This poem constitutes a different take on the theme of this special issue of Survive and Thrive—“Diversity and Community in Narrative Medicine and the Medical Humanities.” An excerpt from a longer poem under development, the poem here is a story of human frailty and limitation at the end of Anthropocene, the end of the age of humans on Earth—perhaps sometime in the not-too-distant future. This poem is thus a “speculative” or “science fiction” story about what happens to a species indigenous and totally adapted to and dependent on the Earth, and which cannot survive anywhere else, must. Facing extinction, the human community finds that despite their extreme individual, social, cultural, and political differences they must re-emerge by further diversifying in order to survive. This “posthuman” community (in the poem) must leave Earth for interstellar space, and so physiologically as well as psychologically must transform to adapt to the harsh and fatal environments they will encounter, as the late physicist Stephen Hawking predicts. This poem, a lyrical sequence (1), therefore tells a set of related stories about beings undergoing traumatic physical and emotional metamorphosis that will change them and their history of shared experiences forever.

And they have help. In the poem, the alien who has been watching the human community accidentally exposes the aliens, who now they must intercede. These aliens are not just your ordinary intervening earth-saving aliens as in Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. These aliens are Being, and they want to take the posthumans with them. Thus, this lyrical sequence of poems is not “only” about the end of the human community as we know it, and the need to ”diversify” in extremis to remain a community; it is also a philosophical allegory—about the Posthuman Community and its relationship to Alien Being. It is a hybrid genre, a light dramatic tragedy-comedy of how Posthuman Community, confronted by Alien Being, is finally forced in the future to leave the Earth for Antares, a double star cluster 610 light years (10,675,000 Earth years) from Earth (2). Each poem in this lyrical sequence focuses on some imagined (and often humorous) emotional, psychological, cultural, and/or physical dimensions of issues that might be entailed in becoming non-human, unrecognizable, “Other,” and so modified as individuals and as an extant community, have a chance to survive and thrive.

NOTES: 1) A lyrical sequence is a group of shorter lyrical poems that are assembled thematically, narratively, and/or imagistically, to implicitly or explicitly through their juxtaposition or other relations (such as form) indirectly convey meaning, to tell a story, or discuss a set of issues created by metaphor, for example). For those interested, the particular forms of the poems in this lyrical sequence are a blank verse monologue, a free verse chorus, a modified Petrarchan sonnet, a villanelle, a modified Shakespearian sonnet, and a three-part free verse double parody. 2) For the convenience of the reader, the Dramatis Personae (Alien Secret Agent, Posthuman Community, Alien Being, Alien Poet), and the three scenes in which the poem occurs (Earth at the end of the Anthropocene, Interstellar Space, and a planet somewhere deep in the Antares binary star system) are indicated. À la Coleridge-style the ongoing overall plot is tagged to the right of the first stanza in each section.



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