(listen to the poem, read by Diane R. Wiener)
Fireflies thru the cell window at night:
hinge-hung lamps in arc-swung flight;
galleon lamps in a storm-tossed bay;
warning torches on a Stygian byway,
or vagrant sparks from a hidden fire,
whether birth revelry or funeral pyre.
What message are you meant to portray?
Life’s flashing passage thru the gloom? —
of its tranquility, its fragility, or its doom?
A’ la belle e’toile! —
flash, flash yet again, O bright angels! —
I’ll catch your meaning yet!
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