone cold February afternoon,
23 miles from home,
in a car I leased three months ago,
sky outside turning the color
of old men's teeth,
I listen to Rumi, 800 years gone
from praising everything that breathed,
my heart racing with him
through towns with no name,
everyone love drunk and laughing.

Lights are flashing everywhere,
especially behind me,
not white
like those that lit up Rumi's eyes,
no, more like red,
the kind that signal stop
and oops
and maybe I should slow down and pull over.

Rumi, on the 5 CD changer,
is unconcerned,
his monologue of love making perfect
sense, as I,
poised, tribal, and whole,
anticipate a large man of the law approaching,
and reach for my license,
not the poetic kind I prefer,
but the other one,
the one with the photo
no one will ever show their mother,
even as the uniformed man
standing tall by my door
beckons me slowly to roll down my window
and announces, like a small town accountant
wishing he was home for lunch with his wife,
my speed,
which was 20 over the limit,
Rumi still holding forth
beneath an ancient Persian moon.

He had kind eyes, my sudden companion
in his well-pressed uniform,
kind eyes and a smile that spoke of long winters
keeping roads safe for travelers like me
who, somehow, must have missed the sign
about a mile back,
veiled, as it was, by that old willow tree
and the last few rays of light
finding their way past the steepest hill in town,
the one where all the kids go sledding,
eyes on fire,
kids, as far as I can tell,
who have never heard of Rumi,
the officer of the law,
or me.

(This poem, by the way, cost me $150).

Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:19 PM | Comments (3)

July 22, 2013
Why Groucho Raised His Eyebrows

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Order the book here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2013
Every Breath Is a Prayer

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Here's a little secret:
Every breath you take
is a prayer.

22,000 times a day
it rises, unannounced,
then returns
to who knows where.

You do not need to kneel,
you do not need to speak,
and the only pilgrimage necessary,
is the one from head to heart --
the one all people seek.

Excerpted from this book
More
More
Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:19 AM | Comments (1)

July 05, 2013
Hoffman and Ditkoff Ride Again!

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Good news!

Stuart Hoffman and I are collaborating on a new series of audio poems that will soon be available for downloading at a website near you.

Stuart's music.
My poetry.

If you want to know when the first ones will be ready, simply click the comments box below and leave us your name and email address. Or email us. Or Facebook us. Or take us out for dinner the next time you see us.

Click the link below for the words to the first piece...

THIS THIRST

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There is an aching deep within my heart
that cannot be explained.
It wakes me in the middle of the night
and write these lines --
a kind of fishing in a great sea I cannot find by day.
This escapade is not the search for something new.
It is not the need to find --
more it is the being moved,
my being pulled by an unseen moon,

how small birds, when days get cold, make their way
across dark skies to the place where they were born,
how a feather falls to earth
and a child, finding it, looks up,
why dogs pace back and forth before a door
as their master turns for home.

Ah, this restlessness, this thirst, this ache,
this silent undertow inside
that takes me back to the hidden spring
where lions come to drink,
and snakes,
why birds sing when they are all alone
and the long ride home on an empty train
often feels like an arrival.

What inspires us

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2013
How Will You Speak Your Truth?

This South African girl is only 11 years old and look and what comes through her. Astounding. What do YOU have to say -- and how can you say it in a way to that captures the hearts of minds of those who need to hear it from you?

Thanks to Scott Cronin for the heads up.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2013
What Is This Strange Forgetting?

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Painting: Lisa Dietrich
Excerpted from this here book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

This Silent Undertow

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Painting: Lisa Dietrich
Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2013
The Only Crime Here

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise
Painting: Lisa Dietrich

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:27 AM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2013
Walking Down a Country Road

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise
Painting by Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2013
Give Everything You Have

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This is the first in a series of collaborations with readers of this blog. The painting is by Annie Lawrason. The words are excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise. This image will appear in the soon-to-be completed slide show version of the book. If you are an artist, photographer, or illustrator and want to contribute one or more of your creations for inclusion in the slide show (to be sold on the WOPG.org eStore), let me know.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:03 PM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2013
Close, But No Cigar

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Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Prem Rawat's new book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2013
The Falcon and the Falconer

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Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2013
Food for No Thought

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Exerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:01 AM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2013
Give Everything You Have

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2013
Rumi, Kabir, and the Huffington Post

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Here is your next indication
that either the Apocalypse
is fast approaching
or fantastic doors
are opening everywhere.
The Huffington Post has just published
one of my quirkiest poems --
my warped imagination of a night
in the lives of Rumi and Kabir
if they were alive today
and bowling.

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise
Sneak preview here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2013
The Fling

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2013
Every Breath Is a Prayer

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2012
Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2012
Tell Me, Oh Digger of the Well

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2012
This Longing, This Ache

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:36 AM | Comments (2)

Stories of Your Beauty

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2012
The Holiest of Prayers

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2012
Beyond the Mask of Words

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This is
what
all my
late night
writing
has always
been about --
reaching beyond
the mask of words
and holding you
just long enough
for everything
I've ever
written
to be
the
shoulder
you
lean
on.

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2012
The Renewed Sense of Longing for the Beloved During the Holiday Season

It is not uncommon for deep feelings of longing to surface during the holiday season. As we unplug from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, something else takes over -- the recognition of what it is we have always been longing for. Sometimes we interpret this as "sadness" and make ourselves wrong for what we are feeling. No need for that. There is a divine kind of sadness that needs to be celebrated -- the ancient quest within us all for the Beloved -- no matter what we call it.

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2012
I Pray at the Altar of Your Lips

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Order the book here


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2012
Diving Deeper Down

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Digital art: Jesse Ditkoff
Poetry: Mitch Ditkoff
Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:15 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2012
I Used to Write Love Poems

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Order the book
Another poem from the book

PS: The book is poetry only. No graphics.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:17 PM | Comments (1)

The Season of Perpetual Birth

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Click to order
The feeling
Another poem from the book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2012
When You Walk Into the Room

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Order the book here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:27 PM | Comments (1)

Some Might Call It Dancing

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Order the book here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2012
The Perfect Holiday Gift Is Here

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Looking for a different kind of holiday gift? Look no further! Full Moon at Sunrise, my new book of poetry, will delight, inspire, and surprise. It's 91 pages of love and also makes a very good doorstop or paperweight.

Because the book won't be available to ship until 1/11, I am providing you with a gift certificate.

All you need to do is download the gift certificate, print it out, and give it to a friend to let them know the book is coming soon.

If you want to read a sampling of it, click here. If you want to watch a video of Prem Rawat, to whom the book is dedicated, click here.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2012
Off the Coast of Love

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:26 AM | Comments (1)

November 13, 2012
There Is an Infinite Amount of Poetry

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Photo: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2012
The One For Whom You Create

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Photography: Evelyne Pouget
Poetry: Mitch Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2012
Full Moon at Sunrise Coming Soon!

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2012
We Are All in This Together!

