Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Ernest Kalinowski stood at the far end of the platform waiting for the train and executed a slow 360° revolution while surveying his surroundings, the grimy brick exterior of the bowling alley sporting the huge illuminated bowling pin, the dingy tenements flanking it to the east with their rickety-looking fire escapes, the narrow lane of the platform peopled by other waiting commuters and leading to the small station shanty that barely accommodated the token seller’s booth, then to the north another row of tenements but with more of a visible expanse beyond the rooftops than the other side—why was that?—where you could see an awful lot of blue sky and even the hills of Highland Park off in the distance if you squinted, and turning to the west lay the tracks extending to the next station and beyond:  Cleveland St, followed by Van Siclen Av, Alabama Av, Eastern Parkway also known as Broadway Junction where you could change trains to continue in either of five different directions, and beyond that a slew of stops which Ernest knew by heart because he didn’t change at Broadway Junction but continued on to Marcy Av, the final stop before crossing the bridge and where all the Hasidic Jews got on, and after the bridge came the plunge into the tunnel that shut out the natural world, when the lights in the car might stay on or not but Ernest didn’t much care because by that time he was preparing to deboard at the first stop in the tunnel, Essex-Delancey, and where on this particular day, as he stood to begin edging toward the doors, he suddenly realized the reason you could see more to the north of the Norwood Av el platform than to the south, when standing on the platform, was because the tenements on the south side were closer to the platform, separated from the Jamaica-bound track by only the width of the sidewalk below, whereas on the other side, the tenements were farther away from the Manhattan-bound track because this was the point where Fulton Street below gave birth to Arlington Avenue, which sprouted out of Fulton Street like the branch of a tree and veered off to the northeast while Fulton continued to accompany the el tracks all the way to Broadway Junction and only then did the tracks diverge to follow Broadway into Williamsburg where the QJ could begin creeping across the East River on the Williamsburg Bridge, and so all you could see to the south from the Norwood Av platform was a sliver of sky above the tenement roofs but if you turned to the north you could see so much more, and Ernest got off at Essex-Delancey smiling to himself with the insight that sometimes you needed only to pivot your glance 180° to obtain an entirely different perspective and see things you could never otherwise see, even if you stood looking in the same direction until doomsday.

--D.E. Sievers ... working on 2nd sentence now, following the idea of a novella (or novel) consisting of long, single-sentence paragraphs such as this.  We'll see where it goes.  If it goes.

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