The Transhuman Folly

There will be no death, not from disease
Nor from age, and though asteroids

And accidents will still occur, the effort
To prevent or somehow recover from their blight

Will become a primary engineering of an ageless
People. Their other concern will be how to extend

What it means to be forever middle twenties, active
And learning, into a passion of lifetimes,

Or a lifetime of passions. Does the transhuman
Find in divided years the beginning, middle, and end

Of first one chapter and then the next, say the centuries
Of the Writer, the millennia of the Dancer,

The eons of the Scientist-Artist, or does one interest
continue without divide or tangent, the cold focus

Of the driven until heat death, seeking nuance
And edges, new paths through and forward,

An Ever Craft, concrete as brushes and skin,
Sensual extension and tool? Will we find room

In the visible universe for infinite expressions,
And will each of us have the volume we will need

For our Artistic Endeavors and Nous Pursuits,
Enough Dark Energy to keep us compelled,

And all the folly to keep us human?

#NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 17


I just started reading the Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poems by Tracy K. Smith titled Life on Mars. The second poem, “Sci-Fi”, is a gorgeous bit of hopeful speculation. I emulated the form of this poem above for my own speculation about a transhuman future and physical immortality (the kind of immortality where aging and disease aren’t concerns, but getting hit by a bus or asteroid can still kill you.) I also played with capitalization, to turn certain phrases into abstraction and to create archetypes out of  future beings even while discussing how they keep themselves unique through individual pursuit. Is transhumanism folly? Maybe. Maybe folly is what makes us human, what will keep us human, long after we are anything but human.

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).