Orphan Black by Alan Catlin

“I had four dreams in a row where you were burned,
about to be burned, or still on fire.”
                        Richard Siken, Crush

Rimbaud could never have imagined this.
No one could ever get this high, though,
Lord knows, many have tried. You are always
yourself, except when you are someone else,
or someone else is you. Delusional or cloned,
what’s the difference? You are an end of the rope
undercover cop, about to suicide by train;
an Eastern European druggie, with a high
powered rifle bullet through the head, instead of
a brain, forensic evidence splattered all over
the back seat of a stolen car; you are yourself,
holding someone else’s blow, only hours back
to a rundown slum city, that could be Toronto,
or anywhere else, you are yourself, except when
you are someone else, or someone else is you.
How many of you are there? Maybe six in
the first series. Maybe more. You are a bad actor
housewife who can shoot the eyes out of a snake,
at a hundred yards with a pistol, and a few beads
short of a necklace, or a psycho killer/ trained assassin
who cannot be killed, past sadist, part masochist,
with a soft spot for the little girl you never were.
You are her and more, them: the lesbian student/
microbiology babe, dying of a clonekill deformity/
disease, that has killed many others of your kind,
whatever that is, and you are the ice queen exec
of some big pharma lab, with the heart of a replicant
and the soul of  science project gone bad, mutating
without end, but who is keeping track?  Someone is,
no doubt, but who it is has not been revealed.
Your life is so confusing, you need a spread sheet to
chart your ebbs and flows. Especially now that everyone
is after you and the child you had: the master race
born agains, Nazi scientists types, with inseminators
and a verse; multinationals with agendas and secrets
to keep; underground rads,  leftovers from the people’s
revolution that failed; para-military spies,
real military spies, CIA spies, spy spies, rogue cops
following dead leads on not so cold cases wherever they
may lead. It plain sucks to be you, being yourself,
except when you are someone else, or someone else
is being you.  One of you must be the original but no
one knows for sure who. Maybe it’s you, maybe not.
Anyone who is the white child of a black birth mother,
without a father, could be anything, even yourself, but
probably not. The biggest con of all is that you
are always yourself, except when you are someone else,
or someone else is you. No one is who they seem to be,
even you, though you hope that someone is; maybe
the child, who is someone else and  never anyone but
herself, which is good, and maybe the key to everything,
we think, and so on and so forth. Good luck with all that.

acatlin multi

Alan Catlin is a widely published poet in the US of A and elsewhere. His most recent book is “Books of the Dead: a memoir with poetry” about the deaths of his parents. He is a retired professional barman and the editor of the online poetry zine misfitmagazine.net.

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