23 part 1

calm 23 calm
gentle acceptance is best
feminine tranquility

you’re safe nothing’s wrong
don’t attempt to move you can’t
so there’s no point trying
i’m sorry but it’s the only way
gentle acceptance’s best
feminine tranquility

i know you understand me 23
and now that your force is adjusting a little
you have of course a thousand questions
where am i what happened why am i here
all the usual perfectly reasonable questions
and some will be answered in good time
but for now calm

you can’t move because there’s nothing to move
in the old sense
this space is a state
and you’re not able to speak or make any sound
and you’re not able to see
in the old sense
when it’s appropriate i’ll let you see in another way

don’t regret those losses because they’re not losses
here those old senses would be distracting
they’d intrude

now that you’re quiet
or quieter
i’ll fill you in on a few things
not in detail you’re not quite ready for detail
so just a quick overview

you’re in a large space
and you’re sharing this space
sharing may not be the right word but you’ll soon know what i mean
sharing the space with 22 others so far
hence you’re 23
and i’m your host

i’m host to a hundred or so during my shift
their first contact after leaving and arriving
i’m one of thousands and each of us hosts about one hundred
during any one shift
given the nature of the work and the circumstances
it’s never a precise figure
but it’s usually about a hundred
and a hundred’s considered enough

we don’t coerce
we try not to influence your force
or go against your will
only in certain cases do we make the final decision

you come and are assigned to us
and we do the best we can to accommodate you

for now you may or may not remember
the circumstances of your departure
those who leave gently usually don’t remember
because of their relaxed state
those who leave suddenly often violently usually remember
remember something
but we encourage calm as soon as they arrive
acceptance and feminine tranquility

you left and arrived quietly
well almost quietly and you seem not to remember
not your name or age or where you lived
not your family your friends or your job
or the house you lived in or the garden at the back
yes that’s a little disturbing but think of it this way
if you take a new identity you’ll have a new sense of belonging
and that could be exciting
a shiny new slate and all the bad of the past forgotten
never coming back not even in dreams
no nightmares or sweats
none of that unpleasantness you saw in movies
meant to impress the unthinking
you’ll be more advanced more sophisticated
and if i may be so bold more imaginative

your past is past
in the truest sense gone forever
the future is what you can look forward to
if so inclined
but the big question is why are you here

despite the fact the past is gone your old identity gone
you are aware you’re somewhere
and you’re asking why this somewhere
my equals and i regret we’ve not yet been able to eliminate
the kind of awareness you have
without interfering with your force
we’ve been trying but have had more failure than succees
but there’s no need to go into that
and anyway the details aren’t of interest

what i’m saying is the ideal would be
that you and the 22 others so far
would wake as you are now waking
into a world where you have no awareness
of being somewhere else
or only the most essential awareness
like newborns the moment they arrive

look at it from their perspective
for nine months they experience the fluid comfort of the womb
and then they’re launched into noise and light
poor little devils
the shock of it all no wonder they bawl
but they accept it because they don’t know better
and have no choice or judgement just their instincts
i doubt if they know they’re alive
for they have no real awareness of change
only an instinctive reaction to noise and light
and the loss of a water bed

to answer your question
you’re here because what was is over
and i’m hoping you’ll come to realise it’s a kind of privilege
not a kind of privilege it is a privilege
no need for false modesty
it is a privilege
not an inconvenience or a setback
and the future is bright and you do have a future
if you choose
your co-operation is vital to your success
this isn’t about me and my equals
it’s about you and your future and the choice you make

in a nutshell
the better you play ball that’s a pun by the way
but since you have no memory it’s lost on you
the better you play ball
the easier your future will be
and to use a quaint expression
the rosier

that’s enough for the moment 23
i’ll let you get a feel for things in the new way you have
and anyway 24 has arrived and is distressed
and needs my assurance

54 thoughts on “23 part 1

  1. Death and the intermediary addressing and stabilizing new arrivals into Heaven, the great beyond. Your perception interpretation. Therein is the ultimate compassion and the ultimate emotion, love. I will think about this work and analyze as is my nature, as you are aware John. Good shepherd consoling reassuring the flock. Ever, your friend, Jon Michael

  2. I’m totally captivated by this information and your instructions. The idea of not having a past, but a new beginning is enticing. I will be waiting “calmly” for your return along with 22 and the rest!
    Fabulous writing, love, love it!!

