Unspoken Word
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)

We Are All Here for Just a Brief Moment in Time

We are all here for just a brief moment in time,
very brief.
Now you see it, now you don't,
a wisp of smoke, a flash of lightm a guest appearance,
but while we are -- HERE, that is --
let us live with as much love, kindness,
and gratitude, as we can,
and we can!
You, me,
and all of the other 7.9 billion people on the planet.
What an opportunity we have! What a joy!
Will there be hard times? Of course there will.
Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years,
Jesus was crucified,
Martin Luther King was assassinated,
no one ever said this was going to be easy,
but above and beyond all the difficulties,
there is an infinite supply of grace,
wisdom, healing, freedom, joy, laughter, poetry,
music, art, dancing, friendship, peace and love
waiting for each of us to say YES to.
Have you? Will you?

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

February 13, 2022
All I'm Doing Right Now

All I am doing right now is writing these words to you,
small helium-filled balloons
I offer for all your birthdays I missed.
I really don't know where these balloons will take you,
I don't,
it all depends on you,
the way you hold the string
or maybe there is more than just one string.
Well, of course there are --
we're talking about balloons, multiple, not singular
lighter-than-air-transportation devices for you.

They may seem to be words, but they are actually balloons.

Go for the ride!
Wherever you are or end up is the right place to be,
It is!
Always remember that and the way butterflies move in a breeze,
and, please tell me, kind madam or sir,
how in the world did butterflies ever get created in the first place
and am I still expected to pay my taxes?
What if I forget my name and wherever I go
gardenias spring up all around me,
hoping as only gardenias can hope,
that one day the one they call the "Master"
will find his way there for no particular reason,
he being completely "of the moment" or perhaps I should say
(and please forgive me if I mess up the translation,
but it goes a little something like this:)

"You were made in the image of God.
You were, you are,
of that you need not have any doubt.
As you are you are.
How great is that! How simple!
As you are you are.
I may even have to make a t-shirt with those words on it,
an advertisement from our sponsor -- both yours and mine.

Nothing has to change with you.
You don't need to get better
or work smarter or be worthy of anything.
As far as I can tell, you are worthy of EVERYTHING,
though if you recall George Carlin's perspective on it:
"If you had everything, where would you put it?"

And now, one last thing,
the best book I've read in quite a while is
Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World
by a man, Prem Rawat, who is the most astounding human being I know.

So much love! So, so, so, so much love.
Heaps. Buckets full. Mucho, mucho love.
What Rumi, Hafiz, Mirabai, Kabir, and YOU,
on a good day, are plugged into full-tilt boogy,
hang ten, high five,
walking the high road home to the essence of who you truly are.

Welcome to the fountain of laughter and tears, my friends,
welcome to remembering and forgetting and then remembering again,
opening like a lotus
or a clenched fist.

And with that, dear brothers and sisters,
daughters and sons, wizards, fools, home run hitters,
flash back Frankies, and little Joey from Brooklyn!
Yo, Joey, how did you find your way into this poem, dude?
Wait, don't tell me. I know why. I do. I really do.
This massive, bodacious love and presence is who and what you are.
How could you be anywhere else?
Welcome Joey! Stay as long as you like
and bring your friends.

Praise the Lord! And praise the praisers, too!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2022
Coleman Barks Reading His Poetry with Some Rumi Sliding In


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2022
Rumi Poetry on Fire

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2022
Looking Out a Window

I am sitting here,
looking out a window,
writing this poem,
the fewest words I know
to say what cannot be said.
I want to give this poem away,
I do,
but it will not leave me,
now a kind of
perfume in the air,
lingering
like a lover
who does not want to go.
Shall I give this poem to you, my friend?
Will you accept it?
And if you should choose to say yes,
here is my humble request:
please gaze at something today
just a little bit longer than you normally would.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2022
There is a Place

There is a place between day and night,
between now and later,
between body and soul.
there is no entry to this place,
no portal, no gate.
you cannot get there by going,
only by already being there,
it is, this place,
a secret chamber of the heart,
but only for those who can keep a secret,
you have no proof it exists and never will,
the more you look for it, the less you will see,
the more you listen for it, the less you will hear,
this mystery cannot be attained, only received,
a bestowal it is, a gift,
like the first few drops of dew on this morning's spider web.

PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2022
IF YOU WANT TO LOVE ME

If you want to love me,
love yourself first,
if you want to love yourself first,
love me.
When you understand this, oh precious one,
everything will begin to make sense,
all doors will open
all windows, hearts, and minds,
nothing left to own, but yourself,
nowhere else to go,
you having arrived a long, long, time ago.
Here's as simple as it gets:
love is the absolute center of the universe,
everything revolves around it,
everything.
Einstein understood this,
one of the reasons, no doubt,
he always seemed to be on the verge of something,
his hair the only proof he needed,
that, and his ridiculous love for the violin.
But, if perchance, you should ever lose your way,
the original orbit you came here with
and find yourself, as they say,
drifting into the far reaches of space, no one to hold you,
know this:
every cell in your body is a standing ovation before God.
Every. Single. One. Of. Them.
Let them all sing out, I say --
let the massive choruses of joy and longing deep within you
fully express themselves.
Understand, without thinking,
that everything, exactly as it is now, is perfect,
a gift.
You remember, of course,
the two monks who were arguing, one fine summer day
about whether or not it was the wind or the flag that was moving,
both of them very sure of their position on the matter.
That's when they asked for the sage counsel of their Master,
"Neither," he said.
"Neither the flag is moving, nor the wind.
Your mind is moving."
What he didn't say,
in his grand tradition of keeping everything as simple as possible:
was this:
There is an unsung scripture in every drop of water,
an unplayed symphony inside of each and every breath.
How many Zen Buddhists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None.
There is no light bulb
and there are no Zen Buddhists,
even this poem doesn't exist,
which makes everything so much easier --
"the stage upon which the heart can dance,"
I once heard Prem Rawat say,
no dance steps to follow, no lessons,
no one to lead except yourself
which, of course, brings us to the nameless,
sacred space between in breath and out.
If, indeed, there is no one to follow except yourself,
who, then, is following whom?
who leads
and who follows?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2021
The World Is a Milkweed Pod

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More (or less) here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2021
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.

