Post a pic of yourself at a party. Post a pic of what you ate, what you drank. Post a pic of you with your friends. (There was a shooting in Cleveland. A boy, twelve. A boy, black. A boy, holding a plastic gun.) Post a pic of your pet. Post a pic of a panda nibbling a shoot. Post a pic of you at the beach. Post a pic of your hotel room with a view of the city. (A man selling cigarettes in New York is put in a chokehold by police. ‘Compression of neck’, ‘compression of chest’ will be listed as causes of death.) Post a meme that says you are grateful. Post a gratitude list. Post, on pink background with white letters, something about angels. (A journalist receives the thousandth email: I hope u get raped bitch.) Post a sunset. Post a prayer for the world that you heard at yoga. Post a prayer that includes us all, that admits no conflict, no cruelty. Post about love, how love is all we need. (A bombing. Through the networks come the explanations: foreign policy, retaliation for airstrikes, godlessness.)
Share your status. Say how you have suffered, say that you are wise. Say that love is all there is, say that you know about life, after all the living you have done. Say that protest is divisive, that disagreement is unhelpful. Say that we should come together, that we are all the same, deep down. Say that the sun will rise again. Say that you renounce negativity in your life. (Protests in the streets; the streets are choked with thousands, their voices rising, then breaking up in the atmosphere, and born again below, in the streets.)
Come home from the party. Catch yourself as you stumble on the stairs. Climb into bed, face washed, teeth brushed. Click off the light. Close your eyes and see images that disturb you; inside you, they won’t go away. Check the clock and see that it is so late, nearly morning. Conjure someone beside you, anyone; refuse the silent space of bed. Consult your timeline. Confront. “I’m really tired of everyone posting about problems. Hey, we all have problems. I’m just putting u on notice…. Im a positive person who only wants love-n-light and if we could all come together and love each other, then the world would be a better place. Maybe if u look inside yourself what u would find is that the trouble lies in u and ur negativity. All love to everyone.”
Sleep, sleep, dreamer; yet sweet respite won’t be yours. Offline, blood pulses in the veins.
Emily Sinclair holds an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in numerous journals, including one essay, “Inclusion/Exclusion: A Story of Sex, Death and Real Estate” selected as notable, Best American Essays 2012. She lives in Denver and Steamboat Springs, CO, and teaches at Lighthouse Writers. Follow her on Twitter at @SemiEmily.