These prose poems are from a collection I’m working on called Data Mind. The book is trying to wrestle with the experience of being online as a non-digital native. For my generation, we entered the internet age with a lot of optimism about the possibility of a new kind of community and have struggled to watch what was sold as a utopian space reflect and magnify all of the horrors and anti-democratic demons of Late Capitalism. But still, the internet is fun. Some of the joy is real. I am interested in exploring these simultaneous and conflicting realities.
Despite the apocalyptic matterscape, knives slice open the
quandary. Tough. Tufted. A thumb-sized cave with god-sized
stalagmites quivering inside.
Here becomes I becomes we.
The color of eye whites at midnight. The underside of a knee.
Does this mean we are immune to the seduction of sunlight on a patio table— free from the starlight’s botoxed hagiography? A cell phone’s quacking ring?
If you don’t have any family pictures to share, the internet will try
to sell you eyeball grease. If you do, they’ll try organic sunscreen and slogans. On Earth Day, I’m pitched a floral-scented battery, lemon verbena truffle salt and a burnt umber topological glossary. For Mother’s Day, they try a quasi-real backbone. On Father’s Day,
a case of bro fragility and a double-decker pin-up of a beetle.
On my birthday, I watch my memories sprout clown feet. Pickle my heart-shaped vegetarian liver in dill and pectin. Pick my pimple until its auguries spill out.
When the outline of the United States overlaps with my face on the screen, daylight becomes a mask without a language to break it. I fly backwards into what I think is the past. Lost in the open lips of
an advertisement, I kiss the shadow of my fifth-most embarrassing crush.
Joanna's Book Recommendations:
Rough Song by Blanca Varela translated by Carlos Lara
Telescope Highway by Toni Simon
Genghis Chan on Drums by John Yau
Second Story by Denise Duhamel
Aunt Bird by Yerra Sugarman
Joanna Fuhrman is the author of six books of poetry, most recently To a New Era (Hanging Loose Press 2021). Parts of Data Mind can be read in The Rumpus, New American Writing, Volt, The Brooklyn Rail and Limp Wrist.