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The following invocation is in honor of the wonderfully inspired One Voice for Laos project -- born in Woodstock, NY, and being nurtured by inspired teens, parents, and local citizens who have come to realize that life is for going beyond ourselves and being of service to those less fortunate than us.


I speak today with One Voice,
here in this town known around the world for peace,
a place that is metaphor
for the highest aspirations of the human soul --
Woodstock!

Silencing child in white.jpgWhat I have to say existed
long before speech,
long before teachers
and those who thought
they needed to be taught.
I speak of the time before time,
before "us" and "them",
before otherness, separation,
or the need to make amends.

Pure presence there was back then,
Isness. First light. Love.
What the wise ones among us now call
by many names according to their faith,
but it has no name,
this impulse to be,
this pulsation of life,
this truth --
what poets feel before they pick up their pens,
why dancers, quivering in their own skin,
look around the room for space in which to move.

Back then, before the yes and no, the good and bad,
the black and white, the East and West,
back then,
before our addiction to naming and thinking
and the curious claim most people make
that God is on their side and their side only,
there was only one thing,
one infinite expanse of grandeur,
one breath.
The human voice was silenced with awe before it.

I speak of presence and wonder
and the state of divine recognition,
I speak of being at home with ourselves
and with each other,
what children feel before they sleep, alone in their bed,
knowing their parents are awake in the next room --
the place where no fear of death abides
and even more importantly,
no fear of life.

In this beginning,
breath by breath,
the only path there is
is the one we make by walking on it --
the path Buddha walked, and Mohammed,
the path Jesus walked, and Krishna,
Moses, Rumi, Kabir, Lao Tzu, the Ba'al Shem Tov,
Masters known and unknown,
your neighbors, your friends,
each on fire with the possibility
of living life as it was meant to be,
each ignited by the very same power some call God,
the God whose name, lovers, no matter what their path,
invoke at the height of their passion,
the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Abdul,
the God of wizards,
the God of fools,
why the earth turns,
and the Sufis
and the seasons.

It is this unreasonable force, this power of love,
that joins us here together today.
The question, my friends, is not what to die for,
but what to live for.
What is your calling?
Your dream?
Your gift?
What is your responsibility?
The choice, as always, is yours.
The messenger abides within you,
comes to your threshold,
sneaks past the guards you've posted at love's gate
and speaks:

"The cave you seek is the cave of the heart.
The air you patrol is your breath.
Walk whatever path you choose,
but know that each step is also an arrival.
Slow down. Breathe deep. Trust.
Give roses to people you barely know.
Make someone tea.
Embrace humanity all you want,
but don't forget to embrace each other.
Let your weapon of choice be cupid's bow.
See God in everyone.
Have fun. Wake up! Be real!
Live as if this was the first day of your life,
or the last.
Men, be men. Women, be women.
Win the war inside you --
the battle between darkness and the light.
Rejoice in the undeniable fact that you are alive.
Find your voice,
and when you do, use it wisely.
Sing!
Dance!
Praise!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2012
Radiant Being of Light

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Radiant being of light, vortex of love, alchemist supreme, magnifier of prayer, the one I dream about and the one who wakes me from the dream, why the dervish spins and the earth, teacher, teaching, and the taught, first breath, last breath, what lovers look for in each other, but rarely find, center around which everything revolves, endless night of love and the ecstatic aching of a moon-howling heart that does not want the morning to come.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2012
The Perfect Surgery

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He has performed the perfect surgery and removed me. I have no idea who is writing this or how the operation was performed with no visible instruments, just stories and laughter. Everything unnecessary is gone now. Only the core of pure being remains. I am so glad there is a ground I can collapse onto, and I do, arms outstretched, looking up at the clear blue sky.

More
A field? The laundry room? It doesn't matter
Words of Peace Global

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:26 PM | Comments (2)

September 07, 2012
When You Walk Into The Room

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When you walk into the room,
all the poets
feel a sudden urge to praise,
all the dancers want to move,
singers ache
to raise their voices high
for all those times
they foolishly chose silence instead.

This impulse to express,
this surging forward into form,
is absolutely involuntary, tidal,
primal, pure.

The poet's fingers twitch,
the singer clears her throat,
the dancer moves inside her shoes,
already receiving roses
from the grateful choreographer of her heart.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2012
Some Might Call It Dancing

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Some might call it dancing.
I call it stumbling closer to God,
the unrehearsed falling forward
into love
as if the world was tipped.
Operatic in my cells, amazed,
I am taken to the place
where dancing is infinitely less
about movement
than being moved --
for when the world is tipped
and we, drunk to our eyes in
love's ballet, are willing,
there is nothing not dance,
no one not dancer,
no place not stage,
no breath
not a standing ovation before God.

(From the soon-to-be published FULL MOON AT SUNRISE)

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:07 PM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2012
The Seed Once Sown, the Rune

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I talk too much, too loud, too soon,
like one who pulls a sword from stone
and speaks
before the King has had his turn.

My words are ghosts of moments gone,
the poetry you want to hear '
is not my own,
but yours, the sacred sound
long buried in your bones --
the seed once sown,
the rune,
something born within you to be told.

This is what you want to hear,
the perfect eloquence of one
upon the throne,
whose prayer, these words, are heard
before a single word is said.

Live there! Breathe deep! Fly!
Free the priests and, if the angels die,
know you'll be dancing in the air.
That's the poetry you want to hear!

What you really want is this:
The lyrical flood of fullness within,
the drowning in bliss,
the letting down, like mother's milk,
of all there ever is --
the place where all the poets you have ever loved
are riding homeward on a train, alone,
looking out a window on a perfect summer day.

What they see is only their reflection
and, just beyond, golden fields of hay.
Somewhere, in between them both, their breathing slows,
they close their eyes and pause,
clear they never have to write again or think.
This is the poetry you long to hear,
when all the poets turn for home
and all their blood has turned to ink.


Help me name my next book of poetry

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:02 AM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2012
HAFIZ: What Happens

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What happens when your soul
begins to awaken your eyes
and your heart
and the cells of your body
to the great Journey of Love?

First there is wonderful laughter
and probably precious tears
and a hundred sweet promises
and those heroic vows
no one can ever keep.

But still God is delighted
and amused you once tried to be a saint.

What happens when your soul begins to awake in this world
to our deep need to love and serve the Friend?

Oh, the Beloved will send you
one of his wonderful, wild companions --

Like Hafiz.

Excerpted from I Heard God Laughing
Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:23 PM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2012
Reading Between the Lines

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I just read my entire book of poetry
and was amazed to discover
that what I wanted to say
actually never made it to the page.
Odd.
I thought I had written it down.
I even have memories of it,
me late at night in my room,
with only the moon
and a few wolves howling inside me.
But I couldn't it find it anywhere.
Oh sure, there were lines,
but they were
more like the ones you find in a bank,
lines that barely moved,
filled with fidgeting people
waiting to get something.
I think someone must have stolen it
when I was out to lunch.
The good lines were missing.
They were definitely gone,
though I did find a few
interesting spaces between the lines,
really good spaces,
open spaces,
spaces that seemed as if
they were just about to be filled
with what I really wanted to say.
You know, the good stuff --
like the moment when your child,
thrilled you have just returned home,
runs headlong into your arms.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:40 PM | Comments (2)

April 15, 2012
Can You Hear It Being Played?

