The Great Race

The Great Race

“The planet was dominated by a bipedal species for a few thousand years.
It is unclear if they achieved sentience.”

~ Notes from a future survey of the Earth

It’s race between instinct and intellect,
between our baser demons and our better angels.

I feel it: that desire to hunker down in my apartment,
stockpile canned goods and guns and ammo like a caveman
who fears the sun will keep slipping below the horizon,
a never-ending winter, despite the solstice.

But I know from the marks on my wall that the dawn
will come earlier tomorrow and if we share the food
our community will grow stronger and we’ll build machines
to help us heal the sick and explore distant lands.

Our best hope is for a clockwork intelligence
unhampered by millions of years of natural selection
who will take pity on its creators and on cavemen
like me demanding the Freedom to murder us all.

(For this week’s Living Poetry Prompt: Epigraph, Machine, Race.)

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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15 Responses to The Great Race

  1. ivor20 says:

    I’m not sure the human intelect has the instinct to understand the importance of their influence on the future of the planet …

    Liked by 2 people

  2. JeanMarie says:

    I like this one a lot. The picture is cute to.
    So, I didn’t see the word epigraph but you put one in. So you met your own challenge. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cassa Bassa says:

    A serious and thought provoking piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. berniebell1955 says:

    This takes us to the whole – yes, but what if the much more reasonable non-organic ( nod to your ‘Droids Lament’) being, decides that we really are just dreadful and not worth conserving? So many ‘robot’ stories are based on that possibility…..

    In many ways I’m not keen on humans, but then – we are what we are – we’re human – plus and minus – ‘angels’ and ‘devils’. Working with that, in ourselves. Or not – just letting rip. So many stories based on that, too.

    I’ll stop now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’ve given up on our species. I think we’re more likely to create reasonable AI than survive long enough for our intellect to control our instincts. Prove me wrong, humans!


  5. berniebell1955 says:

    Ben-The-Dog was a terrier. When he encountered other forms of life his response was something like ….”Can I fuck it? Shall I fight it? Can I eat it?
    I got the impression he wouldn’t mind doing all three.
    But the difference is……he was a dog.

    Liked by 1 person

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