Because of the Internet: Prose on Unshed Tears

POETRY BY ZOE ALLEN + FOREWORD BY ZOE GILLIGAN / @EOZ_ALLEN + @SAOLZOE

Image by WRITTEN CITIZEN Senior Photographer Victoria Vogel Salomonsen ft. Mona Cordes

FOREWORD

Distance: one of the greatest forces in sundering couples. It's as if each couple, regardless of any obstructions, has their own Pandora box (the Greek myth — not the jewelry store) and just like the infamous woman herself, they open the damned box and unleash their own worst nightmares. Of course, it's not one partner's fault in particular, but when opening this box, distance does not act alone. With it comes an onslaught of feelings, some of which include "demons" that have been known to be [unjustly] immortalized in themes of literature: jealousy, envy, insecurity, mistrust, loss of feelings, infidelity, and so on so forth. And these "demons", of course, all lead to madness and sadness on account of both partners.
   However, this instance is not the case of conquests during the Dark Ages or settlers in a colonial America. This isn't even employment opportunities abroad coming between a couple in the 1970's, where only curly-wired telephones and Advil were at America's disposal. No, this is the twenty-first century, and Kahn and Cerf (inventors) have globally graced our generations with both an amazing yet infuriating tool: the Internet. The "WWW", it seems, is a faceless savior for victims of the pandemic fiend known as distance. With a wifi-connection, represented by a fan-shaped symbol, and a few magic touches on a glowing screen, anyone may instantly be in touch with the world itself. Sharing and rekindling are easier than ever in these times, but in the case of Generations Y and Z on the Internet, is sharing equated to caring? With instant connection and accessibility to so much information, could it be that not just the common reasons for couples separating are at fault? Is it not befitting to throw the Internet in Pandora's box?
   The Internet can act as an obsessive and controlling instrument, and in "Because of the Internet: Prose on Unshed Tears," Allen clearly conveys the destructive tendencies the Internet may, though not totally visible, induce in a couple. She also exposes the self-loathing that can be prompted by social media. Allen speaks of privacy, and how though she may appear to be well in her partner's private circle, she's still always spinning away on an outer ring. When she speaks about her partner's former girlfriend, due to privacy being a close-to-non-existent factor on the World Wide Web, she may not have been able to uncover all she knows without the handiness of social media apps right at her fingertips. In Allen's case, the Internet is not a safe resource, regarding her relationship. It is used against her; it is pitting her against her own partner and their relationship. Such power amassed in the Internet can act as a mini, paradoxical gift from the heavens, because in Allen's case, it allows her both to analyze her lover's former partner and criticize her, yet it also enables Allen to criticize and challenge herself against a girl she doesn't even know and about whom her partner has never talked.
   While distance, resulting in static feelings and infidelity, seems to be more prevalent than the theme of the Internet in this poem, it can be construed that Allen often resorts to social media to dig up any past posts of her partner, and to study his ex-girlfriend and try to see whatever he saw in her as well. It can also be inferred that she uses her partner's Internet history to compare both to hers and their circumstances — to compare to the present. "Because of the Internet: Prose on Unshed Tears" is every young Internet-user's secret being shed to light in a most honest and beautiful manner. It is a tender reminder that we are all human and insecure, that we all were once at our knees under the crushing weight of youth, and that we do inexplicable things for and feel inexplicable things because of another person. This poem is a hauntingly moving ode to the unshed tears driven by unspoken words and our own raw, hungry individualities. All at once, Allen truly speaks to our younger, present, and older selves on what virgin feelings, faith, firsts, and fidelity — to our own selves and others — are.
   So, dive in, and be young and sensitive and prone to all curiosity again.

ZOE GILLIGAN
Founding Editor-in-Chief


Because of the Internet,
I lie awake at night.
Tiny rays of light from my screen
Infiltrate my pupils
As I compare myself to her.
She’s skinnier, and her hair is prettier,
But she has braces! Ha.
That is one thing I have on her…
My teeth are naked, pearly, and white.
Then I remind myself
Of how much more 
Beautiful
she will be 
when her days of braces
are finished.

She 
is the ex-girlfriend 
of my current boyfriend. 
He never confessed the tears 
that came when she dumped him.
I heard from other sources 
that he was not stoic 
at all. 
Instead, 
he took me out.
He kissed me 
the first day we met
in an underground parking garage. 
He calls me sketchy 
because I’m different.
I’m not fond of lame social media captions,
or wearing uniforms to school. 


I was gone 
for two months this summer,
at an unconventional
Paradise. 
My friend thought 
That we had split 
Apart 
when I came back.
To which I replied, 
"No,
why would you think that?"
She said he was with a group of girls 
Every night.

Image of WRITTEN CITIZEN Senior Photographer Victoria Vogel Salomonsen

Sometimes
I think he lies to me.
But if it isn’t lying, 
it sure as hell 
is not the full truth.
I’d be surprised 
if I even was
his second favorite 
Girl.
Half the time I’m with him,
I feel overwhelmingly
Blue.
He stranded me for over two hours.
He left me without a ride.
I guess I feel like 
I’m in love with him.
But most of all, 
I want to cry. 


He makes me so damn happy,
But my uncontrollable anxiety
Makes it hard
For the feelings to stay.
It’s not really his fault in any way…
He deserves a better babe.

ZOE ALLEN
Editorial Editor

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