The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

Hebeloma's Abyssal Aria
Hebeloma Crustuliniforme
with illustrations by Julia K. Keffer
(link to main page of score)


November 1, 2022
Eurymedusa experienced time in the contradictory way familiar to many of us. In the long gaps of solitude between pilgrims, seconds crept by at an incremental pace. She could not prepare prophecies in advance so her mind wandered, too often dwelling on anxieties—the return of the huntsman or the threat of the factotum. Yet, as night fell, she wondered where the day had gone, so little had she accomplished. Ultimately, she was one of a hundred thousand children of the cecaelia, to perish or to thrive at the whim of the current.

written while listening to:  Alexandra Grimal & Benjamin Duboc - Le Retour D'Ulysse [Promenade], disc 2 (improvised beings, ib32, 2015, France, cdx2,

November 2, 2022
The herbalist and her apprentice continued down the road though the pair of soldiers standing at the junction ahead eyed them with more interest than Old Parsley would have liked. Each was armed with a spear held in the right hand, a shield strapped across the back and a sword in its scabbard at the left hip. They looked none too pleased to be assigned a task that found them waiting in the chill of the early morning. As the herbalist approached, one of the soldiers called out to her, "Are you the pharmacist they call Old Parsley?"

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Fairly Early with Postscripts (Emanem, 4027, 1999 (rec. 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1987 & 1998), United Kingdom, cd,

November 3, 2022
There was no sense in denying it. The soldiers insisted that she accompany them to Thyrea. They refused to provide either justification or additional explanation. The old woman pleaded that she had other appointments to tend to the sick today, but the soldiers expressed no sympathy. When they threatened to drag her between them should she continue to argue, she ceased her protests and surrendered. Nothing of the apprentice had been mentioned in the orders to the soldiers. As such, they had no interest in Sprig and left the child standing alone in the dirt road.

written while listening to:  Wädi Gysi & Hans Reichel - Show-Down (Intakt Records, Intakt CD 023, 1991, Switzerland, cd,

November 4, 2022
Without any clear request or plan of action, the apprentice approached the oracle's cave before midday. Eurymedusa had been sitting for some time at the entrance, observing the valley beneath her like an eagle surveying its domain. The girl had only ever come to her at the heels of the herbalist. That she arrived alone now suggested to the sybil that Sprig sought a prophecy of her own. She rose and took her place upon the stone slab in the cistern, where she awaited the arrival of the pilgrim, the youngest by far to avail themselves of her aid.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Black Blues (violent version) (Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier, DSA 54088, 2004, France, cd,

November 5, 2022
The girl stood at the edge of the pool with the fold of her dusty peplos pulled over her head. Her solitary silhouette filled Eurymedusa with conflicting emotions. A child wandering through the remote valley was cause for pity but this particular girl had been rescued by the herbalist, a sign, if there ever was one, that charity was to be found in the unlikeliest of places. For her part, Sprig observed the sybil, reclining on stone, utterly at ease with the present moment. She bit her tongue, swallowing the recriminations that she wished to heap upon the oblivious oracle.

written while listening to:  Evan Parker, Barry Guy, Paul Lytton & Marilyn Crispell - Natives and Aliens (Leo Records, CD LR 243, 1997, United Kingdom, cd,

November 6, 2022
The sibyl did not remark upon the conspicuous absence of Old Parsley. Instead, she addressed the girl, saying, "Since our first meeting, I have sensed that you have something to ask of me. Now that we are alone, perhaps you are ready to share what has long been on your mind." It became immediately clear that the sybil was wrong on at least one matter. As we know, the apprentice had come to report the arrest of her employer/tutor/grandmother and, besides, she remained unwilling or at least unprepared to broach the subject of a prophecy.

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy Five - The Way, disc 2 (hatOLOGY, hatOLOGY 2-604, 2004 (rec. 1979), Switzerland, cdx2,

November 7, 2022
"O holy daughter of Nereus," the apprentice began. While waiting outside the cave for pilgrims to receive their prophecy, she had caught fragments of conversation and had gleaned the reverential manner with which the oracle was addressed. Her voice quivered before, dispensing with any attempt at formality, she burst out, "They've taken Old Parsley!" In a rush, she related the morning encounter with the soldiers. Eurymedusa dismounted the shelf and crossed the water. She wanted to hug the child to offer what comfort she could, but the girl, a creature of habit, shrank back from her.

written while listening to:  Roscoe Mitchell - And the Sound and Space Ensembles (Black Saint, BSR 0070, 1984, Italy, lp,

November 8, 2022
"We must rescue her," demanded the apprentice. The expression on her face remained hidden by the shadows of the hood but emotion choked her words. The request astonished Eurymedusa. An oracle did not leave her cave, except to secretly replenish her spirit by communing with the Ocean Mother, swimming in the waters of the Great Sea. Moreover, she had no means to confront soldiers. Before she could reject the idea, the slump in Sprig's shoulders recalled her own despair at having abandoned her friends in the labyrinth of King Minos. "What is your plan?"

