Unspoken Word
September 15, 2020
I Take Photographs With Words

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2020
Leonard Cohen on Where He Found His Song

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2020
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)

August 13, 2020
I Have Written 1,000 Poems for You

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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 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
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 stop for a moment and wonder
why I never gave these poems to you --
the one for whom it all makes sense,
even when it doesn't.

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise
Photo: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:43 AM | Comments (0)

He Always Wanted to Say Things, But No One Understood

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The following poem was written by a senior high school student to his teacher, in Canada, two weeks before he committed suicide. This is quite a powerful piece of writing -- one that gives voice to what, I imagine, many students, around the world, experience when their individuality and creativity is not honored or encouraged. The poem was sent to me by Mohammed Azim, a very caring and tuned in teacher (Head of the English Department, Coach, and Team Leader) at Al Siraat College in Epping, Australia.

Mohammed has shared this poem, for years, with his Year 9 and 10 level students and it always has a huge impact on them. He especially remembers one of his students asking, "How can we demonstrate creativity when we are always preparing for exams?"

If you are a teacher or parent, pause for a moment and ask yourself how you can allow more time and space for the young ones in your life to express their creativity. Yes, there are things to learn and tests to study for, but there is also the deep need for creative expression. In your classroom or home, there are not only future doctors, lawyers, carpenters, welders, entrepreneurs, and teachers, there are also future artists, dancers, musicians, and writers. Maybe THEY don't know that yet, but in time, they will -- that is, if you give them the time and space they need to explore and express their God-given gifts.

PS: For maximum impact, read the poem aloud, slowly and with feeling. The young man who wrote it committed suicide two weeks later. May his life experiences and his poetry be of great service to all of us.


HE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY THINGS, BUT NO ONE UNDERSTOOD

He always wanted to say things but no one understood.
He always wanted to explain things but no one cared.

So he drew.

Sometimes he would just draw and it wasn’t anything.
He wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky.
He would lie out on the grass and look up at the sky and it
would be only him and the sky, and the things that needed saying.

And it was after that, that he drew the picture.
It was a beautiful picture.
He kept it under the pillow and would let no one see it.
He would look at it every night and think about it.
And when it was dark, and his eyes were closed, he could still see it.
It was all of him and he loved it.

When he started school he brought it with him.
Not to show anyone, but just to have like a friend.

It was funny about school.
He sat in a square brown desk, like all the other square
brown desks, and he thought it should be red.
And his room was a square brown room like all the other rooms.
It was tight and close, and stiff.

He hated to hold the pencil, and the chalk, with his arm stiff
and his feet flat on the floor, stiff with a teacher watching
and watching.
And then he had to write a numbers.
And they weren't anything.
They were worse than the letters which could be something
if you put them together.
The numbers were tight and square and he hated the whole thing.

The teacher came and spoke to him.
She told him to wear a tie like all the other boys.
He said he didn't like them and she said it didn't matter.
After that they drew.
He drew all yellow and it was the way he felt about morning.
And it was beautiful.

The teacher came and smiled at him.
"What's this?", she said.
"Why don't you draw something like Ken's drawing?
Isn't that beautiful?"
It was all questions.

After that his mother bought him a tie and he always drew
aeroplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.
And he threw the old picture away.
And when he lay out alone looking at the sky it was big and blue.
And all of everything, but he wasn't any more.

He was square inside and brown, and his hands were stiff,
and he was like anyone else.
And the thing inside him that needed saying didn't need saying anymore.

It has stopped pushing.
It was crushed, stiff.
Like everything else.

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Excerpted from Possibilities, by Des Petersen

Do Schools Kill Creativity?
30 Ways to Know if You Have What It Takes to Innovate
Photo: Alexander Dummer, Unsplash
Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2020
May I Stay Here Forever

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TimelessToday
Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 29, 2020
Face Your Life Like a Cuban Trumpet Player

Face your life
like a Cuban trumpet player
standing his ground
for whatever comes next,
eyes straight ahead,
not a thought in the world
and blowing,
I said blowing his horn
at the peak of his power
so his long gone grandfather,
the man who worked the sugar cane fields
and always had a kind word for strangers,
will hear.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2020
What Is the Difference Between a Grocery List and a Poem?

