It simply is just being alone. It is the practice of centering yourself, gathering your thoughts, reflecting on your actions and evaluating your goals... or something like that - at least this is what it means to me... quiet moments to write and draw or to just listen to fine music and read... and is as simple and peaceful as just sitting in silence and looking up at the stars rocked by the sea or lulled to sleep by the sounds of the forest... it is time for yourself to create or take apart and rebuild. It is time to plan and scheme and lay the foundations for the future. It is time to remember and finding the strength to let go. It is time for art. Time to learn. Time for making decisions. It is time to create, to write and to remove the clutter and the chaos from your mind and your life... it is those moments that come at the end and just before the beginning... it is solitude.
I hear men talk about their “man cave” - I don’t live in a cave. I live in a house and it is all my space, if and when I find a woman to share my life with I will be sharing my space... mine. If she behaves and is a good wife she might earn a room just for herself - her space... but my woman will be busy with being pregnant and raising children and managing and maintaining my space and above all, making absolutely sure that my moments of solitude are not interrupted.
Men need space to be men, to converse with other men and explore new ideas among each other and alone as well. It is just as important for men to explore their own minds and limitations alone at home and in the wild. A man needs to learn to express himself in a productive way through art, through his creations, in a way that will benefit his society and beautify his surroundings. Men need to learn to express their thoughts and emotions through words that will help others find inspiration and guidance. But a man needs time alone for these things, for everything begins in the quiet mind not in the chaotic one, and that quiet needed for creation and expression can only be found in solitude.
I have mentioned in these Deringer Files before that I have a hide out in a nameless city, and that I prefer to escape to the sea, but when I can’t get away to the forest or the waters and I am stuck in a place I would rather not be, I have my journal - a black leather journal that might seem chaotic but it actually is in perfect order to me... it is divided into sections of my own poetry and a section for quotes that I come upon and apply to my life, I write down my thoughts and ideas on life and women and manhood, spirituality and theories of my own, I stuff the book with lose sketches of the farm and village I plan to build and random lists, I do not include entry dates and just write as things come to be... but when I need time alone in strange places and even at home I take time to go over this book... and contemplate on its content - my goals and affirmations and my plans and sketches and poetry... it is a book I plan to leave behind for my sons... it is not only a part of me but it is in fact the development and progression of the man I aspire to be... the man I find in the quite and stillness of my mind... in the quite and stillness of my solitude.
The dream started out strange and I knew it was a dream I was in - the black basketball gave it away.
I had just arrived in a town that I think is Odessa, Texas. I have my ruck sack slung over my right shoulder and I am carrying my old guitar in my right hand and a black basketball in the other. I walk onto the basketball court in a school yard - I do not know this school but from what I see of it, it is very modern and clean and surrounded by trees, it is not a school I remember from my days in Odessa.. I place my bag and the guitar down and I start dribbling the basketball - I am actually practicing dribbling the ball as if I was trying to teach myself how to do it, sometimes stopping to toss the ball through the hoop... I am wearing my blue running shorts and a long white t-shirt... I don’t know how I know I am wearing this, but I am... I stop my dribbling practice a couple of times to play with the guitar - I am teaching myself chords... I pluck at it and hold it like I was holding it for the first time... I am learning this instrument for the first time - I don’t know what that means... why am I relearning everything? When I go back to my dribbling I see that the black basketball is changing colors - it goes from black to gold to hues of green and back to black... it is black when I hold it in my hands but when I push it to the ground it changes colors... I stop and hold it with both hands and examine it... nothing.
I look up and I am standing in front of a hotel, it is crowded outside and looks like people are looking for lodging - it reminds me of when we first moved to Odessa in 1979 - there was not enough housing for everyone during the first years of that boom... but my room is reserved and I just walk in and settle into my space... there is a terrace on my floor and the residence gather there to talk... I find my old friend Will there and I see a young man named Ruben that I casually know - a dark skinned Mexican with very white bright teeth and a muscular upper body - he is always friendly and happy. I hear the people on the terrace gossiping and scheming as people do when new wealth has made its way into their lives... that oil money... but I go looking for Will... I lean over the terrace and see him making out with an old girlfriend of mine but in the dream she is a current love interest - I don’t really think much of it except for how rude it is that she did not come to see me - or perhaps she is coming to see me after she has been satisfied by Will... I am not angry at will - he knows I don’t love the girl but I am bothered that he is doing this under the same roof (so to speak) as I am in... I walk away and make my way through the crowd on the terrace back to my room - Ruben walks up to me with his big bright smile and just stands there looking goofy in front of me... I just start laughing at him... we find a place on the terrace with a view of the city and linger around with no purpose like the rest, my girl shows up and is friendly and affectionate... the whore... then Will arrives and starts talking about all the people and everyone starts telling the tales of their boom town adventures... and I offer my own childhood experiences of Odessa from 1979 to 1983...
