Welcome statement

Parting Words from Moristotle (07/31/2023)
tells how to access our archives
of art, poems, stories, serials, travelogues,
essays, reviews, interviews, correspondence….

Monday, August 21, 2023

Afterlife (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

On visiting your native town, we walk
The streets you used to walk before we met.
We talk about the sights. But as you talk,
And as you smile, I can’t help see regret.

Some memory transfixes every spot:
Old dreams, perhaps, of what would gladden you
In years to come. The years have come: I’m not
The future you were looking forward to.

How brave you are—to walk with me, yet bear
Such disappointment, such surprising grief
That, just this once, you can’t humanely share
With me, the one who usually brings relief.

My fault: I thought that you’d enjoy the week.
You take my hand and press it to your cheek.

Copyright © 2023 by Eric Meub
Eric Meub is a California poet & architect.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

A Farewell to Arts

By Roger Owens

There was a man. Just a regular guy really, maybe a bit harder-working than most, but just a regular guy. He had what employers want a guy to have: the house, the wife, the mortgage, the car, the kid, the dog. Best way to keep a worker from considering leaving; he needs this job. Then he broke the mold and bought his own business. After a few years, he was successful enough to have a lot of time on his hands. And, this man had a dream.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Paul Clark
(aka motomynd)

It seems fitting that my internet went out as I was attempting to write this. I was drawn into the Moristotle family by accident, spent most of my time wondering if I fit in as anything more than the proverbial red-headed stepchild, and now an accident was preventing my properly saying goodbye.
    Over the years, Moristotle has become an amazing literary amalgamation that I hope somehow survives and evolves and gains more respect even as you, Morris, move on to other uses of your time. When I was allegedly gainfully employed in the magazine industry, I worked with various publishing houses across the country, but I never knew a group with more talent spread across a wider array of interests and perspectives than I came to know at Moristotle. I hope that you, Morris, and everyone involved, take great pride in what you have been part of.

Friday, August 18, 2023

All Over the Place:
“A Witness to Your Life”
from The...Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein

A Witness to Your Life

She is wife to the husband,
Keeper of memoirs he will never write,
The exposed and the secret-sharer.
Even with life so small, unkempt,
Littered with rude manners and perfumed breath.
Later, if he saved the drowning boy
Or pulled the soldier out of the burning building
Or calmed the man full of slurs and bad skin,
It will only be that ordinary people
Often do extraordinary things.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Farewells to Moristotle & Co.

By André Duvall
[with a few words from
Billy Charles Duvall]

I cherish knowing that my father and Morris are first cousins and have a great respect and affinity for each other (their mothers, Florine & Stella, respectively, were sisters). I’m blessed to have found myself in the middle of the thoughts and creations of these two amazing souls by way of my contributions to Moristotle & Co. I’m grateful to Morris for his unwavering encouragement, inspiration, and direct but always respectful nudging of my continued engagement with his blog.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

“Fairmount” Relined (another
Farewell to Moristotle & Co.)

By Maik Strosahl

When I submitted an audio file of my reading of my 2011 poem “Fairmount” for the sidebar’s “S.o.u.n.d.s of Moristotle & Co.” a few weeks ago, Moristotle observed that he could not hear some of the line breaks he saw presented in my June 21 “Highways and Byways” column, and he asked whether I would like to do a re-reading.
    After trying several times, I decided I didn’t like the way it sounded with all those short lines from a dozen years ago (when I wrote it). Consequently, I changed the line breaks (and only the line breaks) as shown in the new version, below.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

All Over the Place:
“Eight Breaks in the Glaze....”
from The..Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein

Eight Breaks in the 
Glaze or If We Ate
Superstition for Supper


I see exact replication in everyone, every tree,
      every landscape, every valley,
      in every thick mountain crag.
Birds know how to hate that way too.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Bob Boldt

There has been so much to say of late, but I have neglected to say anything due to personal issues inhibiting my creative life. That, and I just got out of the habit of contributing.
    In spite of this dearth, I link to Moristotle & Co. continually. I hope the site will stay up because it is a great link to some of the best of my work, beautifully displayed.
    I cannot express how much your mentorship has meant to me and, as I hear, to my two Mikes as well. Introducing them to you has been one of the great blessings of my life. You have been as great a stimulus to their creative lives as you have been to mine.
    Is there any chance you might be available in an advisory capacity to an aspiring poet from time to time?