written while listening to:  Wadada Leo Smith & Han Bennink - The Emerald Duets, disc 3 (TUM Records, TUM BOX 006, 2022, Finland, cdx5,

November 9, 2022
The child reluctantly admitted that she had no plan to rescue Old Parsley. The sybil cautioned, "We cannot simply scale the wall that surrounds the holy wells of Poseidon and search the grounds until we find her." A moment of confusion passed over Sprig's face for the temple of Poseidon was in Lerna. She replied, "I don't think the priests did this. The soldiers said they were taking her to Thyrea, not Lerna." Eurymedusa considered this additional information. It seemed that she had interacted recently with only one Thyrean pilgrim whose father possessed the authority to order soldiers to carry out an abduction.

written while listening to:  Daniel Carter, Matthew Shipp, William Parker & Gerald Cleaver - Welcome Adventure! Vol. 1 (577 Records, 5837-1, 2020, United States, lp,

November 10, 2022
Together, sybil and apprentice sought a motive for the arrest. "Why take her and not you?" Sprig asked. The suggestion of her own arrest chilled Eurymedusa but seemed rightly reasoned. The cistern encouraged introspection. Soon, an explanation dawned on her. She fixed her gaze on the girl. "I grant prophecies only to those whom Old Parsley delivers to me." Sprig nodded in agreement. "Whoever did this doesn't want to stop you. They want an audience." Eurymedusa concurred, saying, "We shall best effect our rescue by waiting here for our pilgrim to return Old Parsley to us."

written while listening to:  Muhal Richard Abrams - 1-OQA+19 (Black Saint, BSR 0017, 1978, Italy, lp,

November 11, 2022
That night Sprig did not return to the hut that she shared with the herbalist. Instead, she followed the sybil down the tunnel, where they partook of the scant provisions stored there. Sprig supposed that she had been aware of the meager belongings of the oracle, but seeing them first hand impressed upon her the precarious poverty of her host. Despite her reticence for physical contact, the girl had no choice but to share the sheepskin, pressing herself against the sybil in an effort to ward off the cold that crept into their hole in the earth.

written while listening to:  Tomas Fujiwara's Triple Double - March (Firehouse 12 Records, FH12-04-01-035, 2022, United States, cd,

November 12, 2022
We would be remiss if we omitted an observation, as we maintain our vigil watching the sleeping pair, one a girl of seventeen, the other a decade her junior. Their breathing synchronized as if their bodies agreed to a complicity that their minds had not yet accepted. The elder had yearned to give a fortune to the younger, who did not want to receive it. We perceive in their slumber the communication of a much more effective prophecy, in which the most meaningful message was transmitted without resorting to the inconvenience of words.

written while listening to:  John Zorn Masada Chamber Ensembles - Bar Kokhba, disc 1 (Tzadik, TZ 7108-2, 1996, United States, cdx2,

November 13, 2022
In Thyrea, they loaded Old Parsley into the back of the wagon. Indignant at the insinuation of infirmity, she barked, "I am perfectly capable of walking to Argos and back!" The soldiers had orders directly from the magistrate to carry out their mission with alacrity; they brooked no argument. By way of consolation, the magistrate's wife offered to share the long cushion that would make the trip to the oracle's shrine a little less bumpy. Too long had Old Parsley served the wealthy to refuse the charity of a noblewoman no matter how unwelcome it was.

written while listening to:  Jim O'Rourke - The Creeping Garden Soundtrack (Arrow Academy, FCD1435/C, 2017, United Kingdom, cd+blu-ray+dvd,

November 14, 2022
"We shall have a pleasant ride, you and I," said the magistrate's wife, "on our way to see the oracle." Seated beside her, Old Parsley nodded silently. "What does she look like? My son, Aesop, claims she is beautiful." The magistrate's wife thought that perhaps the herbalist refused to respond for she continued to stare straight ahead. However, she eventually replied, "The sybil whom we approach is a daughter of the Ocean Mother and has inherited her graceful demeanor. In appearance, she is as alluring as the sea to one who dreams of drowning."

written while listening to:  Liz Allbee, John Butcher, Ignaz Schick & Marta Zapparoli - Lamenti Dall'infinito (Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu, nvnc-lp027, 2022, Luxembourg, lp,

November 15, 2022
The magistrate's wife harbored few romantic aspirations. She desired that her husband retain his position of authority so that he might continue to govern Thyrea with a steady hand. She wished also for her son to rise to a station of equal or greater power, as he possessed both the intelligence and wisdom to lead the city. That her own welfare benefited from these ambitions did not escape her. Dutifully performing her modest role in society, she had strengthened the security of their privilege. She supposed that all women, the sybil included, necessarily practiced feminine machinations constructed from altruism and self-preservation.

