The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

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


March 1, 2024
Knossos lay at the confluence of the Vlychia and Kairatos, three miles from the northern coast. Situated atop a knoll at the center of the city stood the palace of King Minos. From the outskirts, Europe peered upon its low stone walls with undisguised aversion. "I take it," said her guide, "this is not the first time that you have laid eyes upon the palace." She cast her gaze to the ground. "I must return now to see what state the soldiers have left my home. I know not the spellcraft you cast upon my family to take you in, but you must work it again on a city-dweller."

written while listening to:  Théo Ceccaldi - Petite Moutarde (ONJazz Records, JF001, 2015, France, cd,

March 2, 2024
To the husband, Europe seemed overcome by an abject resignation. He was moved to part with a few coins, telling her, "It's all I can spare." She reluctantly accepted, so great was her need. "In Knossos, perhaps you can seek out the abode of a patron more accommodating than a goatherd." He took a step along the road back toward his village. She called out after him. "You are wrong. I could not have received a kinder welcome than that which, first your goats, and then your family offered. My only regret is that I have no means to properly express my gratitude." He nodded, "Farewell, witch," and departed.

written while listening to:  Emanuele Maniscalco, Francesco Bigoni, Mark Solborg - untitled (ILK Music, ILK241LP, 2015, Denmark, lp,

March 3, 2024
Along the paved road toward the city she walked, hunching over a bit, as the villager had suggested, so as not to draw attention. First she passed groves of olive trees and fields of wheat. Soon single-story houses and shops, constructed of limestone, lined the street. Gradually, bustling pedestrians appeared, moving briskly past her, who, without destination, proceeded with slow, uncertain steps. Despite the evident cheer and prosperity around her, the city loomed grim and foreboding over Europe. It was all she could do to resist turning around and fleeing back the way she had come.

written while listening to:  Anna Webber - Simple (Skirl Records, Skirl 027, 2014, United States, cd,

March 4, 2024
Before she rounded the corner, the scent of fennel on the air hinted at the presence of a square where merchants had erected rows of stalls. She witnessed there the wealth of Knossos, and Crete at large, as the center of a vibrant trade between the many peoples who resided along the shores of the Great Sea. She caught snippets of conversation in Punic, Berber and other languages that she did not recognize. Once she heard the familiar Attic dialect of Athens. She spun about to find from whom the words had issued, but the source was lost in the throng.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Pieces for Guitar (Tzadik, TZ 7080, 2002 (rec. 1966 & 1967), United States, cd,

March 5, 2024
With little to her name, she spent no money. When she lingered too long in one spot, a shopkeeper barked at her to make way for paying customers. Unfortunately no goats appeared to lead her to a sanctuary. Europe supposed that the fleeting arcane powers of a witch had deserted her in this urban setting. For a while, she scanned the crowd, searching for signs of a kind-hearted patron. Abruptly, her actions struck her as those of a charlatan or a pickpocket in pursuit of an easy mark, so, feeling guilty, she stopped. She refused to cheapen herself in this way.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Global Ancient Atmosphere (P.S.F. Records, PSFD-8021, 2005, Japan, cd,

March 6, 2024
Despite her misgivings, Europe's situation was desperate. She approached a middle-aged woman with silver brooches pinning her chiton at the shoulders and rings adorning her fingers. A servant accompanied her, bearing a woven basket that filled with fresh fruits and vegetables as they shopped. Europe caught her gaze and spoke, "Excuse me, I am new to the city and uncertain of my way." Her judgment of character was sorely misplaced for the woman briefly assessed her peasant garb and rebuked her, "Away with you! If you are looking for charity, you best head to a temple before the day's alms are dispersed."

written while listening to:  The Art Ensemble of Chicago - Coming Home Jamaica (Atlantic Records, 83149-2, 1998, United States, cd,

