The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

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


June 1, 2023
Laden with goods and manned by a full complement of oarsmen, the Aetos departed Apollonia, heading west along the northern coast of Libya. Their next port of call was the Phoenician colony, Leptis. Abas estimated their travel days to be roughly the same as that from Thonis to Cyrene, barring another storm. Melanippe's map captured the natural contours of the shoreline; after a few days, their course turned nearly due south. Schools of fish appeared as rapidly shifting pale clouds within the sea. Great white pelicans dove into their midst then settled down for a meal on the surface, a familiar sight that reminded many sailors of home.

written while listening to:  Orchestre National de Jazz, Olivier Benoit - Europa Rome (ONJazz Records, 444444, 2016, France, cd,

June 2, 2023
Theodoros was assigned the task of teaching the Ethiopian enough Greek that he could properly follow orders, a charge which the scholar deemed beneath him. He immediately relegated the duty to his apprentice. Thus it was that as he gave lessons within earshot of all to Cimon in Hittite, Phoenician, Egyptian and Berber, Melanippe took some portion of these lessons and, in the evenings with the aid of Linus, taught the newcomer a smattering of Greek. Ethiopia participated willingly. Although rowing was laborious, his treatment and meals were no less any other oarsman. It seemed a fair exchange for the time being.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Solo Guitar Series: At the Sidecar (Incus Records, Number 5, 2004, United Kingdom, cdr,

June 3, 2023
Melanippe's task was made easier because the Ethiopian had already picked up some Greek while in Cyrene. In fact, he understood her nearly as well as she did Berber. He sometimes corrected her, a fact that resulted in her Berber becoming a mix of the dialects known by the scholar and oarsman. Spending time with him in the evenings, she felt a kinship with the former slave, alone among his kind aboard ship. If he experienced a reciprocal feeling, he was unable or uninterested in communicating it. Linus, however, who would have otherwise had no interest in the Ethiopian, followed Melanippe's lead and welcomed him.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Black Prayers Exist (Tokuma Japan Communications, PSJF-9704, 1997, Japan, mini-cd,

June 4, 2023
They fell into an extended calm, where no breeze ruffled the sails and no waves lapped against the hull. A ship that relied solely on wind would have remained fixed in place upon the blue expanse, as stagnant as a still life painting. The Aetos, however, counted one hundred twenty oarsmen among its crew. The bireme glided across the placid waters while changes in the hillocks and inlets of the coast marked their movement. At the end of each day, Abas declared their progress respectable. So too did Melanippe judge her headway with the Ethiopian's proficiency in Greek—slow but steady.

written while listening to:  The Art Ensemble of Chicago - Go Home (Galloway Records, 600 502, 1973 (rec. 1970), France, lp,

June 5, 2023
The oarsmen were granted a brief reprieve from rowing because huge schools of fish seemed to taunt the sailors, surrounding the vessel on all sides. These were not small sprat but silver sea bass, all as long as man's arm from fingertip to elbow and no few to the shoulder. They lowered their fishing nets and immediately hauled in such a catch as was rarely seen. That evening, each man cleaned two or three fish then gorged himself upon their mild and sweet flesh. Many prayers of thanks for the unexpected bounty were rendered in the midst of this feast.

written while listening to:  Violeta Garcia - FOBIA (Relative Pitch Records, RPRSS007, 2022, United States, cd,

June 6, 2023
Over this meal, Melanippe asked the oarsman, "What is it like in Ethiopia?" "I know nothing of that land," he said, admitting that he had never so much as heard the Greek word until arriving in Cyrene. Once he was sold as an Ethiopian, he feared revealing the truth, lest the sale be ruled invalid and he returned to the pen. "You are one of the Aetos now," said Linus, "We are free to speak the truth." The man grew silent. Gentle reader, though we now know better, we shall continue to call him the Ethiopian as did the rest of the crew.

written while listening to:  Joëlle Léandre - No Comment (Fou Records, FR - CD 14, 2016 (rec. 1994 & 1995), France, cd,