Poetry is
really nothing more
than a list
of unexpected words and images,
one line following another,
like this one, for example,
and this one,
each adding
a little something extra,
to the flow,
a shade of meaning,
a wink, a hint of perfume,
woman nowhere in sight,
not unlike what follows,
perhaps something you have carried
in your pocket for weeks,
without knowing it,
crumpled.
Bananas (one bunch),
tomatoes (ripe),
three avocados,
hummus, pickles, and feta cheese,
a pint of chocolate ice cream.
Tell me,
what is the difference between
a grocery list and a poem?
Give up?
Good.
(We all have to give up, eventually).
A grocery list gives you things to get,
a poem gets you things to give,
things you will not find in Aisle 3,
but high up in the many selves you are,
especially the one
who measures how long it will take you
to get from the parking lot
to the front door of the supermarket
by how many haikus it can recite
without rushing.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2020
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)

July 05, 2020
TAKEN UP

I do not write, I evaporate,
drawn higher by a heat
I do not see, but feel.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2020
SOAKED!

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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!"

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday
PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2020
Prometheseus Speaks

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2020
Where Poetry Comes From

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TimelessToday
A Man of Few Words
Choosing the Poetry of Life

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2020
POETRY

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Full Moon at Sunrise
Photo: Sydney Rae, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2020
Give Everything You Have

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Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2020
Homeless

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2020
Poetry Unread in 40 Years

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A few months ago, while cleaning out my home office in preparation for selling my house, I found an old notebook filled with bits of poetry -- words I'd written 40 years ago during the time I lived in one of Prem Rawat's ashrams -- a time where I had majorly unplugged from the world to "go within." Each verse of what follows stands alone. There is no particular order to them. It is not a single, coherent poem, but rather bits and pieces of a moon-howling jigsaw puzzle that was my life when I was 32. Please don't try to make sense of this stuff. Maybe a single phrase or line will speak to you -- or even sing. In the end, methinks each one of us is on a quest to discover what's real. Part of this process has something to do with getting in touch with our thirst for the divine -- that deep, inner longing for love that truly moves us.

THE POETRY

I sit in the cave of myself,
alone with my breath.
There is no one else here
in this cool, dark hollow of my soul.

I sing your praises.
I hang the seeds of treeless forests
in the heaven of your Name.

Night falls around me
like the arms of a lover
widowed by daylight
and seeking the warmth of another.

The one who yearns for God must die
like flowers to the fruit,
must fall to the root
around the tree of life that gives me shade.

He walks on water,
I walk on ice,
and when I lay my head at his feet
I remember there is no place left in the world to go.
Here. Only here.

How deep can I look into
anyone else's eyes?
Only to the place where they are looking for you,
unafraid of what they'll find.

Words are only burrs on the path
through the high country brush with God.

Homeless,
with only a few stars to guide me,
I am a bum in a roadside temple,
cheater, whose deck of cards
has long since been stolen.

There are angels buried in my flesh.

I must be in love
or is it insane?

Who can receive me?
Who is deep enough
for me to disappear into?

He joins heaven and hell
with a wave of his hand,
his breath, the wand,
his smile the ground I walk upon.

Void of all tears,
sworn to silence,
I lose everything, once again, but myself.

Oh song-studded boy of bothersome beauty,
fall to the feet of the only one here,
bring what you've stolen,
peel your skin like grapes
and offer it as cloth
so he might wear what once was you
for a twilight ride through the country.

Suture the ragged wound closed,
let all your scars be roads to follow home.

Like a breeze through lace curtains,
enter softly
and stay with me a while.

I bend because
he has removed the weight.

I am melting,
I am burning at both ends,
and what I see by this flickering light,
is enough.

How can the desert flower thank the sun?
It cannot speak, only bend in the breeze of his passing.

Oh Master of my soul,
you have ignited the brittle tinder of my heart.

The closer I get to you,
the more I see how far away I am.

Who else listens to me when, speechless,
my heart begins to sing? Who?

I have gone to meet you in your secret place,
but when I arrived, neither of us were there.