March 7, 2024
The notion of a temple distributing food was, of course, familiar to Europe. The Athenian government also used such measures to passivate civil discontent, which might otherwise arise due to hunger in the city. In Knossos, the magnificent palatial complex played host to both affairs of state and religious functions. Dare she return to the palace of her own free will? Full of doubt, she trod the road up Kephala Hill, atop which rested the palace. Its many passages included a stairway descending to an underground chamber with a mighty bronze door that opened to the labyrinth.

written while listening to:  Joëlle Léandre, Mat Maneri, Christophe Marguet & Joel Ryan - For Flowers (Leo Records, CD LR 396, 2004, United Kingdom, cd,

March 8, 2024
At the public entrance, soldiers funneled visitors to the right or left separating them into those seeking an audience with the court or mendicants headed to the temple. Europe joined the larger crowd temple-bound. They were ushered down a long arcade. On one wall, Europe paused before a vivid mosaic of dolphins swimming among schools of fish above a reef covered with spiny urchins. She associated dolphins with Poseidon and guessed that the corridor led to a shrine in his name. Disrupting her reverie, the throng pushed her along.

written while listening to:  Matthew Shipp - The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp (Mahakala Music, MAHA-061, 2023, United States, cd,

March 9, 2024
The crowd emptied into a courtyard, in which no priest was yet present. Temple acolytes positioned the visitors to fill the space while several women arranged a buffet style meal upon a long stone table at the far wall. A lone statue of the wrathful sea god was erected in the center of the yard, surrounded by a moat of clear water. After waiting for the appointed hour, a bearded priest entered from a shadowed arch. He mounted a stone dais and gazed upon his congregation with a haughty expression of condescension, or so it seemed to Europe.

written while listening to:  Zosha Warpeha - silver dawn (Relative Pitch Records, RPRSS029, 2024, United States, cd,

March 10, 2024
Although the throng was hungry and the tantalizing aroma of fresh baked bread hung in the air, the priest spoke in a slow, rambling tone. He commanded them all to lift their arms. Though she bristled at the order, Europe obeyed lest she stand out among the crowd. He then led them in a rather lengthy and meandering prayer to Poseidon. First, he praised the various attributes of the sea god. Then he recounted several tales in which his might, both virtuous and otherwise, was displayed. Eventually, he got around to thanking him for the bounty laid out for his pitiful followers.

written while listening to:  Steve Coleman & Five Elements - Harvesting Semblances And Affinities (Pi Recordings, PI33, 2010, United States, cd,

March 11, 2024
During the prayer, acolytes wandered through the crowd. It was their duty each morning, though Europe did not know this, to single out one or two individuals who would be denied food. This practice encouraged others to better appreciate the meal and thus the generosity of the temple. Knowing the policy, regular visitors prayed with exaggerated fervor. When the recital concluded, the two assistants had found their marks. To Europe's alarm one stood beside her. The priest innocently asked the acolytes if something was wrong. "This woman did not pray in earnest," declared the man, gesturing at Europe.

written while listening to:  Alvin Curran - Lost Marbles (Tzadik, TZ 7097, 2004, United States, cd,

March 12, 2024
The priest sauntered over to her. She shrank, so that she stood no taller than the cleric. He addressed her, saying, "Why, daughter of man, do you see fit to pollute our prayer with your tepid disbelief?" He did not give her time to answer but turned to the crowd, "What grievance does she hold against the gods that she begrudges them their due?" He swiftly rotated back to her. She feared to speak lest her accent betray her. A heavy silence hung over the courtyard. "Confess!" he demanded, "if you would eat. The bread grows cold."

written while listening to:  Oliver Lake - Edge-ing (Black Saint, 120104-2, 1994, Italy, cd,

March 13, 2024
Europe kept her thoughts to herself. Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare, patroness of the city of Athens, had abandoned her to the lottery. Europe's life had been judged valuable only as a tribute by which the army of King Minos could be turned away from the walls of her home. Though her sacrifice and that of thirteen other youths had satisfied the Cretans, she had not been able to reconcile her thinking with any perspective remotely resembling an appreciation of her role. On the contrary, the experience had induced in Europe the bitter belief that the gods did not exist.

