The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

Hebeloma's Lament in a Dozen Denials
Hebeloma Crustuliniforme
(link to main page of novel)


January 1, 2024
To truly embrace life, one must appreciate the vivid details in each passing moment as rendered through the senses. This act requires disengaging the analytical apparatus of the brain in favor or the perceptual. For one who had been selected in the lottery and offered to the minotaur in the labyrinth of Knossos, so as to end the siege of Athens, the senses were overwhelmed by the lingering musk of the bull and the echo of its hooves on the stone floor of unseen corridors. Thus we introduce our heroine, who denying her senses, whispered into darkness, "There is no minotaur."

written while listening to:  Alexandra Grimal & Benjamin Lévy - The Monkey In The Abstract Garden: Over Mountains, tracks 1-12 (Nunc., NUNC.032, 2022, France, digital files,

January 2, 2024
Arms outstretched, Europe defined with her fingertips the stone walls of the maze. By the second day of her entombment, she had already wandered past the orderly, rectangular hallways into the rough-hewn tunnels of the mine. Moisture condensed on the rock, tasting of copper and minerals. Her sandalled feet splashed through puddles on the uneven floor. It was absurd, she told herself, to imagine a beast half man and half bull caged in these depths. If such fantastical creatures actually existed, she would have seen evidence of them in Athens, capital of the world, where all wonders are known.

written while listening to:  Sandro Gibellini, Giulio Corini & Emanuele Maniscalco - The Boy Next Door (Ritmo & Blu, R&BV2001, 2021, Italy, lp,

January 3, 2024
Ever descending, she drifted blindly through the tunnels. In the darkness a drop of water fell upon her brow from a fissure in the rock. She lay supine on the hard ground, shifting her position until the drops, spaced by a minute, landed in her open mouth. In this way, she slaked her thirst and dared the minotaur to stumble upon her, proving its existence. She refused to succumb to fear over a figment of fancy. The sound of pebbles skittering over stone snaked through the serpentine shafts. She waited in vain for the arrival of the minotaur to ease her loneliness.

written while listening to:  Anna Webber - Shimmer Wince (Intakt Records, Intakt CD 407, 2023, Switzerland, cd,

January 4, 2024
The minotaur did not appear because, Europe reminded herself, the beast did not exist. What creatures she encountered were limited to crawling beetles and worms. On the banks of shallow, subterranean pools of brine, she found crabs and prawn. She was forced to consume these animals daily lest she perish from starvation. Upon the diet of the bull she could only speculate. Surely a creature of such renown myth did not subsist on low insects and scurrying invertebrates. It demanded virgins to sate its rapacious appetite. So sat Europe—abject, apex predator—upon a stone perch in the utter darkness.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Concert in Milwaukee (Incus Records, CD 62, 2011 (orig. 1983), United Kingdom, cd,

January 5, 2024
Unlike the minotaur, the reality of the labyrinth could not be denied. Cool and solid to the touch, the walls of the narrow tunnels served as an incessant reminder of her ill fortune in having had her name chosen among thousands in Athens as one of seven young women to accompany seven young men back to Crete. Crammed together in the hold of the ship, they had shared anxious predictions of the ghastly, violent end awaiting them when offered as sacrificial victims to the minotaur. None among them had supposed that their fate was to wander at length beneath the Earth.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Soul's True Love, disc 3 (Purple Trap, PT-003, 1995 (rec. 1973), Japan, cdx4,

January 6, 2024
Europe had no means to measure time in the absence of sunrise and sunset. Her internal clock unwound as if she were destined to become a stone among stones, subject only to a grinding, underground turmoil on the scale of geological epochs. Tortured minutes distended into eternity and eventless days vanished in the blink of an eye. Months passed, perhaps a year—why not a century? She aged in an inhuman manner. Her seventeenth birthday arrived unbeknownst to her, celebrated only by the soundless groaning of the Earth and an occasional snort from the lurking beast.