Forget about ashes on your forehead,
let your whole body be consumed in flames.

Who can this Master be,
the one whose path is strewn with rose petals?

If you want to subscribe to his blog, feel free. Just enter your email address and click SUBMIT in the space provided in the sidebar.

PremRawat.com
TimelessToday
MitchDitkoff.com
Full Moon at Sunrise -- my book of poetry

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2020
THE RECOGNITION PRAYER

This just in from my good buddy, Ted Chadwick

Today is a New Day
The eternal first day of Life
Yesterday is shadows. That door is closed.
What was real then is here now, reborn.
Tomorrow is a dream. Its time will come
when the river of life carries us there.
That door is out of reach.

The Power that gives birth to all things
lives in me, and I dwell in it.
In that light there is no darkness, no shadow,
no want, nothing to fear. All is revealed.
It nourishes me, heals me, lifts me up when I stumble.
It protects me and guides me.

My heart overflows. This is the One Truth.

So be it.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2020
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)

March 10, 2020
The Value of Nothing

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:27 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2020
The World Is My Day Job

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,
as slowly as I can,
about you.

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

My Uber Driver

My Uber driver, I just found out,
sings in a Mexican rock band.
80's covers. Spanish only.
That's why he asks me to sit in the front seat with him.
If I sit in the back, he explains,
the State Police will impound his grey Toyota
and he'll never get to a gig again.
They will keep his car for two months behind a barbed wire fence
next to a field where many dogs bark.
35,000 pesos it will cost him if he ever wants to see his vehiculo again.
You see, the Regional Governor, owns the local taxi company
-- 100 shiny green and white cabs.
That's why the State Police, in leather boots,
stop Uber drivers in my little town,
but only if their passengers are sitting in the back seat.
Not today, however.
I am sitting in the front.
Like his best friend.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2020
I Share My Poetry Too Soon

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TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2020
Floodgate Poetry

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Sometimes, when I least expect it, something opens up inside me. A Red Sea parts and I am flooded once again. That's what happened to me today. I wouldn't call it a state of inspiration, but more a feeling wanting to be freed. During the course of an hour, the following emerged, requiring just a bit of cleaning up afterwards, not unlike a drunk about to enter paradise.


ONE

I am not proud to say this,
but I want someone
to look into the mirror of who I am
and finally see themselves,
but more than that,
as soon as they see their reflection,
I want them to dance in the diminishing space between us,
their movement a language I do not speak,
an embrace unheld, the love we make,
lighthouse keeper within me
just about to turn in for the night.

TWO

The moon I am howling at without a sound
is sometimes full and sometimes not,
many waves made larger by its pull
somewhere in a world I will never go.
Poets, saints, and lovers
far more wide awake than I,
have also stood beneath this orb,
their stunned silence having the same origins as mine.
It leaks out of course, this mutant palpatation of the heart,
in a thousand different ways:
tea made for a friend,
the touch of a cheek,
a glance held just a little bit longer than it needs to be.

THREE

I am reading the great hieroglyphic of my soul
and am actually deciphering it,
knowing there is nothing left to do but praise.

FOUR

The space between thoughts is where my life begins,
God's temple, cathedral, and mosque,
places with no need to be swept
they already being clean,
no incense needs to be lit there,
its scent already sweet,
no prayers need to be said,
the brief pause between now and whatever comes next
the perfect invocation.

FIVE

"What is freedom? the young monk asked his Master.
"What does it mean to be free and how do I get there?"
The Master, smiling, looked up from his cup of tea.
"Do you see this cup of tea, my friend?
Do you see how it has taken on the shape
of that which it has been poured into
and how it warms my hands here on this chilly morning?"

SIX

I read my poems to cows,
I love the way they moo
and turn their heads just slightly towards me
though I do not know what moves them.
Is it the words I speak
the sound of my voice,
or do they think I'm hiding a carrot behind my back?

SEVEN

It is not the poem, song, or work of art,
it is that which moves us to create,
to write, to sing, to paint,
the bold attempt at expression
by that small, shelled creature,
pecking from within,
wings folded into its side.

EIGHT

Here is the secret:
There is no secret,
but if that's the secret,
then there IS a secret,
and if there is a secret,
then the second line of this poem
is a complete and utter lie
even though I was doing my best
to speak the truth.