written while listening to:  Jon Christensen - Selected Recordings (ECM Records, :rarum XX, 2004 (orig. 1974-1997), Germany, cd,

March 14, 2024
Europe had reached the conclusion that men like the priest before her, allied with the government, had created gods to manipulate the population. There was no other possible explanation for her mother and father willingly relinquishing their claim to her. At these thoughts, the renewed hurt of her abandonment blazed through her like fire. She wanted to shout at the insolent priest that she knew the secret of his fabricated lies. Of course, given the circumstances, she dared not utter a word. She bowed her head and waited for her judgment to be delivered.

written while listening to:  Nosoy Trio - Refracción (Ramble Records, no catalog #, 2022, Australia, digital files,

March 15, 2024
Ultimately, she and one other mendicant were removed from the courtyard. An acolyte escorted them along a different path than that by which they had entered the palace grounds. In one stretch of hallway, lit by a charcoal brazier, a stairwell opened beside them. In the smoky, flickering light, its depths presented a dark oblivion. Europe's heart rose in her throat, as she imagined her proximity to the entrance of the labyrinth. However, the temple aide pushed her along, abandoning them outside a small, locked gate, used only by servants and delivery men.

written while listening to:  Chet Baker & Strings - Love Walked In (Harmony, HL 7320, 1964 (orig. 1954), United States, lp,

March 16, 2024
Her companion, surprisingly, took their dismissal in stride. Outside the walls, he introduced himself as Abydos. A few years older than her, he seemed of good looks and health, an unlikely candidate to be reduced to living off public charity. He privately thought the same of Europe. "Is this your first time getting ejected?" he asked. She nodded. "It's happened to me twice before! Tomorrow it'll be someone else," he said cheerfully. "Still we need to eat today. Come with me. I know another temple that tends to Poseidon's rejects." He ambled down the slope and Europe, with no other plan in mind, followed.

written while listening to:  Sonny Rollins - Way Out West (Contemporary Records, C3530, 1957, United States, lp,

March 17, 2024
Exhausted by the swing of emotions in the palace complex, Europe quietly trailed Abydos as he wove a path through narrow alleys. Over his shoulder, he asked "What's your name?" Answering even this innocent question now seemed fraught with potential repercussions. Abydos shook his head and, still walking, intoned in imitation of the priest, "What grievance does she hold against me that she begrudges me her name?" He winked at her and, through a half smile, she surrendered her name. "Europe!" he repeated, as if discovering a fabled treasure. The girl was not wholly immune to his infectious exuberance.

written while listening to:  Miles Davis - Blue Moods (Debut Records, DEB-120, 1955, United States, lp,

March 18, 2024
On the outskirts of Knossos, Abydos delivered them to a humble dwelling with a front porch shielded by a faded blanket stretched between two poles propped against the building. He ducked down and entered, calling out, "Hello?" They were greeted by a woman, wrapped in a linen dyed in black along the hem with symbols of ritualized horns and double-bladed axes. She appeared to recognize Abydos and greeted him with a nod. Europe she scanned with a shrewd eye. "Poseidon found us unworthy," Abydos gaily confessed. Observing the woman's interest in Europe, he issued an offhand appraisal, "She is a tall girl."

written while listening to:  John Zorn - The Classic Guide To Strategy, Volume 1 (Lumina Records Ltd., L004, 1983, United States, lp,

March 19, 2024
"And none too well fed," said their hostess, admonishing Abydos. She invited them into her home, which reeked of saffron incense. Inside, Europe found a shrine more appropriate to a rural, sacred cave. In an alcove, a tableau of copper figures depicted an elegant woman holding aloft a snake in each hand, surrounded by one man and several beasts kneeling before her in worship. Europe could not know the name of this ancient goddess who predated the arrival of Greek gods on Crete. Notably, the woman did not wring a profession of faith from her before providing a modest breakfast.