written while listening to:  The Art Ensemble of Chicago - Certain Blacks (America Records, 30 AM 6098, 1970, France, lp,

January 7, 2024
The gate to the labyrinth had been sealed only after Europe had been ushered inside with thirteen other Athenian youths. They had immediately dispersed, thinking it more dangerous to remain in a group. They might have acted differently had they realized that their demise was not imminent and anticipated the solitude of the mine. She now heard footsteps approach and, judging them unlike the resounding clack of hooves, waited until the man was upon her before revealing herself. "Hello?" Startled, he jumped back. "Who is it?" From his dialect and the tremor in his voice, she recognized Amphidocus.

written while listening to:  MMM Quartet - Oakland/Lisboa (RogueArt, ROG-0063, 2015, France, cd,

January 8, 2024
Like all lost in the maze, Europe and Amphidocus were anxious and befuddled. They failed to use the chance meeting to fortify themselves. Rather, they allowed their misgivings to feed off each other. "We shall starve here," said Europe. "We shall not elude the minotaur long enough to starve," he replied. "There is no minotaur," she insisted, "It's just a metaphor for the insatiable appetite of King Minos." If Europe meant her words to offer comfort, Amphidocus did not receive them in kind. "We shall all die," he muttered before disappearing into the shadows. So went the random, dispirited encounters in the labyrinth.

written while listening to:  Matthew Shipp Trio - Circular Temple (ESP Disk, ESP4082, 2023 (orig. 1992), United States, cd,

January 9, 2024
On another occasion, Europe distinctly heard the passage of men speaking in the Cretan dialect. The fall of their boots on the ground mingled with a clatter of sharp raps. From the same direction, the hoarse bellow of the minotaur abruptly resonated through the mine. She did not move to investigate. In her mind's eye, she already pictured soldiers impersonating the beast with walking sticks ending in cloven, cow hooves and a horn that transformed their breath into bestial roars. They prowled the maze seeking to collect an inmate to subject to the cruel pleasure of their king.

written while listening to:  Joanna Mattrey - Veiled (Relative Pitch Records, RPR1095, 2020, United States, cd,

January 10, 2024
Another maiden interned in the labyrinth, Eurymedusa, had sought shelter in a portion of the mine submerged beneath an underground lake. When wandering steps led her to its stone bank, Europe found her friend floating with only her pale face above the dark surface. She appeared as a luminous, bobbing buoy marking danger in the drowned tunnels. Europe crouched on shore and slipped her fingers through the chill water. Her voice carried in the gap between the high, cavernous dome and the plane of the lake. "Eurymedusa, come forth from this cold mere. Let my arms warm you."

written while listening to:  Steve Lehman Trio - Dialect Fluorescent (Pi Recordings, PI42, 2012, United States, cd,

January 11, 2024
The swimming maiden's calm reply reached her ears. "I shall not abandon my refuge from the beast, though you are welcome to join me." The water was far too cold for Europe to enter. Even now, goosebumps spread from her wet hand up her arm. Moreover, the motivation that drove Eurymedusa into the lake, namely the threat of the minotaur, did not impel Europe in the same way, since, of course, the bull did not exist for her. She gave voice to her song over the water. "There is no minotaur, my friend. We are alone in this darkness."

written while listening to:  Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Ensemble - Dreams (Tzadik, TZ 7238, 2002, United States, cd,

January 12, 2024
For some, the boundary between the real and the imagined is blurred. Especially for those with an unwavering belief in the rightness of their own perspective, an overwhelming consensus to the contrary by everyone else poses an indecipherable riddle. Which party is in the grip of madness? To insist that the entire world is deluded is to declare oneself deranged. For Europe the labyrinth not only confined her body in a physical maze but also tied the logical working of her mind in inextricable knots. Not every hoarse, manic scream that echoed in the chambers of the mine could be traced to the minotaur.

written while listening to:  The Paul Bley Group - Hot (Soul Note, SN 1140, 1986, Italy, lp,

