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Wingless Flight

Dreamed 1992/2/21 by Wayan

Ambitious to fly, a friend and I leave
my old childhood school. Spread wide
my scrawny arms and leap. My sleeves
ragged, a trailing fringe of... cloth? Old
feathers? No true wings. Just tatters. But is
it matter matters? I flutter, eggbeater, all
raveled unwings. And rise! At first I'm sure
fierce flap is the key. A vital storm.

But as I churn, I slowly learn
Lift's not in the feather. In the mind!

Still, I hold back. I've left a friend behind
who longs for flight too. Guilt weighs
me a while. Until I face: he'll try and rise
too, or he WON'T. Better to be his goal--
prove we can achieve--than lie, lie low,
to stand by him, aground, so he won't feel
upset or envy. Puer Eternus of me, to fly?

Shucking all grounded responsibility? Hell,
if that's maturity... ground farewell!

My arms have only a few feathers, but I fly anyway--it's in the mind! Dream sketch by Wayan.


Today I read Iron John by Robert Bly, who has iron-firm notions of what constitutes a man, and is particularly critical of what he sees as modern evasion of the traditional male responsibilities, which he dubs (following Jung I think) the Puer Aeternus or Eternus ("eternal child" in Latin)--instead of the existing pop term "Peter Pan syndrome".

I fit all his criteria. But then I live in San Francisco. All of us in San Francisco (even the straights) fit his criteria. Pretty much gotta be a farmer with a shotgun and a dog to satisfy ol' Bly. And the dream picked it up. Really, when you get down to it, Bly's notion of grounding is just a slick, poetic form of femme-bashing. Artsy-fartsy city sissies. Not real men.

Why the hell should I wait around for the Heartland to get off the ground? Why should you? Don't wait for others. Don't wait for wings. You can fly without.


I recently learned that I have a rare mutation (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) making my body fragile and brain hyperactive. I'm autistic, but a savant--and by using that brain and working hard, I could (just barely) pass--if not flourish. My hard work probably delayed my diagnosis decades.

I wasn't avoiding adulthood--indeed, as Peter Pans go, I wasted lots of time staring through the window at normality, trying to learn how you did it; I tried hard to join you, in your human world. It never worked. It never could. Dealt a fey genetic hand!

I can't be human. But I can soar.

My arms have only a few feathers, but I fly anyway--it's in the mind! Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

LISTS AND LINKS: flying - disability & deformity - body image - initiative & persistence - shamanic dreams - guilt - autism, brains & genetics - digital dream art - dream poems - same dreamer, same issue, same night: Shrunken Men - Bly, Robert

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