Kanashibari by Guy Yasko

The wind pushed from the tunnel tells the commuter to close his book
and tuck it away. A figure in red bisects the newly vacated block of
space and consciousness. The commuter understands immediately: the
figure’s speed and trajectory imply intersection with the train. And
yet only the suicide moves. No one makes a sound.

The commuter tells himself that he is no Lord Jim, that no one was
responsible, but rationalisation opens into memories of the
platform. Paralysis revisits with each replay. The train is too close,
the man too fast and too far. He sees it as if on graph paper, the two
vectors narrowing the horizons of imagination to the point where no
action has meaning.

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Filed under Guy Yasko

12 responses to “Kanashibari by Guy Yasko

  1. stephen

    nice. interesting. there’s a remove from the viewpoint of the central character that i find a bit distracting in this piece, but i can’t put my finger on exactly why that is. maybe it is the way “the commuter” is introduced–that there is a statement “the commuter understands immediately” followed by a sequence that does what “understands immediately” says—so maybe the clause is unnecessary. same thing with the first sentence of the second section.

    these are tricky things, though, trying to find a balance between saying and telling in a form this constrained, this short.

    what i was doing was trying to read the piece after taking out or cutting down the two places that say rather than do. and there’s an interesting, strangely suspended piece in there.

  2. guy

    Looking at this again, i tend to agree. The ‘imply’ that follows does more or less the same thing, so yes, that clause could be axed without too much loss. Also agree about the other sentence.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. The removed voice amplifies the horror. “And yet only the suicide moves.” << says it all.

    As someone who rides a subway every day, this captures one of the imagined horrors of the underground (the other being pushed off the platform). Well-played. Peace…

  4. Al McDermid

    >Paralysis revisits with each replay. <

    I'm on those platforms everyday and can easily imagine feeling this, things happening so fast one cannot think, then playing it over (could I have done something, could i have?).

  5. guy

    Al, i think we share the same experience idea of commuting.

    I was once deep in thought waiting for a train at the Ike no ue station on the Inokashira-sen when someone yelled “don’t jump.”

    • Al McDermid

      Happy to have never been even that close. You’re living in Tokyo, then? I live in Nishi Azabu.

      • guy

        I was in Yokohama back then, pretty close to Yokohama station. I really like the neighbourhoods of the Keihin industrial belt & the bay. I worked all over the Tokyo area from Chiba to Tachikawa, also in Nagoya & Kansai on occasion, so i just picked a place near a transportation node & Shinkansen. But really, if it’s in Japan, it’s good enough for me. I think i’d even get to like Nishi-Azabu.

  6. The disconnected analysis makes this more interesting. Well done.

  7. Pingback: Week #18 – Lucky Number « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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