January 13, 2024
Europe found what respite she could in movement. Rather than sink to the ground in despair, she continually walked the corridors of the maze until, exhausted, sleep claimed her. Due to the pervasive darkness and the similarity of one shaft to another, she had no way of knowing how many times she retraced her steps. Nonetheless, every so often she entered a new chamber that possessed some feature, perhaps an arrangement of stalagmites or a particular echo, where she was certain she had not previously ventured. In this manner, Europe descended into the depths of the mine.

written while listening to:  John Abercrombie - Selected Recordings (ECM Records, :rarum XIV, 2004 (orig. 1975-2002), Germany, cd,

January 14, 2024
How can we demand of our heroine, who relegated the minotaur to metaphor, a literal account of her descent through the labyrinth? This ancient mythology was never intended to express truths of physics, chemistry or biology. Europe wandered through her expansive tomb to the soundtrack of seismic reverberations too low for the ear to detect but not beyond the resonance of bone and teeth. Other whispers that registered with her could not be attributed to friends or to beast for she had wandered far. Presumably, she approached a depth where the veil to the underworld was thin and voices of the dead reached her.

written while listening to:  Heikki Ruokangas & Landon George - Devotional (Ramble Records, RAM 30, 2022, Australia, digital files,

January 15, 2024
The dank odor of subterranean tunnels was interrupted only by the occasional foray into passages filled with polluted air. Unable to rely upon her sight, other senses grew more finely attuned. At the first whiff of sulfur, she hastily retreated from a chamber. No less did the scent of marginally cleaner air go undetected. Like a vine mindlessly weaving through the foliage toward sunlight, so too did Europe blindly navigate the maze, guided by the teasing allure of a faint breeze that triggered a memory of the open sky.

written while listening to:  Chet Baker - In New York (Riverside Records, RLP 12-281, 1958, United States, lp,

January 16, 2024
Europe did not succumb to the false hope of escape from the labyrinth. Although she pursued minute fluctuations in the quality of the air, she often arrived in a stone pocket without apparent egress. Forced to retrace her steps, she returned to the last juncture and made another choice. The maze appeared infinite, so the notion of exhausting her options never occurred to her. Following a perceived reduction in the contamination of the air, she gradually ascended from the deepest pit of the mine along a path that led away from the entrance in Knossos.

written while listening to:  Sonny Rollins - A Night at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, BLP 1581, 1957, United States, lp,

January 17, 2024
Europe woke to the sound of claws scurrying over stone. The scratching kindled thoughts of childhood visits to her family farm outside the walls of Athens—scenes from a former life nearly forgotten. A mouse could not dwell solely in these caves for it must feed upon seeds, fruit and grain. She thought to follow it, if only to press her face against a tiny hole leading to the outside world and steal a glimpse of sunlight. Although she never laid eyes on it, the little gray mouse waited patiently at each corner for her to catch up.

written while listening to:  Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (Columbia, CS 9875, 1969, United States, lp,

January 18, 2024
It seemed too short a journey, but this mouse had not delved deep into the mine. Before Europe loomed a fissure in the rock, not tiny as she had supposed, but as large as eternity or so it appeared to her eyes. She could not see the destination beyond its curves, but she basked in a current of fresh air such as could be generated only by winds blowing freely across the countryside. She delayed exploring the passage through the gap lest her hopes soon be dashed. Instead, she breathed deeply, reveling in air so clean it burned her lungs.

written while listening to:  John Zorn - Redbird (Tzadik, TZ 7008, 1995, United States, cd,

January 19, 2024
Eventually, Europe returned to a world governed by the incessant march of time. She strode to the opening in the rock. Tall and narrow, the gap seemed cut to the silhouette of her own frame, for she needed but to turn sideways to slip past the tightest constrictions. Beyond all belief, she stood, concealed within the shadow of a cave, whose mouth opened to the surface world. Through this aperture, she listened to the pitter patter of rain falling from impossible heights upon a field of wild grass. Never had her ears beheld a more majestic symphony.