June 7, 2023
Just once did Melanippe ask, "Why do you allow them to call you an Ethiopian?" The oarsman asked in reply, "Why do you let them treat you as if you are a man?" Her eyes widened. She glanced over at Linus, who appeared only amused at the awkwardness of the situation, not sensing a deeper truth. "I am a man," she insisted. It seemed that knowledge of her being brought on board by Theodoros provided a veil obscuring her female sex. Unaware of her history, the Ethiopian perceived a young woman. "In my country, it is women who share your face and frame."

written while listening to:  Matt Mitchell - Fiction (Pi Recordings, PI50, 2013, United States, cd,

June 8, 2023
Thereafter, Melanippe heightened her vigilance regarding her ongoing façade as a man. That a newcomer should so easily pierce her disguise disturbed her greatly. She made certain to express no emotion, much less in a high register. When boarding or leaving the ship, she allowed her shoulders to bump against other men, as if she were inattentive to their presence. She resolved to accompany Theodoros on his excursions to unsavory inns so as to strengthen his protection over her. These attributes the crew of the Aetos had communicated to Melanippe as the defining traits of men.

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy - Avignon And After Volume 2 (Emanem, 5031, 2014 (rec. 1972-1977), United Kingdom, cd,

June 9, 2023
The quartermaster had a chiton brought out for the Ethiopian. He accepted the garment but did not immediately don it as the oarsmen spent their days rowing beneath the sun garbed only in loincloths called perizoma. His own deerskin served equally well. Because the officers wore chitons covering their torsos, Melanippe drew only modest attention in wearing a peplos of a slightly heavier weave. The length of her exposed legs had tanned with her arms and face, though she feared they retained a woman's curves. She wondered if a tattoo of a wanton mermaid upon her bicep would enhance her ruse.

written while listening to:  Wadada Leo Smith - String Quartets, disc 5 (TUM Records, TUM BOX 005, 2022, Finland, cdx7,

June 10, 2023
Upon the western horizon appeared a galley headed east. Drawing closer, it was identified by its markings as a Phoenician vessel. When foreign merchant ships passed, each typically gave the other a wide berth, for there was no special rapport between Greeks and Phoenicians. However, this ship appeared intent on approaching the Aetos. Linus and the piper ceased their song as the superintendents of rowers called the men to a halt. The captain ordered arms distributed. Arrows were notched on bowstrings. Swords and spears were raised in clear view of the advancing ship.

written while listening to:  PainKiller - Execution Ground, disc 2 (Toy's Factory, TFCK-88731~3, 1995, Japan, cdx3,

June 11, 2023
Their fear of pirates was soon replaced by a greater dread, for when the two vessels drew within shouting distance, a sailor upon the far deck called out in heavily accented Greek, "Plague! Plague! There is plague in Leptis. Seek no harbor in Leptis!" He repeated this warning three times before the momentum of the ships pulled them apart. As the galley shrank in the distance, the men aboard the Aetos broke into an agitated commotion, arguing among themselves what course to take. Only when the superintendents barked at the piper to resume the song did the clamor diminish.

written while listening to:  Julius Hemphill - One Atmosphere (Tzadik, TZ 7090, 2003, United States, cd,

June 12, 2023
The captain convened a meeting with Abas, Theodoros and the quartermaster. Melanippe's presence was allowed. To forego stopping at Leptis did not especially impact their mission, for the colony was not renowned for goods beyond olive and wheat. However, Abas was rightly concerned that, should the Aetos bypass Leptis, they would exhaust their provisions before arriving at the next port. With several more days at sea ahead of them, they decided to sleep on the decision. Still, that night the quartermaster was parsimonious with dinner, instituting a modest rationing despite the grumbling it induced.

written while listening to:  Ákos Rózmann - Tolv Stationer / Twelve Stations (1978-2001), disc 6 (Ideologic Organ, SOMA021, 2014 (rec. 2000), Austria, cdx7,

June 13, 2023
Daughters of the lords of the sea, the Nereids served as patronesses of mariners everywhere and looked kindly upon the crew of the Aetos. Prompted by converging schools of leaping mullet, the oarsmen paused shortly after their departure at sunrise to cast nets. While the haul was not nearly so bountiful as their previous catch, it nonetheless provided an evening meal in which they did not rely upon their reserves. If the sea continued to share its blessings, their ability to avoid any potential contact with whatever calamitous affliction beset Leptis would improve substantially.