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I have something to say to you
and it is this:
This!
This gathering of souls,
this timelessness,
this space.
Nothing else ever happens.
There is nowhere else to go.
Only this!
This!

Every flower, child,
breeze and breath
is saying the same thing:
This! Wake up! Sing!
There is no other possibility
or hope, my friends.
What you call future is a dream,
your well-intentioned scheme
to more thoroughly enjoy
what can only ever happen now.
This!

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There is nothing else to do,
nowhere else to go,
no one to come home to,
or if you are, shall we say,
spiritually inclined,
no one to chant OM to.
You see (and you do!) this... is... it!

Just this,
a chance like a leaf on a high branch,
to come undone, flutter down, land,
and there, at the root, find rest.

Let it fall to the place it can fall no further from!
Live there!
And when, as you might, finally decide to speak,
announce your discovery of pure and perfect presence,
you will be struck dumb,
stunned like a child just before tears,
mute, like someone upon whose shoulder a butterfly has come.
Moved, but unmoving.
Proof, but unable to offer any.

The perfect fool.

It is into this space that music enters.
It is into this space that hearts become drums
and we hear -- do not listen to -- but hear... music!

Can you hear the molecules and the atoms within,
the sound which ties us to God,
that like an identical twin
knows exactly what we want to say?
It is into this space that music is made.

Can you hear it being played?


Joe and Eddie

Eversound
Kim O'Leary
Geoff Bridgford
Daya Rawat
Tim Hain
Fuzzbee Morse
Stuart Hoffman
Cara Tower
John Adorney
Steve McPeters
Diane Arkenstone
Eliza Gilkyson
Marc Black
Playing for Change
Danny Ellis

Illustration

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:12 AM | Comments (2)

April 09, 2012
The One For Whom It All Makes Sense

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I have written a thousand poems for you
that have never left my room.
They fill the pages of notebooks
stacked high on a shelf
no one can reach.
Orphans they are, beggars
afraid they are not
noble enough for the King,
would never make it
past the guards.
I make a vain attempt
to dress them up,
disguise their ridiculous origins,
but still they smell bad.
Even so, there are times, late at night,
when the world has shut down and they think I'm asleep,
I can almost hear them talking to each other,
conjuring ways to make it to your court.

Oh, the arguments they have!
The brawls!
The lunatic moments of staking their ground.
Some of them actually believe
that all they need is a shower and a shave.
Others, unsure of who they are
or might have been,
insist on practicing, all night long,
their perfect way of greeting you.

Of course, there is much to be said
for these backroom bards,
these arm wrestling vagrants from another world.
Indeed, if I was dead,
my slightly deaf biographer, after paying his respects
to my dear, sweet wife,
would borrow them just long enough
to search for pearls,
find the perfect turn of phrase,
the sudden storm of brilliance
even my harshest critics would have to praise.
He'd think of clever little titles for the tome,
describing, in his mournfully halting way,
the "man who left his muse too soon"
or some such thing
that might make you wonder
why I never gave these poems to you --
the one for whom it all makes sense
even when it doesn't.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:29 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2012
I Used to Write Love Poems

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I used to write love poems,
now I collect them --
like small shells on a beach
only the locals know about.
There is nothing inside them.
They are empty.
But when you put your ear
to their opening
and really listen,
you can hear the ocean.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

The Fling

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Last night
I printed out
all of my poetry,
put it in a plastic bag,
and crawled out my bedroom window
to the roof.
There I stood beneath the full moon,
grabbed everything I could,
and flung 40 years of words to the sky.
Many white pages,
like plucked wings of a mythical bird,
flapped and fluttered to the ground,
the first complaint,
I imagine,
of the man who comes
tomorrow morning to mow the lawn.

More (click and scroll)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:51 AM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2012
The Holiest of Prayers

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Standing on the edge
of this moment's infinity,
aware of only the the naked fact
that I have yet to learn
a single thing about love,
I give up once again
and turn my self in to the invisible
police of men gone missing,
no one quite sure
if I have been kidnapped
or escaped.


Maybe this is why
I bring you tea tonight, in silence,
the holiest of prayers no one will ever hear.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:19 PM | Comments (2)

April 03, 2012
This Longing, This Ache

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This longing, this ache,
this pulsing
of the deepest
part of who you are
is the reason why you're here.
Do not confuse it with desire.
Desire is wanting
what you don't have.
Longing is wanting
what you do.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:19 AM | Comments (2)

March 27, 2012
May I Stay Here Forever

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May I stay here forever in this perfect place of peace with you -- the sacred space between in breath and out, timeless moment before the need for anything has risen, Buddha enjoying his late afternoon nap with no one around to extract any meaning from it. First, there is a breath. Then, there is a second. This is how I begin my long walk with you by the water's edge, cool white sand beneath both our feet.

Painting

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2012
Beyond the Mask of Words

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This is what
all my
late night
writing
has always
been about,
reaching
beyond
the mask of words
and holding you
just long enough
for every poem
ever written
to be
the shoulder
you
lean
on.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:52 PM | Comments (2)

March 12, 2012
Rumi and Kabir Bowling

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Last year, as I understand it, Rumi was the best selling poet in the United States -- 800+ years after he was alive. Kabir, too, is still being widely read -- as is Hafiz, Gibran, and a host of other ecstatic poets from times gone by. Many people assume these guys must have been praying, meditating, and going on pilgrimages 24/7. I don't think so.

This next piece is an homage to Rumi and Kabir -- my fantasy of how the two of them might have spent an evening, in a bowling alley, knocking back some brewskis, if they were alive today.

By the way, if you are willing, this piece is best read aloud.


RUMI AND KABIR BOWLING

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I have been to the place where Rumi and Kabir are bowling all... night... long. They are rolling perfectly round balls down a perfectly polished alley, laughing at the sound of the pins falling down again and again and again.

Every time they bowl a strike even when they miss which is often, their aim wandering in fabulously random ways around this grand interior space.

Rumi orders a shot of Red Eye,Kabir, a Bud Lite, their clinking of glasses some kind of esoteric temple bell ritual neither of them understand.

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They keep drinking and laughing and drinking again, knocking back the elixir of their late night bowling life and muttering under their barely moving breath about the strangers outside returning home from yet another night shift.

Rumi opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out -- Kabir, long beard flecked with foam, orders a second round and then a third as if the world was on fire.

