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Life Arts

The High Cost of Refusing to Die

By       Message Vi Ransel     Permalink
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Psychologists say the knowledge
that we will die
causes a fundamental human neurosis.
Perhaps this is the entree
the Tree of the Knowledge
of Good and Evil served to us.

While every organism strives
to compete, to pass on its genes
and thus survive,
only humans know they will die
and have a say in the way
we will live the days of our lives.

Life is a road.
Death, the inevitable destination.
The refusal to accept this
gave rise to religions,
the paradox in which here&now
is sinful and denigrated

and death denied
by making it Paradise,
the logical outcome would suggest
that one commit suicide.

And this desperate belief
in a life after death
makes it easy for our suffering
to be rationalized
by those who'd oppress us,
because then there's no need
for us to "get ours" in the present,
so "they" can just take it from us,
since we'll be happy in heaven.

And those not enamored
of a deadly paradise in the hereafter
act out a painful paradox in which they juggle
death's awe-full certainty with their stubborn refusal
to accept it as final and nonarbitrable

leading to cognitive dissonance,
holding two contradictory beliefs
resulting in a deer in the headlights
brain freeze in which one flails about
wildly and aimlessly

with hair dyes, wrinkle creams,
botox and plastic surgery,

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plastic breasts, bikini waxes,
red sports cars and hits of Viagra,

gym memberships, ass lifts,
liposuctioned hips, fat plumped lips,

mega vitamins, diets unto starvation,
nipping, tucking and trying to f*ck teenagers.

Whether you try to live in the future,
believing death is a paradise
and time on Earth
is a distraction of little importance

or you attempt to live in the past
and try desperately to arrest
the passage of time
and create a beautiful corpse

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you spend your whole life trying
to buy death off instead of living it,
insulting Life by refusing its gift,
the here&now.  And that's the shame of it.

"If you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on Earth."

- Bob Marley, "Get Up, Stand Up"

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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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