Unspoken Word
February 06, 2023
The Lost Journals

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Upon moving from Woodstock to Catskill, New York last year and getting quite a workout lifting, carrying, tossing, selling, and noticing way too many possessions, I came across three boxes in the garage of old journals of mine -- some going back more than 40 years -- moon howling rants, late night ramblings, incantations, Rumi-infused ecstasies, madman utterances, lists, plans, notes, drawings, and other outtakes from own suburban Mahabharata.

I thought of throwing them out, not wanting to pray at the Golden Calf of Memory, but something stayed my hand and so I lugged them to my new abode.

Usually, when I lug these journals around, as I have been been doing for 40 years, I stash them in a closet or a basement. But since I have only one small closet and no basement here in the town that time forgot, I removed them from their boxes and placed them on a bookshelf in front of my desk -- my feral children, my orphan brothers, my mendicants, madmen, and monks.

Continue reading "The Lost Journals"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2023
Who Can I Share My Joy With?

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MitchDitkoff.com
Full Moon at Sunrise
Photograph: unsplash-logoNathan Dumlao

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2022
Advanced Praise for "Unspoken Word: Love Longing & Letting Go"

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My fourth book of poetry, Unspoken Word: On Love, Longing and Letting Go, will be published in March, 2023. What follows are a selection of comments from early readers of the manuscript:

"Your poetry has given me one of the greatest gifts of all -- hope." - Michael Nouri, Television and Film Actor

"Unspoken Word is entrancing -- a stellar accomplishment. This precious book is a rare treasure, a cloudburst of wisdom, a true feast for the soul." - John Audette, Author, Loved by the Light: True Stories of Divine Intervention and Providence

"Mitch's poetry resonates with the story of my life and pours forth like an erupting volcano, igniting that unnameable thirst within." - Joan Apter, Healer and Author, Miracle of Thirst

"Ditkoff connects everything with invisible threads of joy that point to a past, present and future of profound acceptance and gratitude for what is." - Rabbi Zoe B Zak, Temple Israel, Catskill, NY

"Open the cover of this book, and in the first few words you'll be greeted by an old friend who knows a part of you that you may have forgotten. Take your time and savor each bite of this delicious meal!" - Jim Hobbs, Psychology Professor, SUNY Ulster

"I spent a month reading a few poems each day from Unspoken Word. It became a journey of searching my own soul. It connected me with my loved ones, the world, and a better understanding of myself." - Hank Alpert, President, Spartan Petroleum Corp.

"I've just read the first few poems and am very touched. Tears started falling almost immediately. How beautiful! For me, what you've written is a love letter I want to savor." -- Susan Hubly, Realtor

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"Mitch Ditkoff's poems are striking and lyrical. They grow more profound each time you re-read your favorites. His wide-range of poetic styles reflect the gentle romanticism of Rilke and Gibran and the wry wit of Billy Collins. Like Rumi and Hafiz, Mitch has the gift of distilling infinity into words that inspire you to feel its vastness within you. Unspoken Word is ecstatic poetry for the 21st Century." - Francisca Matos, Writer

"Inspiring. Ecstatic. Mystical. Profound. Exciting. Mesmerizing. Juicy. Memorable. Joyous. Wondrous. Sublime. Uplifting." - Jonathan Lloyd, Writer & TaiChi/QiGong teacher

"Mitch Ditkoff's poetry is inspired -- an invocation to Spirit for guidance, grace and opening to a life of love. His writing makes the unseen world visible and palpable. It opens the heart." - Steve McHugh, Author, You are God Enough

"Unspoken Word evokes some of my favorite devotional poets, Rumi in particular. These pages will delight with a familiarity similar to remembering an enchanting dream that has long been forgotten." -- MaryAnne Erickson, Fine Artist

"From the very first poem in this book, we find ourselves on a journey all of us share in common. Mitch Ditkoff has eloquently put into words the transcendence of our limitations as we experience the grace of being human." - Steve Ornstein, Founder, Israel Seen

