Prose Poems by Jacob Laba

“Brief Pieces on Veganism”
             By Jacob Laba

The Wicked Blessing of Humanity: Thinking of humans—simple animals—and therefore, the ‘sanctity’ of human life to be something particularly profound, thinking of humanity as a species tailor-made of the marrow of some superior being, has done little more independent of our solace than subconsciously elevate us above other nonhuman creatures, and therefore, oppress them. We are not noteworthy, nor are we special—we are gravely irrational, and a great deal more suffering has risen from the pulp of our untamed brains than there has been satisfaction. It is time to recognize our rather defective nature and humble ourselves, or perpetually to plummet down the pith of ignorance—dragging the planet and those that share life and the capacity for pain and anguish down with us; or perhaps piling them below us in a cesspool of torment, believing that our plunge will be cushioned as a result, even though our end is inevitable—all the while masquerading around with the illusion of brilliance.

A World of Loneness: A world in which trillions of sentient beings, no less valuable nor less alive than the life of a human, are killed yearly out of selfish blindness, out of pleasure. The world is imperceptive; the world purposefully casts aside enlightenment so as to satisfy its futile and often replaceable appetite. I cannot imagine the acute suffering of much of the beings of the planet—oh, but how I, too, suffer! In a community of what feels to be thronged by murders; ravagers of life; despoilers of all that it means to care and appreciate; most, even professors of ethics, even those fighting for justice for the voiceless, even those of understanding—if they do not bother to change themselves in a sort of dissonance; if philosophy, if art, if the emotion of documentaries and visual torture, if awareness entrenched in knowing, cannot awaken one, what is the point? Even the one who, at my unripe age of thirteen, presented me the tenets and reasoning of animal rights in addition to the repulsive actions taken upon nonhuman beings, ate meat the same night; and still likely will tonight, with a long-standing barrier erected in the psyche to shield guilt. I am miserable; I am alone. I am cursed in the malediction of awareness, chained to solitude and vexation for the rest of my existence. I wish for a human who is not imposed on by their irrationality. I wish for a human, an empathetic and not apathetic human, who wills themself to evolve into care and love for those beyond their similar, as we aim to do with race, gender, sexuality, too. I wish for a human with their mind ajar—for being open to change, oh how much suffering it can lift!

Teach a Man to Fish, He Will Kill Trillions Yearly: Oh, the misery! Unaware, I was believed to be, of my being; but the stench of death, in some twisted irony, administered the most abhorrent spirits of last-hope within, and so many helpless flops and jerks erupted through me as I violent writhed near-death, gills stretching as if they could balloon out and snatch out all the condensation drifting around the air, in such a frenzy that perhaps, oh one can pray!, that some fellowship may be birthed in the witnessing human consciousness... My eyes—meager beads with black dots that, however, carry with them my being, my perception—they are the only familiarity that may inspire fear, an acute fear, a repulsion, in the human, for the rest of my still, lifeless corpse is alien, perhaps even an achievement with which humans can relish in the moment of liberty from the restraints of culture and therefore pain and torture and agonize a being that they believe to be below them... the wild sadistic pith of the human... it is untethered in an onslaught of pleasure-of-death and delight, in a bout of speciesist disdain!

I, a creature with the capacity to suffer, with skin shielding a nervous system that branches from my tail to my fin—a creature birthed to die; a creature with no less value than the human, save variance in cognizance... then clobbered as if nothing. My captors promptly cradled my body with the semblance of mercy, as if a sacred beast, as if I were not to be mutilated; and soon, my mind somehow still pulsing in-tact, my very lifeblood was replaced with some seasoning and glassy lumps that, to the truly aware, are impregnated with the musk of murder... Oh, humanity, realize your faults, cast aside your absurdity for a moment, I beg!

- Jacob Laba is an unwavering ethical vegan and writer from Berkeley, California who spends much time reading, writing, and going on walks.

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