Unspoken Word
February 06, 2023
The Lost Journals


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.

Mitch Ditkoff.jpgEvery day that I look at them, at least their spines, hesitating to pull them off the shelf, not wanting to disappoint what remains of myself with the half-baked jibberish of my soul's longing to express the ineffable.

There's something in me that prefers the honeymoon phase of life -- the realm in which the promise of love is so much more magnificent than the earth plane experience of it.

Anyway, I totally get that there is no excuse for not opening these journals and seeing what's in them, even if the perfectionist in me gets hugely disappointed.

And so, this evening, that's exactly what I did.

I opened the green one and paged through it until I found something I wrote that was close enough for prime time to share with you today.

I cleaned it up a bit, removed some of the clutter and self-indulgence that has stalked me most of my life and wrote...

And so here it is for you, my friends. I'm not really sure what it is.

It's not poetry. It's not a story. It's not a prayer. It's not a song. It's not going to make it to my next book. It's more like a sand mandala of words that came to me like a flock of home bound birds, a murmuration of my soul.

Here goes:

"What this existence is all about -- my own self-invented scripture no one will ever read -- needs no jabbering disciples to argue its fine points over what I meant by saying nothing, the next day congregating, as they like to do, just a little too studiously and debating whether or not we should start our own religion.

Yes, indeed, it was that kind of moment I was having!

So I grabbed what used to be a tree where birds sang and opened it to a random page and wrote, my sudden revelation taking form, a kind of kidnap letter to myself, though there was no me, no my, no mine, just the caretaker of a sacred knowledge every jazz musician since the beginning of time knows in their bones.

That's what I'm talking about, brothers and sisters -- why animals get agitated just before a tsunami and I am left homeless with only my breath held high above the heads of anyone who has ever prayed without words or played, Jerry Lee Lewis-like, an upright piano, alone in a room, the bouncer at the door, a heavy-lidded man with a scar on his cheek, refusing to let anyone in, him not wanting anything I play to be misunderstood or any side conversations going on, my left hand not knowing what my right hand is doing, the night shift cleaning up, as the space between day and night opens wider, a kind of red sea parting in the underground kingdom of love.

I must say, with all due respect, I was a bit surprised at how little of what I knew to be true made it to the page, writing as I was with a kind of invisible ink, with still the faintest glimmer of wanting to say something meaningful enough to sign my name to and feel good enough to die.

Space. Lots of space. There was lots of space. And lots of silences between the space, each one an orphan from a place now spinning in great circles around me.

What did I write that night in the underground kingdom of love, bouncer with the scarred cheek standing guard at the door, letting no one in?

What holy hieroglyphic made its way to the page, my right hand twitching, my left hand hitchhiking elsewhere?

Are you sitting down, my friend? Are you ready to receive the shortest scripture ever written?

Four words. That's all I wrote that night, none of them longer than four letters -- one of them only two, my entire revelation a kind of speechless tourist meeting Miles Davis, backstage, on opening night, with only enough time to say hello."

Why I wrote my newest book of poetry

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August 02, 2020
May I Stay Here Forever

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Excerpted from this book

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April 06, 2020
Be Empty Like the Sky

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March 23, 2020
The Width of the Universe

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Astrophysicists, as of this precise moment in time,
believe the universe is 92 billion light years wide.
Please don't ask me how they know, I can't tell you,
especially since the half-life of scientific knowledge,
these days, is only five years,
meaning that 50% of what Earth's wisest think is true
will be proven false by the year 2023.
OK. So maybe the universe isn't 92 billion light years wide,
or maybe there isn't just one universe.
Maybe there are many,
what's been called, the multiverse, for lack of a better name,
kind of like this poem if I

leave a space between verses,

or maybe the whole concept of distance
is completely old school, like penmanship or Ritz crackers
and, in reality, absolutely nothing exists
except this moment
of you reading these words
and me writing them
or, perhaps, as my father used to say
"that and $2.50 will get you on the subway."

The point of it all?
Love is the name of the game.
Love and kindness and compassion and forgiveness
and gratitude and, of course, consciousness,
speaking of which,
the most advanced space craft ever reverse engineered
from another world,
had no moving parts,
no dials, no dashboard, no grommets, no chips,
no nothing.
It was powered by consciousness alone,
the mind waves of the beings who traveled inside it.
And this, my friends, is precisely why I love baseball so much.
The shortstop doesn't give a shit about how wide the universe is.
And the center fielder,
he of the big biceps and rugged good looks,
has just hit a 468 foot home run into the upper deck,
thousands of ecstatic fans high-fiving each other forever.
Now that's far.


My clients. Trippy, huh?

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December 16, 2019
The Fling

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November 07, 2018
Longing Wells Up from Within

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Heart of the Matter
Words of Peace Global

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March 13, 2018
Nothing is Going On

Nothing is going on
and that is precisely the problem,
nothing is not supposed to be going on,
nothing is supposed to be nothing,
nothing, as in zero, nada, zilch,
that which does not go on
and never wanted to in the first place,
but nothing, at least as I've heard it,
wanted to become something,
like a beggar a little too happy upon finding a coin
or that third olive in a dry martini
on a night when no wolves howl.

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February 03, 2018
The Beautiful Sadness of Longing


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 of what most people consider to be an absence, but, in reality, is the presence of the divine 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 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 -- only 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.

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

Video production: Fernando Garcia
Music: Stuart Hoffman

Poetry: Mitch Ditkoff

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August 23, 2017
These Two Zen Monks Don't Walk into a Bar



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April 07, 2016

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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Heart of the Matter

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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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