At Edges

At Edges
by Samuel 23 on 2008-03-07 10:00:58
tags: magic, magick, punk, skateboarding

Push. Click. Push. Click

Each push harder than the last. The time between clicks diminishes into a steady rat-a-tat-tat.


Slap! One leg stomps down while the second presses up against the board. Hips swivel in mid air just before the board comes down hard and fast on the rickety black iron railing. No thoughts enter this sacred space. Part plan, part power, all speed and instinct. Fall or land misses the point.

Skateboarding was something pure, like punk rock, this was something that defined us. No. Let us define ourselves. There were no hand rails or curbs, just opportunities to go bigger and fly faster. Our whole world seemed built for this. To trespass was the bread of our life. You could see it in the eyes of outsiders, even in the ones clouded with contempt; somewhere inside they were amazed. And we weren't even that good, but the smallest taste of the possible impossible, seems like a miracle to those starved for it; just like peanut butter and bread is a feast when your belly's been as empty as your pockets for days. You can see it, even through the distortion of video, that look a skater gets in their eye as they pull their trick. That's gnosis, that's an altered state as pure and as mystic as any zen monk on a mountain top. It was from there and from knowing you landed it or went so big the pain was worth it no matter what, that our world born.

See, we didn't see the world differently, we saw our own world. Yours, that was like a shadow, or something vaguely dangerous like thoughts creeping where they don't belong. Something that if dwelled on too often or for too long would end with a face full of blacktop.

But with none of the glory.

These are the lessons. You want to talk magick or reality hacking, talk to a kid who sees the world as his own personal skate park, and then makes it that way. Shit I remember… The night air was so warm; You know one of those summer nights where you can't see the moon and there are no stars in the sky but there's still this light everywhere, perfect and sourceless. We tossed our decks up on the roof and then shimmied up poles and boosted each other over that final lip till we were up there too.

Z, was the first to go, he was always the first the burliest. Acid drop off the roof ledge onto the curved tin roof of the archway, and then, with god as my witness motherfucker ollied off the archway and hit the pavement below still rollin'. Ok we weren't that good, but Z was actually really fuckin' good. This was destined to be another in a long line of things he'd teach us, and that we'd get. Eventually.

His brother went first and fucked the drop. The board shot out from under his feet and he hit the tin roof hard. Silence followed by 'Motherfucker!' and then laughter.(Yeah man, fuck, even then without knowing it, banishing failure with laughter) The rest of us followed, some bailing on the drop others bailing mid air from the archway to the ground. Some landing for a brief moment before hurling headlong from their decks.

Always the same: curses, grunts of pain, and laughter.

We kept at that shit for hours, for all night? Who knows we weren't much for clocks ever and even less so in the summer; but we kept at it till every one of us landed it clean. Then we moved on to the next opportunity, the next place that just seemed built for us though we'd never met the architect.

Reliving that night as I write about it for the first time it reminds me of another night, one I've written about here and there. Lieing my way to freedom with my first magickal partner. Giving the authorities the slip, and finding ourselves at long last miles away from anywhere we were supposed to be. Standing there on the shores of a reservoir, transgressing even against our own bodies; Where, through techniques we had discovered, with methods inspired by something but still entirely our own, ended up tearing a hole in time and slipping through it. Julia wasn't like me in a lot of ways, didn't skate, didn't listen to punk, she sure as shit didn't look like me or my friends, but she was like me in all the important ways.

Staring down the drop from the roof was the first lesson in magick, the first time it really sunk in that you could change things through will; That, through slightly altered states you could look at things in your own way and make them that way. I wouldn't have been ready for the reservoir without that, or for any of that magick that has happened since.

We fought and still we fight hard for that though. I mean in every way we have to fight for that.

“Hey why do you dress that way faggot?” Fuck you that's why, and then we'd swing our fists like exclamation points. Win or lose misses the point.

“Why do you listen to that shit?” Cause its in our blood, its what moves us. Cool or not misses the point.

“And where do you think you're going?” Out the back door if you don't step out of the way, and if you block that too, out the window, cause hey, you gotta sleep sometime. Good sons and daughters or bad misses the point.

Those years magick was something secret, I didn't wear it on my sleeve like I do now, but, you know, you get versions of the same questions no matter what you do if it, in its time and place is too different. I learned through skating and punk rock what it was to live at the outskirts of society and to take care of your tribe. There could have been no lodge training, no liber whaterverthefucks that could have prepared me as fully for the transformation into magician. I mean magician as shaman…skate punk as shaman its all the same thing to me.

Still it's hard to really appreciate those lessons till you're older. When people wonder why you “Don't take life more seriously?” or “When are you going to face 'reality'?” And all the other things that creep up when you inch closer to thirty, and you still have the nerve to live out at the fringes and tend to the tribe in your own ways. Even people who at first glance look and talk like your allies will start to question you. People stop taking the risks that came so easy in youth for whatever reason, but, no matter how many people tell me otherwise I know that when you stop risking magick dies.

Today, in many ways, in all the important ways, I'm still that kid. Yesterday it might have been the edge of roof, today it might be the edge of a reality tunnel, and tomorrow…shit who can even say? I'm too busy in the sacred now, exploring that place that transcends thoughts. When tomorrow does comes though, I'll be at the edge of it. For me that's the only place worth being and the only place I've ever found where magick still lives and breathes.