(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)
As we wandered among abandoned
you opened your ankle
above the boot
on a sheet of corrugated tin.
At the river, you dipped
your (gorgeous) limb
into the cleansing water.
The beating of your (blessed) heart then
became visible, tossing out tiny, ragged scarves
and tattered flags of bright scarlet surrender,
which hung for an instant in the flow,
then, exploding like overfull balloons,
disappeared out of sight.
It had — forgive me —
a compelling beauty,
perhaps even divine,
like Christ turning water
into potable red wine —
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 Jpay.com, searching for him as Roy Wahlberg 103429.
His mailing address is:
970 Pickett Ave. N.
Bayport, MN 55003