written while listening to:  Ákos Rózmann - Mass / Mässa (1988-2004), disc 6 (Ideologic Organ, SOMA044, 2022, Austria, cdx7,

November 16, 2022
It was the magistrate's wife who had first suggested to her husband that she visit the sybil then persuaded him to summon the herbalist to their home. No mention of soldiers was made to her, nor did she inquire of Old Parsley regarding the details of her arrival. By issuing her prophecies, the sybil had chosen to involve herself in the affairs of a noble family and it fell to the woman of the house to bring the matter to a successful resolution. She had only to discover the sybil's desires in order to shape them to align with her own.

written while listening to:  Pauline Oliveros - Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970, disc 3 (Important Records, IMPREC352, 2012, United States, cdx12,

November 17, 2022
"I know," said the magistrate's wife to Old Parsley as they traveled the road, "that I shall see her for myself soon, but I can't help wondering how the sybil is adorned. Is she fond of silver bangles and rings? Is she garbed in a silken gown?" If Old Parsley guessed the intent behind these words, she did not betray it. She answered truthfully. "Eupompe is cloaked in the majesty of her kind. Water is drawn to her. Moisture in the air forms a glistening diadem upon her head. She is bejeweled with light from afar by her mother sleeping in the abyss of deep night."

written while listening to:  Joëlle Léandre & Phil Minton - untitled (Fou Records, FR - CD24, 2017, France, cd,

November 18, 2022
Arriving at the crude mouth of the cave, the magistrate's wife wavered in her confidence. It could be difficult to find leverage with one who eschewed all luxury. Still, as they ascended the slope, she, ever a resourceful woman, did not despair. Her step light and at ease, she entered the darkness of the cave as if it were the parlor of a friend, with embroidered tapestries hanging from the walls. Turning the corner, she espied the sybil on a stone pedestal across the pool. She greeted her warmly. "Eupompe, what luck—I've found you at home! I hope you don't mind me dropping by."

written while listening to:  David Murray & Randy Weston - The Healers (Black Saint, 120 118-1, 1987, Italy, lp,

November 19, 2022
In the ensuing silence, the magistrate's wife examined the sybil. Her linen gown, once fine, was beginning to show wear; her hair had grown too long to be fashionable. Any faint hint of watery circlet above her brow was likely prompted by her imagination. This girl seemed utterly forsaken save for the composure with which she sat upon her slab of stone, as if it were a throne and she a regal monarch holding court with one of her loyal subjects. "My queen," said the pilgrim, "I beseech your aid in an endeavor that may please us both."

written while listening to:  Ornette Coleman - Prime Design/Time Design (Caravan Of Dreams Productions, CDP 85002, 1986, United States, lp,

November 20, 2022
The sybil too scrutinized the pilgrim. She observed the source, in good part, of the handsome symmetry that she had found in the face of Aesop, confirming the identity of her visitor. No less did she perceive the origin of his silver tongue. Slender and refined, this woman had maintained her attractive features and figure into middle age. With a sense of pity, the sybil worried that such preservation required regular effort and was motivated by insecurity. "Be at ease here," she said in a consoling tone. "Remove your sandals and step into the pool."

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - For Four Orchestras, sides A, B & C (Arista, A3L 8900, 1978, United States, lpx3,

November 21, 2022
The magistrate's wife misunderstood the request. She supposed the sybil regarded her grotto as a holy place, where pilgrims must wash the earthly dust from their feet in an act of ablution prior to receiving the gift of her divine wisdom. She sat in a dry spot next to the pool and removed her sandals, washing languidly first one foot then the next, as if part of a ritual performance. Finished, she rose and stepped into the water, saying, "O Keeper of the Secrets of the Great Sea, I stand before you cleansed, ready to present my case."

written while listening to:  Olivier Capparos & Lionel Marchetti - Equus (Pogus Productions, Pogus21052-2, 2009, United States, cd,

November 22, 2022
Before the magistrate's wife made her request, she wished to know more about the woman from whom the forthcoming beneficence would flow. "If I may be so bold," she began, "I hope, by way of introduction, that you allow me to put an idle question of curiosity to you." As a matter of fact, the sybil had nothing else scheduled that day, nothing else scheduled for the rest of her life save encounters such as this. She was in no hurry to conclude this visit and return to the solitude that occupied her between pilgrims. "Of course."

written while listening to:  Emanuele Maniscalco, Francesco Bigoni & Mark Solborg - Canto (ILK Music, ILK338LP, 2022, Denmark, lp,

