TRANSHUMANCE EXPRESS (ENGLISH MIX)

2014

A collaboration with Indian photographer Ranjith Krishnan, initially published on the old blog. Original French version available here. Warm thanks to Soumyaroop Majumdar for proofreading the English translation.

 

Hooded in the impetus, I would only put a foot on the ground out of idleness. Sometimes, a voice would ask me if I'd slept well. I was always stuck by the insolence of the question. Looking for whoever was talking to me, I would only see uncertainties. I mostly remember the smoke and rubbish. Cigarette butts, saliva, expired newspapers, peels, everything superfluous ditched under the bench seats, the ban signs appalled by their own impotence. Certainly, from the world's point of view, its eyes half-closed, we were in motion. Certainly, a trajectory was sketching itself. Still, all I could discern was convergence lines, each more illusory than the next. Seen from the inside, all was cataleptic.

 

My eyes riveted to the floor, I attempted a break. At the end of the path: the shitter. Beyond the shitter: nothing. The floor was a screen, on which implications were taking shape. My mug was tossing about. Engraved by little blades in our original sins, verdicts were descending upon us without a single pointless qualm. Guilty. Of not being enough. Of owning too much. Of doing nothing or poorly. Whatever. Just guilty. ''All shall bear their own cross and try to pass it on the neighbor,'' It's all I'd learned in school. An old woman was wiggling on her berth, spreading her teeth in a harsh smile. Most likely, she hoped someone would count 'em and buy 'em. First distinct apparition, first indulgence. ''Ignore the world,'' I had promised. Sounded like wishful thinking. I had to go and vomit.

Sometimes, we'd stagnate in a station and the frozen world, outside, would suddenly seem hectic, exalted with vagueness. Under the neons' white halo, shapes were busy rebuilding what their ancestors had carefully busted. Artificial light. Small aggressive bureaucrats. Hippies rotten to the core. Nothing new, everything replayed again and again for so long that the audience had left the theater, weary of waiting for the rehearsals to, at long last, result in something. The apsaras were getting drunk backstage, in high spirits: they'd only step unto the stage when asked to. It wasn't going to happen anytime soon and they knew it too well. I'd taken part in all this for years, then one day I'd slammed the door and left. No one had paid attention.

 

No matter how hard I tried to see things in CinemaScope, there was nothing to do about it. I took reality by the fringe, persevered in stretching it through the top and bottom, through the left and right. But the black edges would always take too much room, their obstinate darkness dripping, compressing everything in a way. In the end, there were only bodies whose heads had been edited out. No people, let alone characters. Only interchangeable, blurred bodies, residues of men and women with withered eccentricities. Exotism, too, had been edited out. The true elsewhere was elsewhere. Or maybe inwards.

Nevertheless, one had to look elsewhere. It was written on every wall, on every sign. Everything was a mess, so we turned our heads all around, and each fulfilled fantasy just made the picture even blurrier. One could feel that some would have liked to jump from the train, but time was stationed and they had to wait. Helpless, some were burning their impatiences in round trips, in futile comings and goings. An affront to the killjoys, perhaps: caged tigers, at least, have the privilege to go round in circles. All this human backwash narrowed my thoughts.

 

''This is how it must be done!'' repeated the man seated in front of me before he snatched his tongue and threw it on the floor, alongside the rest. Pathetic scrap of flesh. The scene was being played in a loop. I didn't want to know a thing about it, but at the one hundred and third performance, I gave in and offered myself as a spectator. He reveled in, at long last, being able to stuff himself with my brains. He didn't have a face either, just a black ball on his shoulders and some perseverance. ''It will never be enough to make a man,'' I thought. All those headless bodies, it led to nothing. However hard I struggled to dream alone, the crowd still had a hold on me.

 

When God had tried to sell me children I had declined, whining. When children had tried to sell me God, I had replied that I already had one. When God had thrown His children on the railway, He had forgotten to give them tickets. The ticket inspector had no sense of humor, and His creatures had been fined. They'd keep paying for a hell of a while. Until the machine. Until transformism. I'd been born way too early.

 

I had left in search of a flower. Flight or quest there was no need to pay attention to petty details. It would have been easy to just isolate myself. Too easy. Late at night, when things are asleep and the din ceases, one can listen to the secrets, to God's whisper. But true solitude can only be accomplished in the multitude. This is why I'd gotten on board, no more no less. ''Ignore the world, fill the full with void.'' Harassed by the flies and the chaibarkers, trepanned by the noise, I had to face the facts. Like everyone else, I was just looking for something to hold on to.