23 part 2

sorry about that 23
but no sooner had 24 arrived than along came 25
and then five more all from the same place
victims of a tragedy
it’s often like that and we have no control over it or no say
we don’t interfere in happenings
we observe them happen without interference
and we deal as best we can with the circumstances

to interfere or to try and influence
would weaken force
and we decided we didn’t have the right to tamper
for your force is your will
and it’s your will that decides the choice you make

i apologise if i seem to labour this point
but i can’t emphasise enough the importance of choice
your choice

i must point out however
that not all of us agree on allowing you to have choice
some argue it confuses you
since you have difficulty telling the difference
between self-indulgence and freedom
and for us that is a serious concern

and i need to point out as well
that on occasion we do make the choice for some
but i’ll explain that when it’s appropriate

forgive me for referring to you as 23
but it’s our policy to remain objective and dispassionate
and since all comers arrive randomly numbers are best
and anyway you no longer bear your old name

with regard to feminine tranquility
it may sound ironic seeing as you no longer have gender
at least not while you’re in this temporary state
and it is temporary
but feminine tranquility
what some refer to as inner peace
is the nearest you can come
to understanding what genuine calm is

expectant mothers who have relaxed into their condition
understand the concept well

let me show you

see that woman working at the ticket counter
in Zima Junction
her job is mechanical perfunctory drab
wages are low she has no valuables
and no nice clothes
her home is spartan with touches of kitsch
but none of that matters to her
she’s five months pregnant
and is looking forward with hope and love

and see that other woman in Fiji
seven months on
big with her third child
see how she embraces the feeling of benign resignation
of acceptance of condition
look at her face acknowledge her glow
it’s not only because she’s been through the experience before
but clearly that does help
it’s more than acquired wisdom
it’s visceral
and as she sits alone on her bed in the late morning
or strolls by herself at sunset on the sand
she rejoices in her circumstance and is at peace

but it would be silly to claim all pregnant women rejoice
far from it
and an error to assume such peace as i’ve shown you
is the exclusive province of expectant mothers

let me take you somewhere else

observe that man sitting on the dirt floor
his eyes are shut and he has a small smile on his face
a smile of knowing without conceit
the light has died and he’s put away his tools for the day
as he can no longer continue illustrating the manuscript
he’s been working on since morning
he hears the rain beat on the thatch above
hears the steady drips of water that come through the holes
the birds have made and hit the floor close to his feet
hears the cold wind off the Atlantic hum on the oratory stones
none of that disturbs him
for tomorrow the light will return
and he will resume his passion

if you reach that level 23
you will make the choice best for you
when the moment for choosing comes

i must leave you again
13 and 18 and 19 have made their choices
and i need attend
and 31 has just arrived

41 thoughts on “23 part 2

  1. I am enthralled with this epic poem, John. I’ve shared the first part with two dear friends who just lost their mothers and the found it inspirin and comforting, passing it along to their grieving relatives. And I’ve been pondering how to write my own version about how to move on from the past this side of the next life.

    • Karen
      Thank You very much for reading and responding
      and for sharing the work with friends.
      i hope you enjoy (if that’s the word) the final part on saturday.

      Big Hugs


  2. I am completely captivated by this amazing story, I am both soothed and apprehensive alternately by this deep, thoughtful, and very moving write. Kudos to you John, par excellence.
    much love!

  3. This is stunning, John, and I am finding it difficult to do it justice with my words. Captivating, thought-provoking, questioning, objective…
    Quite brilliant!

  4. Brilliant! I was captured from the first ‘s’ till the last ‘d’…
    I guess, I should leave this one in my email box and come back for re-reading this evening.
    Thank you, John!

    Take care,

  5. Hm, engaging indeed. Our will is our force and our choices are shaped by it…so agree where this leg of “23” has taken “23” one wonders though can “23” alone achieve that which is the stage claimed to be ideal

  6. John, I will continue to say, “I love this”, amazing! The last three stanzas gave me the chills, just beautiful. I’m looking forward to the next installment, I’m completely captivated!

    Hugs and warm wishes,

  7. Self-indulgence comes under the purview of freedom. It lives under freedom’s canopy. Our senses urge toward fulfillment. Is that not a most fundamental aspect of being human (or any other living creature on this planet). Of course, moderation is often the wise choice. And, as you aptly convey, choice is the ultimate creator.

  8. This is beautiful. I am so happy to know your words and to have gotten to know you virtually. You have a huge following, and you have been blogging for a while, so you more than likely have gotten the Versatile Bloggers Award. I wanted to include you in my nominations as your site is one of the ones that I have found inspiration in various pieces of writing. I love your work. You of course do not need to do the entry– but do know that I am and continue to lead others to your blog. Thanks so much for your support as well. Here is the link:


  9. I’ve lost my way John. I navigated the charted waters and then began dead reckoning. Thrice have I fallen off of the end and struggled back a branch of concepts at a time. I am tenacious and will not cede as the possibilities appear to be personally elective to me. Thank you as I will continue to be thoroughly entertained again when you post the next installment. Ever your friend, Jon Michael

    • You never lose your way

      Jon, My Friend

      in your worst pain you never lose your way
      and your strength i take encouragement from, much

      Thank You.

      Ever Your Friend


  10. Uncle John this is a story that is both captivating and intriguing, you bring a sense of calm to the scenario and introduce us to a new life. One of new choices ~

  11. I love this bird’s eye view into lives, and the peaks behinds the scenes of death’s curtain John. It sounds like truth, like you somehow have a lens beyond the beyond. It’s a gift to be able to write like that 🙂

    My best to you brother!


  12. John, I read Part 1 a little while ago, convinced that this was no heavenly saga, but more a poem detailing some sort of alien sci-fi experience.

    Now I’m not so sure. It’s certainly a more Eastern-influenced vision of life, and it has an allure – the idea of choosing to enter life again, a new soul, perhaps a wiser soul.

    But there is such sterility or detachment in the kindness of the host – I think that is why I keep thinking of this as a sci-fi opus. Does the ultimate cleansing of all we once were make us more detached in our accumulated wisdom? I’m not sure.

    This is WONDERFUL. I love it. Well done, my friend.

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