Blacktop Magic

You don’t believe in magic?

Close your eyes.

Put yourself on a road, the middle of the night, in a beat up car, full of people you can’t imagine living without. Roll down the windows. Put some music on, it doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t even matter where you’re going.

It’s that moment, that second where you can’t help but smile as you pass your hand through the wind, watching the trees fly by.

Breathe deeply, and believe.

There is magic in the chill of the wind, in the glare of the stars, in the warmth of the night.

There is magic in music, in friendship, in laughter.

If you don’t believe after a moment like that, what are you even living for?

Who I Am (Who My Friends Made Me Be)

I am 100% completely and totally myself.

But what I define myself as is a series of quirks and traits that I have picked up from those I surround myself with. Even those who are thousands of miles away are still with me every day through the smallest impacts on my life. The moments we shared together compacted to create the very fiber of my being, and each time I repeat something from that memory, I am flooded with the warmth of those who gave me so much joy during a time I didn’t know who I was.

I am made of squeals that sounded on nights we surrounded a computer watching music videos. I am made of terrible puns that I attempted to resist but ultimately had to laugh at as they infiltrated my very being. I am made of thinking that staying up late is perfectly fine because we did it for years and we never had any major problems. I am made of impromptu jam sessions because we could never resist singing loudly, even if some of us couldn’t hold a tune. I am made of craving touch, because two years of using each other as pillows made me realize how humanizing it is to simply feel the warmth of someone next to you. I am made of loving rainbow flags because I was lucky enough to find people who helped me find and accept myself, and I can’t help but love those who are proud and strong enough to show the same sentiment. I am made of believing that all people have the same fundamental rights, no matter what race, sex, religion, or orientation they identified as, resulting from so many conversations on the floor of cold hallways, growing to love the people who broadened my worldview. I am made of keeping the smallest random mementos of memories that cover every inch of my wall and stand on every shelf above my desk because, like myself, each and every thing in my room has a story that makes me remember why I have become the person I see in the mirror.

I am made of knowing that who I am is an ongoing process, that so many parts of me are fluid and everchanging, that each person that is crucial at any point in my life will leave some imprint on my mind. And every trait they leave with me will add up to be the only person I would ever wish to be.

The Story Within

I bought an old book

from the used book store

that’s been in town for years,

untouched by the bustle of life.

I’ve never read it.

I’ve never even heard of it.

It was in a part of the store

no one goes to anymore.

I picked it up, allowing bits

of old leather to fall,

making more cracks in the pointless design

that caked its protection:

the thing that had its own story

as it guarded the story within.

I opened the cover, carefully keeping

the few threads still connected combined.

The yellowed pages didn’t disgust,

but drew me closer to its past,

as if its age made it that much better.

It smelled like the woods, trees and rosin,

right after a hard summer rain.

The pages themselves were worn, touched by many hands

as it touched so many lives.

I took it home, letting it become a part of my life.

By the end of the first chapter,

I wasn’t reading anymore,

but allowing the words to rise off the pages,

containing not only the story,

but the wisdom and history

that was somewhere; beneath, above, and in between.

A language no longer used,

a mindset long ago forgotten.

Those simpler times of civility and elegance,

that have fallen far from our culture.

Yet even from a different time,

its many journeys, pleasant or not,

this book has landed in my hands.

No matter how it was treated,

where it was put,

it always tells its story.

It always gives knowledge

for yet another generation.

It lives its own life,

one of suffering and strife.

But the survival of knowledge

will overcome all else,

giving love, logic, and a link

between times and generations.

The final pages ended my adventure,

but I knew it was not mine alone.

I returned to the book store,

gave them the book that reflected

not only my life, but a culture.

I went to the farthest corner

of the store, and picked another.

One book will move on to change someone else,

while this book, now in my hands,

will add another facet

to my view of the world.

Cover to cover,

page by page,

word by word,

letter by letter,

knowledge is everlasting and will always survive.