A Letter to the Internet

by: Alan Fox and Chris Campanioni

Across the Margin enlists two social media experts to analyze, in their own unique ways, how the Internet affects the way in which we live and interact….

Giving credit where credit is due, Across the Margin’s most recent podcast, A Letter To The Internet, was inspired by both a TED Talk of the same name, and a series of poems which echo the talk’s insightful ideas. In contemplation of the particular and ever-changing cultural norms of our generation, both Alan Fox (writer, director, actor “White People Do The Darndest Things) and Chris Campanioni (author of Going Down, poet, journalist) have teamed with Across the Margin to present: A Letter to the Internet, an in depth multimedia project that aims to expose the unique ways in which we interact with the Internet, and specifically social media’s role in defining and developing the way in which we live. In addition to the podcast released with the same titular ode to Alan’s spoken word performance, “A Letter to the Internet” (which can be viewed below!), Chris Campanioni presents three poems written specifically for this project, with parallel themes and introspective questions. So dive deep into Alan and Chris’s words while you ponder how to use the wondrous technologies and means of connection all around us to make the world a better place in which to live….

Millenials like me

Like, a lot, something
I’d have to get used to
I thought, the minute they’d found out
Where I was on Facebook
I mean my students
Shouldn’t send requests
For friendship
Exchange endorsements
State of affairs
Or some mark of status
About the latest
Bathroom sink they’d captured
Their face at, hashtagged
#f4f #sofresh #soclean
Comment on the curve
Of my unclad torso, even though
We share the same
Generation, almost
The same date of birth
Give or take a decade

Millenials like me
& you, this kinship
Imagine the surprise
Such wisdom to be lifted
In the Cliff’s Notes of every lesson
I’ve ever given or forgotten
To prepare, that’s higher education
For you, speak loudly
& make it up
As you go
The way Google tells me more
About myself
Each time I Google
My name

I find it hard to believe
Or at least try to keep
In mind, remember
As a reoccurring alert
I had a girlfriend
Who went to all my poetry readings
& would spend the hour
On Instagram; how can we be
In two places at once
& nowhere at all?
#natural #nofilter
To be removed
Passed or slipped through
Slowly, half-suspended
Like a gif, a gift
That keeps on giving
Diminishing returns
Without any proof
Of purchase, the other day
For instance, I asked my students
What’s so good on the Internet
That’s better than real life
& they went to the Internet
To find out

If God created the selfie stick
To make it easier for people to take selfies
What are the chances
God can make a force field
To protect other people
From the ones walking into them
All the time? No one tells
The time by looking at their wrists
Any longer, like the time
I came an hour late
But stayed to see
The credits

It happens again & again

A single silent column of text
Slowly slouching toward the EXIT

Whoever said that was the way to go?
Be your own person
Your mother’s words
Your loved ones, your friends
If they jumped off the GW
Would you do it too?
A memory mistaken
Or missed in innocence

Would you follow me
To the end of the earth?
Would you follow me to the end?
Would you follow me?
Would this end?


Silent Auction

There I go again
You think, on a crowded

Train, in the middle
Of dinner, on the brink

Of evening, faking it in front
Of the mirror

Alone, in view
Of an audience

Whether or not
Anyone’s there to watch

Or deign judgment
We meet at each stoplight

Same place, same time
We meet and so soon

Do we unravel, thinly veiled
As a skein of thought

Shipwreck of apology
Ardor of a streetcar in black

And white pictures
Tambourines, cymbals

Some sort of symbolism
On a line

In which really resides
A typo

Mistaken or missing
A sucker for the one sobbing

The one who can’t stop
Something kept inside

Harbored, half-hidden
To be used as directed

The Director wishes
And so do I

You think again
Admit almost as if

To celebrate
The undeniable pleasure of losing

Control, a bid
To say: I exist


Tales to Tell

It happened years ago
Unless it’s happening
As we speak, I can never say
Which, as in a moment

What makes me
Think of this
Standing passive
On a roving staircase?

How it hisses as I vibrate
Higher, from lobby to Literature
& Creative Writing, whatever
Becomes or came from

The cold & my beard
& my cold & the beer
I had last night, after
The round of rye

Old-fashioneds, mint juleps, a shot
In the dark one might say
I had it all over my face
To be seen wanting

We are limited only
By imagination & the frame
By which we capture
Ourselves to place beside

What we ate the day
Before, who we were
With, if we’d been
So lucky, some happening

That happens again or not at all
Post facto & piecemeal
Practicing gratitude by tapping
Twice, three times

If you want to leave
Yourself & go else
Where, some place
We hold as home

It isn’t sweet<
When love is no longer love
But just another
Iteration of being

Liked, instantly & infinitely & into
The final stages of creation
As in a room
With white walls

Where a womb bursts
& a wound mends
At the same time
To make something

Like a life, fruit
Rotting around us
Under the flesh
That would otherwise

Save water by repurposing tears
Save tears by never shedding
It has been such a long time

Since my last confession
Or the last time I prayed
I can’t recall what
Silence feels like

I can’t recall why

It makes it difficult to live

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