’Mishima’s Suicide’ by Matthew Coleman

At one point in my life I would have written about sex, to focus on the dark shades of sexual perversion. But sex, and its written surface, has receded into the shadows. I have turned my back on it; I have cast it away. It does not reflect or resound within me anymore.

We are all made up of parts, a multitude of parts which together create the whole.

The image that I have of it is not real; it is filtered through the lens of cinema, photography and fantasy. The brush of my daydream has painted the fantasy. It is a false image, an unreal one that I've projected inwards, onto the screen of my imagination.

For as long as I can remember I have always dreamed of going to Japan. I have always desired to feel it all about me, to hold it in my gaze and walk its streets, to commit its sights and sounds to memory.

Japan, to me, has swallowed the woman I loved. It is over. When I say that Japan has swallowed the woman I loved I say this with uncertainty, as it is only a possibility. The last time we ever spoke she was heading to Tokyo; to the Tokyo I have dreamed of.

In his story 'The Priest of Shiga Temple and His Love', Yukio Mishima wrote:

By means of microscopic observation and astronomical projection the lotus flower can become the foundation for an entire theory of the universe and an agent whereby we may perceive the Truth. And first we must know that each of the petals has eighty-four thousand veins and that each vein gives eighty-four thousand lights.

Eighty-four thousand.

I think of this number, a large and rounded number. How many buildings in the average block of Tokyo can eighty-four thousand lights be found? So many stories can be told within this block of eighty-four thousand lights. Does the woman I loved gaze at any of these lights as she walks? Did she even make it there?

As I wander Tokyo's streets, following her, I wonder what she would find in Japan, what she would say. If I plunge into my daydream then how many buildings found in a block of eighty-four thousand lights would surround her? What would her story be? If I could create one then could we be together in Tokyo?

It seems, reflecting further, that I did not truly consider Mishima's words, that I gave them only cursory consideration. For the Priest said: each of the petals has eighty-four thousand veins and that each vein gives eighty-four thousand lights. This would mean that each petal has 7,056,000,000 lights. In that case, how many lights does each human being have and, within these lights, can we create a foundation to build a temple of truth from the study of this petal?

Did Mishima, when committing disembowelment during Seppuku, come any closer to perceiving truth beyond the lotus of his being? Did the light of the cosmos swallow his reality as well as my daydream of Japan? Did its bright light wash over the outline of everything, rendering reality as a white space of nothingness? Does the one I love ever look at her hand and daydream of the petals of the lotus flower?

* * *

Yesterday, a dear French friend wrote me this: take care, breathe, for the rest is illusion… That's why we love literature so much, because it is a dance around the nonsense.

Japan is nothing to me. I have never been there and I lack the imagination to answer any of my questions. We are all made up of parts; of a multitude of different parts that make up our whole.

* * *

It was on November 25th, 1970, when Yukio Mishima, after a failed attempt to rouse the army into a coup d'état at Ichigaya Military Base, stood in the office of General Mashita. Mishima removed his jacket and shoes before kneeling upon the red carpet in front of four members of Tatenokai, his private army comprised mainly of students, as well as the General, who had been tied to his chair. Morita, who stood behind Mishima with his sword, had been ordered to decapitate him after he had committed Suppuku. Mishima then plunged the short sword into the left side of his abdomen before pulling the blade across his stomach. Morita brought the sword down but missed as Mishima's body jerked forward in pain, where the blade cut across Mishima's back. After numerous failed attempts to remove Mishima's head Furu-Koga, another member of Tatenokai, took the sword from Morita and severed Mishima's head in one decisive action.

4 comments:

Richard Kovitch said...

This is a brilliant piece about loss, genuinely reflective and impossible to forget.

Chris said...

Very well done. You are very talented.

Anonymous said...

I was touched and moved by this wonderfully well-written piece. I think that my life-long obsession made your work resonate even more beautifully.

Gerry said...

Truly a Master Piece!
ColeMan Parts

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Black-Listed Magazine is an online literary magazine. We publish on a rolling basis: weekly, daily, sometimes hourly. Send submissions here: blacklistedmagazine@hotmail.com

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