The sun is setting and it seems that more people have gathered on the terrace... Will, Ruben and I are smoking and drinking some beers... the setting sun has turn the sky shades of purple near the horizon and fades to blue above us - I make a comment about the stars being so bright and Will says it is still to light for any stars to be noticeable but I point up and he looks and says that is strange that we can see them, but they are there and they begin to flicker... very far up in the sky blurry clouds begin to form... the clouds are on the edge of space it seems, but I can see the stars behind them for they are so bright even in the echoing glow of the setting sun. the image in front of us is mesmerizing and the crowd on the terrace all stop their conversations to gaze upon the horizon.
In that silence I hear a boom in the distance... not a crack and not a crash but a distinct and recognizable reverberation of a distant boom... that trembles in the air... everyone hears it and we inspect the skies... one of those blurry clouds far up in the atmosphere begins to expand and becomes thicker and more defined... and we see a star fall from Heaven... I get a familiar feeling and every one just looks on in awe... as the cloud expands the stars begin to dance... they are moving around chasing each other... the crowd is amazed... but I start to remember the war... what war? I get the feeling in my dream again that this is now a memory and know that what we are looking at in the skies is a battle... I tell Will and Ruben we need to get the hell out and I run into my room and grab my bag... “meet me out side” I tell them but they think I am crazy and I tell them this is a war... we gather outside and they have their ruck sacks on their shoulders and we are dressed as if we were going on a hike... Will asks about my girl, I say - “that filthy faithless whore can stay behind to get what she has coming to her...” Will looks down in shame - he knows I know... I put my hand on his shoulder and tell him now is a good time for him to prove himself to me... there is an explosion in the sky and clouds begin to change colors - it is from the explosions - purples and blues and greens and reds... the crowd on the terrace thinks it is fire works... but soon the clouds fade away and the jets come into focus... I start running and the two follow me... I head for a residential area but only because I know it is the road out of town... will asks how did I know this was a war... how did I know what was happening... and who are we at war with... I only respond that I don’t think this war has anything to do with us - as a nation.
There is big pick-up truck in someone’s drive way that we jump into the bed of to rest and inspect the skies... and I begin to explain the war... but they look at me as if I am making it all up... which I am, because I can only give them my theory... of what is happening... and I am explaining to them the dreams... and I tell them that there is a very good chance they are trapped in one of my dreams... Will grabs my jacket collar and punches me in the face and tells me this is no dream!!! There is an explosion and it shakes the truck and I begin to question (in my mind) my reality... Ruben pulls out a pair of ridiculously big binoculars with a light on top of it like a lazar but is white... and tries to get a look at the battle over head but the light begins to draw the attention of the jets and other strange ships in the sky and they begin to come toward us... Ruben puts his binoculars away and we run... stopping to take shelter in peoples yards as now bombs begin to fall on the neighborhood... we run and stop for shelter all night... the neighborhood is now on fire... we hear people scream... and demonic sounds from the sky... every time I look up the sky is a different color and the atmosphere flickers like an old television screen... and I know it is not a real sky but I cannot explain the jets and the bombs that fall from it...
We ran and hid all night until we reached the school... it was now morning but the light of day was hidden behind the smoke of war... the battle in the air continued and we are resting under a tree in the yard just outside the schoolyard where survivors have gathered... the wounded are left to rest and die under the trees... I can hear people pray and cry and try to comfort each other... I hear fathers make up stories for their frightened children... but the explosions in the sky are getting closer and the ground quakes and trembles... the city begins to fall... and goes up in flames... I hear the sound of a plane falling from the sky... I look up and walk without noticing toward the school yard... the plane is about to fall on the crowd... the world goes silent... I breath in as it approaches...