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - Trillium R, Act 1 (Braxton House, BH-008, 1999, United states, cdx4,

June 14, 2023
Ere the Aetos sailed into view of Leptis, a black haze hung over the coast. An ominous portent, Theodoros muttered to Melanippe. "Plague indeed. The breath of the crematorium darkens the sky." Abas held to a path passing close to the colony, where they observed several thin tendrils of greasy smoke rising from the port. A narrow, curling promontory of rock formed the harbor. The lighthouse that would later stand upon this barrier had not yet been raised. In its stead, a bonfire burned. A watchman fed damp leaves to the flame generating another warning in smoke.

written while listening to:  Torben Snekkestad, Søren Kjærgaard & Tomo Jacobson - Spirit Spirit (Gotta Let It Out, GLIO53LP, 2022, Denmark, lp,

June 15, 2023
"Leptis does not welcome us," said Theodoros to the captain in a voice that carried the length of the deck. "We will not avail ourselves of such meager hospitality," shouted the captain, adjusting his sun hat. "We shall let them tend to their misery without adding our own to it." In this way the decision was made known to the crew that the Aetos would not dock in Leptis. Ambivalence greeted this announcement, since the men desired both to partake in the comforts of a port as well as to avoid the well-feared depredations of plague.

written while listening to:  Evan Parker, Joe Morris & Nate Wooley - Ninth Square (Clean Feed, CF335CD, 2015, Portugal, cd,

June 16, 2023
Melanippe took great care to capture the contours of the harbor from afar. She tenderly rendered in ink the land whose inhabitants suffered a curse for which there was no balm. The crew of the Aetos now faced a new challenge on their journey. They did not possess sufficient provisions to reach the next colony. Their survival depended entirely upon the beneficence of the Great Sea. Linus observed the rites in order. First he sang a lament to the lost of Leptis before launching into a paean intended to induce charity from the sea.

written while listening to:  Jim O'Rourke & Kazuyuki K. Null - New Kind of Water (Charnel House, CHCD-06, 1992, United States, cd,

June 17, 2023
Men were heartened by the news that they rowed for Carthage. While, like Leptis, it too was a Phoenician colony of Tyre, its success as a mercantile center had caused it to attain a reputation as more than another backwater outpost on the vast coast of Libya. It had become a center of civilization rising among remote wilds. In part to keep men's minds off the short rations at dinner, tales were told of Carthage by those who had visited previously. Abas claimed to have seen an elephant in its streets. He imitated a trumpet and flailed an arm like a trunk.

written while listening to:  Mark Applebaum - Catfish (Tzadik, TZ 7094, 2003, United States, cd,

June 18, 2023
Theodoros described witnessing a ceremony to Ba'al Hamon in which an infant was sacrificed at the altar. Yes, though Phoenicians had a civilization of their own, it was mired in barbarism and not comparable to the glory of Greek culture. His lecture bored the sailors who called for Abas to perform his elephant pantomime again. Theodoros ignored the men and told next of a magnificent library, which drew catcalls until he revealed that he had by chance discovered that the chief librarian was a hermaphrodite, a fact which generated no small discussion of its own.

written while listening to:  Jack Wright & Ben Wright - As If Anything Could Be The Same (Relative Pitch Records, RPR1017, 2014, United States, cd,

