Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to
Reinstall our computers
And get all the wires going to their right places.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012



Thursday, February 23, 2012


It is fun
To duck and run
To find a space
More filled with grace.

The Vagabond is now signing off until further notice.

Never give up.

Alpha - Omega

I feel like my life is coming to an end, and so it is I guess. It began with a trip from New York after I had just cleaned out my room in the Henry Hudson Hotel on 57th Street. I had lived there for 20 years, including some romances and many visits to theatres around the country. I headed for Bristol PA for no other reason than the playhouse here where I had performed off and on for 14 years.

I moved into this house 2 days before the World Trade Center came down. That was 11 and a half years ago and now that life is ending. But this time. Instead of going toward something I'm going away from something, namely the chamber of horrors this house has become. It is very sad. What had once been my small aerie attic hideout by the river has become a way station for human trash.

And yet this isn't the end of my life, it only feels that way tonight, and probably tomorrow night. My intelligence, my sense of adventure and my love were invested here, one by one. They have all been violated.

I have a new rock to shade me from the scorching sun, a new hideout from the trash, a new set of adventures, a new life.

Bring a bedroll, a bottle, some good conversation and come visit me.

I still am
DB - The Vagabond
Never, never give up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


A Farce in Two Scenes

Scene One:

She drives by the house and see that the stranger is not sitting on the front porch. She drives around the block and parks on a side street. From her car she calls the man to find out if the stranger is home. His door opens. He listens and goes back inside his apartment and closes the door. He tells her the stranger is upstairs and listening to music (Debussy) with his door closed. She leaves her car and approaches the house. She opens the front door and rings his bell. He walks down and ushers her onto the landing. When he doesn't hear the stranger approaching to open his door he motions to her. She runs into his apartment. He closes the door..

Time passes.

Scene Two:

He opens his door and shuts it, leaving her inside the apartment. He checks through the building making sure the stranger is not in the hallway, on the stairs, in the laundry room or out on the front porch. He goes back to his door, opens it and motions to her to go. She runs down the stairs, through the front door and out to her car. She drives away. The ruse was successful, the liaison took place, the deal was made.

The only problem with these scenarios is that the stranger saw and heard most of the amusing episode from his vantage point in the apartment above: the car driving by, the bell being rung, the opening and closing of the door, the footsteps on the stairs, the voices.

Is this a French farce or real life? There are other scenarios similar to this one such as confrontations between he and the stranger, transparent attempts to cover and the car driving on as she sees the stranger on the porch. And she has other tricks, like ringing the stranger's bell or calling his phone number. If he answers them she knows she dare not come in. But they all amount to the same thing: intrigue, underhanded maneuvers, sneaking, pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and pointless concealment of shameful actions.

Is it a French farce, real life, or both. Whatever it is it has become an entertainment for the stranger.

DB - the Vagabond
Never give up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Broken Up

The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that they are not mended again.

Alan Paton
Broken hearts are tragedies and broken relationships are also tragedies if they were once good. How do you fix a broken heart? You can't. The heart can only fix itself through time and through the stitch by stitch mending process in which the sufferer goes over and over, revisiting all the bits and pieces, some true, some false, of the person or event that caused the break. Eventually the heart is healed and life goes on.

How do you fix a broken relationship? I think that's a more complicated job and even more important than mending a heart. Some broken relationships never get mended and that's the tragedy.

I had an actor friend who is now in the West. We did two plays together and then I saw his work, he saw mine. One day he introduced me to the woman who was to become his wife. I went to the wedding. He went off to do a major TV series. About a decade later he invited me to come out and spend Christmas with his family. He had three children, the oldest was 10. His wife told me they were concerned about how they were going to entertain me while I was there. They needn't have. I wasn't there a half day before I fell in love with those kids. Every spare moment I had they were urging me to join them in some sort of game. I was sad to leave.

Back home I sent an email with a remark about what a pleasure it was to meet the family and wished them and the kids a happy new year.

For some reason I will never understand my email offended them and it was answered by a series of very unpleasant remarks back to me about my attitude and incorrect thinking. It went on for a month, back and forth, me defending and explaining, they criticizing and maligning me. Finally, in sorrow and frustration, I wrote a long letter breaking off the friendship and explaining why. There has been no contact between us since.

Ironically this happened at the same time his wife was publishing a book about friendships between women that break up and where NO explanations are given.

Another friend, living in New York, went to Europe for two weeks and asked if I would watch his apartment. I agreed. He returned and I came back home. A month later I went to visit him and he presented me with a telephone bill; there was a call that lasted for an hour and a large charge on it. I never made the call. In fact I didn't even use his phone while I was there. I had my own cell phone at the time. But he is convinced I made the call, nothing can change his mind, he would not even answer my calls or my mail and we don't speak to each other any more.

