Elana Lev Friedland
When you are the only one from Skokie in this semi-arid hellscape, in this g-d
forsaken square of a state, you have no need to ask why Milo Yiannopoulos
is speaking on campus in this year of someone else’s lord 2017. You know
the way cables breach the sea to shore. Everyone likes to imagine data
passing through some ethereal realms when what it is was someone’s hands
underwater. Someone’s hands underwater. Someone’s hands through silt.
No one likes to think about branches and how they might falter. You falter.
You are an illness stabbed into yourself. You hold a book in hand, but there is
no holy procession. No tabs opening. Opening. Opening. There is only Skokie.
There is only this Midwestern shtetl, its social network alive each time you visit
the kosher grocery store. Behind each cart your preschool teacher or the mother
of your brother’s middle school girlfriend. Behind every screen is at least one person.
In Colorado, you are every horse not brought back to stable. You stall; you are stalling;
until you feel like you’re operating at the opposite of a lag, keening by means
of the deepest of bolt cutters. This man shouting on campus, those men
in the ‘70s shouting in your hometown. If this is a poem about the Internet
and losing it, then there can’t just be the special panel at the end of the Illinois Holocaust
museum’s main exhibit. If this is a poem about the Internet and losing it, then you have
to tell everyone that you once wrote a poem about gender being defined out
of existence, and you must tell everyone about how your mother loved it, but
she didn’t really get it. And you had to make sure she got it. Gets it. Your gender
a whole ocean and everything beneath that lets everyone really see it. A pleasant
glitch. A museum visit. And this poem won’t end with the hologram of a man
nearly dead in the museum basement if you don’t let it.
Elana Lev Friedland exists. They are the winner of Redivider's 2019 Blurred Genre contest and their work appears in Cartridge Lit, Anomaly, Salt Hill, The Rumpus, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. Originally from Skokie, IL, they currently live. Find them online at www.elanalevfriedland.com.