As human beings we are social creatures, continuously drawn to each other for entertainment and support and growth. We listen to one another’s stories and fill each other’s silences. Fairy tales reveal a thread of this desire, they reveal that we all seek to be chosen; whether we want someone to single us out as worthy of questing after, or to be asked to take up some noble banner.

With technology ever-advancing to some unknown and possibly unknowable limit, much of what we do online is focused on escaping the disconnect we feel in the world, seeking to feel a connection with someone somewhere somehow.

Sometimes the two converge.

For a while there, if you felt even the possibility of a connection in the real world and later regretted not acting upon that feeling, you could use technology to put out a Missed Connections post on a single site designated for giving real-world experiences a second chance at being meaningful.

Every post was a kind of riddle with tangible details to attract that special someone, and clues to how that someone could reveal their identity to be true.

As human beings we are social creatures, and I am continually drawn to how we cannot let go of this instinct to make contact.

There is a kind of poem called a pantoum; often short and lyrical, the verse form is a kind of call and response with each stanza of four lines having two of those lines repeat in the next until the final stanza closes the loop with the two “unused” lines of the very first stanza. It’s the kind of poem that is continually drawn back into itself with every repetition a connection. It’s not meant to be a long-form poem, but I couldn’t help myself.

Random Bearings is an epic pantoum line-by-line inspired by the now-defunct Missed Connections website. When the site was still up and running there was a link marked “Random” that would bring up a posting you might never have seen unless you went through and read every posting ever made.

Every time that link took me to a new-to-me posting with an irresistible riddle of craving, I wrote a new line of verse until I had 300 lines which each repeated once and connected every riddle I’d read, and – though imperceptibly to them – every person seeking to connect with someone somewhere somehow.