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Fly-Paradise

1978/12/15, by Wayan
for those locked in--or screened out

THAT YEAR

That summer I finally escaped my batterer, Kay. But not whole. Emaciated, in a lot of pain. And I looked too sick to convince anyone to hire me, so I was broke, too. The only healing I could afford was a hippie psychodrama/encounter group run by an old friend of Ken Kesey. Learned a lot, but as I watched those, well, drama queens with their nice healthy bodies play at love & jealousy, stepping around sickly me, I felt like I was in a bell jar. Unloved, unlovable, alone. Kinda made things worse. I tried to write it out one night, and this just poured out. I published it in the poetry section of the little community newsletter--anonymously. But I'm sure they all knew.

FLY-PARADISE
We stand on the window. We are flies.
Below our feet, fly-paradise,
Lost when a dark door opened.
Dare we leave our bright sealed pane?
Fly into the dark that looms
In rooms that seem to us the void
Avoiding spider-death, the webs
Where guts are sucked--and brains--
(No blood left, though the shell remains:
Our exoskeletons are flimsy tombs.)

No thanks. I'll stay right here.
At least I starve with a view.
Even a fly can see through glass,
Or what's a window for?

Yet those who built this house made doors.
The window sings a blueglass song

Oh there ain't' gonna be no door no door
Ain't gonna be no door
Door is what you open and shut
For you there ain't no door

The light lures. Here's the world you lost!
(The glass protects the merchandise
From your filthy claws.)

A window's not a wall
is not a web is not a door.

The door was dark that led us here.
The dark lures.
The light is not the dark is not the door.

The wise fly's eye is on the dark
Not on the light already seen
On the dark, but not to try to pry
To force the door with filthy
claws--and flail, and fail.

You must remember this.
The door does not exist.
On that you can rely.

A door is a door as it opens.
Not before.

Keep your eyes
on the prize,
on the void. But do not fly
As time grinds by.

There is no door--until it opens.
The light in the dark is the door.

Dark room. Two windows show actors emoting. To right, a dim door opens. Sketch by Wayan illustrating automatic writing 'Fly-Paradise'. Click to enlarge.
40 YEARS LATER

I found Fly-Paradise as I combed old journals for 1970s dreams to enrich the World Dream Bank--that decade's always been thin. It isn't a dream... exactly. But I wrote it in a trance close to automatic writing; and saw it as a lesson from my unconscious, as if it HAD been a dream. Also, like a dream, this undream urged behavior change. Flies that cling to the window, looking in at the privileged (in person or not) can't escape. Nor do those who fly into the dark. Successful escapees wait for light IN the darkness--a door opening! Both patience and judgment.

I obeyed the undream. I stayed on the fringes of the group, I didn't fall for any of the psychodrama actors, struggled to find health not find love (and lose and find and lose and... it was that kinda theater group), I lived cheap & saved up fanatically, and when a sudden chance came along to invest and escape wage slavery... I did.

Dark room. A dim door opens. A fly escapes. Sketch by Wayan illustrating automatic writing 'Fly-Paradise'
SONG CREDITS: this talking fly is full of snippets from folk songs--the Dust Bowl lament It Ain't Gonna Rain No More ("how the heck kin I wash m'neck, if it ain't gonna rain no more?"), As Time Goes By from Casablanca, and the civil rights anthem Eyes on the Prize. It also mangles a couplet from Robert Browning's poem Andrea del Sarto: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" Not up there with archy the cockroach, but literate. For a bug.



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