November 23, 2022
"What are the desires of a sybil?" asked the magistrate's wife. "What do you hope to receive in return for the wisdom that you spread throughout these lands?" Although the sybil had not anticipated this question, it was an easy one for her to answer, since she spent many slow afternoons contemplating the matter herself. "It is no secret," said Eurymedusa. "I have two ambitions. I seek to make the world a better place and to speak only the truth. I hope for nothing more than to observe the harvest of these two intermingled tenets."

written while listening to:  The Cecil Taylor Quartet - Modern Jazz, side A (American Recording Society, G-437, 1957, United States, lp,

November 24, 2022
The magistrate's wife found no special leverage in this reply and so next introduced herself. Her name was Rhoda and she was married to the magistrate of Thyrea. Her son, Aesop, had recently paid a visit to this cave. She paused for confirmation and the sybil nodded. "My son has set his heart on a girl from Lerna and my husband has set his will against such a union." The sybil nodded again. "This much I know. Do you think I, a stranger, am in a better position to reconcile them than you, who have married the one and raised the other?"

written while listening to:  Misha Mengelberg, Steve Lacy, George Lewis, Ernst Reÿseger & Han Bennink - Dutch Masters (Soul Note, 121 154-2, 1992, Italy, cd,

November 25, 2022
"Of course you are best suited to render a verdict," answered the magistrate's wife without hesitation. "You have the authority of the gods behind your words, while I am...only a woman. True, I am a wife and mother but those roles have privileges and limitations. You, whose sight stems from your maidenhood, pledged to the sea, may not appreciate the undercurrent of competition between father and son, who each strive to be best loved by their shared woman. I cannot choose a side for fear of being accused of picking a favorite and losing the other."

written while listening to:  Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile - Snark Horse, disc 5 (Pi Recordings, PI90, 2021, United States, cdx6,

November 26, 2022
Eupompe displayed her oracle's smile, meaningless and inscrutable. "You have only this one child?" she asked of the pilgrim, who expressed assent. "You fear to cast him into the world where he should be battered about like a ship in stormy seas until he finds a safe berth to anchor on his own. Is not such a fate decreed for all mortal men? Should my words fail to please you, would you have me invent a fiction and attribute it to the gods so soon after I have declared to you my allegiance to the truth?"

written while listening to:  Christoph Erb, Magda Mayas & Gerry Hemingway - Bathing Music (Veto Records, 019, 2022, Switzerland, lp,

November 27, 2022
"Yes!" pleaded Rhoda without shame, "It lies within your power to create the truth." "Oh," said the sybil, as if registering surprise. She tentatively suggested, "Is it such an outlandish notion that from the union of the citizen families of Thyrea and Lerna a strategic alliance could result? Nor does it lie beyond the realm of imagination that Polyxena, of a bloodline shared with the renowned philosopher, Thucydides, should bear descendants who not only exhibit the passion of their maternal ancestor but also exercise the wisdom of her uncle."

written while listening to:  John Coltrane - Live at the Village Vanguard Again! (Impulse!, AS-9124, 1966, United States, lp,

November 28, 2022
These very arguments had lurked in the recesses of Rhoda's mind. To hear them spoken by the sybil gave them a weight of inevitability. "So you have said," she readily agreed, pointedly ignoring the fact that the sybil had rendered her statements as question and supposition rather than declarations. The magistrate's wife suddenly appeared in a hurry to leave, lest the sybil continue her discourse, muddying the waters. She took a step backward, out of the pool, and paused, looking the part of a child in class, who needed to relieve herself and hoped to be immediately excused.

written while listening to:  Charlie Parker - Bird/The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes) Vol. 1 (Savoy Jazz, ZDS 4402, 1988 (rec. 1944, 1945 & 1947), United States, cd,

November 29, 2022
Later, Eurymedusa sat alone with her lie. Gentle reader, forgive her. It is hard to lie about the future given its mutability. From this perspective is there any truth whatsoever in the questionable practice of fortune telling? All her prophecies seemed called into question. The very notion of truth itself seemed at stake. Many thinkers, some public and many more private, have devoted considerable time to wrestling with the absolutism of truth. Is it fair to condemn a teenage girl, left alone in a seaside cave, for reaching her own conclusions?

written while listening to:  Alex Ward Item 4 - Where We Were (Relative Pitch Records, RPR1106, 2020, United States, cd,

November 30, 2022
Sprig had ignored the latest pilgrim. Her attention was focused on Old Parsley clambering down from the wagon. She wanted to rush over to aid her and ask about her brief captivity, but this was not the way between the herbalist and her apprentice. What greeting passed between them was shown in ordinary gestures, too subtle for this narrator, preoccupied with the theatrics of the magistrate's wife, to detect. To be sure, there were neither tears nor the tender embrace that a sentimental soul might have hoped for at this happy reunion.

written while listening to:  Toshiko Akiyoshi - Toshiko's Piano (Norgran Records, MGN-22, 1954, United States, 10" lp,

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