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

March 20, 2024
It was Abydos who, after eating and drinking, nodded to the figure of the snake goddess and suggested to Europe, "Shall we say a prayer of thanks for our meal?" Europe looked from the man to their hostess, attempting to assess the manner of people whose hospitality she shared. "It will do little good," she admitted after a pause. "And why is that?" asked the woman. Europe replied frankly, "There are no gods but what the tongues of men conspire." The priestess smiled at these words. "A worthy prayer," she cackled, "worthy indeed!"

written while listening to:  Thumbscrew - Multicolored Midnight (Cuneiform Records, rune 485, 2022, United States, cd,

March 21, 2024
When pressed on how she had come to Knossos, Europe demurred. "In truth," she replied, "I am much more interested in leaving." The priestess said in a languid voice, "There is no port on the Great Sea with more trade than Knossos. You have only to find the right ship to board and be on your way." Abydos chimed in, "Of course, there's always the matter of the fare." Neither asked Europe if she possessed the means to pay for passage to a far shore, for it was clear by her dress, thin frame and general circumstances that she did not.

written while listening to:  Roscoe Mitchell - L-R-G, sides C & D (Nessa Records, N-14/15, 1978, United States, lpx2,

March 22, 2024
In leaving the shrine of the snake goddess, Europe offered one coin as a gesture of gratitude. The priestess gently closed Europe's fingers over the bronze piece. "It is clear that this is all you possess and was given to you in your need, which is greater than mine. Keep it." Abydos lightened the mood, saying, "Besides, having accepted her charity, your debt to the Mother is real, whether she exists or not." Europe wondered if the goddess was so ancient that her people called her Mother because they had forgotten her name. She silently repeated her own mother's name lest it slip from her memory and she become unreal.

written while listening to:  Four Gentlemen of the Guitar - Cloud, disc 2 (Erstwhile Records, erstwhile 046-2, 2005, United States, cdx2,

March 23, 2024
Europe spent the day on a wandering tour through Knossos, guided by Abydos, who seemed to have nothing else planned, or had put it all aside for her sake. They passed an open work yard where olives were pressed then warmed, separating out the oil. In another, more odorous yard, workers did much the same with herring, producing fish oil. She saw store houses containing vast rows of clay amphorae filled with wine. In the afternoon, he left her sitting in the shadow of an aqueduct, asking her to give him a few minutes while he scavenged for supper.

written while listening to:  Otomo Yoshihide - We Insist? (Sound Factory, SFCD:003, 1992, Hong Kong, cd,

March 24, 2024
When he was away, Abydos spotted a squad of soldiers, patrolling the street. They questioned merchants and pedestrians regarding a fugitive, whom they described as a tall, thin woman from Athens. He nonchalantly passed them, then hurriedly returned to the place where he had left Europe. He found her sitting there, apparently as carefree as a bird. "Why didn't you tell me that you were being hunted?" he whispered to her. "Why should anyone express an interest in me?" she replied innocently. Abydos frowned. "Don't play coy. Soldiers are combing the streets looking for you." At this news, Europe blanched.

written while listening to:  John Coltrane - Coltrane Jazz (Atlantic Records, SD 1354, 1961, United States, lp,

March 25, 2024
Abydos seemed to lose his carefree interest in Europe once he understood that being found in her company carried sizeable risk. For her part, she had extracted no obligation of service or friendship from the man. Reading his uneasiness, she said, "Point me toward the coast and I shall make my way there." Two ports served Knossos, one at Amnisos and another at Heraklion, a good bit closer. As Abydos described them to her, she observed his uncertainty. Adopting a strangely clinical indifference, she wondered, without casting judgment, whether his fear would smother his kindness.