written while listening to:  Oren Ambarchi, Jim O'Rourke & Keiji Haino - With pats on the head..., sides A & B (Black Truffle/Medama Records, BT113/mr12, 2024, Australia/Japan, lpx3,

January 20, 2024
With steady steps, Europe emerged from the cave. She was surprised to discover the sun still low in the morning sky, cloaked behind a thin veneer of clouds. She had presumed the hour was late at night, to match the darkness in the mine. She stood midway upon a grassy slope, a valley opened before her and rocky hills rose behind. The rain fell determinedly. Soon the fine, white linen of the sacrificial gown, in which she had been garbed when ushered into the labyrinth, was pasted to her body. Rain trickled down a form as still as a marble statue.

written while listening to:  Tomeka Reid & Fred Lonberg-Holm - Eight Pieces for Two Cellos (Corbett vs. Dempsey, CvsDLP004, 2022, United States, lp,

January 21, 2024
A sense of bewildered incomprehension overcame Europe as her eyes took in the countryside. It seemed preposterous that she could have become a person for whom a mere country vista rendered a paralysis of mind and body. Brightly limned clouds conspired with tall grass blades, bent with pendant drops, to induce in her a stupefaction so complete that even her breath paused. Only the high-pitched call of a pallid swift, braving the rain, retrieved Europe from her reverie. Her gaze followed the flight of the lone bird until it disappeared behind a hill.

written while listening to:  Masahiko Togashi, Steve Lacy & Yuji Takahashi - untitled (Studio Songs, YZSO-10133, 2023 (rec. 2000), Japan, cd,

January 22, 2024
Europe surveyed the landscape. Of Knossos she saw no sign; far had she traveled underground. No road or other sign of human habitation marred the scene. Cold gray boulders peppered otherwise unbroken swaths of grass. A parade of carob and tree-spurge wound down the slope to the valley floor, presumably following the meandering path of a creek. Some of these shrubs were large enough to offer shelter from the rain. O, the brilliance of the world proved too sudden! Beyond all belief, Europe rejected their offer of sanctuary and instead retreated back into the comforting darkness of the cave.

written while listening to:  Keith Rowe - untitled (Erstwhile Records, ErstLive 007, 2008, United States, cd,

January 23, 2024
By midmorning, the rain relented. Daylight beckoned Europe to shed her stone cocoon. Her ambivalence threatened to split her in twain, for part of her desired to race into the valley and, putting a great distance between herself and the mine, run until she could run no more. Yet a hard kernel had lodged in her soul, which, like a black pearl, had grown layer by layer, absorbing the darkness of the labyrinth. There was a beauty in its lustrous appeal, which she was loath to forsake. She wavered at the border, standing just inside the shadow's edge.

written while listening to:  Novo Tono - Panorama Paradise (Creativeman Disc, CMDD 00038, 1996, Japan, cd,

January 24, 2024
A cleft in the hills provided a path to the valley. Before she saw them, the bowl of the land funneled the bleating of goats to Europe's ears. She watched the herd of more than thirty animals emerge from the gap. One large male looked out over nannies, many with kids tagging along beside them. Running circles about the herd was a shepherd dog with fur of gold upon its back and straw on its chest. Behind them, bearing a tall staff, came the goatherd—a boy so young he seemed barely able to keep pace with his charges.

written while listening to:  John Coltrane - Black Pearls (Prestige, PR 7316, 1964 (rec. 1958), United States, lp,

January 25, 2024
She came forth then from the mouth of cave, for she did not relish the role of furtive spy. Clear sunlight struck her brow with the force of a blow but she did not cower beneath it. Minutes passed as the ensemble of goats, dog and boy made their way to an attractive patch of grass, still damp from the recent rain. Once the herd had begun to eat, the boy diligently scanned the full perimeter of the peaks that rimmed the valley. For though Crete was free of wolves and bears, an eagle could carry off a kid.

