Unspoken Word
September 27, 2023
There Is a Contest I Want to Enter

There is a contest I want to enter,
but I'm not sure what it's for.

Something in me wants to win something,
walk down the aisle when my name is called,
mount the stage and, almost speechless,
accept the golden trophy from the famous presenter,
approach the microphone and
in a courageous attempt to speak before tears take over,
feel a few words rising
like bubbles from a perfectly chilled bottle of champagne
that, somehow, find their way to my voice, making
beautiful popping sounds which everyone
completely understands before the need to clap or laugh or cry,
sitting there as they are,
Buddhas of the Great Beyond,
poised on the brink of infinity,
their endless silence the perfect applause.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2023
Three Lines, But Not a Haiku

There is something
that is nothing
and that is everything to me.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2023

Today, just before lunch,
the last few breezes of summer
finding their way through
my half-opened kitchen window,
I got down on my hands and knees.

It had been a long time
since I had been down on my hands and knees.

Lower than bowing it was, the position I now found myself in,
me joining forces with a floor that had seen much better days,
spotted as it was with the late night Jackson Pollack dinners
of a single white male having cooked for himself
(if you can call it that) against all odds,
specks of marinara sauce,
pesto on the loose,
and soup hieroglyphics.

On my hands and knees I scrubbed
and scrubbed again,
glad to have more sponges than I needed,
yellow ones,
green ones,
blue ones,
having newly recognized that each tile of my kitchen floor,
the one I had rented two years ago,
along with the rest of my living space,
was now beginning to sparkle, fit for a King,
the increasingly divine mosaic of my blessed life.

Not excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2023
In Praise of New Beginnings on Rosh Hashanah

What can be said on this most blessed day that
you don't already know deep within your soul?
What song or psalm can be sung whose words have not already
washed over you many times before,
soothing you, renewing you, refining you once again?

This is the glory of Rosh Hashanah, my friends,
the time of new beginnings, the time of reflection,
the time to slow down from the 9-5 and enter into the timeless,
the sacred space within each and every one of us
the holy realm that is already pure and perfect
just the way it is --
not because of what we have done or what we have forgotten to do,
not because we stumble and fall, human beings that we are,
but because the essence of who we are was made
in the image of God, home base in a child's game of tag,
Free Parking in Monopoly,
the warm spot on the pillow of our lives where we long
to lay our heads and let go to the beauty of simply being alive,
resting in the arms of our Divine Beloved,
our souls awakened, our eyes opened
and, even more than that, our hearts.

Yes, it is Rosh Hashanah we are here to celebrate tonight,
the time and space of new beginnings,
one more chance to pause and look within to the core of our being,
to consider, reflect and introspect
so we might make amends, forgive, be forgiven
and open more fully to a power none of us will ever comprehend.

Rosh Hashanah, ahh... Rosh Hashanah,
a High Holy Day celebrated by our parents, and their parents,
and their parent's parents in a succession of
who knows how many generations going back to the beginning
of all that is holy and divine.

"Shana Tovah" we say to each other this evening,
in Hebrew it means a "Good Year."

And that is God's wish for us and our wish for each other,
and let us not forget... our wish for ourselves.

Yes, ourselves -- the ones who pray, the ones who make amends,
those who are willingly accountable for what has preceded
this precise moment in time,
opening once again like a flower to the full glory of love.

May today be a new beginning for you and
everyone you pray next to tonight,
may the roses of our souls be pruned just enough in prayer
to quicken our sacred blooming for the coming year.

And should we forget, as human beings are wont to do,
may we remember in our very next breath
just how fortunate we are to be alive, to breathe, to be grateful
and have yet another chance to embrace
the joyful journey of the life we are, daily, being given
as if for the first time.

Read for the first time at Temple Israel of Catskill: 9/15/23

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

September 05, 2023
I Live Next to the Post Office

I live next to the post office
in a one-bedroom apartment
just three blocks from where Mike Tyson
trained to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

If I turn right and walk all the way to the end of the street,
I arrive at my favorite cafe
where I drink coffee, eat chocolate and laugh.
If I turn left, I end up at the river.
There I sit on a park bench and do nothing.
Children walk by and some dogs,
ducks quack,
and the ripples of the river, ever so slightly,
rise and fall.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2023

We talk of falling in love,
one of our great aspirations
here on this third rock from the sun,
the jackpot in the game of life.
The phrase is a curious one.
Why falling?
Why the downward direction?
Is there gravity at the heart of love?
Ripe fruit falling to the ground?
A coin tossed in a wishing well?

All of us have fallen in love,
entered the invisible realm --
the place where the heart opens
and we are known as if for the first time.
The need to speak gone, we are heard and seen,
held and received,
celebrated for simply being who we are.
Time stops, space expands
and we enter the holy sanctuary of
this ... present ... moment.
And then?

The falling stops,
we hit the bottom and often with a thud,
the kind no one wants to talk about,
fodder for blues songs, therapists
and late-night drinks with friends.

Might there be another kind of love,
one beyond the gravity of this world,
a realm where there is no falling,
only rising,
what happens to a drop of water
on a hot day,
or a feather caught in an updraft?
All of this falling and rising,
all of this coming and going
are facets of the same precious diamond
we need to give ourselves,
betrothed to the wonder of it all.

The gift?

To feel what there is to be felt,
to see what there is to be seen,
to let go
and receive whatever is coming our way
in whatever form or formlessness,
and then, in the twilight hour,
in the space between this, that and the other thing,
when there is no "other", no object of devotion,
no one to receive our freshly picked flowers,
to open like a rose.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:35 AM | 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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