Eric Kocher: Social Medium & Grow Ye, Grow

Social Medium

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I can hardly conceive of myself
as anything other
than how I am connected
how my life
is filling up with objects
whose functions
seem to extend me
endlessly outward
solving once and for all
the conundrum
of wanting to tell everyone I know
all at once
that I’m okay
just okay
somewhere in the middle
of everybody’s feelings pooled
chosen from within the set of say
pretty good
right down to around
I could be better
a sort of lukewarm stasis
a status I can now broadcast
like opening the top
button on my shirt
or leaving a light on
to suggest that someone is home
even when someone isn’t
a compromise
really between
having to live in a state
of complete and utter isolation
bound by the limits
of your consciousness
your car time
the ways in which your desk chair rolls
and becoming always accessible
constantly inundated
with the endless extensions
of others’ lives emerging
genie-like into mine
from these objects
none of which permit me
the particular sort of clairvoyance
that allows one
to locate and identify
how many other people
still sometimes try
in private
to move objects
with their minds
this psychic force
yet scientifically undiscovered
or at least improvable
if only there was a device
through which my feelings
could be provable
measured perhaps
or even just indicated clearly
through a series of beeps and buzzes
or a device that would inform me
how many friends I had
how many followers
would follow me
into the dark
the desert
the great unknown
into my own head
if only I had something that functioned
like my own head
connected to some sort
of tube through which
air could pass and be manipulated
into sound
made meaningful
after arriving
at an intended receiver
something shaped like a cone
connected to a canal
connected to a membrane
connected to a cavity
filled with fluid
connected to a tube
connected to a system
of highly specialized
cable-like bundles
connected to each other
capable of connecting
the aforementioned sounds
somehow distinguishing them
from others outside
like my neighbor
explaining to his dog
that she shouldn’t be doing
whatever Freda
is doing
by saying repeatedly
Freda Freda
if only there was a device
to make Freda understand
just by saying Freda
if only there was an object
one could use
to attach oneself
to the things they loved
with the kind of certainty
belonging to landlines
having an object
with a string tied to it
on the other end of which
you knew
was another person
and if you could just pull
hard enough
on your end
you might bring them
even a little bit closer than before.

Grow Ye, Grow

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There were entire years I kept
promising everyone
like knowing me
was some sort of investment
they had made
in knowing someone better
than me in the future
meant my only real stasis
was suspended
like a carrot
before a carrot led mule
only in this scenario
the carrot
is just another better carrot
led mule
chasing another and so on
ad infinitum
until you get
so far down the line
you expect to find
an actual carrot
was waiting just outside
the whole time
you hadn’t even realized
there was a door there where
you could just walk out
and be the person
you always wanted to be
the kind of person
who would have gotten down
on their hands and their knees
and you did
and even if you wanted to
change your mind
the hole was already big
enough to hide enough
of your wallow in
self-pity that elephant
taking up so much of the room
by now
I can hardly recall if there was
ever a room in the first place.


ART: Paul Ferragut, Leo Katunaric, Stefanie Schneider

FICTION: Bridget Apfeld, Jennifer A. Howard, Laura Schadler

NONFICTION: Joy Katz, Shena McAuliffe, Kate Partridge, Rob Schlegel

POETRY: Dan Beachy-Quick, Carrie Fountain, Jules Gibbs, Alen Hamza, H. L. Hix, Anna Maria Hong, Krzysztof Jaworski, Thomas Kane, Eric Kocher, Jennifer MacKenzie, Andrew Nance, Paul Otremba, Kate Partridge, Beth Woodcome Platow, Catie Rosemurgy, Claire Sylvester Smith, Lesley Yalen

ET CETERA: Glenn Shaheen’s
“POET The Game”

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