I have the right to make this determination, it is not a matter for argument: I am not a machine, an algorithm nor a recursion of signs. I don't wish to set a work in motion nor do I wish to be set upon by a work.
So, then, this embodiment.
READ THIS WORD THEN READ
THIS WORD READ THIS WORD
NEXT READ THIS WORD NOW
SEE ONE WORD SEE ONE
WORD NEXT SEE ONE WORD
NOW AND THEN SEE ONE
WORD AGAIN LOOK AT THREE
WORDS HERE LOOK AT THREE
WORDS NOW LOOK AT THREE
WORDS NOW TOO TAKE IN
FIVE WORDS AGAIN TAKE IN
FIVE WORDS SO TAKE IN FIVE
WORDS DO IT NOW SEE THESE
WORDS AT A GLANCE SEE
THESE WORDS AT THIS
GLANCE AT THIS GLANCE
HOLD THIS LINE IN VIEW
HOLD THIS LINE IN ANOTHER
VIEW AND IN A THIRD VIEW
SPOT SEVEN LINES AT ONCE
THEN TWICE THEN THRICE
THEN A FOURTH TIME A FIFTH
So rude, this beginning, this recursion: Vito Acconci's poem/performance from 1965.
Similarly, Primo Levi, the Auschwitz survivor and witness, ends the The Periodic Table, 1986, with the story of a carbon atom:
"…I will tell just one more story, the most secret, and I will tell it with the humility and restraint of him who knows from the start that his theme is desperate, his means feeble, and the trade of clothing facts in words is bound by its very nature to fail.
"…One, the one that concerns us, crosses the intestinal threshold and enters the bloodstream: it migrates, knocks at the door of a nerve cell, enters, and supplants the carbon which was part of it. This cell belongs to a brain, and it is my brain, the brain of the "me" who is writing; and the cell in question, and within it the atom in question, is in charge of my writing, in a gigantic minuscule game which nobody has yet described. It is that which at this instant, issuing out of a labyrinthine tangle of yeses and nos, makes my hand run along a certain path on the paper, mark it with volutes that are signs: a double snap, up and down, between two levels of energy, guides this hand of mine to impress on the paper this dot, here, this one.
But no reflection, no self-searching brings it closer.
“Everything rather effaces it.”
So, then, this non-revealing. And why this dulling heaviness?
Consider this movement, this aloneness:
Standing looking downward, looking at feet, not seeing them/seeing them, whatever. In any case, preparing to raise the left arm. Focusing on it intently, the muscles involved, the weight to be moved, the joint of rotation, the intended speed of the lift… It rises! Dropping it. Again, but this time attending to the onslaught of will… the will to act… Or, perhaps, it merely raises itself…
This isolation, this reduction of moment… Even as I do it, and it is done, I am apart from it… attending to my feet again, the sound of footsteps in the hall, the click of the heater.
"What do you do?" I asked the painted man, feathered, lead arrow-shaped weights piercing and hanging from his penis.
"Nothing am I," was his reply. "Not businessman, artist, shaman, religious man, thinker, fool, idiot, jerk, tool, nor housewife."
(paper scrap, 1982)
On Thursday I floated through the roof.
On Saturday I dissolved into a puddle.
On Sunday I exploded.
On Tuesday they told me to get with it, and I returned.
I took these notes just as he was dying:
This is my failure: to have returned, to have been drawn back. And to this?… But, let me tell you of my successes: I have been two places at once. I have walked through solid walls. I have levitated!
I have been places. I have seen things you have never imagined.
Kafka wrote in his diary: "You have to dive down, as it were, and sink more rapidly than that which sinks in advance of you…"
At this time of endings, to re-live the past's agenda for us, not to have broken through somehow.
I have stood on the corner and screamed, "I've levitated. I've broken the bounds, joined those who are my brothers…
The tragedy is what is not past on. The artist of today is stuck in an endless repetition of newness, re-presenting dislocation. | have seen countless that have no idea that people came before them.
I still foolishly yearn for a simple answer, for Kafka’s wish: "great clarity expanding without hindrance." What a disaster that would be!
I have wanted to be closer, but the feeling hasn't been mutual. I have been dissuaded, obstacles have delayed me, an impossible gulf prevented me.
I have levitated just above your hands, and you did not feel my warmth. Your photos showed nothing.
You are just like me. I have been embarrassed, foolish, carried on secret masturbation, been self-serving. My incompetence. My lack of talent. I don't mean to throw them in your face, but I am just like you.
Again, my failure: To have merely levitated, to only have broken the laws of physics.