Curious about the 23 scenes?
I'm not a cartoonist or illustrator, so I could easily be off track here, but I see 23 potential images in the poem. These images are made bold and underlined below.
Wrong Turn Taken on the Straight and Narrow
by Roy H. Williams
In the Land of the Way Things Ought to Be
I’m handsome and wealthy and strong and free.
But in the Land of the Way Things Really Are
I’m struggling and awkward, a bit bizarre.
I threw a party, invited my friends
From the Land of the Way It Might Have Been.
They were heartbroken. A man named Regret
Said they had gotten all they would get.
An Ambassador came, toupee in hand
From nostalgic Way-It-Used-to-Be Land,
Whose sad power comes from cellophane tape
On the box from which we try to escape.
War was declared by the Land of Who Cares
On the Used-to-Be, and all that is theirs.
“You don’t matter at all!” the Who-Cares cried,
“You said we had to, but we found you lied!”
Then there came from the Way It’s Always Been
Ten clones who bellowed, “Transgression and sin!”
They put their strength on the Used-to-Be side,
Shouting as one, “By these rules we abide!”
Onto the scene from the Land of Up Yours
Ran ten independents into the wars
Whose only concern was not being held
To standards imposed by heads that are swelled.
And all of this caused a deeper chagrin
Among those of the Way It Might Have Been.
“Can’t we all be friends?” they asked with big eyes,
Amidst the Up-Yours shouts and the Who-Cares cries.
But their pleas were drowned by the blood and noise
Of the late-arriving Gonna-Be boys
Whose only agenda was loud and long
Dismissal of those who said they were wrong.
And into the darkness the sparks did fly
And lifted like prayers into the sky
‘Til God stuck his fingers into his ears
And from his mouth flowed the music of spheres:
The sound of planets in orbit whirling,
The sound of lavender sunsets swirling,
The sound of smoke from a campfire curling,
The sound of a wondrous truth unfurling.
But none hears the music as they collide
Shouting “Beauty Herself is on our side!”
None hears the music. Not one of these Kings
Sees beauty in what the other one brings.
And the battle does rage, bubble and fizz
In the Land of the Way It Always Is.