June 19, 2023
In his travels prior to his enslavement, the Ethiopian had also visited Carthage. He knew it to be a cosmopolitan city where many peoples—Phoenicians, Berbers, various tribes from beyond the southern desert and Greeks from across the sea—mingled largely in harmony. The scholar's patriotic conceit notwithstanding, the slave pens of Cyrene had little to be extolled compared to the hospitality of Carthage, where the municipal grain dole provided daily meals to thousands of commoners, visitors and beggars alike. These thoughts the hulking Ethiopian judiciously kept to himself.

written while listening to:  Don Pullen featuring Sam Rivers - Capricorn Rising (Black Saint, BSR 0004, 1976, Italy, lp,

June 20, 2023
To Melanippe, Carthage seemed no less exotic than Thonis. In Athens, the origin of Carthage was told in the tragedy of Pygmalion and his sister, Dido, heirs to the throne of Tyre. Dido married her uncle Acerbas, a priest of Melkarth, who was then killed by her brother as he consolidated power. She fled with her entourage to Cyprus where eighty prostitutes were seized as wives for her crew. They sailed south and west until she founded a great city upon a hill. Pressured by the Berber King Iarbas to marry, she remained faithful to her first husband and, ascending a fiery pyre, slew herself by sword.

written while listening to:  The John Coltrane Quartet - Africa/Brass (Impulse!, A-6-S, 1961, United States, lp,

June 21, 2023
No amount of daydreaming about Carthage could magically transport the Aetos to her harbor. The crew rowed in a northwesterly direction for a week before coming to Meninx. Here, according to legend, dwelt the lotus-eaters. They did not put ashore on that ill-starred isle but continued past it, entering the Gulf of Lesser Syrtis. There Abas speculated that they might encounter tuna, though he had not shared this plan for fear of falsely raising the men's hopes. So there was unanticipated rejoicing when they spotted the massive fish, and hauled up no few, some heavier out of water than a man.

written while listening to:  Magda Mayas & Christine Abdelnour - Myriad (Unsounds, 30U, 2012, The Netherlands, cd,

June 22, 2023
Melanippe continued to faithfully capture the contours of coast, as it prompted them to turn due north. She could not ignore the many signs of small villages nestled on green bluffs beyond the shore. She asked Abas for the names of these settlements, so that their existence might be recorded on her map, but he shrugged. "I am not sure that all of them have names, even by those who dwell within." "Why do we not stop?" she asked. "What can a village of a few dozen offer a ship with more than one hundred men?" Abas replied. "Our arrival would spell their doom."

written while listening to:  Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um (Columbia, CS 8171, 1959, United States, lp,

June 23, 2023
Despite their periodic fishing successes, men must eat daily, especially those who labor at the oar from dawn to dusk. Many were the calls to cast nets at the sight of a single fish, in hopes that a school large enough to sate the entire crew dwelt hidden beneath the surface. Abas perforce ignored such pleas; frivolous delays only worsened their plight. Eyes soon turned on any gathering of more than a few ramshackle dwellings on the coast. Muttering grew in volume. "Surely, there is grain there. Let us go ashore and find out." These entreaties too fell on deaf ears.

written while listening to:  Matt Marble - The Living Mirror (Ramble Records, no catalog #, 2022, Australia, digital files,

June 24, 2023
The Aetos reached a peninsula, where they were obliged to travel northeast to round it. At its terminus, the Carthaginians had begun construction of a fortress. For this reason the Greeks called this point Aspis, meaning shield. Abas announced to the crew that their current position lay scarcely a dozen leagues from Carthage, a span traversable in a single day. He mentioned privately to Melanippe to keep in mind their geographical relation to the westernmost tip of Sikelia, lying roughly twice that distance to the northeast. Their close proximity surprised her given their months at sea.

written while listening to:  Albert Ayler - Holy Ghost, disc 6 (Revenant, RVN 213, 2004 (rec. 1967 & 1968), United States, cdx10,