Mitch Ditkoff
My book of poetry
Want to facilitate Wisdom Circles?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:26 AM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2020
Every Bubble of Water is a Jewel

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Not excerpted from this book
Not referred to on this website

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

December 20, 2019
Pavarotti and I

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Luciano Pavarotti just walked into my kitchen.
He is crying,
not for all those arias that made their way though him
when he was a much younger man,
but for the ones not yet written,
the joy of a thousand composers unborn.
He asks me if I have a clove of garlic,
which I am glad to say, I did,
and toss it to him,
amazed at how large a man he is.
He finds the knife, himself,
humming as he makes his way across the room,
and begins chopping, slowly at first
and then with great abandon,
almost as if the 10 million people he has performed for
were all in the room with us, which they are,
stunned, speechless, hearts bursting,
like unpicked pomegranates beneath a Tuscan sun.
Pavarotti, I am happy to say, keeps on chopping,
even when I think, for the third time,
the pieces are small enough for the sauce
he won't begin to make
until all my neighbors are asleep,
everyone of them.
We ate well that night, Luciano and I.
We laughed a lot and drank a lot of wine.
He told a story about the time
he was way too drunk to sing
in a country he couldn't quite remember.
I think there's a very good chance I may never be hungry again.

Photo by Vlah Dumitru on Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2019
The Fling

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MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2019
ONE OF THE ILLUSIONS OF LIFE

One of the illusions of life
is that something needs to be done:
a field to mow,
a room to clean,
a destination to reach.
Actually, it's quite the opposite.
something needs to be undone,
untangled, unraveled, unmade,
like the spider web I weave each morning
pearled with dew,
to catch what I already have.

Not excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2019
Cruisin' With Rumi

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On a bone cold February afternoon, 23 miles from home, in a Japanese car leased three months ago, I listen to Rumi, 800 years gone from praising everything that breathed.

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

He has kind eyes, my sudden companion for the moment in his well-pressed uniform, kind eyes and a smile that speaks 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, kids, as far as I can tell, who have never heard of Rumi, the officer of the law, or me.

TimelessToday
MitchDitkoff.com
Rumi and Kabir bowling (in the HuffPost)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:28 PM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2019
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HEART

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

There Is a Lemon Tree

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There is a lemon tree in my garden
and a peach tree needing
just a bit of fertilizer to return itself
back to its pristine state of ultimate juiciness,
which, they tell me, will take a year.
In between them both is a white clothesline.
No clothes, just clothespins:
blue, orange, yellow, and green.
Off in the distance, the sound of church bells
interrupts nothing, red bougainvilleas
blooming in all four corners of the garden.
Yes, it has come to this: watching flowers grow.
Now I know why those 80-year old Chinese poets,
wrinkles like hieroglyphics of an unspoken poem,
spent so much time tending their plum trees.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2019
Laugh Lines

The only lines
I want to wait on
are the ones
around your eyes.

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

August 16, 2019
No Portal, No Gate

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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 in this morning's spider web.

Photo: unsplash-logomichael podger
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2019
The Relationship

She wanted
more space,
I gave her
the universe.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2019
FOR LIA

Here is a wonderful poem recently written by my friend, Robert Esformes, in honor of his friend, Lia Lynn Rosen who has recently opened up a lovely pottery store and studio in Rosendale, NY. Pottery and poetry. They both begin with "P" and they're both good for the soul. Read it and leap. Then check out Lia's new store...

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Slippery clay on the wheel spins round center,
Not unlike how we turn and turn in our time.
The mud of history becomes a dervish dancing,
Tethered to this moment while praising
The Circumference that is everywhere.

The rains fall and reservoirs fill
While the earth sings chorales
for old bones decomposed, ready to take new shape.
Clay's thirst is slaked with a cup of poured water.
Mud meanders towards bowl, dust gathers from dust.

Unfinished vessels head for the furnace of fire;
Fire kindly offers its heat to make firm the form.
Earth, water, fire invite the air into a pas-de-quatre.
Air accepts and conjures a healing breeze,
Stirring up the stillness, refreshing the dance.