Painting: Evelyne Pouget

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise
Oil pastel: Evelyne Pouget

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

December 20, 2021
SLIDE SHOW: Poetry of the Heart

Greetings! Here are some excerpts from my 2012 book of poetry, Full Moon at Sunrise. Enjoy!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2021
Poker

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, HERE IS A METAPHOR for how I am experiencing life these days:

I'm sitting at a poker table with some high rollers. They are all very skillful players and have a lot of chips. I bet. They raise me. I bet again, wondering if my hand is good enough or if it's time to bluff or drop out. I am watching their eyes, looking for "tells". They are watching my eyes looking for tells.

One of the players at the table is MASTERFUL at the game. His demeanor never changes whether he wins or loses, though he always seems to have the biggest stack of chips. I can't tell if I am "over my head" or not. Nor can I tell if it matters whether or not I win or lose.

Somehow, I keep getting the feeling that it's all about how I play the game and if I'm enjoying the experience.

And no matter how much I bet, I've got to be "all in" all the time.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2021
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN... THE ONE TO WHOM ALL PEOPLE PRAY.. the nameless one... the unspoken one... the source... the silence between breaths, the hub of the wheel... and every single spoke.. and eventually what some people refer to as death...

I give thanks. I take shelter in you whose center is everywhere, circumference nowhere. I bow in the wind of your passing, sing from the center of your song, find my way back to your heart which is no different than mine, we being one and the same, made of the same stuff. We are starlight. We are golden. I sing your praises every time I breathe and even when I don't, stunned by the beauty of it all, great tears and laughter welling up from within, my home, my manger, the pearl inside the oyster of this world. Here for such a short time, wandering in a field of wildflowers and delight, I am humbled once again by yet another chance to dance footless and free beyond the trance I lovingly call my life. Soul mate to myself, bum in a roadside temple, vagrant, fool, stunned by the kind words of strangers, I return to the moment -- THIS ONE -- in full glory.

Such a gift this life is. Such a grace. And all we have to do is receive it, heart open, arms outstretched, the bow of this moment only needing to be be tugged a little bit until the whole thing opens up. All of it, every moment Christmas morning, every day our birth. Call it whatever you want or never speak again -- it really doesn't matter. In the end (or is it the beginning?) there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to get, nothing to lose. Such is the great game of life. We seek and we search, but there is really no need. All of this coming and going, all of this hunting and pecking, all this drama of becoming enlightened or clear or high or better than we already are is really just the fun house mirror of our lives.

Everything we search for, we already have. Everything we think we need was already given to us a long, long time ago. All of the pilgrimages we think we need to take are just the journey from head to heart, not around the world, not to a cave, mountain, or esoteric realm. Dudes and dudinas. This. Is. It. Right here. Right now. The pilgrimage is much shorter than we think, the path only the one from head to heart, where we are touched, clutching nothing, when blood becomes ink and we discover there is nothing left to say, but say it anyway. Why not? Why not make a joyful noise? Why not sing... praise... dance... write... serve... heal... pause... move... give someone your coat or your hand... laugh... cry... praise... fly. We are here for such a short while. Let's do it with love.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2021
HERE'S HOW I WANT TO LOVE YOU

Here's how I want to love you --
as if we had both been told we only had a week to live.
I would hold you, stroke your hair, and sing,
each cell in your body throwing open its fabulous doors
to the sky and the great emancipation of the soul.
You would breathe and I would, too,
each breath a sacrament,
your eyes portals to the other side
where nothing dies,
my long looking at you
a large field you find yourself dancing in.

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

WAKING UP TODAY

This morning
when I woke up
no alarm clock, no birds, no appointments,
I noticed there was
a marching band in my head,
many costumed characters
wanting to make some noise,
express themselves,
play whatever it was
they held in their many hands.
They were already moving,
these horn-carrying players
of something or other,
going somewhere,
purposeful,
on their way up the street
and I had just awakened
feet not even on the ground.
Was I late for something?
Did I need to catch up?
Or was there another song to play,
the one with no notes,
no strutting, no sound?
That's when I sat up,
put my feet on the floor
and took another breath.
I breathed.
That's all I did.
I breathed,
nothing else,
an orchestra of love poised inside me,
glad for the pause,
conductor nowhere in sight,
baton in hand,
smiling.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2021
I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU

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I want to say thank you,
but to whom?
Who is the one I want to thank,
the one for whom I was born
or should I say born through,
the source of it all,
the center of the wheel,
the hub.
Who?
Who is it, this one,
this holy, ever present one?
Who?
Do you know, my friend?
Do you know
the space between each breath,
the healer of your broken heart,
the ancient one
who is
gracious even in death,
your parents gone
or going
heroes, lovers, friends,
and all those unremembered words
whispered slowly in the dark,
the best of you
driftwood on the far shore of arrival,
tidal,
primal,
pure,
stunned by all of this
coming and going,
this silence,
this laughter,
these tears,
operatic in your cells,
being made love to
by this very moment,
nothing else to do,
nowhere to go,
nothing to prove,
each atom a standing ovation before God,
your heart's hieroglyphics
still unspoken.

More poetry here

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

November 25, 2021
And I Have Seen Him Dance

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:01 AM | 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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