written while listening to:  Company - Epiphanies VII - XIII, sides D, E & F (Honest Jon's Records, HJRLP213, 2019 (rec. 1982), United Kingdom, lpx3,

January 26, 2024
When the young goatherd's gaze came to rest on Europe, outlined by the black mouth of the cave, he seemed not to trust his senses. A distance of more than five hundred feet separated them. He squinted and shielded his eyes from the sun as if she were likely an illusion of light playing off wet stone. When her form persisted, he took a step toward her, which drew the dog's attention. "Growler, stay!" the boy shouted in a high, nervous voice. He repeated the command twice until the dog reluctantly obeyed. He then approached alone.

written while listening to:  Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus & Max Roach - Hot House, disc 1 (Craft Recordings, 0888072530768, 2023 (rec. 1953), United States, cdx2,

January 27, 2024
His inquisitive attitude changed when he drew near Europe. From a distance, he had seen a lone woman dressed in a white gown, a curiosity to be sure in this remote valley, but no cause for alarm. However, as he climbed the slope and resolved her features, he proved unable to quell a rising fear. A year of dwelling far from the light of the sun had indelibly etched the signs of deprivation no less on Europe's physical appearance than upon her mind. The boy perceived a figure who bore the unmistakable visage of a witch.

written while listening to:  Richard Youngs - House Music (Meme, meme007CD, 1998, Japan, cd,

January 28, 2024
Europe had always been tall. In Athens, her girlfriends had teased her that she was too tall to ever claim a husband. However, her father had praised her stature, for her mother, also taller than average, he loved dearly. Even from a distance she towered over the diminutive goatherd. Her erratic diet of insects and invertebrates in the mine had wrought its own designs on her body. Her frame was emaciated and her face nearly as gaunt as a death's head. For months, her hair had suffered neither comb nor knife. It too lent a wild aspect to her mien.

written while listening to:  Adam Rudolph & Tyshawn Sorey - Archaisms I (Defkaz Productions, FK018, 2023, Greece, lp,

January 29, 2024
The boy was no less taken aback by the manner in which she seemed harmed by sunlight. The woman dared not face its radiance, keeping her back to it and forcing him into her long shadow. Surely, this was the habit of a sorceress who lured children to her lair. He eyed the cave mouth warily. It was true that he had argued vehemently with his parents, declaring that he was no longer a child and certainly old enough to go out with Growler and the goats. Had he known what terrors lurked in the valley, he might not have pressed his argument with such fervor.

written while listening to:  Payton MacDonald, Billy Martin, Elliott Sharp & Colin Stetson - Void Patrol (Infrequent Seams, IS-1043, 2022, United States, cd,

January 30, 2024
When he paused his approach, the witch closed the distance between them. He noted the ominous sign that she came to rest, not ten feet away, beside several blooming bundles of purple vervain. The shifting wind carried the heady, citrus scent to him—a sure omen of her ill intent. She opened her mouth to utter a spell, undoubtedly, but was interrupted by a harsh cry from above. Both child and teenager raised their heads to find an enormous eagle soaring over the crest of the encircling peaks to survey from on high the contents of the valley.

written while listening to:  Lotte Anker, Craig Taborn & Gerald Cleaver - Live At The Loft (ILK Music, ILK 148CD, 2009, Denmark, cd,

January 31, 2024
The boy, already fearful that he should be paralyzed by the intoxicating perfume emanating from the witch, was aghast to discover that she had surreptitiously summoned an eagle to carry him off. He spun and, throwing his staff to the ground, bolted down the slope. His pace did not slacken as Europe watched over long minutes while the figure made a beeline for the pass that led from the valley. Soon, he disappeared. The fragrance of vervain had its own potent effect on her. She picked up the goatherd's staff and, with one eye on the eagle, dreamily wandered down to the flock.

written while listening to:  Harry Partch - The Harry Partch Collection Volume 2 (Composers Recordings Inc., CD 752, 1997 (rec. 1958, 1964, 1972 & 1982), United States, cd,

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