All is, in time, finished in its final form,
The cup ready for service to the eye, the tongue,
The nose, the echoing ear.

Ah, the spaciousness of this tea, and cup,
Dancing in our hands, satisfying in perfection
Of the alchemy of the elements!

You are in good company.
Sip responsively.

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LIA'S STORE: A Potter on Main Street
430 Main Street, Rosendale, NY
845.658.2163

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June 25, 2019
Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Isadora Duncan, and the Creative Process

OK. If you are an artist, dancer, sculptor, writer, poet, photographer, musician or anyone else for whom creativity is paramount, this performance by Meryl Streep and Yo-Yo Ma is your sweet tasting medicine of the day. Or perhaps every day. Turn up the volume. Go full screen. Let's here it for Isabella Duncan, whose words are memorialized in this fantastic reading. Go for it! The door is open! No doubt!

A Poem Reading with Meryl Streep and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma from Center on US-China Relations on Vimeo.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2019
How to Make a Poem

Akka's website

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May 22, 2019
The Still Point of Creation

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The still point of creation is
like arriving, late at night,
at an empty railway station,
no trains coming, no trains going,
just a big sky overhead
and all the rivers flowing,
there's nothing left to do here
and there's nowhere left to go,
simply sitting on a wooden bench
with a cup of morning joe.
It's a place of no beginning,
no start, no stop, no end,
just the space between each breath you take,
your lover, mother, and your friend.
Or how about this?
Why birds sing when they are all alone.

MitchDitkoff.com

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February 09, 2019
What Moves Us All to Dream

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November 28, 2018
A Song of Praise for the World

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What follows is a piece I wrote and performed at the Woodstock "One Voice" event, produced by Evelyne Pouget, three months after 911. For maximum value, read this piece aloud.

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.
What 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, fear,
or the need to make amends.
Pure presence there was back then,
isness, first light, love --
what the wise ones among us 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 East and West,
before our addiction to naming and knowing
and the curious claim 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 quieted with awe before it.
I speak of presence and wonder and the state of
divine receptivity,
I speak of being at home in ourselves and with each other,
what children feel before they sleep, alone in their beds,
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,
(which comes with each and every breath)
the only path there was
was the one we made by walking on it,
the path Mohammed walked and Buddha,
the path Jesus walked and Krishna.
Moses, Rumi, Kabir, Lao Tzu, the Ba'al Shem Tov,
Masters known and unknown,
your neighbors and 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,
this mirror of our selves to whom we pray,
while preying on each other,
that joins us together today --
why men dig deeper underground half a world a way
and others penetrate the sky,
each fueled by what they think is noble enough to die for.

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 door
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 -- now, the only time there is.
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 the 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!"

Photo: unsplash-logoHumphrey Muleba

MitchDitkoff.com
My book of poetry
Storytelling for the Revolution

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November 24, 2018
The Slightly Overweight Modern Art Museum Security Guard

He stands there, barely,
a kind of slow moving
piece of performance art,
just a bit off-stage,
not comprehending
the apparently fabulous shapes
recently described in the New York Times,
though he is, indeed, dressed for the part.
His hands, lightly clenched behind his back,
hold no brushes, no paint, no cloth.
His eyes, unsure of much,
here in this large white room,
glance off into somebody else's distance
while the rest of him,
curious for the moment,
wonders if the tuna fish sandwich
his wife packed for lunch
will be quite enough today.
Now he is leaning up against the wall,
now is he not,
now he is not leaning up against he wall,
now he is.

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November 08, 2018
An Infinite Amount of Poetry

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 take
far more than a full moon
and a lifetime to decipher.
No automatic alt text available.

MitchDitkoff.com

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September 22, 2018
Here's How I Want to Love You

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Heart of the Matter
Storytelling for the Revolution
Full Moon at Sunrise

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August 27, 2018
Be a Peacemaker

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TimelessToday

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FIREFLY

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Linda Laino

PHOTO: unsplash-logoMolly Belle

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August 25, 2018
Full Moon Rising

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August 15, 2018
Here's a Little Secret

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MitchDitkoff.com

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August 10, 2018
The Poetry of Storytelling

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If you've been enjoying this blog, there's a good chance you will also enjoy my new book, Storytelling for the Revolution, available on Amazon as a downloadable, Kindle ebook or an old school paperback.