June 25, 2023
The oarsmen cheered when at last they came within sight of Carthage. The buttresses of the outer stone walls that enclosed the city, including the harbor, reached down to the sea. Square towers rose in a regimented pattern. Farther in, streets lined with buildings of the lower town ascended gradually to a central plateau with its own fortress walls, inside which influential temples and luxurious villas were located. All who witnessed the gradual revealing of Carthage on the horizon agreed that it was the most impressive metropolis on the Libyan coast and every bit a worthy rival to Tyre and Athens.

written while listening to:  Oren Ambarchi, Jim O'Rourke & Keiji Haino - Now While It's Still Warm Let Us Pour in All the Mystery (Black Truffle/Medama Records, BT09/mr04, 2013, Australia/Japan, lp,

June 26, 2023
After confirming that they had avoided Leptis, the Aetos was directed to pass through a canal lined with a hundred docks and adjoining wharfs to the inner harbor. An annulus, the docks along the outer perimeter were intended for large merchant ships, while the covered interior docks were reserved for the warships of the Carthaginian navy. Awed by the display of might implicit in the architecture, the captain paid the docking fee without argument or haggling. Nor did he quibble with his own men who immediately lined up for wages to be disbursed from the quartermaster.

written while listening to:  Steve Swallow - Damaged in Transit (WATT Works Inc./ECM Records, XtraWATT/11, 2003, Germany, cd,

June 27, 2023
Melanippe, Linus and the Ethiopian lingered at the end of the queue. The Ethiopian had donned his chiton; it stretched tight across his broad shoulders. Melanippe was obliged to wait upon the deck of the Aetos for Theodoros, while she watched the Ethiopian disembark then vanish into the crowded street. She wondered if she would see him again. Surely Carthage offered a safer haven than Cyrene. The thought of the Ethiopian escaping prompted Melanippe to think of her own liberty. She eyed Carthage as a potential destination but could not imagine a scenario where she was able to safely shed her male disguise.

written while listening to:  Theresa Wong - Practicing Sands (Fo'c'sle Records, FCSL-006, 2022, United States, cd,

June 28, 2023
Having arrived safely, a joyful relief infused the sailors. When just a few officers remained on deck, the scholar addressed Melanippe saying, "Allow me to give you the grand tour of Carthage." As his apprentice, Melanippe supposed she was obliged to accept the offer, though she would have done so anyway. She hoped that the library was included in the tour. Curiously, Linus had remained behind. The captain called after them. "Take our singer with you, I am tired of looking at his happy face; it makes me sick for home."

written while listening to:  Sven-Åke Johansson - The 80's Selected Concerts, disc 3 (SÅJ, SÅJ-CD 35, 2014 (rec. 1991), Germany, cdx5,

June 29, 2023
The scholar, singer and cartographer set out to explore the splendors of Carthage. The exit from the wharf was adorned with an ornate gate. Melanippe soon observed that many intersections of the cobblestone streets were decorated with arches, as if pedestrians moved from one stately room of an expansive palace to another. Most of the buildings were whitewashed, giving an unusually tidy appearance. The sewers had been well engineered for the odor that ordinarily settled in cities of this size was not carried on the breeze in Carthage. The diverse populace paid no attention to a trio of Greek sight-seers.

written while listening to:  Miles Davis - Jack Johnson (Columbia, S 30455, 1971, United States, lp,

June 30, 2023
We observe Melanippe and her two companions passing through the metal working district where forges smelted ore into workable iron and molten slag. From there, they visited an avenue lined by pottery kilns then another full of women singing as they worked looms. If any among this particular group recalled their last adventure fleeing through the dark of Thonis, they did not remark upon it. Instead, each seemed immersed in the sensory bombardment of Carthage: the babble of languages on the streets, the colorful garments, the perfume wafting from passers-by. The pleasure of sharing these experiences seemed not entirely lost upon them.

written while listening to:  Mike Reed's Loose Assembly - The Speed of Change (482 Music, 482-1062, 2008, United States, cd,

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