Sometimes we return, in our imagination, or in reality, to the place where the break up occurred or to the place where the circumstances which caused the break up occur. It's like going back to a certain place to search for something you dropped.

I am still sifting through the pieces of my current broken relationship wondering if, like those before, it is impossible to be mended or if it will remain tragic. In my case it was a mistake, an delusion I had about the other person's character and behavior. It was a beautiful friendship in many ways and would have lasted and grown. But it was marred by an activity that was carried out in a manner that made me unimportant and unwanted. Things were happening in ways that I could not accept nor adjust to. So the relationship ended. The other person continues to go to the same place, do the same things in the same manner, thus continuing to downgrade and devalue me. Maybe that person is looking for an answer, something lost. I sit on the porch where the friendship first began looking for answers, looking for what was lost. We do not see or speak to each other, though I sometimes think we want to, if we dared.

The sweetness, kindness and gentleness of that beautiful friendship based on pure affection is what was lost. The rest is illusion.

Will it ever be mended? Time goes by, people grow and change, things are forgotten, new things and new people fill our lives and the opportunity for mending is lost.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never give up.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vagabondism 276

Vagabondism #276 "We are all space ships that never land."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Write

Why do I write?

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Hello Mark
I write to stay sane in an insane world.
I write to love in a hateful world.
I write for my life in a deadly world.
I write to find peace in a cruel world.
I write for joy in a sorry world.
I write to think in a thoughtless world.
I write to be safe in a dangerous world.
I write to chase phantoms from my brain.
I write to squeeze passion from my heart.
I write to forget the malignant smile.
I write to save the suffering child.
I write to revise the pain I feel.
I write to seize my old age with strength.
I write for light in a gloomy world.
I write to creep away from lies.
I write to remember the never again.
I write to clear the table before me.
I write to sting the vipers.
I write to avoid the ignorant.
I write to see the mountain top.
I write to decorate my solitude.
I write for truth in a dishonest world.
I write to understand my words.
I write to beautify my friends.
I write to calm the raging in my soul.
I write to scream at heaven.
I write to find my place.
I write to lose my stupidity.
I write to try to forgive myself.
I write to banish treachery from my sight.
I write to signal angels.
I write to silently weep.
I write for rightness in a wronged world.
I write for freedom in a world of slavery.
I write to mourn my life of trouble.
I write for goodness in an evil world.
I write for the death of evil.
I write to pray for bliss.
I write to ask for help.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Drop the Mask

No one is outside the maze of human behavior looking in.

Dana Bate
Hello Rose
We are all invited to the huge masquerade of human life. Some of us are wearing masks and some of us are not. Those of us who don't don the disguises of the masses, the artists of the world, and specifically the writers, are given the task of judging the faces, the facades, that they see.

Two important questions must be asked. The first is who is behind the mask and the second is why did the person behind the mask choose that particular mask to wear? The great writers do this with ease and appreciation. Like the ever changing figures in a life drawing class hardly anything is more complex than the human being. But the writer must be careful to observe and store vital information about the person whose mask he his trying to peer behind. The pretender will always give himself or herself away in the end. In fact, if they are serious pretenders they probably want to be found out because only an excellent observer can do it. One who deserves their respect. Unfortunately the seeker for truth frequently ends up being so disgusted with the pretensions of the masquerader there is no mutual respect. Some people's masquerades are transparent though they don't think so.

The observer of life must also remember that he too wears a mask even though the mask may be in fact his own face.

"Trust a few" Shakespeare wrote. How do we know who we can trust? We can trust those who are worthy of our trust> But how do we judge worthiness? Only time and careful observation can tell. We can trust those who have danced through enough of life's ballrooms to have learned honesty.

The pretentious, the devious, the duplicitous are those we learn not to trust and that knowledge of others can only come through careful observation as we do our own dancing in the maze. Those who are not what they say they are or what they think they are are the greatest pretenders on the dance floor. They are the clay of novels and short stories for the writer to sink his typing fingers into. Dishonesty reveals itself eventually, often to the writer before iit's revealed to the pretender, and by revealing itself reveals the truth and, for one observer, the mask comes off..

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Friday, February 10, 2012


It's quiet here in hell tonight, for now. The echoes are still around but only I can hear them. I see the lonely street lamp outside in the cold night sharing its light for the traffic. There is no traffic but it will share the light anyway.

I went through my books and separated out two of my favorite catagories: history and biography. I removed my book marks and saw that they had their dust covers on, They are going to a new home in the public library. I love those books but they had to go as it is impossible to carry them with me any longer. The library will share them with others to read. Will those who read them love them as much as I do?