Suddenly Rumi glances over his left shoulder. More pins fall, this time leaving a perfect 7-10 split, Kabir, knowing he never has to write another poem to prove himself whole, leaps from his chair and hurls himself down the perfectly polished alley, arms outstretched, moving at the speed of lite beer.

Bang!

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Both pins fall,like... cedars in Lebanon,like...Adam from Grace, like... trees in a forest with no one close enough to hear whether anything has actually happened or not. No one except Red Eye Rumi swiveling in his chair and pointing to the door.

A small man, in a starched white uniform, enters, many keys hanging from his belt.

"Hey, you two! What are you doing here? This place is closed!"

Rumi smiles, tilts his head back and talks into his empty glass now megaphone for the moment.

"I beg to differ, my good man, this place is not closed. It is open! If it were closed we would not be here. Open it is, I say! Wide open! Like the Red Sea, like a window on a summer night, like the eyes of a young man upon seeing the most beautiful woman in the world walk across the room, her body the perfect mix of spirit and flesh. Open, I say, like a book, like the sky, like the heart of one not yet disappointed in the ways of human love. Go about your business, friend, and leave us here, two happy hieroglyphs of love."

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"We have a perfect game on Lane 23," intones a disembodied voice over the PA system "A perfect game!"

Rumi and Kabir pull over another chair, pour another drink and beckon to the man in the starched white uniform, many keys dangling from his belt.

"Good friend, come closer, come drink with us. Come now! The night is still young."

Illustration

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:03 PM | Comments (3)

February 22, 2012
There Is An Infinite Amount of Poetry

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There is an infinite
amount of poetry
in every drop of water,
an infinite,
always-being-written
book of psalms
in each and every breath.
There is milk and honey everywhere,
milkmaids, magic, and gypsies
who steal your heart,
then give it back
ten thousand times infused
with secrets that will take
far more than a full moon
and a lifetime to decipher.

Image

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:56 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2011
There Is a Poem

There is a poem.jpg

Photo: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Buddha in Winter

Buddha in Winter.jpg

Photo: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Hudson Valley Fall

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Photo: Evelyne Pouget

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2011
Wedding Day

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If you, or anyone you know, is getting married, here's a poem I wrote that might be good to include in the ceremony.

WEDDING DAY

There is a kind of dancing
not taught on Earth,
a moving together like tides,
a spinning in space, a turning,
ecstatic whirling through the place only lovers,
unconditionally loving each other, find.
This bodily prayer is the essence
of the marriage vow;
why flowers bloom, why children bow,
why man and woman grow infinitely
closer to each other
and eventually let go.
It cannot be learned -- only remembered,
the distant memory returning at moments
like this
when hearts are light
and love
is the only thing that matters.

More poetry

Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2011
HAFIZ: Tripping Over Joy

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"What is the difference
between your experience of existence
and that of a saint?

The saint knows
that the spiritual path
is a sublime chess game with God
and that the Beloved
has just made such a fantastic move
that the saint is now continually
tripping over joy
and bursting out in laughter
and saying, "I surrender!"

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
you have a thousand serious moves."

- Hafiz (from I Heard God Laughing)

Painting

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:20 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2011
The Table of Contentment

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Ta da! I am in the process of publishing my third book of (love/devotional/longing) poetry and want you to know.

Below is the table of contents -- a kind of poem in itself.

If you already are committed to buying a copy, please leave me a comment. I'm trying to get a sense of what the interest is out there. And if you are willing to help me spread the word, let me know that, too. Thanks!

1. This Thirst
2. Sometimes Late at Night
3. The Falcon and the Falconer
4. The Great Mystery
5. Watercolor

6. Some Might Call It Dancing
7. Give Everything You Have
8. I Share My Poetry Too Soon
9. Rumi and Kabir Bowling
10. The Paradox Supreme

11. My Poems Are Like a Persian Rug
12. Prisoner of Love
13. When You Walk Into the Room
14. The Seed Once Sown, the Rune
15. Speechless

16. What Moves Us All to Dream
17. Day Job
18. I Want to Tell You About My Master
19. Silenced
20. The Real Drowning

21. This Nothingness
22. Helpless
23. Golden Nomad of Ecstasy
24. Where I Live
25. Open

26. How to Listen to the Master
27. I Used to Write Love Poems
28. Moon Volcanic Leaper
29. May I Stay Here Forever
30. What We Really Want

31. How Many Poems Live Inside Me?
32. A Thousand Rivers of Love
33. Does Anyone Really Understand the Work of a Master?
34. There Is a Poem I Will One Day Write
35. The Impact of a Great Master

36. The Beautiful Sadness of Longing
37. How Can This Be?
38. I Was Walking Down a Country Road Today
39. I Pray at the Altar of Your Lips
40. There Is a Poem Within This Poem

41. Every Breath Is a Prayer
42. The One for Whom You Create
43. There Is an Infinite Amount of Poetry
44. What Is This Strange Forgetting?
45. The Wheel Turns

46. Water to Wine
47. The Beautiful Diamond
48. There Is a Fabulous Underground Club
49. Here's What You Did
50. Why Am I Always Waiting?

51. Dashboard Light
52. You Tune Me Like a Violin

I'm hoping that the WOPG store will carry it.

Cartoon

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2011
How Can This Be?

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How can this be?
There are decades of my life
I can barely remember, but moments with you
that remain indelibly impressed on my heart
like some kind of rock 'n roll rosetta stone
no one can decipher.

Photo
More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2011
I Was Walking Down a Country Road

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I was walking down a country road today,
absolutely sure you were just about to
appear around the bend,
moving like summer wheat towards me in a breeze
both of us could feel.
You would be smiling,
eyes on fire,
carrying the ancient message as you were
as if I already understood.
This wasn't a dream I had. No.
It was more real than the ground beneath my feet,
who I am when all thoughts cease
and the only thing left
is the kind of spaciousness grand enough
for all beings to move in perfect orbit
around the sun you are.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2011
Golden Nomad of Ecstasy

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Alone beneath a full moon once again, I gather together all I can give: milkweed, tears, and the awful silence between too many promises.

Everything else is a dream, a glove dropped and awaiting your warm hand. Won't you break this bubble of unknowing? Won't you end this masquerade?

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If you don't come and claim me from this fantasy of loving you what in the world will happen to me? Will I wander forever in this unwritten scripture like some parable of faithfulness, seeing you in others' eyes, but never in your own?

Should I ride the undertow inside me back to the shell of our first meeting?

My heart was a desert then, my body a stone. But you, golden nomad of ecstasy, you burned the world away in a glance, spoke to me like thunder and turned my beggarless wandering into pure dance.

Today, slightly confused and needing a mother, I find myself leaping -- leaping from earth to sun and back again, not in search of you. No. Because of you.

Excerpted from
More
Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:52 AM | Comments (2)

June 24, 2011
I Pray at the Altar of Your Lips

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I pray
at the altar
of your lips
and there
sip sweetness
from your breath,
inhale
the perfume
of your hair,
enjoy
the way
the evening air
subdues you
once
again.

