Ben Marshall-Corser

Eggshell/Plants | Travel Stories | Double Cup Love

Travel Stories

I
I don't imagine that career politicians, teachers and scientists do not suffer the same as all of us, I stare dumbly at why I have to suffer the same as them. We must all live under the same banner. But then, everything needs a name in order to protect people from the brutality of the fact that whatever it is that you are faced with is just a part of your life. Whatever, perhaps, is presented to you. I can't call it, maybe falling six-feet deep. I get the feeling this is some sort of mistake, an entirely new feeling. A new feeling, the things I've seen. I can testify and that is all I can do and that is what I'm going to do and when I've done that I don't want to repeat myself and sound like an army man on his radio. From a comfortable seated position, watch me chase a dream; it doesn't matter to me how uplifting or not, how freeing or not. Exactly what I have done arrives apathetically reproduced in the hip-hop sense. "Can't bite this!" Then I'll do a funny little dance away into the future.
II
Someone once called me a depressive for saying that the future is just the same thing again but a bit different. I imagine physics as trying to be a set of rules that can be applied to anything, even things that are not strictly physical and that the same again but a bit different is vastly favourable to daily cataclysm and apocalypse. So I plagiarise Serra and don't have a question that I ask myself over and over, like a statement of exasperation, there is always a little more air or a little less vim. I am not convinced that Alys's methodology of, say, putting a Doors record on full volume and then leaving the house with Allstars on could legitmately be considered as the manufacture of some special grease that turns back time. I happen to think it a much more attractive option to put two and two together just as an experiment to see what comes back.
III
Oh, and what a score it will be, when you end up with something moulded to someone else's hand, so to speak. Maybe a tiny diss is implied, but nothing more than a feeble whisper. "Take what you want, you will never be my owner as he was before this point". It might even push further towards insult. "Not that it would be impossible". Oh, to be young again, for every word or phrase to be shouted against silence, cheeks ripe with blood and such small teeth, not really even there. It will forever be just fine for one thing to change to another, like peek-a- boo with a child. Sometimes there is magic in the air, all objects breach their moorings, learn to exist, lean against one another in all sorts of intriguing and arousing angles.
IV
I think everywhere it's admitted that absolutely we would love to take care of you, expressed in its collective and gathering sense: we would love to take care of you-all. Posted up on the wall for anyone who is in the position where listening to that kind of crap might be the only thing that floats their boat every morning. Where perhaps paying to be covered in foam 'until you cool down' might seem quite an inviting prospect. I mean a position from which it is evident that we could all be taking part in a perverse psychological experiment to determine the exact conditions in which it is possible to convince someone (for however brief a moment) that we are, in fact, all sitting in a Cubist realisation of a luxury cruise liner complete with lined-up wooden decking and an underwater observation screen so people can clearly see fish and squid and sharks.
V
Horizontal and vertical are really no different from one another, and all the degrees in between matter even less. Gravity absolutely isn't to do with up and down! It's to do with everything being fundamentally sticky. Paint in ur coffee, a word in ur ear, penetrated from all sides, etc. I managed to come upon a decision as to what I ought to refer to as being my defining moment. Ask someone like Harvey Keitel in Mean Streets, you don't fuck around with the infinite, there's no way you do that - in repose or manufacture, you don't fuck around with the infinite.
VI
Everything could feel like home, on this planet, on this planet. Without speech, instead through traditional symbol and gesture, everything may come to you, shuffling meekly to curl up at your feet and (presumably) rest. Kippenberger's game is up, at least in any societal arrangement comprising people above the age of 19. 30 years is a fairly long time to catch up with someone, but we got there in the end, and without telling on him for his silly game of global hopscotch. I too would strip the world around my children of the danger presented by any form of aspiration. It's the duty of a parentand there are more than enough well established routes to accommodate fantasies from Steiner to Smith. Through caveat or prejudice and with no bad will, your duty shines. Exactly how this task is accomplished is of no import.
VII
When absolutely left to their own devices anyone will work up some kind of strange magic around themselves, a semblance of a world. The proper way to discern this from total froth is pretty much good old talking about the weather. It feels like its about to break, then it does and a bit later all the brightly coloured surfboards and other objects that are actually owned will be washed up against light-grey seaside concrete.
VIII
