A Really Good Book

On the Roof (Written 2008/9)

To sit out on the roof and read,
And wait until the stars appear,
Lay back and watch the sky, and dream,
And think of places far from here.

As one dream comes, another leaves,
Like above me all the stars do,
And I hope for things that I don’t need-
Dreams I know cannot come true.

I wonder what my life might be,
If I lived in different times,
I think how things aren’t as they seem,
And ponder old forgotten rhymes.

I wish I could go to those fairy tales,
Like the ones I read each night,
Stories when justice always prevails,
Even in the most desperate fight.

But such dreams are living far from here,
Hidden by what we ‘need,’
So I’ll wait right here for the dawn to appear,
And sit out on the roof and read.

___

If it hasn’t already been made abundantly clear, I really love stories. More than that, I have always thought they are important. Legitimately so. The world is a messed up place. Don’t pretend it isn’t. Humans are like that. We have to try really hard to be good people, and the usually means not having as much fun, so a lot of us don’t. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be. Even the people who put pleasure first, even they realize they are missing something. The most vile person could write a story and end it with the hero saving the day, and the bad guys losing. Because that is right. It is how things ought to be. Stories let us remind ourselves of the simple things we forget in our daily struggles. Things that we forget are important. Even when we write stories about poor, abused, twisted children who burn books, we can’t help but hint that that is wrong. That the kid needs something they aren’t getting. Books, for me, have always been a reminder that we can be good. Even if we try to pretend that there is nothing more important than ourselves, when we read a good book we are always cheering for the guy who puts others first. For the hero who fights an impossible fight to save the little kid. For the mom who died to feed her family. Nobody cheers for the guy who ran away to save themselves, and let somebody else suffer in their place. Books give me hope, because they are a sign of contradiction to the world. The world is going, more often than not, to be a rotten place. But books aren’t going to let you forget that the unbeatable odds can always be beaten, usually by the person who you least expect. And that is why I love books. And I love reading them where I don’t have to be distracted by things around me. So I read on the roof. Because when you look up from your book and see nothing but the sky around you, it is easy to remember that anything can happen. When reading books up there it is easy to remember, though I feel like my pathetic wanna be poet self is unworthy of quoting him, the truth of what Shel Silverstein wrote,

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

And, of course, I will ask yet again that everybody at least check out my Jog-A-Thon page. Because if there is one thing my school has ever taught me, it is that absolutely nothing is impossible. Especially not if you can trust in the generosity and good will of absolute strangers.

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