“Under the Influence of the Internet” by Eric Forsbergh

Today, Lise and Kolleen Carney Hoepfner explore “Under the Influence of the Internet” by Eric Forsbergh, submitted to Zoetic Press for Issue #19 of NonBinary Review.

Calf deep through roiling surf
I wade.                     Elsewhere, fixated millions   plash in electron’s froth as well.
Opaque foam bursts against my legs,   pippling away as evanescent lace.

I reach out with a lurch.   Shoes !     They hover, almost dancing,
retreating backwards on their toes, a coy come-on.   My size    My style

I thrash my legs a little harder yet.         Keep up keep up

My mind tacks, stumbling backwards onto last night.
In half-sleep, had I presumed to scan in Alighieri’s hand?

Virgil admonished Dante on the cliff
to plant his/    My attention frays then snaps.    /heels on each descending stone.

 Abrupt.    Swifter shoes catch my eye like a sweater brushing across a nail.

A few gluey strands of kelp in brownish rot
wrap around my knees, beseeching me, then slither off.

Waves in tumults      Random specks of light      Bubbled curling surfaces.

As Virgil testified/    As Virgil/     I squibbed away from Virgil’s train of thought,
but crimped my face to capture it again.

As Virgil testified, to Dante’s shock,
“Those shrieking hogs flayed raw? The credit thieves.”

Back-lit baubles shimmy. 

Retreating waves scoop sand holes around my feet,
embedding them another inch.      I draw out with a sucking feel.

One special offer is Italian, hand-sewn, bespoke.
But another ten pairs of stamped-out gudge are priced
with ten more pairs at fifty percent off.
How do you box yourself? To be shipped out? Not free?

Plovers outrun claws of waves,
racing back to pick out sea-lice in the squirming sand.

Will I try to swim toward deeper calm?
Can I see the motionless sandy bottom, twenty feet below?
Has my composure lost its   stroke then breathe, stroke then breathe?

Any color desired? Even rainbow for the neoprene soles?   Gulls screech close above.

Another box is laid at my front step
with a single doorbell ring and run, one of abandonment.

 I’ve adopted any attribute purchased by my enhanced self. 

Surf sounds like static, like tinnitus. It drowns each complex harmony.

Ankle highs or low-cuts?          Cross-fit or basketball?
A textured surface pretends to lend the uppers depth.

With fourteen thousand lines,

now Dante viewed the bowl of hell complete,
as Virgil analyzed the scene in depth.
The rocky path had bruised their legs and/

Cornucopia at pornographic scale.
A million hands quiver as each approaches from behind to mount the mouse.