Shock Level Two

“Medical immortality, interplanetary exploration, major genetic engineering, and new (‘alien’) cultures. The average SF fan.”

—Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, “Future Shock Levels

To be gods, not One,
and in immortality have
in origin not one birth but
several, separated by
first one lifetime and then,
what, an exponential many
and a galaxy or more?

Paired to technology, not gods
but women witnessing
to wires and rain, devotion to self,
birth, haptic holding, heroics,
skinned and genderless myths
rising out of dust and ribs
and iron, every day finding
a way to walk again, to walk away.

Animals in time writ large
and directioned, arrowed
ever forward, and in detail
sweaty and fragrant, silicon-pierced
hide, stubbed and clawed. Cyborg
is the wrong word. Human suffices.

Assuming this is our singular
transcendence. Human may yet
label the last tombstone, not
parent or sister but the ash
through which A.I. walks away.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 12

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).