"If one thinks of ecstatic poetry as something created in the past and preserved by a few in the present, I offer another possibility. Make way for the living! Mitch Ditkoff lives in his own ecstatic landscape -- NOW. He reminds us of this magical place we all share because we are alive." - Alla Rogers, Director of Art and Cultural Impact Programs, Global Peace Education Network

"Mitch Ditkoff takes us on the ride of our lives, holding us tenderly and showing us what's possible in the world and in ourselves. Unspoken Word is a gift!" - Joseph Bennett, Author, Rest, The Art of Doing Less

"These beautiful poems reflect us back to ourselves, allowing us to see our human condition with greater love and compassion, to breathe a sigh of relief and flow." - Ellen Goldberg, Mystic and Author, The Art and Science of Hand Reading

"I applaud Mitch's relentless efforts to share these secrets of the heart, for they are hints of how to enter through that invisible door to your truest home." - Jan Buchalter, Humanitarian

"One cannot fail to respond to the call of Mitch's poetry to awaken us in the midst of life's circumstances. No matter how apparently estranged from our hearts we feel or troubled in mind, we glance a second time at what's before us and find it suddenly transformed." -- Robert Esformes, Cantor

"A true joy to read and contemplate." - George Samuels, Tibetan Buddhist


SOME MIGHT CALL IT DANCING

Some might call it dancing,
I call it stumbling closer to God,
the unrehearsed
falling forward into God
as if the world was tipped.

Why I wrote Unspoken Word

To receive an alert when the book is published, send an email to mitch@ideachampions.com with "Unspoken Word" in the subject line.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2022
How to Order "Unspoken Word"

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My next book of poetry, "Unspoken Word: On Love, Longing and Letting Go" will be published in March, 2023.

If you would like to receive an email alert when the book is out, all you need to do is send me a email with the words "Unspoken Word" in the subject line. That's it. Simple.

mitch@ideachampions.com

Advance praise for "Unspoken Word"
Poets on poetry

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2022
If You Enjoy Reading What I Write

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If you enjoy my writing, I invite you to click on any one of the six links below. These are the six most popular posts of mine on MEDIUM -- an online platform where I am publishing daily. If you like what you read, feel free to subscribe to my posts and request to receive an email alert whenever anything new of mine is published there. Enjoy!

What I Learned, in a Closet, from my 3-Year Old Son

What It Really Means to Be a Friend

On Realizing the Nature of True Being

Here's the Problem with Reading Rumi

100 Sure-Fire Reasons to Go Within

My Father's Last Breath

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2022
Poets on Poetry

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"A poem is never finished, only abandoned." - Paul Valery

"Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." - T.S. Eliot

"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson

"Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." - Leonard Cohen

"Poetry is the liquid voice that can wear through stone." - Adrienne Rich

"The poet is the priest of the invisible." - Wallace Stevens

"I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry." - John Cage

Continue reading "Poets on Poetry"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

The Shortest Pilgrimage (and the rebooting of my MEDIUM blog)

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Good news! After a long hiatus, I have rebooted my blog on MEDIUM -- a very lovely online platform where the best of my writing is being published. I will be posting one piece daily. Feel free to subscribe. It's free. And if you want to receive email alerts whenever something new is posted, be sure to click that option.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:52 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2022
How to Listen to the Beloved

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:40 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2022
So You Want to Be a Writer?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2022
Rilke's Late Night Violin Music

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Rainer Maria Rilke, the genius German poet
who translated God in ways
no scripture has ever come close to,
once wondered why every time he walked
beneath a high window
(out of which violin music could be heard)
he thought it promised him a future lover.