Copyright © 2023 by Bob Boldt

Sunday, August 13, 2023

All Over the Place:
from The...Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein


Potholed with devil sores.
He learned to tolerate them,
And now this: straight aways
Huge with speed bumps like blemishes.
“Everything is big there,”
They told him. “Be careful.”
And America was big. Big streets.
Big cereal boxes. Big windows.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Father’s Art:
Works of Billy Charles Duvall [12]

Detail of a photo below
By André Duvall

Beyond the 31 works of art I’ve catalogued so far in this column, there are still other paintings in Dad’s oeuvre worthy of sharing. He recently rediscovered a few more completed works, owing to searches motivated by the evolution of our Father’s Art project. He also discovered several unfinished works from many years ago that the project has inspired him to work on completing.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

When I was talking to Geoffrey Dean about my experience on the European route El Camino and he said “Why don’t you write something about it for my father’s blog? It doesn’t have to be something long and complicated and if you don’t want to do that, we can make it as an interview, you would only answer some questions,” I didn’t know “Adventures from Bulgaria” would become part of the great adventure called Moristotle & Co. But now that I know, I also know I will miss it. I will miss every bit of it – sharing the experience which made me live it once again, the encouraging words from other members, their colorful stories, the considerate, never tired, and always understanding Moristotle who not only looked through my eyes to make my texts sound better, but supported and encouraged me as an editor and a dear friend. I will be forever thankful for everything, Morris. You made my life more meaningful.

Copyright © 2023 by Valeria Idakieva

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Chuck Smythe

Dear Morris, you lasted far longer than I! Your endurance was a marvel to behold, and offered us a wonderful stable of writers. Alas, after Esther began her long decline, I just didn’t have the will to create, and haven’t written anything for a long time. I did continue to follow Morisco, though, and occasionally I even left a comment. And I emailed you once in a while, though my messages were brief.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Haiku of
Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Michael H. Brownstein

Moristotle lives
in the glory of its words,
its garden of poems.

Copyright © 2023 by Michael H. Brownstein

Monday, August 7, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Michael H. Brownstein

A man walked into my home, took a left down the short hallway, entered the living room, and sat down on our old—but comfortable—sofa.
    Mind if I come in? he asked.
    Who are you? my wife answered.
    You’re already in, I said.
    Mind if I sit down? he asked.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

All Over the Place:
from The...Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein


George walked the way he whistled. “That’s just the way I walk,” he said. No one had said anything about the way George walked. Everyone knew he was low key, off key, Ellison’s invisible man without Thurber’s Walter Mitty imagination. He married Sue two years later. She talked like a slide guitar and had the shape of an unrepentant electric bass. Together they learned the Nigerian kora, a quiet instrument, and had two children who did everything in the correct key.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

Photo from Jim’s mini high school
reunion at Lake Tahoe (10/8/2011)
By Jim Rix

Mo, congratulations on your third retirement!
    As I recall, your first retirement was from being an IBM technical writer/editor, and your second from being an administrative assistant to UNC vice presidents. I envy you that you were able to carry on to this third retirement, from managing the Moristotle & Co. blog and doing what you love to do, write and edit and help others.
    It will be sad when new postings cease after August 21.
    Your Friend,

Copyright © 2023 by Jim Rix

Friday, August 4, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Ralph Earle

Morris, congratulations on your many years of maintaining a healthy web community and providing a vibrant ecosystem for writers to share their best thoughts and imaginings with the public and with one another. You are wise to let go of it while it is still going strong, before you and it succumb to drudgery. I have greatly enjoyed the outlet you provided for many of my poems over the years, and the positive feedback I received from the community.

Copyright © 2023 by Ralph Earle

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Shirley Skufca Hickman

Dear Morris, thank you for being in my life for over 60 years, first as my high school student and since then as my friend.
    Your eagerness to publish my poetry, especially the Vietnam poems, made me very happy. And I appreciated your willingness to publish the first chapters of my books.
    You might not post to your blog anymore, but you will always have a place in my heart. ❤

Copyright © 2023 by Shirley Skufca Hickman

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Highways and Byways: The Finale
& Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Maik Strosahl

I wanted to go out with a bang, but was struggling for a big idea until an old family friend posted a photo of Twelve Apostles or Walking Iris flowers blooming. What a joyful explosion of color!
Photo by Mary Wingard Crain

    I hope you enjoy this final burst and I will see you around this big, bright, beautiful world!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Geoffrey Dean

My dad asked his family one morning, “Is it time for me to stop blogging?” He said he felt he was trying to do more things than he had the facility for. If he stopped blogging, he could concentrate on preparing the musings & perusings collections that Jennifer and I suggested five years ago.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Parting Words from Moristotle