More poetry
Illustration
Mystery Link

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2011
There Is a Poem Within This Poem

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There is a poem
within this poem
and I want you to find it.

If you say YES, you will.
If you say NO, you won't.

That's how simple
the whole thing is.

But if you look,
you will not see it.
If you listen, you will hear
only the sound of a cello in the distance.

Think of this poem, if you like,
as what remains after everyone is gone,

the perfume of your first lover,
remembering you, with a slow smile.

Mosaic
More poetry

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:09 AM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2011
The Curtain Breathes

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The curtain breathes and billows high like the skirt of a woman turning away, scorned (she would say) for my being seized by nothing more than air. Released by a breeze even leaves do not bend to, I cannot speak. I have become, unmoving, the breath of my child asleep at the feet of the Lord.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:15 PM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2011
The Real Speed of Life

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One

breath

at

a

time.


More
Prem Rawat
The Keys
wopg blog


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2010
Radiant Being of Light

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Radiant being of light,
vortex of love,
alchemist supreme,
magnifier of prayer,
the one I dream about
and the one who
wakes me from the dream,
why the dervish spins
and the earth,
teacher, teaching, and the taught,
first breath, last breath,
what lovers look for in each other,
but rarely find,
center around which everything revolves,
endless night of love
and the ecstatic aching
of a moon-howling heart
that does not want the morning to come.

Illustration

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:08 PM | Comments (3)

November 27, 2010
The Wheel Spins

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The wheel spins, but the hub goes nowhere. In the middle of the hub is another hub and inside that, another yet. It too, spins, but too slowly for anyone to notice.

I'll meet you there after the world shuts down.

Sometime later in that silence, tea brewing, cat curled up in the corner of forever, one of us will speak the poetry God longs to hear. Everything will stop. A moment later neither of us will remember a single word of what was said nor will we need to.

More poetry
Image

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:28 PM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2010
Water to Wine

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Pour each glass of water
like a glass of wine.
Move differently,
more like cabernet than tap.
Pause
before raising your glass.
Breathe.
Savor your
toast to all that is
sacred.
Sip,
really sip,
taste the
sweetness
on your lips.

Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2010
The Beautiful Diamond

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There is a beautiful diamond
inside me.
For years it was covered
with dust and dirt
and my own wild thoughts
about what the diamond was.
Then the Master entered my life.
He blew the dust and dirt away.
He invited me
to polish the gem
and watch it shine,
Now I am
the richest person in the world
and so are you.

More
Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:48 PM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2010
The Breath

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The breath is
an invisible
umbilical cord
that connects
all of us
to a source
of great
nourishment.

Photo
Videos
Express the love
Words of Peace

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)

September 07, 2010
Where I Live

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Many times over the past 16 years, well-meaning people have asked me where I lived.

Depending on my mood and how much I thought they really wanted to know, I would tell them any of the following:

"Two hours north of Manhattan" ... "Ulster County" ... "65 miles south of Albany" ... or the "oh so famous Woodstock, New York."

Now, many years after receiving Knowledge and having relocated to my breath, I simply say:

The State of Gratitude.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:36 AM | Comments (1)

July 24, 2010
Here's What You Did

Here's what you did:
You flew me on your
magic carpet
high above my life,
I felt all the breezes of love
there ever were
blowing through my hair.
That's when the carpet
fell away,
or perhaps,
you dismissed it,
me needing nothing more than breath
to take me home.

Image
More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:46 AM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2010
The World Is My Day Job

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The world is my day job,
but it's the night
that is my calling,
when everyone is gone
and Adam's done
with falling,
when there's nowhere
left to go
and nothing else to do,
just staring at the moon
and thinking about you.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:13 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2010
I'm High Up in My Poetry Today and Won't Come Down

radha_and_krishna_love_and_longing_be5311.jpg


Okie dokie...
For those of you
who love
devotional poetry,
here is
a selection
from the
promised land
beneath all our feet.

Most
of them are mine
(hey, it's my blog!),
but you'll also find
some goodies from
Rumi, Kabir, Hafiz, and Lao Tzu,
those four wild kings
of the timeless land
beyond borders.

Click here!
,
then scroll on down.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2010
I Share My Poetry Too Soon

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I share
my poetry too soon,
before it is done,
a small man
beneath a half moon
gossiping about the sun.
Too soon told secret,
it ruins what will come,
this advertisement
of a human heart,
alone before
the Holy One.

Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:26 AM | Comments (3)

March 03, 2010
Dashboard Light

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The sun is setting. There is precious little light to write my song of praise to you -- only the glow from the dashboard of a 1983 Toyota taking me deeper into the sudden mountains of Mexico.

Victor, the driver, sees what I'm doing and turns on the overhead light, but I prefer the glow of the dashboard.

It's softer on the eyes and my heart rejoices in the romance of needing to write in order to see.

More on longing
Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2010
The Great Mystery

Here is the great mystery:
My thirst is quenched
as much by my longing
to have it quenched
as it is by the waters that come.
Tell me, oh digger of the well,
which do I drink first?


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2010
He Tunes Me Like a Violin

He tunes me
like a violin,
orchestral
in his movements,
silent as music
still to be played.

Alone in my room,
fingers twitching slightly,
I pray
for a bow
and a sign
from the maestro
when to begin.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

Why Am I Always Waiting?

radha_and_krishna_love_and_longing_be5311.jpg
Why am I
always waiting
for you
to greet me
as if I had
just
gotten off a plane
from some
faraway place,
your eyes
opening wider,
your breath
coming faster,
your beautiful soul
moving closer
as if nothing else
in the world
really mattered.

Illustration

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2010
ZERO

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Zero
is where
the real
fun starts.

There's too much
counting
everywhere else.

-- Hafiz


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:14 AM | Comments (3)

January 10, 2010
Making Room for Rumi

The first time I heard Coleman Barks read Rumi I was baffled. Somehow, a Southern accent and Rumi's timeless poetry didn't seem to go together. But they do. Barks has done wonders to get Rumi's souful wisdom into the world marketplace. His reading has grit, gravitas, and good vibes. Enjoy!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:26 AM | Comments (2)

December 21, 2009
HO! HO! HO! Give Everything You Have

Give everything you have, and after you have given, give what's left. After you give what's left, give what remains. After giving that, give the feeling of having given. After giving the feeling of having given, give what you get for having given. Then give again, never stopping, always giving. And should it come to pass that you forget, forgive yourself immediately. Then begin again, giving everything you have, and after you have given, give what's left.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2009
Lao Tzu On the Ancient Masters

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"The ancient masters were subtle,
mysterious, profound, responsive.
The depth of their knowledge
is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful,
like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding, like ice just about to melt.
Simple,
like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves,
Opaque like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.

Tao Teh Ching

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:50 AM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2009
There Is No Door

I could tell you that my Master
is the one who opened the door,
but that would be a lie.
There never was a door.
I was never on the other side.
We were always in this together,
he and I.

