Notes on self-expulsion - Mathijs Tratsaert

| 17 April 2019
On the occasion of Fabian Scheidler's book presentation and the debate on 'The End of the Mega-Machine', we invited poet Mathijs Tratsaert. Whereas author Fabian Scheidler mainly writes about the general history, the poet talks about the individuals who live and have lived that story. He examines what kind of 'self' or subjectivity the machine produces and tries to expel that 'self' (which is also his) in this series.

Notes on self-expulsion


Burnt 1304 kcal today, average heartbeat 96 bpm. Its univocal beauty – just me: the most beautiful snowman to ever exist / was Michelangelo’s in the garden of the Piero de’ Medici palace. Took 12036 steps. A dream about a warehouse that has nothing to do with the film The Mist (2007), though now it does. Letting the head rest on the right hand 144 times. What time did you get up today? I sleep best at 18,6 degrees. I feel good to very good and I want this to be known.


2019, smoking guns are filling the room with fumes. Absorbed 2823 kcal. Unable to do anything but say with animalistic self-evidence: ‘me’. I believe in the new skin treatment, the visit to the barber and the daily dose of vitamin D. Listened for ten minutes to the chatter of my own breath, dangling at the far end of a causal chain that cannot be solidified. There I wait for my marriage to be arranged by the algorithm.


15h15. Slowly turning into my own lab rat. Interchangeability of the words free and imprisoned when the correlations start to become clear. 25 cl arabica coffee, 100 grams of oats, ca. 150 ml plain yoghurt, nineteen blue grapes, half a banana. I kind of like to be my own ratty. Always talking about experimental poetry. Grabbed for my smartphone 187 times. Blood sugar completely normal. I don’t know how long the self-reflecting self will continue to exist. The weird thing is my intestinal flora is this poems’ author.


The caravan of evolutionary history moves through the body. The caravan crosses the contested borders of the word gene. The caravan moves on into disputed territory and turns into a caravan of historical trauma. The caravan of historical trauma moves through the body. Night falls over the caravan. The caravan is forced to set up camp. Night is a cavity in the head of the body. The caravan awakes from the night as a caravan of neurochemistry. The caravan of neurochemistry is moving through the body. The body joins the caravan. All bodies join the caravan.


My voice is a playground of voices – abrasion, god complex, the trading card game that turned out to be the actual learning experience. Who are you anyways, little boy, still daring to smile his smile? An equilateral triangle has three equal angles, the Second World War began on September first 1939 and everything is a butterfly.


Angelical data creature in the big migration flow from me to me, translucent swallow, favourite prediction of the augur. My skull a platonic cave, yet no one there to escape. I’m an encounter of strangers in Uruk and Lagash, a sierra of stress peaks in our mothers’ wombs. I love you because we are alike, and like the fish beast Tiktaalik.

Translated by Mathijs Tratsaert and Klaartje Merrigan