It is a terrible thing to give away the books you love. But not quite as tragic as to give away the person you love. Oh, the pain.
What is this need to share? Why share a light, a thing, a dinner, an experience, an adventure, a life, a love, with the unworthy, with the worthy, until there is nothing left, and years later you become someone's story, or someone's joke. Oh, oh, the pain.
Why don't I learn my lesson. Don't buy a lot of books. You will never settle down. You will never have a home. You've been a vagabond since you were 6 years old and it hasn't changed. You live in a world of strangers, trusting the untrustworthy, depending on the undependable, hoping for the gentle hand that never reaches out, or reaches out with hidden barbs. OH, the PAIN
You've always been alone, vagabond, facing the terrors of the days and nights by yourself. You've had a few, very few, visitors, but no one moves in. They have a family to go back to, they have a home. You tried to make a family out of the artists you worked with in the theatre, but they all had families and homes. You got your heart broken.

But you didn't learn. You tried once again when the gentle hand was reaching out. But you didn't see the hidden part until it was too late. And now again your heart is broken. Oh, Oh, OOOH. THE PAIN. ! ! !
Stop looking for a family and a home. Own only those books you can carry on your back and beware the gentle hand.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vagabondism 275

Vagabondism #275 "Two of the most dangerous things in life are ignorance and truth."

Where Am I?

Dear friends and readers.

My journal listings have been few lately and not very inspiring. When will I get back to business, back to spirit and a positive thrust in my life?

I suffered a giant blow to my emotions from the betrayal of my love and concern for someone I thought I could trust and respect and who I thought trusted and respected me.

I still suffer. The healing hasn't begun yet. Once it does and the stitches hold I hope I will find my way back out of this miserable burning of my soul and write you a better journal.

Being alone is hell. I have no friends here. I had one friend, I thought, my only friend, a daughter friend, the only daughter I ever had, who turned out to be not such a friend.

When I get to a safe place I will lie down and have a good long cry about the finality of things and about the person I deeply and earnestly loved but who I will probably never see again. And then the healing will begin, I hope.

DB ' The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vagabondism 274

Vagabondism #274 "The life that I live is Life living."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Silly Man

Do not trust all man, but trust men of worth, the former course is silly, the latter is a mark of prudence.

Hello Jon
A friend once asked me "Why do you insist on believing that everyone is as intelligent as you are?" I don't know if that remark was insight or flattery but I answered by saying "Because I want them to be."

It reminded me of times that I did talk to people expecting them to really understand the ideas I was expressing. Some people, it seemed, just plain could not. I always want people to be better than they are, and I have a strange feeling that if I treat them that way they will respond accordingly.

I have made the same mistake about trusting people. Recently I had the terrible experience of finding out that someone I was close to could not be trusted. It's always a greet shock to the system when you realize how much you have given of yourself in a relationship when you find out you've been fooled and the other person isn't trustworthy.

"Trust a few" Shakespeare said. But how do we know which few to trust? Is it wise not to trust anybody? Can we live in the pathways of suspicion with everyone we meet? Can we live under the sword of wondering if we can trust ourselves?

I have known a few people whom I trusted and I believe they were genuinely able to be trusted. A very few. But they were people who when negative feelings came rolling in on them were able to keep their trustworthiness intact. I like to think I am that way myself.

When it turned out this person could not be trusted it was a very painful event for me. But I acknowledge that the pain was caused by me for trusting where it was not possible, and that happened through lack of observation. People usually give the signs that tell you they can't be trusted and I simply ignored and did not read the signs. My fault.

Observing and listening are very important practices in all human relationships. It saves from jumping to conclusions about other people, as I did.

Suffer, rue, heal and try to remember the lesson for the next time, if you can, silly man.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What Are You Feeling

It is the tragedy of the world that no one knows what he doesn't know.

Joyce Cary
Hello Kate
If you don't feel my pain don't laugh at it.

Among the most complicated aspects of human life are the emotions. Who can explain where they come from, how they act and react and what they do to us? We may enjoy a good farce where we see a man slip on a banana peal and fall on his butt. Or we may enjoy watching the Three Stooges beat each other up. Because we know in those cases the pain isn't real. But some people laugh at real pain, a beggar stumbling down the street, a woman wailing uncontrollably over the death of a child, the antics of a one legged pigeon. The reasons why those things may seem funny are the grotesque qualities and the fact that you can't feel the suffering.

There is a large category of things that can be called emotions but they are all some form of discord in the system and they all affect us in different ways. Some people are seemingly insensitive to their feelings while others are overly sensitive. There are other result characteristics that come into being, sympathy, empathy, compassion or the lack thereof. Since emotions are not seen except in effects a man may be suffering a huge heart ache or intense fear and we wouldn't know it from looking at him unless we could read the signs.

The best position for someone to take is to be aware that the other person has feelings and they should be respected if we don't want to stir up a lot of negatives.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vagabonidsm 273

Vagabondism #273 "I like to walk among the trees because the trees don't judge me."

What's Important

How much do you engage yourself in what is truly real and important in life? That's the individual question.