When I die, I want to meet this man,
standing, as I imagine he will be, just beyond
the gathering of my long gone relatives waiting to greet me.
I don't think he will be saying much of anything,
just looking in my general direction, his dark eyes singing,
his body completely at ease, having just released
a thousand poems he never needed to write,
the lips of his high-windowed lovers still unkissed,
summoned as they were by violins to embrace him
far beyond the body's few pleasures.

Rilke will not be looking up,
remembering as he was, from a few years ago,
a beautiful young couple crossing the street before him,
laughing, talking, holding hands, but not his glance,
always reserved, it seemed, for someone else,
but if you dared to ask "for whom?"
he would fumble for his pen,
reach inside the quiet pocket of his favorite coat,
and find the old notebook he always kept there
for precisely moments
like this.

Rilke's Duino Elegies
Painting: Leslie Dietrich
More of my poetry here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2022
What Is This Strange Forgetting?

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An audio poem for your enjoyment

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2022
The Open Window

Is an open window missing anything --
a pane of glass, a curtain,
a sheet of plywood in case a hurricane looms?
Breezes enter through this window
or should I say where a window was,
there being nothing now but empty space,
no way to separate
the inside from the outside,
where I'm standing now
from where I will be later,
you from me.

Who I am is this empty space,
my home, my lens,
the portal to everything and nothing
the formless one
before a single need arises,
or regret.

Keep this window open wide, my friend,
even in a storm.
While the floor may get soaked
and it will seem as if, sometimes, you are all alone
the tears you shed
will dry everything,
the silence now filled
with the holy thunder of yourself.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2022
In This Late Night Silence

In this late night silence,
no one here but me,
I am being
slowly deprogrammed,
unraveled, unhinged, unfurled.
In this ever-widening space of no time,
there is nothing to say
and everything,
songs unwritten
now being hummed in another world,
a thousand Zen koans, unasked,
spinning in great circles around me,
the one who waits for an answer
out for a stroll
and noticing
a single daisy.

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

July 16, 2022
Here's the Problem with Reading Rumi

Here's the problem with reading Rumi:
There's a very good chance you will never come back,
which might, of course, be fine for you, oh seeker of light,
but what about the person you are most committed to
here on planet earth? Won't they feel abandoned,
you having disappeared without a trace
your body now a shadow,
your heart having exploded into a thousand pieces,
each one a seed to populate another world?
What about THAT person, the one you
share your hopes and dreams with,
the one who holds you late at night?
If this, perchance, is what concerns you, my friend,
simply tell your partner this:
My darling, I would love you like my own self if I knew who I was,
I would sing to you each day,
which is why I read Rumi, the pied piper of my soul,
and why I breathe.
You and I are more than a couple, my dear,
we are couplets in a greater poem,
each one a moving line with its own rhythm and internal rhyme,
expressions of the ancient quest for love
now made greater by each other,
why I come home to you at night,
why you come home to me,
and time stops,
why I must forgive myself daily for forgetting
just how utterly divine you are, sweet bee to the honey of my life,
the endless sky I soar deeper into,
stretching my wings beyond what I think is possible,
and it's all Rumi's fault.
Blame him!
I had nothing to do with it.
Nothing.

Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2022
RUMI ON THE FRONT PORCH

First, I removed all the clocks from my house,
then I removed the mirrors,
I watered the plants, trimmed the dead leaves
and swept the kitchen,
then I went outside and sat on my front porch,
Rumi book in hand,
I just sat there for a long while, doing nothing,
a few people walked by and I waved at them,
they waved back,
a dog barked,
I thought of a few things I had thought of before,
then I opened the book.
Rumi lived 800 years ago,
but he was rocking right next to me on my front porch,
he said something funny that made us both laugh,
for a moment we forgot who we were,
then Rumi started singing a song that made no sense,
kind of like a flock of drunken birds,
flying in a strange pattern,
with the wind at their backs.

