Mirov & I
(photo by Michelle McNeil)
Nothing bad happens to the other one, the one called Ben Mirov. I walk through San Francisco, stopping briefly to shove a burrito in my face or watch the crack-heads argue at the 16th Street BART Station: I know Ben Mirov from his facebook profile and the pithy comments he posts online or his bio in an obscure literary magazine. I like chapbooks, Sommer Browning’s Twitter feed, the taste of black coffee and first edition sci-fi novels by Delany: he cares less for these things and thinks of himself as the superlative reality. I wouldn’t say we get along: I’d like to destroy him so that nothing is left and I could write whatever I want without feeling like a dick. Obviously, without him, I’d be nothing. His sorry-ass life is my sorry-ass life too: I need him to construct my tweets just as he needs me to validate his existence. I guess he’s written a few things worth reading, but that doesn’t really mean anything, because the internet swallows everything, even the best poems, like a black hole. Besides, I am going to fucking die, and everything I do, I do for Ben Mirov and for his perpetuity. He is the only one of us that has a chance of surviving, though I am aware of the slightness of this chance and the absurdity of my efforts to make him famous. Day by day, I put my time into creating his persona, even though I know the composite can only be wholly inaccurate and ephemeral.
Borges knew that everything is an imitation of something else; every poem is an imitation of another poem; every novel an imitation of another novel. I, too, am an imitation of an imitation of an imitation, ad infinitum. Only Ben Mirov is Ben Mirov (if it is true that he exists at all) and I am just a ghost in his machine; a bong-rip rustling the pages of his sophomoric, experimental, small-press, poetry manuscript. Years ago, before the internet, he and I were one and the same and lived our life from one moment to the next without a sliver of disparity between us, but now the chasm is so large, it’s a static-filled oblivion. And so, my life has become a compiling of status updates, all of which belong to Ben Mirov, or to the goddamn internet.
Now that this is finished, I’m going to monitor the comments section while pretending I have more important things to do.