Fly in the Slum
Dreamed 1996/10/14 by Chris Wayan
I'm on a roof in San Francisco, on Mission Street in the slums of Soma. It's dusk. Big dirty buildings glow like old coals in the sunset light.
I watch the street below me, till no one's right under. Then I jump off. Not suicide: I fly!
I feel a bit guilty at how easy it is, while others have to walk below, in those shabby canyons.
Long ago it was hard. I beat my arms and swam thru the air; my utmost strength barely kept me up. But time and practice have made me strong.
Besides guilt, I feel a strange caution; it shouldn't get TOO easy! Flying's precious to me because it's so hard-won.
And I worry about jealousy, in this poor neighborhood: people have guns here. They could shoot me down. Because while they suffer, I soar. Even if my fall helps them not at all.
But still, though I hesitate... I fly.
I've been rereading Ursula Le Guin's ambiguous anarchist utopia The Dispossessed. Shevek's a genius struggling with oppression, but not of rulers or laws, just jealousy, conformity, laziness... habit.
My leftist parents instilled radical guilt in me toward have-nots. But this dream speaks of more than that, I think. Guilt toward my own hurt parts! Is this why I've let so many things stay stuck? I could progress more and faster, I do have the tools now...
But success might leave my hurt childhood feelings stranded behind. But it's my need and nature to soar! But--but--
I'd never been in this building... then. Three and a half years later, a friend took me to a lecture by Stan Grof. Turned out to be held high in this very building on Mission Street! It's the new home of the California Institute for Integral Studies, a hotbed of California shamanism. But I didn't know they'd moved! I thought the school was still out on 7th Avenue. Certainly when I dreamed this I didn't know about the move. I can't be sure if it was clairvoyance, or precognition, or neither--maybe I read the new address on a flyer and forgot it.
What shocked me wasn't the address but the view: the lecture was just at sunset, and those brick and asphalt canyons, sunset-lit, FELT exactly like my dream.
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