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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2019 - Vol. 16, Issue 1

"November Rosebud" and "The Unending Sting"

written by

Roy Wahlberg

"November Rosebud"

Like a Hiroshima baby

born on the brink of thorns,
in blind and blissful beauty
you wait for fate to fall
from the cruelest
of cloudless skies.

So I hope you can forgive me
if from winter I cut you free
to fulfill your life with glory
in my ikebana centerpiece.

"The Unending Sting"

One soil-softened day
along the protective base
of a rusted chain link fence
I noticed a bumblebee busy
digging a home for her children.

Into the domestic scene
I kneeled and reached a finger
to stroke her striped and velvet back --
an act to which she took no notice.

But then
a sudden shadow
transversed the cloudless sky
and fell across the bee like a guillotine.

Then, proving once again
that beauty remains unseen
to only the executioner
a boot heel came down.

Lord, imprison me
among the animals
but don't make me live
forever among the unevolved.

Roy Wahlberg was sentenced to life in prison in 1976. His brain was later determined to
have been ravaged by early-life disease. Ultimately, though, magical "compensations"
emerged from his brain deterioration and epilepsy treatment: the "Grandma Moses
Effect" of late-life artistic drive, musicophilia, hypergraphia, and compulsive versification.
With autism, aphasia, and attention/memory scores of 5-7%, Wahlberg feels continuity
of existence only while writing. To him, it is life itself.

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