If you call the realization of this Oneness, the opening of a door,
so be it,
but since I'm in a good mood today,
I'll save you the trouble of
hacking your way
through a love drunk's
excess of metaphors.
There is no door!
Never was, never will be.
The knocking you hear
is only the sound of your own heart beating.
The One for whom it beats has always been with you,
so what's all this monkey business about a door?

Open the non-door

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:40 AM | Comments (5)

November 02, 2009
RUMI: Move Into Your House of Joy

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If you knew yourself for even one moment,
if you could just glimpse
your most beautiful face,
maybe you wouldn't slumber so deeply
in that house of clay.

Why not move into your house of joy
and shine into every crevice!
For you are the secret
Treasure-bearer,
and always have been.

Didn't you know?

-- Rumi

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2009
Just This Crazy Laughter

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Now that you have shown me who I am with my own eyes, what do you want me to do? Sing your praises? No can do, I'm mute. Write love songs? Ha! My hands are shaking and so is the ground.

Oh my Friend, an ocean of feeling I have become, a fool, a lunatic walking on moonlight -- singing, singing.

This is not at all what I imagined when first we met.

Even if my story could be told, no one would believe me. I have no proof, not a single shred of evidence, just this crazy laughter and the kind of late night sighing that comes when there is nothing left to say.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:59 PM | Comments (3)

July 24, 2009
Kabir, Duke Ellington, and the Swing

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Between the conscious and the unconscious, the mind has put up a swing; all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway between these two trees, and it never winds down.

Angels, animals, humans, insects by the millions, also the wheeling sun and moon; ages go by, and it goes on.

Everything is swinging; heaven, earth, water, fire, and the secret one slowly growing a body.

Kabir saw that for 15 seconds, and it made him a servant for life.


Painting: Rachel Clearfield
Translation: Robert Bly

Five minutes after posting this poem, I turned on the radio. Guess what was playing? Duke Ellington's It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing. I kid you, not.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:16 PM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2009
HAFIZ: My Sweet, Crushed Angel

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"You have not danced so badly, my dear, trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One. You have waltzed with great style, my sweet, crushed angel, to have ever neared God's Heart at all.

Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow, and even his best musicians are not always easy to hear.

So what if the music has stopped for a while. So what if the price of admission to the Divine is out of our reach tonight. So what, my dear, if you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.

The mind and the body are famous for holding the heart ransom, but Hafiz knows the Beloved's eternal habits.

Have patience, for he will not be able to resist your longing for long.

You have not danced so badly, my dear, trying to kiss the Beautiful One. You have actually waltzed with tremendous style, Oh my sweet, Oh my sweet, crushed angel."

I Heard God Laughing, by Daniel Ladinsky. Illustration: Diane Cobb

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:14 PM | Comments (2)

July 16, 2009
RUMI: Inside This New Love

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Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.


Thanks to Janet Wallace for forwarding the poem.

Photo by Joyful Revery

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:16 PM | Comments (3)

June 04, 2009
The Paradox Supreme

Here is the paradox supreme:
What you want you have
and what you have you want.

What you call the path
is merely the way to this understanding.
Do not worry about the next step.
You have already taken it.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2009
Watercolor

Today I wrote the most beautiful poem in the world,
something so pure I wouldn't mind dying --
the perfect song of praise
hewn from the dark forest of my secret heart.

Not a wasted word it was,
rhythmic, elegant, and holy,
poetry for the ages,
why sages dance,
timeless in its pauses,
with a long white beard and a thousand Santa Clauses
ringing their bells for love.

Yes, I wrote this poem today
or rather, it wrote me,
flooding through my body
onto a singular white page,
which I, amazed at having said it all
and having signed my name,
left, for a moment, on my favorite chair
beneath the willow tree,
then turned inside again and took my leave
to celebrate this unexpected visitation of my muse
by listening, with great respect,
to Mozart in the living room.

I did not hear the rain.
Not a single drop.

It was only later, after dinner, I discovered
the many ways ink drips down a white page
in a sudden, summer shower.
I could see, I think, small patches of blue,
a cloud, a flower, a silhouette,
perhaps a word or two,

my perfect poem now watercolor --
the many colors of my love for you.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2009
Harvest Me

maharaji_2.jpg

Stories of your beauty
drift down to me like ash
from a fire
I have not yet been warmed by.
Your absence only singes me,
and though I flame
at the mere mention of you,
still I remain unconsumed.

Don't you understand?
Just the wind of your walking
would be enough to release me,
your glance,
enough to wake me from my dream.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2009
Prisoner of Love

I am a prisoner of love, completely captive, bird whose wings wish only to fan the face of his Beloved. What need have I to fly? Where in this world can I go? Bound with the invisible thread of devotion, I pace my inner courtyard, rave silently beneath a local moon and wait for his return. To call this a jail is a lie when all I want to do is crawl further in, dig my tunnel deeper to the one forever guarding me.

A prisoner of love, yes, that's what I am!

Howling at the half moon, screaming for the full, I turn my self in, keep turning myself in and in and in to the only one worth being in love and alone with. Why dream of other times and places when the one who has the key is knocking at your door?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:51 PM | Comments (3)

March 14, 2009
Speechless

It's not what I say,
it's what I don't say.
But every time I say nothing,
what I don't say
leaves so much to be said,
I am speechless.
Maybe that's why Groucho
raised his eyebrows
and Jesus raised the dead.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:45 AM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2009
Off the Coast of Love

My wife tells me I should pay more attention to details --
the house, the car, the lawn --
there's a thousand things,
by sunset,
that need to be done.

She's right, of course, it's true.

If only I wasn't floating
three feet off the ground today,
caught in the updraft
of a single gaze from you,
spinning
like a thousand cyclones
off the coast of love.

Photo

(Excerpted from Thirst Quench Thirst)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2009
HAFIZ: Where Dolphins Dance

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Again, the work starts as soon as you open your eyes in the morning.

Hopefully you got some good rest last night. Why go into the city or the fields without first kissing the Friend who always stands at your door? It takes only a second.

Habits are human nature. Why not create some that will mint gold? Your arms are violin bows always moving. I have become very conscious upon whom we all play.

Thus my eyes have filled with warm soft oceans of divine music where jeweled dolphins dance, then leap into this world.

Excerpted from The Subject Tonight Is Love by Daniel Ladinsky.

Photo by Kalandrakas. Thanks to Larry Lustbader for forwarding this poem...

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2009
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

May I stay here forever
in this perfect place of peace with you --
the sacred space
between in breath and out,
the final coming home,
timeless moment before the need
for anything has risen,
Buddha enjoying his late afternoon nap
with no one around
to extract any meaning from it.
First, there is a breath,
then there is a second.
This is how I begin my
long walk with you by the water's edge,
cool white sand beneath both our feet.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:02 PM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2009
Two By Rumi

"To the eye is sometimes given a glimpse of vast beauties, a taste of perfection, but only enough to leave the heart impossibly lonely."