She sat and looked at the floor, scanned the pale-grey sand, it was overcast. The blustery sky boomed out, cavernous above her. All the grand designs of civilised folk seemed tiny. The pointless Corona-branded parasol flapped in the mounting wind. It was fixed by an upright metal tube to the white plastic sun lounger she was sitting on. A boy walked along the shoreline below, singing Jeff Buckley to himself and scuffing distractedly at the sand with his feet. He had a cigarette in his hand which, as he flipped it into the surf, he looked up and caught sight of her. The boy blew out, buried his head in his chest and kept walking. She stood up to turn inland and, weaving between the spewm-silvered wood of picnic benches, headed towards town. Silent clouds pregnant with a leering ultramarine hung over it. The light was fading and people began to switch on their bulbs in protest. He looked away from the TV and watched her from his window as she slowly wound up the pavement towards his house and, flipping a light switch on the wall, retreated into the bathroom where three bras hung in a cluster from the overhead cistern. One pale mauve, one baby blue and one black. Different sizes. He blew out and inhaled deeply the heady scent of female musk, perfume and sweat. The sexual pot pourri filled his nostrils and he expunged almost at once, his knees buckling. After a perfunctory clean up he stepped back into the living room. She was there as usual, reading lines from an auto cue, adding just the right amount of empathy and nuance to her mainstay calm and authoritative tone; she lightened up just a touch for the story about fund raising for some charity organisation, her eyes flashing a smile; she laid on a dash of stern sobriety for the death toll of a natural disaster, casting a glance to the desk in front of her to denote how difficult she found it to swallow this number. She was a good girl, her mind rarely drifted from the subject matter of the words she was reading. But he was a slim, outdoorsy academic from a prestigious university who sometimes wore tweed suits with leather patches as being an ironic gesture. He thought it hilarious, and about as in an in joke as it was possible to get. A bastard, but it was all a slick decoy for his real passion for simply regarding nature. Not that he got much of a chance to do that from his study. She paused in his doorway, red lip gloss, a blonde embarrassed. She gripped her books tight to her breast and cocked her head to one side. The crisp cotton of her blouse collar crumpled and rested against her neck, cool and clean. She realised a moment later and cast her eyes to the polished wooden floor. Light beech. A frown coloured her countenance. Further up the hallway another student slammed his right hand on a block of lockers. Almost upright and leaning pretty much his full weight against the blue metal structure, he vomited powerfully on the floor, down his shirt, on his tennis shoes. He doubled up and convulsed again, sending a variegated, beige stream of chunks splattering and dripping down locker doors, between locker doors. He squeezed his eyes shut and spat out bile, puke tears streaming down his face, the side veins on his neck throbbing. A rich fug arose from the foamy pile of gunk at his feet. He gagged at the rising stench and retched again, long and hard and from the very pit of his stomach. He spat something greasy and yellow-tinged, and seeing stars, everything went dark. She peered at his closed eyes, fat and swollen lids glossy with perspiration. Held by disgust, she closely considered the surface peppered with raised blood vessels, faint white dots like an underdeveloped strawberry. Puffy sockets bulging from a striken grimace. She could feel her brain shutting down in vague sections as fascination took hold. Piece by piece the image in front of her gained visual clarity. It was fascinating. Time sheered away, this face grew to glistening monolith, a red and shining grotesque backed by nothing but the chilly infinity of the cosmos. Something so fundamental it would never die, but spin forever frictionless in the black void. It would sell her freedom, put her in first place, she would need nothing else. A deep, rich and arty voice boomed across the expansive vista of her internal reverie. He spoke in simple terms to begin with, single syllable words, little syntax. His audience, one by one, hushed into attentive silence. He diversified the vocabulary of his speech, a touch of folklore.
Using more complicated words and a doubled-up metre. Then simple words again and tick-tock metre, but this time his syntax was abstract. Mountains moved in the grammar, meaning avalanched in great cavalcades. He concluded bodily with a flourish and hung his head like a stone. Stunned, she stood up proud and very alone and stepped outside, bundled in cashmere. She felt deeply affected when things like this happened, but couldn't finger it or why. The city lights flared, halos locussing lazily about them in the snow flurries falling from the heavens, a long way up. She was barely able to breathe with excitement, nothing was fake as she walked down the strip. Everything looked like it was going a million miles an hour, no metrics, being what it wanted to be, singing its heart out. He heard the heels on the pavement outside his shop and struggled not to look up from his work. She was walking so slowly it hurt his ears. A penetrating, languid sticatto. Each step sent a little jump start down his spine, he hovered between them, wavering in a temporary mirage of anticipation of the next. The footsteps faded away into the night and the clockmaker turned his attention to his bench. A disassembled bedside alarm sat there accusingly, a jumble of metal plates cogs, springs and tiny screws. He looked, and looked again. It made no sense. "If you're over 300 pounds, I'll make you mine" sang the radio. She didn't sing for acclaim or fortune or by some induced compulsion, it was a way for her to break away from the entrenched perspectives and dire social conditions around her. Listening to music was what drove her to make more, to help others in the same situation as her. She believed everyone could get what she took from her singing and she knew no better way of expressing this than through acting on what she felt inside. Not exactly a fan of her work, he found himself dancing crazily. Stamping his feet, throwing his head back, thrusting his hips, kicking his feet out, waving his hands, shaking his shoulders. The music washed over him, he felt totally submerged. He yelled out. Tonight would be a good night. After dark she crept out of the house, past the door to her children's room, the night light glowing, past the body of her husand in the living room. His comfy chair was surrounded by empty tins of beer, the ashtray full of grey ash and cigarette butts. The slow rise and fall of his sleeping pot belly was comically framed by a crescent of light blue light from the television, gently fizzing away in the corner of the room. She tiptoed out of the front door, quietly closing it behind her and, with wide eyes, flipped the blue coloured pill into her mouth as soon as the lock clicked shut.