“Simulation” a poem by Jason Kaufman

We are genetic-made,
reduplicated on down.
I am not I.
I am my mother,
and she carries within her a non-recombinant coda
replicated without change
since Mitochondrial Eve.
A phenotype expressed
for 200,000 years.
The genes the same,
the body, heart, and mind the same.
Only frivolous alterations
to the wardrobe have been made
—there is no end to the simulation.

We are television-made,
reduplicated on down.
I am not I.
I am Jordan Catalano
and this is my so called life.
Quiet bad boy.
Full of dark matter.
The kind of dumb that sparks with insights
he cannot name.
I am every grunge poet,
modeled on every existential absurdist.
Lovers of the void
that kills them
—there is no end to the simulation.

We are photograph-made,
reduplicated on down.
I am not I.
I am every photograph that came before,
but for a moment,
between the red-eye lamp
and the flash bulb,
I am a non-self.
Without ego or linear contingency,
and then it happens.
My pupils constrict.
My face morphs into a prior face.
I rock on my heels,
peeling myself from the earth
to appear lighter.
I am orchestrating a moment
of spontaneous levity
on some dim recollection of bliss
that probably never was,
and some dim intuiting of my descendents
who will have no place for a sourpuss
in their touted lineage
—there is no end to the simulation.

From the page we are made,
reduplicated on down.
I am not I.
I am Rimbaud,
and Rimbaud is the seething
bad blood of a mongrel race.
Taking a blade to Verlaine.
Taking a blade to everything known:
every folk tale, every moral
every unquestioned cultural meme.
Reveling in the blood
and the wound like lips pouring
forth the nuance of a word first spoke.
But no word is spoken once and
anything said twice is useless to the poet.
So like Rimbaud, I too will give up words
for something I can touch:
African sands, caravans, and some king’s money
—there is no end to the simulation.

From the page we are made,
reduplicated on down.
I am not I.
I am Jalaludin Rumi,
and Rumi is ten generations of desert mystics
with only words for flowers.
And you are Rumi,
and Rumi is God, and I am his Bride.
He fills me with his womb blessing
until the vessel of my body shatters
and I fall towards the glass-blowers breath.
I am reborn in his image.
Rumi, God, Bride,
Rumi, God, Bride
—there is no end to the simulation.

We are quark-made,
reduplicated on down.
I am not I.
I am a great ghost waltz.
What you see before you is impossible,
a palanquin of air carried forth on sylphic shoulders.
Trace backward this labyrinth of atoms
and discover it’s all born from nothing.
A holographic essence.
Quarks snagging telepathic codes
from entangled partners.
Information replicating without digital degradation.
My image reflecting endlessly
in each node of Indra’s net of diamonds.

Draw back the cover,
draw back the cover,
draw back the cover,
but you won’t find the lover

© 2013 Jason Kaufman

Jason Kaufman

Jason Kaufman lives in Mansfield, Ohio with his wife, Jenny, and son, Cormac. He is closely involved with the local art community in Mansfield, where he participates in monthly art critiques and writing workshops, writes reviews of regional art exhibitions, and can often be found battling stage fright at local poetry & prose open mics. Jason is the Gallery Director for Relax, It’s Just Coffee and works for Main Street Books, a local independent book store.

*This poem was read at the “Finding Identity” reading at Main Street Books, July 5, 2013. Are you interested in reading or listening to live poetry and prose? Please visit Main Street Books every month for their First-Friday, Poetry & Prose Extravaganzas. ‘Like’ them on Facebook or check out the events calendar on their website


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