More about the book
More about me

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May 28, 2018
Now You See It

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We are here for just a little while,
freshly fallen snow
on a half-opened rose.
That's it. No more.
It doesn't take much
for the vanishing act
to begin,
a burst of sun,
a sudden breeze
someone knocking on our door
and we are gone, done,
a tale told by a friend
tending his garden at dusk.

One more for you

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March 24, 2018
Easier Done Than Said

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TimelessToday

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February 11, 2018
Like an Old Mexican Woman

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February 05, 2018
The Buffet in Your Living Room

In memory of Joan and Stanley Deutsch. Written by their loving daughter, Cathy, upon the passing of her father several years ago, and recently remembered as her mother left this mortal world.

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The buffet in your living room
is now a shrine to your life.
Shiva book open to hold the names
of friends and family come to call.
A candle burns in memory
it's Hebrew markings a prayer.
A petition for mercy
that your soul rest in peace.
I have arranged the flowers differently
than the ones from my garden.
These carry a thorn of sadness
as I place them in a clear glass vase.
I strive not for beauty
but for some pictures of you,
the reds your fire
pink of tenderness,
elegance of rose and
simplicity of fern.
Many splendidly open
and others never to bloom.
This still life set for a stilled life
sits not for the painter's eye.
It hold fast your memory
and too will find you in its return
to soft brown earth.

Cathy's email: crotoncath@aol.com

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December 29, 2017
I Used to Write Love Poems

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December 13, 2017
THE CALL TO CREATE!

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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 that 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 board of chilly nights
with no flame to write his poetry by.

TimelessToday

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December 05, 2017
There Is a Poem I Will Write

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October 13, 2017
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 wicked temper
and a red '63 Corvette.

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September 24, 2017
Hiding in Plain Sight

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September 17, 2017
Poetic Justice?

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The Best Archer in All of China
A Bag of Small Red Berries
What I Learned from Listening to Bolero for 14 Hours

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August 16, 2017
My Pen Is a Butterfly Net

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TimelessToday
Heart of the Matter
Butterflies

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August 07, 2017
The Holiest of Prayers

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MitchDitkoff.com

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June 14, 2017
Like an Old Mexican Woman

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June 10, 2017
Rumi and Kabir Bowling

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Last year, as I understand it, Rumi was the best selling poet in the United States -- more than 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, or fasting all day long. I don't think so. This next poem 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 still with us today. PS: For maximum value, read this poem aloud, with some drama in your voice.

RUMI AND KABIR BOWLING

Rumi
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, I must say, 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 too long 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 looks over his left shoulder. More pins fall, this time leaving a perfect 7-10 split. Kabir, sweet 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 near enough to hear whether anything had actually happened or not. No one, that is, except Red Eye Rumi now swiveling like a madman 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 just smiles, tilts his head back and speaks 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! 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 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2017
They Barely Looked

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May 26, 2017
There Is a Poem

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MitchDitkoff.com

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May 24, 2017
I Used to Write Love Poems

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MitchDitkoff.com

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March 24, 2017
Another Kind of Wall in Mexico

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Watercolor by Evelyne Pouget

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December 23, 2016
How ee cummings Writes a Poem

Big thanks to Scott Cronin for the heads up!

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September 03, 2016
Poets, Lose Your Pens

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April 07, 2016
Welcome to UNSPOKEN WORD: THE POETRY OF LIFE!

Greetings! Mitch Ditkoff here, author of UNSPOKEN WORD: The Poetry of Life. My intention with this newly launched blog is to spark some inspiration, reflection, and gratitude -- a chance for you to take a breath, pause, and savor some of the sweetness of life. Knowing how busy you usually are, each post will take you less than a minute to imbibe. Today's launch is the exception, one that includes ten posts -- my attempt to give you a flavor of what's to come. Please enjoy. And if you do, please spread the word. Good muse travels fast...

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TimelessToday
PremRawat.com
Heart of the Matter

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

“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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© Mitch Ditkoff