The stories have gotten bolder
As I have gotten older
Lost out in the blue of the sea
Of the mystery and the magic
Events romantic and some tragic
That unfold under the shepherd’s tree.
I was just a lad
When that knight Sir Galahad
Came in from the wild on his knee
They say he found salvation
From dying of starvation
From the fruit of the shepherd’s tree.
It was echoed far and wide
And it could not be denied
That angels could often be seen
Laughing and crying
At the poor fool slowly dying
Still charging away on his steed
Lost in the madness and the gladness
His solitude and his sadness
Conquering demons only he could conceive
And when the sun set on his battle
And the knight fell off his saddle
They laid him to rest on these leaves.
It was rumored behind palace walls
Of the squire who heard the call
And picked up his fathers steel
But the invaders came like a tide
There was no place the boy could hide
The Hun pierced his armor and shield
But as all the kingdom knows
There’s magic where the daffodil grows
And the nymphs play in the field
And to the wounded brave
The kiss of fire they gave
And under that tree he was healed.
It was whispered by lovers at night
Hidden from the candle light
Of a ghostly moan and sigh
And you could chose to believe
The old which who says it is Eve
Howling when the moon is high
And on the ground she crawls
Clawing at invisible walls
Around the garden reflected in her eyes
And she can’t break the spell
And they laugh at her in Hell
Under the shepherd’s tree she cries.
I look for tradition in modern America and can only find a culture based on consumption and debt and the endless treadmill routine of work - consume - eat - sleep - repeat. I see traditions that revolve around sporting events and shopping holidays but nothing that resembles a pride and respect for traditions of heritage and ethnic culture in white America, even the European immigrants seem to just be going through the motions as they celebrate their Holidays and march down the streets in their neighborhood parades. Except for the Jews and some old WASP families no-one seems to be holding on to traditions. Even the Latin Americans seem to have abandoned any cultural traditions once they reach America - but they aren’t really assimilating into the culture aside from the “more, more, more”, of the American dream. I see churches abandoning their values for politically correct doctrines in the name of tolerance and acceptance of progressive ideals just to avoid the bad publicity - or perhaps it is a financial decision. I see desperate men in fear of losing their jobs and their families, I see broken men that have lost their jobs and their families - separated from their children and robbed of their dreams. I see women lost and confused, medicated and hypnotized by the magic of pharmaceuticals and the modern media. I see young girls sexualized and robbed of their innocense and lost boys with broken spirits.
I see a country divided by politicians and the press. I see journalist and celebrities promoting shame and hatred for the white Christian traditionalist at the same time they preach tolerance and multi-culturalism. They are still promoting fear of terrorism and American interventionism in the Middle East, though there is no money for either fighting terrorist, which we ourselves have created, nor for the liberation of countries that have nothing to do with us, but we are told that we must accept those people with open arms... those people - the ones that hate you for your freedom, those people whose religion is the “religion of peace”, those people whose culture and religion and heritage and traditions are so important that it must be accepted and preserved and respected. Yes, there is the strong traditions I was looking for in America - the Jew and the Muslim get to keep their traditions without question or criticism. They are ancient people and their religion and culture is here to enrich your country. The Jew, is chosen by God I am told, and they have been victimized by the world throughout history - give ‘em a brake. And the Muslim, wants to bring you the word and the law of his prophet - at the edge of a sword. It’s the religion of peace, how many times do I need to tell you. Neither on of these two groups is going to leave and if they have to - they have a place to go - do you? The White Christian American is no match for them. One has been force fed the belief that they are better than you and by the will of their god they were born to rule over you, the other is filled with anger and hatred for you, infidel. Two groups that historically have always been at each others throats have found common ground in their desire to take away your culture, rob you of your traditions and destroy your religion and your church, and your politicians will not do anything to save you. Your religion is weak and cowardly and cares more about protecting its financial interests than saving your soul. Your politicians only wish to divide you with the problems they themselves have created - they will distract you with immigrants from the south hoping you wont notice the ones from the East and Middle East, They legalize Homosexual marriage telling you that all Americans have rights but won’t hesitate to take away your right to choose not to participate in their marriage as a business owner.
