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i wish you no ill will


Multi-media Installation and Performance

I handed out 200 postcards with the following instructions: "write an anonymous note to someone you have loved and lost. you can write whatever you wish, but you are required to end your note with the sentence: 'i wish you no ill will.'" The cards were returned to me via USPS and used to build an installation that also incorporated video and sound. Over the course of two weeks, I interacted with gallery visitors who shared their personal stories of heartbreak, read cards out loud (which I recorded and added to the soundscape), and continued to contribute cards. In final performance, the cards were read by me and audience members, and then placed one by one into a shredder. Duration: 1 hour. Documentation by Kurt Cole Eidsvig and Margaret Bellafiore.

One attendee of the final performance, artist and poet Kurt Cole Eidsvig, wrote a poem in response to the work. The text is shared below and can be found at The Present Tense.




Kurt Cole Eidsvig


Woven scripts, as in a chain of words
reassembled from tangles. This line, this
line is now your bracelet, these memories
record to handcuffs. Of course you feel
the grit of glitter under foot. The road
to crystal suffering is a version of America
obese hearts with hardened arteries suffer
for. I’m kidding, of course, as the delay of dish
sounds regurgitates flickering glass chewed
through to sewing needle skin. Your alterations
to the breezy wind behave so necessary, just
as exhales only matter if something plans
on following.


Behold the thorns on flesh hung upside-down
in effigy. Behold ligament and joint, gasp. Behold
the breaking sound of items getting crushed
to bits and shards and molecules, the smallest
parts of each of us that disfigure but won’t go away.

Hold the remnants of what you were, of what

I was when we were we, and consider:
The tangled ends won’t render,
the tangled ends begin.


Because of shadows the font of words
can be confusing. Nib and pencil tip
chew against bright pulp. In the background—
do you hear it—these echoes of hollow wind
through the structures. Bridges pull against
two things here, rather than connect and allow
mercy in catastrophe. When I say “I wish,”
I mean “I don’t wish.” Just as when I said
“I don’t know,” I was certain. Now look at us:
You, and that shadow of yourself behind
you, the layers of our time-bomb gasps—
the way fingertips can be squares, strings,
chains, flowers, legs and light collections
in the course of just one night. I am sure
you realized at the end of every curve of words,
sinewy across the page, was another
lesson in infinity. The two of us repeating;
the two of you, so sad.


Remember when we danced, the way
your voice collapsed?


Cave entrances with beads of glass for windows,
as if your eyes were premonitions.

Like, lay in bed next to me and create a story
with your pillows. As anonymous confessionals

of our hand-me-down linens become a metaphor
for the landscape spots we mailed pieces of ourselves

from, no longer blurred by the dishonesty
of atmosphere. As the necklace of doubt

is certainty, a noose of stories even your handwriting
can’t believe anymore. As when I say, “I wish,”

I mean, “I’m leaving.” As when you command things
of me, you command the sun to disappear behind the hills

without the benefit of time passing. And did I ever tell you
about the whispers in the dark, my house at half-past martini?

This is my equation: Vodka plus footfalls equals
promises on pillows, the lipstick stain of glasses

breathed at hopeful earlobes.
Regret is shaped like a nightlight.


When I said, “I hope I never see you again,”
I meant, “I hope when I see you again, I look
different to you.”

I meant: “Every time I try to break the mirror
that you were to me—that you are—your power
only multiplies.” There are countless memories
of you cutting me from the floor. There are
multiplying versions of you, seeing me, reflecting me,
from the floor, from the whispers,

from the filament of your near-invisible fishing line
words and promises; the curve and hook of C’s, of J’s,
of S’s, of kisses, of denials. In every crunch and break
and broken collapsing piece of us, I am chewing silver-
glazed glass in teeth and gums. You have caught me.
I’m on the land. I bleed.


All of eventually disrupt the air so much,
rose petals hit the ground.


Behind the girl with the single lens reflex camera
there is always a fire alarm.

When you raise your hands, this sculpture
you are, roses implode in their lack of water.

On my way back from the shredder I realized
you had booby-trapped the safety pins. What
else could I expect from all this merciless opening?

Tell me, tell me, my feet dismaying my swaying
torso, tell me, what you hope to impose here.
The edges of this room are the centers of
multi-dimensional omniverses, the bent-out gravity
of forgotten strands catching souvenirs of words
turned into light.


Before we met
I couldn’t read
my own handwriting.

Now I know each
defogged windshield
glass I pass

allows your eyes
to see me.


This census of disregard creates paper stand-ins
for humanity. This consensus of disregard is a series
of balled-up tissues mispronounced as grief before
dislocated into wastebaskets.

On Saturdays, wherever you are, I still take
out the trash for you.

On Sundays I’m still angry you forgot to
buy more trash bags.


Depending on the angle you deposit
these messages into mailbox, our frames
become uneven. Our squares and rectangles,
gulped and digested, are mishandled into
rhombuses. From where I stand our shadows
have elongated. From where you stand there
is light—bright, exotic light—shining against
your face. Both of us stand still as the lies
we hung from unevenly wobble and dance
around our figures. In this, both of us are paint.
In this, both of us are lines.


Pretend there is a word for truth
and pretend you understand it. This
is the definition of wishing,
of course. But isn’t it irresponsible
to suppose your unclasping buttons,
zippers, safety pins, snaps, won’t lead
to heaps of regretful clothes
on the canvas of regretful floors?

There is, of course, the brutal honesty
of two people having sex in a lightning storm,
a power outage, and then the emergency
generator rumbles and the back-up lights
blast on.

When we meet again, let’s travel to red
glitter beaches, so the two of us can look
down and then agree—these footprints
in the ground, these are the places
we dropped our eyeglasses. This
is the spot our lenses cracked, where
landscape disappeared.





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