Ted Danson
Hello Bruce
The questions might be rather what do we consider truly real and important, or how many things do we allow to get in the way of what is truly real and important? There's the laundry that has to be done, the dishes washed, a shopping list to be made, the kids off to school, the complexities of human relationships, the stress of work. Or do we just relax into a hum drum mentality and let the truly real and important things pass us by.

One day I went into Central Park in New York to watch the marathon. I was near the finish line. Behind me were two people, a man and a woman, standing on folding chairs watching the runners go by. They were waiting to see their daughter cross the finish line. While they were there the woman kept up a constant chatter about other people, the ones she knew, the ones she worked with, family members and neighbors. Her talk was all about fingernail polish, hair color, men's ties and shoes, this one's tone of voice and that one's mustache. I thought to myself "Doesn't this woman ever say something real and important?" But I suppose she thought it was all important, vital information in the over all cosmic scheme of things. The man said nothing except an occasional "Hm." Finally he said he thought he had seen the girl pass and went off to the finish line to find her. The woman became quiet, which was a blessed relief, but I'm sure her mind was working away at ties and hair color.

And how can we get to the point where we can look at all those busy chores that are interfering with any engagement with reality and importance. How do we get to the point where we can say "Stop." It is surely an individual moment. It happens according to certain circumstances, one of which is being ready. Admitting that we are ready for something else than the ordinary. It's like saying there must be more to life than this.

To some people the engagement of important ideas is an interruption in their life of daily tasks, rather than the tasks taking a back seat to the worlds true realities.

It is truly up to the individual how he approaches the obligation to be aware of the fancies and facts that float in the atmosphere of thought. We are not free from the duty of thinking. How we do it is either a drudge or a miracle.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vagabondism 272

Vagabondism #272 "Some folks are so busy living they don't stop to realize they're alive."

More On The Joyless

Today I'm laughing in my wine, but not for joy. For the ridicule and pain of life.

Lies and tricks on a simple trusting man are seen in the jester's face.

Don't let him know. It might hurt him. Don't let him know his father's dead. Don't let him know. It might hurt him. Don't let him know I'm in the room next door. I'll come by the back way to avoid him so he won't know. It might hurt him. Don't let him know what I'm doing here. Don't let him know what we're doing here. It might hurt him. Don't let him know.

Not letting me know is what hurt me the most.

Why are there only two in the room? Because there are not three? "That's a good fool."

I hear the knocking on the other man's door. Why is the poor fool alone? Because no one ever knocks on his door? "That's a good fool."

Why does the good fool leave his heart on the front porch? Because he thinks someone might want it? "That's a good fool."

What does the stupid fool want? The same thing that everyone else wants. And what is that stupid fool? Love. "Gooood! Stupid fool. That's the right answer" What do I win?

Check one:


Sorry poor fool, you get none of the above.

That's okay. I don't expect anything. "That's a good fool."


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In The Beer

The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless.

Dorothy Sayers
Hello Diane
Troublesome times are still floating in my glass of beer. Unanswered questions plague my heart. I can't bear being tricked.

I posed the question should I cry in my beer or laugh in my wine. The consensus of opinions seems to be that I should do both. The sound that you hear is me opening a beer.

We are now in the time of mid winter. This is and has always been a very grim time for me as it is for many people. The Farmers Almanac says that by February 5 I should have half of my wood still left and half of my hay. But it doesn't say anything about my spirit. As the song says "This weather makes a man feel old."

I try to think about the future. I don't like to think about the past or the present. The past is full of regrets and the future is full of fears. I carry with me every day all the passions of a reconstructed teenager. But with the added burdens of a life time of accumulated knowledge. I know better than to expect happiness and harmony every staggered step I take down the street. But I don't know myself well enough to know how to avoid the rocks and puddles of my own feelings.

Why have I removed my heart from my sleeve and left it out on the front porch? Why does my imagination which allows me to write and paint and dream also construct sorrowful scenarios to plague me like daemons? I hide, like Scrooge, from a wicked world, but without Scrooge's money. I take pleasure in small things but ignore the dangers in the bigger ones.

Inside this mortal lump of clay my passions bubble and foam, like the beer in this glass, for a pure and happy life, contentment, peace and certainty. And joy. I want, but don't expect them. I expect the opposite. Threats, shocks, pain, and trouble. And sorrow.

Why should that be? I know I deserve better. I deserve not to be cheated out of my joy. In all the tumbling I've done in and out of righteousness over the years I have at least learned to laugh at my foolishness and discipline my thoughts. Then why am I sitting here right now, today, in fear and sadness over things I can't control?

I don't know what the future is, who does? But I know I have one and I want it to be better than the present. Today I will hide in the bottle. Tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that I will face the pain and take the staggering steps necessary to make some brighter day appear, I hope.

DB - Vagabond
Never give up.