Where are the traditions of the American people? The Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I can’t really say that my family celebrated these holidays in any particular traditional way, in fact, I don’t know any man my age that has any “family traditions”, they grew up in families a lot like mine - get together on certain days, eat, drink, and go our own way... tradition. My parents didn’t have anything to hand down to me - no rituals of manhood and no traditions, no family recipes and no family heirlooms - well, I do have a couple of crucifixes that belonged to my mothers father that I will leave behind for my sons with the rest of my treasure, but other than that, there is nothing that has been handed down in my family from fathers to sons. My dad did not teach my how to shave, that was cousin Freddie Hatch from Utah, I taught myself how to drive, taught myself how to cook, my parents didn’t even teach me how to tie my own shoes - that was an older kid from my bible class when I still lived in Mexico. No - I have no traditions of country, of culture, of clan or tribe and no rituals handed down that I have not created for myself.
When I think of American culture, nothing really comes to mind outside of sports and cars and the pursuit of money. I don’t think of Christianity when I think of America - though I do when I think of my younger days. I can’ think of any traditional American costumes without thinking of blue jeans and pioneers. America has no traditional dance and when I try to think of one I can only imagine Indian braves dancing around a fire. I try to think of a traditional American family and I run through images of the fifties in my mind until I come to a screeching halt as my thoughts are interrupted by thoughts of modern America. If I try to think of a Traditional American woman I can only imagine June Cleaver, but that is not reality - one can dream. I can’t even think of a traditional American dress for an American woman - In the Miss Mexico beauty pageant, the women dress in an extravagant and elegant version of the traditional Indian costumes of their region. In the Miss Universe pageant, the women dress in the traditional costumes of their cultures - What do you see the American women wearing - Statue of Liberty costume... Uncle Sam’s coat... cowboy outfit... America has no traditional songs that we teach our children - outside of our National Anthem and the Hokey-Pokey... there is no song I remember from my youth that talks about the American culture... at least nothing I can remember.
Is a country without religion, without a true culture based on tradition worth saving?
I don’t know the answer to that question but I do see hope and desperation in both men and women that want to change the modern world and create something better, something based on tradition. I am not a genius but I can observe that people of strong traditions and beliefs continue to grow while those that have abandoned their traditions are fading away - being pushed out by those that are growing, conquered by those that are willing to die for the things they believe in so the ones they leave behind will have traditions to pass down. I don’t understand how a people can let themselves be pushed around by small minority groups out of fear of being labeled this or that. I don’t know why people would support the media that calls nationalist and traditionalist extremist and does nothing but help create riffs between the people of a nation. It doesn’t make any sense to me why the ones we’ve elected to represent us feel it is more important to bring more people into our countries that we can not afford to support, whose culture and religions are not compatible with ours and make the ones that want to preserve their people and way of life enemies of the state... doesn’t make sense to me, but this entry isn’t here to connect any dots, I’m just looking for traditions - I long for traditions, I desperately want something to believe in, something to fight for, something to live for, something to pass down and be proud of... something that I can call mine, that I can stand with honor and say this is our way... these are my people.
I am looking for a place I can call home. I will not fight to protect a country that wants to force me to pay for things I do not want, need, nor believe in. I have no desire to preserve a country that wants to force beliefs on me that I do not wish for nor that serve any purpose in my life. But I will fight for something I have helped to build, I would fight for a place I have invested my blood sweat and tears into, a place I have helped to construct and laid the foundations for - constructively and socially speaking, a place of like minded people who believe it is in their best interest to protect our traditions, people who believe that the preservation of our culture is more important than the pursuit of money. I would fight to protect my tribe, it’s beliefs, it’s rituals, and it’s values, and my unquestionable loyalty shall be to the tribe who’s unquestionable loyalty will be given to me.
Privateer, Poet, Protector of the Faith - rebel by default, romantic by design, designer by process of elimination, broker by accident - Rustic and Refined - Well Traveled, Well Read and Well Bred - Politically Incorrect - Live my Life Without Regret - Defend the Clan... and to hell with the rest...
All poetry on this site by Victor L. Vogt , unless otherwise stated - all artwork accompanying poetry by Jack Vettriano, unless otherwise stated.
Music of Mystery and Romance
Songs from the Deringer Files Volume One
The Iron Legion
Tradition and Strength - a site for men
Something more like this...
is a glimps into the random thoughts going through my mind at any given moment, expressed through images that help to capture who I am - better than my own words can... so they say - a picture is worth a thousand words...