"Dragons flying into starlight. This is how true human beings cut the rope and come to me."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2008
RUMI: Telling It Like It Is

Rumi Meditatinh=g KIT.jpg

Keep walking, there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances,
That's not for human beings. Move within,
but don't move the way fear makes you move.

One day, you will take me completely out of my self,
I'll do what the angels cannot do,
Your eyelash will write on my cheek
the poem that hasn't been thought of.

Since I've been away from you,
I only know how to weep.
Like a candle melting is who I am.
Like a harp, any sound I make is music.

Happy, not from anything that happens.
Warm, not from fire or a hot bath,
Light, I register zero on a scale.
(Who remains to write the last line of this poem?)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)

September 30, 2008
Thirst Quench Thirst

Hello... You can hear nothing but the sound of my voice.

You are lovingly placing your cursor over the hotlinked phrase below, clicking once and buying at least one copy of my new book of poetry, Thirst Quench Thirst.

Do not concern yourself about whether or not you actually like poetry, read poetry, or have ever heard of me. Those concerns, while certainly understandable, are beside the point. Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts. Like now, for instance.

Some of the poems in this blog are excerpted from the book, so if you're still not sure, simply scroll around and read.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the book is only $15.00. At 72 pages, that's only $20.8 cents a page (1/18th the cost of a Starbuck's Frappucino). Such a deal!

Still need proof it's worth the money? Click below and check out the reviews:

Thirst, Quench Thirst evokes a memory of the deepest longings of the soul. Reading Mitch's poetry reminds me of what I already know, but often forget." -- Joan Apter

"This poetry has touched the deepest recesses of my heart." -- Dermott Philpott

"Mitch's poetry touches a universal human longing; the ache for internal connection to the divine. He speaks in a personal, simple, accessible way about things that are ancient and deep." -- Erika Andersen

"Most great love poetry baffles the mind, but delights the heart. And great love poetry cannot be written without great love. Mitch Ditkoff's poems are intoxicating." -- John Adorney

"This is the kind of nourishment that penetrates to the core of Divine Love, and if deeply imbibed, its sweet nectar can be savored for a lifetime." -- Jamie Delay

"Mitch mixed the most profound -- almost indescribable -- with the kind of simplicity that somehow manages to capture a feeling. Lovely stuff!" -- Candice Wilmore

"This book of poetry, delightful and charming, takes me right to the heart of the matter gently, often with wonderful humor! I read and re-read these poems just to take the ride." -- Kim Greene

"Not bad, but buy this book anyway so I can get a higher allowance." -- Jesse Pouget Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2008
What Moves Us All to Dream

What moves us all to dream,
to think, to love, to act,
to give it up for some great cause
or double back to pause before our plans
of having more or getting there
or going to the country fair
is the same for everyone --

the sage, the fool, the king,
the self-appointed ministers of fun.

Einstein said it best, I think,
or maybe it was Rumi,
both of whom were missing links
from this to that, from here to there,
mystics of the unseen arts,
demystifying what it is that moves the air
and the human heart.

Still I wonder what it is I thirst for in my bones,
what will be enough to feel.

Is it what I see with these two eyes
or what I know beyond them both
is always just a bit concealed --
that which seizes me from deep within,
the mirror of my soul, my other half, my perfect twin,
the one who knows, but doesn't tell
or if he does, it's just enough
to dig my tunnel deeper to the well

where all the seekers that I am have come to drink,
long before the first parable was told.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2008
KABIR: I Talk to My Inner Lover

GuruKabir.jpg

I talk to my inner lover
and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is
some sort of spirt that
loves birds and animals and the ants --
perhaps the same one who gave
a radiance to you
in your mother's womb.

Is it logical you would be
walking around entirely orphaned now?

The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others,
and have forgotten
what you once knew,
and that's why everything you do
has some weird failure in it.

Kabir: Ecstatic Poems, Robert Bly

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2008
Plenty of Rumi for Everyone

I was dead, then alive,
weeping, then laughing.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.

He said, "You're not mad enough.
You don't belong in this house."
I went wild and had to be tied up.
He said, "You're still not wild enough
to stay with us!"
I broke through another layer
into joyfulness.
He said, "It's not enough."
I died.
He said, "You are a clever little man,
full of fantasy and doubting."
I plucked out my feathers and became a fool.
He said, "Now you are the candle
for this assembly."
But I'm no candle. Look!
I'm scattered smoke.

He said, "You are the sage, the guide."
But I'm not a teacher. I have no power.
He said, "You already have wings.
I cannot give you wings."
But I wanted his wings.
I felt like some flightless chicken.
Then something said to me,
"Don't move. A sublime generosity is
coming towards you."

An old love said, "Stay with me."
I said, "I will."

You are the fountain of the sun's light.
I am a willow shadow on the ground.
You make my raggedness silky.
The soul at dawn is like darkened water
that slowly begins to say "Thank you, Thank you."
Then at sunset, again, Venus gradually
changes into the moon and then the whole night sky.

This comes of smiling back
at your smile.

The chess master says nothing,
other than moving the silent chess piece.

That I am part of the ploys
of this game makes me
amazingly happy.

- Rumi

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2008
Rumi and Kabir Bowling

Rumi.jpg

Last year, as I understand it, Rumi was the best selling poet in the United States -- 800+ years after he was alive. Amazing, eh? Clearly, there is something timeless and universal in his words. Kabir, too, is still being widely read -- as is Hafiz, Gibran, and a host of other ecstatic poets from times gone by.

Many people assume these guys must have been praying, meditating, and going on pilgrimages all the time. I don't think so. All you have to do is read their poetry to see how down to earth they were, how irreverant, and how funny.

Anyway... this next piece is an homage to Rumi and Kabir -- my little fantasy of how the two of them might have spent an evening -- in a bowling alley -- if they were still alive today.

Read it aloud, with some drama in your voice, for maximum value.

I have been to the place where Rumi and Kabir
are bowling all... night... long.
They are rolling perfectly round balls
down a perfectly polished alley,
laughing at the sound of the pins falling down
again and again and again.

Every time they bowl a strike even when they miss
which is often, their aim wandering in fabulously random ways
around this grand interior space.

Rumi orders a shot of Red Eye,
Kabir, a Bud Lite,
their clinking of glasses
some kind of esoteric temple bell ritual
neither of them understand.

They keep drinking and laughing and drinking again,
knocking back the elixir of their late night bowling life
and muttering under their barely moving breath
about the strangers outside returning home from yet another night shift.

Rumi opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out --
Kabir, long beard flecked with foam, orders a second round
and then a third as if the world was on fire.

Suddenly Rumi glances over his left shoulder.
More pins fall, this time leaving a perfect 7-10 split,
Kabir, knowing he never has to write another poem
to prove himself whole, leaps from his chair and hurls himself
down the perfectly polished alley, arms outstretched,
moving at the speed
of lite
beer.