Portrait of Moristotle
by Susan C. Price
By Moristotle

Why am I retiring from blogging? For a long time, I have known my sun was slowly setting, but it seems now to be sinking fast, as memory and memories fade. Some mornings even my fingers can’t remember what was the best way I’ve yet found to hold the coffee grinder to brush out the shards of bean.
    But the existing content will still be here, and more posts are already scheduled for August – a few more statements of farewell (suggested by Maik Strosahl, to whom I’m indebted for the idea), a “Father’s Art” column by André Duvall, and poems by Maik, Michael H. Brownstein, and Eric Meub, whose sonnet “Afterlife” will appear last because its title rather caps my going off.
    In future, only blog members may comment.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

’Twas the Night before Retirement
(A Farewell to Moristotle & Co.)

By Bettina Sperry

’Twas the night before Retirement, when all through the blog
Not a keyboard was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stories and poems were all hung with care,
In hopes that Goines On soon would be there;
The writers were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of agents danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Formality (a sonnet
Farewell to Moristotle & Co.)

By Eric Meub

For Morris Dean


Elizabethans and Romantics taught
Us that the sonnet needs a plot to tend,
A garden walled-off from the world, where thought
May blossom for a lady—or a friend.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Father’s Art:
Works of Billy Charles Duvall [11]

Billy Charles Duvall
By André Duvall

La Vision de Guillermo: The idea for the first painting (see below) came from a pamphlet purchased at a book sale at the Little Rock public library entitled “Bolivia,” from Nov. 1, 1917. The pamphlet contained many photographs, including one taken at night with the caption, “A Pack Train of Llamas in La Paz, Bolivia – Twilight.” Dad’s llamas are based on the first two shown in that photo. Lights from the buildings are shining, casting shadows.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Pat Hamilton

Vale, Moristotle!
    When I was down, Morris lifted me by publishing me. I know all other contributors feel the same. He increased my joy by becoming a brilliant penpal, too, taking me along to France and to Duluth, Minnesota. I treasured his friendship as a private joy, until I realized everyone else knows and feels it, too.
    The nightly news tries to convince us of a dark new world of hate and division, but Morris and Goines return us to a world of love and family.
    Let’s hope he’s a David Bowie, whose every tour was a “final” tour...until the next one.
    Keep living, loving, writing, and inspiring, dear Morris!

Copyright © 2023 by Pat Hamilton

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Highways and Byways:
Salsa Dancer

By Maik Strosahl

In younger days
he poured in a shot of Cuervo,
stirred it into the
peppers, onion and tomato—
booze and a salad he joked
as he chugged from a jar
chewing chunks,
enjoying the burn
as he jumped
on out to the dance floor,
sharing his heat with the ladies.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Limerick of
Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Michael H. Brownstein

There is a blogger named Mo
Who engaged intelligent Joe.
    His writers could write—
    So witty and bright—
We’re sad to see our Mo go!

Copyright © 2023 by Michael H. Brownstein
Michael H. Brownstein’s volumes of poetry, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else and How Do We Create Love?, were published by Cholla Needles Press in 2018 & 2019, respectively.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

By Ed Rogers

Morris, I once told you that if we weren’t writing or editing we would be dying. I’m not sure that is the case, but we are closer to that truth today than when I said it. It has been one hell of a ride. You edited nine books for me and I have no idea how many stories. You have not only been my editor and close friend but you have also come to know more about my life than any other person on this earth. I am sure I am not the only one who can say that. People have opened themselves up on your blog like no place I have ever seen before. You gave us a place to share, to vent, and even to become friends with people we would never meet in person.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

All Over the Place:
“The Set of Her Body”
from The...Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein

The Set of Her Body

I look at the set of her body, the style of range, the linoleum on the patio, the robin’s nest in the eave of the front porch, the wino sipping whiskey out of a glass bottle in a paper bag on the front stoop. She is afraid to go outside until he leaves. I go outside and sit next to him.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Acting Citizen:
Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

–30– (look it up)

By James Knudsen

Whose idea was it to put the fourth Saturday on the 22nd?
    Whose idea was it to fill this week with all manner of things to run around attempting to accomplish in July San Joaquin Valley heat?
    Whose idea was it to have a scatter-brained, unemployed actor contribute one column a month? It happened so long ago that I’m not sure who should receive the credit... or blame.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Farewell ​to Moristotle & Co.

On Behalf of
Rolf Dumke

By His Daughter,
Sibylla Dumke,
from Olargues, France

Dear Morris, you have stimulated and showcased the works, ideas, expressions, writings, and pictures of all kinds of different and interesting people. One of them was my dear Dad, whose 82nd birthday would have been this July 16th.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Farewell to Moristotle & Co.