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

June 02, 2022
Sailing

The tears of a thousand lifetimes searching for you
is the ocean I sail upon today,
the knowledge that both of us are very much alive,
but not in the same room.
Wind in my sails, I see the sun, the sky, and the
backs of my own hands, having aged, it seems,
when I wasn't looking, odd little brown spots
some kind of secret code I do not understand.
This feeling inside me,
this uncontainable, untranslatable feeling inside me
is all I am today,
my heart, a helium-filled child's balloon,
flying free.
Overhead,
I see a lone seagull,
just one,
wings outstretched,
having caught the downdraft
and gliding.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2022
MY HEART OPENS

My heart opens
like my eyes,
involuntarily,
like a child upon waking,
amazed
with not a single plan for the day
and though it blinks from time to time,
still it sees
and though it cannot speak,
it beats,
a late night drummer
alone in his room,
the entire universe his gig.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2022
The Music at Death's Threshold

This just in from my wonderful friend, Robert Michael Esformes:

Perhaps we arrive here after stately
cadences resolve themselves in final absolution;
or the scales with their teasing inflections
fall from our eyes and allow the final flatline fermata.

Perhaps it's been a majestic and complex
Beethovian coda preparing the dying for departure;
or a closing arpeggio like a light trickle of rain;
or the hushed moments as an adagio fades into stillness.

May be you hear a dissonant cluster of
estranged tones, like relatives hovering at
bedside, bickering as the dying one gives
back to the waiting angel its first inspiration.

May be it's a smoky mode that slowly folds
back into the lifetime's gift of breath,
releasing the measure of a man, a woman--
time and key signatures no longer relevant.

Or the moment at concerto's conclusion,
the closing chords resounding, the sound
extending and rising... that you, the oboe soloist,
vanish with the fading echoes of the orchestral finale?

Impossible innuendos of the final silence -- and
you must enter in with the whole note of your being
tuned precisely for this occasion: your body an offering,
a composite now scattering, a time for decomposition.

The cadaver of a score lies quietly,
left behind on the stately podium.
The touch of an allegretto breeze
rustles the curtains. Now stillness.

The conductor waves her bright baton as
we find our place on limitless ledger lines.
The upbeat crests, and the descending hand
explodes into a symphony for the new world.

Robert Michael Esformes
May 2022

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2022
THERE IS A MOMENT

There is a moment
and that moment is now,
a single drop of water on a spider web,
a warrior sharpening his sword,
your child,
whose first word
is just about to be pronounced,
the moment when
everything stops
and nothing needs to be
started again,
your first kiss,
the toothless smile of a beggar,
rain,
the glorious moment when you let it all go,
all that trying
all those promises made too late.
What remains is
everything and nothing,
the place where the path
begins and ends,
your next breath
the only proof you need
that God exists.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2022
Madonnas of the Basement

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This just in from Alla Rogers, a deeply soulful and benevolent woman with Ukrainian roots.

In the basement womb
of unrecognizable buildings once homes, schools, and hospitals,
amid the shuddering and shaking of bombs and missiles
proclaiming their symphony of darkness and war,
drowning out the whimpering of infants and pets
as they seek solace on mattresses and toy strewn floors,
suckling for life itself at their mothers breasts,
our 21st century madonnas of the rubble,
madonnas of the basement.

A basement womb where new life grows,
it's DNA imprinted with a thirst for freedom,
it's heart beating out its own symphony of love,
faith and hope.

Did it take a thousand years to be born a slave?

Our Madonnas of the basements and rubble,
our vessels of life,
they birth the dreams of a thousand years of faith, love and peace.

A choir of madonnas invites the planet to
join in the song of rebirth into freedom and humanity,
the song written in the hearts of all mankind,
the song that is constantly reborn and never dies.

Photo: Zach Lucero, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

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“I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry.”
— John Cage

Welcome to my new blog — brief ruminations on what it is that moves me (and maybe YOU, too). If any of my poems inspire you, please forward them to friends. Good muse travels fast. Or could, with your help.

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