Bang!
Both pins fall,
like... cedars in Lebanon,
like... Adam from Grace,
like... trees in a forest with no one close enough to hear whether anything
has actually happened or not.
No one except Red Eye Rumi swiveling in his chair
and pointing to the door.

A small man, in a starched white uniform, enters,
many keys hanging from his belt.
"Hey, you two! What are you doing here? This place is closed!"
Rumi smiles, tilts his head back and talks into his empty glass
now megaphone for the moment.

"I beg to differ, my good man,
this place is not closed.
It is open!
If it were closed we would not be here.
Open it is, I say! Wide open!
Like the Red Sea,
like a window on a summer night,
like the eyes of a young man upon seeing
the most beautiful woman in the world walk across the room,
her body the perfect mix of spirit and flesh.
Open, I say, like a book, like the sky,
like the heart of one not yet disappointed
in the ways of human love.
Go about your business, friend, and leave us here,
two happy hieroglyphs of love."

"We have a perfect game on Lane 23,"
intones a disembodied voice over the PA system
"A perfect game!"

Rumi and Kabir pull over another chair, pour another drink
and beckon to the man in the starched white uniform,
many keys dangling from his belt.

"Good friend, come closer, come drink with us.
Come now!
The night is still young."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2008
The Gift

The gift I bought for you today
is not inside the box.
It's in the opening.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2008
HAFIZ: Tired of Speaking Sweetly

hafiz_p.jpg

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room by your hair,
ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
that bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
and wants to rip to shreds
all your erroneous notions of truth
that make you fight within yourself, dear one,
and with others,
cause the world to weep
on too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
lock us inside a tiny room with Himself
and practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
to do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
and shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood,"
most everyone I know
quickly packs their bags and hightails it
out of town.

(THE GIFT, Poems by Hafiz, translation by Daniel Ladinsky)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2008
The Falcon and the Falconer

NOTE: This song of praise to Maharaji is best read aloud...

I am the falcon, you are the falconer. Always I am coming back to you, my soaring skyward just a strategy to gather speed for my ultimate return.

How you have trained me is a mystery -- the way you've tamed my restless heart. It is not with fear. I do not fear you. It is not with food. There is prey enough for me everywhere I fly. It is more the way you offer me your arm, a place to land, a second skin scented with the wild musk of one who waits for me, what I would be if I would be a man.

It is a wonderful game the two of us play -- this coming and going, this circular ballet. Each time you loose the loops around my legs and signal me to fly, I remember what it is to rise for the first time. It is here I find my rest, my home. Untethered, still I do not move, needing only to be close to you, my falconer.

It is this that beats my wings, releases me to sky, rides the unseen currents of the air, and though I notice other things: the tops of trees, a cloud, a nimble rabbit on the ground, all I see is you, holding out your arm to me, even as a thousand other falcons overhead, each within your view, circle closer, spiral down, descend.

Still I know that I am next and this is the perfect moment of my return.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:26 PM | Comments (2)

June 15, 2008
Open Window

Alone in my room
at the end of the day,
I open my window and
release my breath like a dove
that it may find its way
to you, oh precious one.

It leaves the shell of my body,
carried by an unseen wind,
small wings beating
against a very big sky.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2008
How to Listen to the Master

First of all,
give up everything you know
about listening --
it has nothing to do with your ears.
That kind of listening
will only take you so far.
If you really want to hear,
you will need to leave your ears at the door
and while you're at it,
your head.
Then, take a seat,
breathe deep,
and become, if you can,
a flower opening to the sun.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2008
The Falcon and the Falconer

I am the falcon,
you are the falconer.
Always I am coming back to you,
my soaring skyward just a strategy
to gather speed for my ultimate return.
How you have trained me is a mystery --
the way you've tamed my restless heart.
It is not with fear. I do not fear you.
It is not with food.
There is prey enough for me
everywhere I fly.
It is more the way you offer me your arm,
a place to land, a second skin,
scented with the wild musk of one who waits for me,
what I would be if I would be a man.

It is a wonderful game the two of us play --
this coming and going,
this circular ballet.
Each time you loose the loops around my legs
and signal me to fly, I remember
what it is to rise for the first time.

It is here I find my rest, my home.
Untethered, still I do not move,
needing only to be close to you, my Falconer.
It is this that beats my wings, releases me to sky,
rides the unseen currents of the air
and though I notice other things:
the tops of trees, a cloud, a nimble rabbit on the ground,
all I see is you, holding out your arm to me,
even as a thousand other falcons overhead,
each within your view,
circle closer, spiral down, descend,
yet still I know that I am next
and this
is the perfect moment
of my return.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2008
Just This Crazy Laughter

Now that you have ruined what I thought was my life,
what do you want me to do?
Sing your praises?
No can do, I'm mute.
Shout something timeless from the rooftops?
Sorry, I cannot move.
Write poetry? Impossible,
my hands are shaking and so is the ground.

Oh Friend,
it's clear my life is very different now
than what I thought it would be when first we met.

An ocean of unexpected tears I have become,
a fool,
a lunatic walking on moonlight,
singing, singing, singing.

This is not at all what I thought it would be
the first time I saw you.
It's a billion times better than that.

Even if my story could be told no one would believe me.
I have no proof,
not a single shred of evidence,
just this crazy laughter
and the kind of late night sighing that comes
when there is nothing left to say.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2008
The Path

The path is simple,
but not always easy,
kind of like a teenage boy
on his first date
who discovers he has a pimple
right before he goes to kiss
the girl of his dreams, who,
as it turns out,
is in love with someone else --
a nice enough fellow, or so I'm told,
but with a wicked temper
and a red '63 Corvette.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2008
Create!

A star exploded deep within you years ago
and still the light has not yet reached your eyes,
not yet turned the night to day for birds to leave their nests
or monks their caves to play.
Blind to your own infusion, you insist there is nothing to see,
nothing to celebrate your reasonless being for,
and yet you feel it, you quake,
you quiver to begin.

An unseen trembling turns your head,
the way you stand, the wind,
the ground beneath your feet.
You think the shock of this bodily remembrance is fear
and do not sing,
do not burst into song,
do not wring the beauty of the sound
long buried in your bones.
You stop and throw a stone,
half hoping it will come back to you,
and wait

as if there was time,
wait,
like a beggar ashamed to ask for a bowl to beg with.

How can this be?
The sky is bluer than the eyes of your own mother
on the day she first beheld you
and still you cast your gaze down.
Don't you remember?
You were made in the image of God!
The creator!
The one who creates
river, eagle, ladybug, leaf.
If anyone else gave you the moon you'd call him a thief
or worse, refuse to look.
Give up the notion of stealing from God.
The only crime here is to hoard.

Prometheus?
Only bored of chilly nights
with no flame to write his poetry by.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

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