Roy Wahlberg


(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

Under a sky
charged with the electric
blue of an active reactor pool,
we began the new day’s paddle
with a mild morning sun
arriving low
over our backs and shoulders
to nibble at the tender tendril-tips
of mist that had stayed out
too late for safety.

Our shadow, like a loyal voyager
guide, led the way before,
matching our pace
thru the pellucid water, borne
and bound in obtuse-angled,
tight scythings of surface light
that splintered and spiraled
like translucent curtains
of unraveling spun glass
down the luminous galleries
of their aqueous, pollen-
spangled universe.

A few fathoms further below
was reached the endpoint goal
of all light and shadow,
where both were forced to stop
and linger, restlessly
shifting, darting, and morphing
like timid ghosts
among the lairs and boulders
along the bottom.

A slight adjustment of the eye,
and one was flying along
the lake’s burnished, mirroring surface
from which scattered flocks
of feathery clouds seemed to rise
and sail like a royal retinue
of steady-winged pelicans
alongside our gunnels.

On occasion, a startled bass
would dart off, gliding smoothly
thru the air-like clarity
of the water
like a flying fish.

Much higher up,
a quick brace of ducks.

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Aleutian Night

(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)

The moonless midnight,
faintly webbed and feathered
by an approaching auroral storm,
draped itself like the folds of a funeral cassock
over the island’s miniscule curvature of earth.

Sections of mixed forest
were pooling their darkness together
to form an impenetrable inkblot
over the sky’s bottom portion,
its edge unevenly bitten
by the black scalloped
tops of trees.

Across a faintly star-lit meadow,
drifting sea fog was illuminated
by a stone seal-oil lamp that shone
from a narrow lean-to opening,
throwing a weight of egg-yoke light
against a wedge of facing forest floor
and the shaggy, unshaven faces
of nearby cedars — while moths wove
in and out and flashed like fireflies.

The surf and wind were rising,
tossing the silhouettes of treetops
and warning of worse to come —
pity for those
still in the dark —
in their little leather boats
at sea.

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About the Author

Roy Wahlberg, OID# 103429. Born: 11/20/1951. Life sentence: 1976. His brain later determined to have been so ravaged by early life disease, even hydrocephalus surgery was long denied as pointless (as it proved to be). Ultimately, however, miraculous “compensations” emerged from his brain deterioration and epilepsy treatment: the “Grandma Moses Effect” of late-life artistic drive. For him this took form as musicophilia, hypergraphia, and compulsive versification–the three stabilizing legs of his intellectual stool (both the furniture kind and his overall function, at times a bit scatological).

With autism, dysphasia (verbal deficits), and attention/memory scores in the bottom 5-7%, only through writing can Roy achieve a solid and continual sense of self–that essential ingredient of normal life that is otherwise entirely missing or only flimsily maintained. Halting and forgetful in speech, it is writing alone that releases his mind into smooth and tireless eloquence as the logical thread is held reliably before him by the medium.

Perhaps most importantly, writing allows Roy to find deep and meaningful solace in his almost unbroken solitude, instantly expanding his tiny cell from a lonely cage of despair into cognitive banquet halls filled with infinite imaginative possibilities, a doorway for the spirit, and an inexhaustible, cathartic feast of dream and reason. In many ways, and much more than most, Roy must write in order to truly live — making the writing, as he sees it (though happily so) practically ALL that exists of him.

Two-way email communication with Roy is possible through the website, searching for him as Roy Wahlberg 103429.

His mailing address is:

970 Pickett Ave. N.
Bayport, MN 55003