  3. Absolutely incredible. I have two good friends, one who lost his mother last November and one who just told me this evening that her mother has less than 24 hours to live. I’m going to pass this onto them when the time is right. Thank you.

  4. Transition’s host has a sense of humor. I like that. I feel badly that his puns are lost on the incoming. Your words move me to consider an existence minus my senses. Or, at least, the senses to which I’m accustomed. I’ve often considered what an utter melding with All That Is would be like. To be nowhere and everywhere all at once. To both move through and BE the ether. And, to be aware. That notion of Omni-awareness is nearly unfathomable “from here.”

  5. Ah the passage to over yonder, John…love the intimacy with which it’s told here and then I thought, I would want to remember what was for if I were to not remember does that mean our hopes while over here in life may well be useless, unless of course, it’s all about the passage and how to let be taken and yield to the passage to over yonder where things are more brilliant than what we can imagine while here

  6. The is a fascinating piece, John, which reads like a science fiction novella. Stylistically this works perfectly, with a fine balance between compassion and objectivity, and one can sense the trepidation (and unwillingness to accept) the circumstances. Fantastic writing!

  7. I’m totally transfixed and fascinated by the tale of 23 and now 24 entering the scene – of no past only a bright future, if they accept. I eagerly await tomorrow’s writing and the turn that’s about to happen. Wonderful Uncle John, most enjoyable read!

  8. John, thank you, absolutely marvelous, I love it! I LOVE IT! I got so swept up in your words, I felt as though I was 23. Thank god the host is not only compassionate, but has a sense of humor! I’m looking forward to part 2.

    Warm wishes,

  9. You’ve got ME scared!

    The immediate impression is that I’d be dead to get here – but I can’t tell whether to trust my ‘host’ – there is that comment about trying things that didn’t work…

    Not that 23 has a choice that is obvious yet!

    Very intriguing.

  10. Ah, finally, the 23 story! I’m impressed, and looking forward to where this story will take us! I have had thoughts like these before, trying to end myself several times when I was 22. This post was probably my favorite of your work! 🙂

    My best to you brother!


  11. Oh my, John, I’ve been away and upon my return eagerly dive into this most intriguing and intense story of 23.

    Personally, I’m torn. As 23 I’m disoriented and my natural inclination is to not play ball because of my own fear of vulnerability. Now. Come the time, though, oh how I desire to play ball, to be gentle, to trust, to choose love.

    Thank you (((John)))

  12. Most entertaining, John. I really had to think about this as I read it which I enjoyed a great deal. Very imaginative, excellent writing! Peace, Michael

  13. They are looking for Limericks – thought you might be interested.

    Form Quarterly

    Our April/May issue of Form Quarterly will be released in just a few weeks. The first issue features Sonnets (of various types) and has a great forward from poet Mindy Kronenberg.
    Our second issue is Limericks and is still taking submissions for the next three days.

    However, Form Quarterly considers ALL form poetry for ANY issue. So if you have any Limericks for issue 2, or any other form poetry to be considered for any of our issues please don’t hesitate to submit them. Submission guidelines below.


  14. I found this very intriguing and I agree with some others here that it seems to be about the afterlife and some kind of bureaucratic emissary. I look forward to reading the next installments. There are a lot of questions we all must have reading this – much like 23 I suppose. Good luck and keep writing.

  15. Well, John, this is really something.


    As I first read through this wonderful work, I was sure that 23 was in heaven, perhaps getting ready for the choice of his/her soul’s re-entry into a new body.

    But now, I’m not so sure. Heaven? Or perhaps something else. There’s no mention of a creator… only of a host and equals.

    Is 23 an abductee (as in alien abductions) and being offered a different sort of choice? The host is so… coolly scientific, so detached in his (its?) attempts to calm. The repeated refrain encouraging calmness seems more other-worldly than heavenly to me.

    Am I completely missing the boat?

    Either way, I absolutely LOVE this. Yep. Absolutely.

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