written while listening to:  Company - Trios, sides C & D (Honest Jon's Records, HJRLP214, 2019 (rec. 1983), United Kingdom, lpx2,

March 26, 2024
As the shadows of buildings lengthened until they crossed the street, Abydos led Europe to Heraklion. The distance was not great and the road well maintained. They never truly left the city, for the land was continuously parceled into plots of olive orchards and wheat fields interspersed with small collections of homes. The scent of the sea enveloped them as they drew toward the coast. In little more than an hour, the density of buildings increased again as they arrived in darkness at the port. Abydos knew every alley here too and guided them to an out-of-way spot, where they could pass the night undisturbed.

written while listening to:  Ornette Coleman & Prime Time - Opening The Caravan Of Dreams (Caravan Of Dreams Productions, CDP85001, 1985, United States, lp,

March 27, 2024
Settling in at the edge of what seemed a sailmaker's lot, Europe rested on a folded bundle of sun-worn, coarse linen cloth. Above a second, nearby bundle, Abydos stood. He made but one invitation for Europe to share his makeshift bed. When she declined, he did not press the issue nor express disappointment but promptly lay down. It seemed that he judged the company of women to be no more under his control than the onset of rain. When the clouds chose to empty above him, he took advantage of the moment. Life offered other enjoyments under clear skies.

written while listening to:  Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Blacknuss (Atlantic Records, SD 1601, 1972, United States, lp,

March 28, 2024
As for Europe, Abydos' offhand proposition set her on edge. She lay with one eye open, unable to fall asleep, fearing that he might come upon her in the night. Even when the rhythm of his breathing had become steady and a canopy of stars filled the night sky, she did not fully relax. As a virgin she had been offered to the Minotaur and a virgin she remained. It seemed unwise for her to entertain any new relationship—no matter how curious she might be—while her freedom and her very life yet hung in the balance.

written while listening to:  Mario Pavone Dialect Trio - Philosophy (Clean Feed, CF530CD, 2019, Portugal, cd,

March 29, 2024
Whether because she had rebuffed his advance or because soldiers searched for her, Europe sensed on the following morning that Abydos was ready to be rid of her. Still, like the goatherd's father, he did not simply abandon her. He seemed bound by an internal code to deposit her somewhere that she might have a fighting chance of survival. After he proved unable to procure them breakfast, his mood soured further, though he did his best to hide it. "That ship," he said, pointing to a trireme, "is taking colonists to populate new settlements that extend the reach of King Minos' empire."

written while listening to:  Phill Niblock - Four Full Flutes (Experimental Intermedia Foundation, XI 101, 1990, United States, cd,

March 30, 2024
Abydos led her to a series of tents in a lot not far from the wharf where men and women had gathered in the shade. He soon determined that they were assembled colonists, waiting to board today, perhaps tomorrow. With Europe by his side, he encountered a woman whose face he recognized. "Cousin!" she called to him when their eyes met. He approached and greeted both her and her husband warmly. She said to him, "I told you when you left the village, we too would find a way to escape the poverty of our home."

written while listening to:  Various Artists - Meuf Vol. 1 (Barefoot Records, BFREC077CD, 2023, Denmark, cd,

March 31, 2024
His cousin explained, "We sail for Tenedos, far to the northeast." Abydos reached back and pulled his companion forward by the arm. "My friend, Europe, seeks to aid in the building of a new settlement at Tenedos as well, but she has not yet made her arrangements. Is there space for one more on the ship?" The woman examined the stranger and doubt flickered across her face. Had her relation not vouched for her, she would have turned the unwelcome addition away. As it was, she instead asked Europe, "Is this indeed your desire?" What other option did our heroine have? "It is."

written while listening to:  Éliane Radigue - Œuvres Électroniques, disc 8: Mila's Journey Inspired By A Dream (INA-GRM, INA 6060/74, 2018 (rec. 1984), France, cdx14,

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