James T. Carney & Mo Dean
Yale, June 1964
By James T. Carney

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of print
Before him only wordless seas.
Moristotle said: “Now must we pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Reader, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, Blog on! Blog on! And on!”

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Highways and Byways: Radar Love

By Maik Strosahl

Sometimes I wonder
at the storms that hit
without warning.

popcorn rises from
green fields,
invisible to the Doppler,
building into a shelf,
missed by the
10 o’clock report,
weather on the 6’s,
the farmer at the grocery
who smells tempests brewing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Goines On: Wrapping everything up

Click image for more vignettes
Goines felt something like a shroud tightening around him. It was getting so tight he could barely wind his thoughts around it. Whatever it was kept grabbing at his thoughts, entangling them within its grasp, holding them, stifling them, preventing them from cohering.
    Was it time to give in, give up, stop trying to manage so many projects, to let the more difficult ones go and attend only to the simpler ones he hoped he might still be able to carry out?
    He would sound some of his friends out about what seemed to be happening. Was it dementia, was it too much stress?
    He would consult his son and his daughter too, to see what they made of it, what they might advise him to do or not to do.
    He needed to do something.

Copyright © 2023 by Moristotle

Monday, July 17, 2023

Goines On: Outside of a dog

Click image for more vignettes
While tidying his office, Goines spotted the bag Mrs. Goines was given a few years earlier at Shakespeare and Company in Paris to carry a book she had purchased there. The bag‘s front side quoted Groucho Marx:
Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
    But Goines couldn’t help smiling at the whimsy that James Joyce might actually have penned the joke in a lighter moment during the writing of Finnegans Wake.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

All Over the Place:
“Water and a Lack of Wire”
from The...Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein

Water and a
Lack of Wire

Stress lines are not the stretch marks of love
the way a man is more notable from the outside
as if chicken wire can drill barbs into skin,
bring the power of anger against the scrotum,

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Bibliophile (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

I like it when you’re looking into Pope:
His was an age of rhymed enlightenments.
The Essays and Epistles give me hope
We’ll make a couplet of our common sense.

Lord Byron, though, would have your lover drawn
More like a rugged, weather-beaten Giaour.
And really, did they ever get it on,
Or was it only talk? Give me an hour.

Friday, July 14, 2023

In and out of pout (a limerick)

Detail of a sketch by
Bev Johnson (2016)
By Moristotle

That little girl is often in a pout,
No one can figure what it’s all about;
    One moment she’s jocose,
    The next she is morose.
Just wait, you’ll see her lower lip push out.

Copyright © 2023 by Moristotle

Thursday, July 13, 2023

One Leptoglossus, two Leptoglossi

Spotted lounging on
our compost tumbler
By Moristotle

Are you interested in bugs? I spotted one of these on Monday morning, a Leptoglossus oppositus, or leaf-footed bug – at least according to Siri Knowledge, after it (or she?) performed the photo-search I requested on my iPhone (aka my camera).
Image from Siri Knowledge,
with link to Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Highways and Byways:
The Aging of Water

By Maik Strosahl

    Inspired by a photograph from
    Heather Cox Richardson’s
    Letters from an American
    (July 9, 2023)

The Aging of Water

This mirror still flows,
this glass still reflects,
but it has become
clouded with murk,
rippled with time and gravity,
wrinkled to the sky and
to my bespectacled eyes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Amber Alert (flash fiction)

By Moristotle

His cell phone made a startling, eerie sound as he was chewing his first mouthful of lunch. He struggled to extract the phone from a thigh pocket.
    “Damn those amber alerts!” he said to his wife, whose phone was now sounding as well.
    “Humph,” he said, “it’s a severe thunderstorm warning. Hey, we might get some rain!”
    Still thinking about amber alerts and how often they sounded, he asked his wife whether she thought they actually helped.
    “I think they do. They help locate the vehicle that somebody’s child has been abducted in.”
    His phone rang. “Hold that thought,” he said, “it’s our daughter.”
    “Dad, Sally’s been abducted. A neighbor got their license plate, and we’ve requested an amber alert.”

Copyright © 2023 by Moristotle

Monday, July 10, 2023

A Look into Flash Fiction

[Click on image for a
flash fiction challenge
By Moristotle

I found challenging Michael H. Brownstein’s examples of flash fiction (and micro fiction) stories. I have so far managed to write a few that I thought were okay. One of them, “Jesus on a High,” even adhered to the exact upper limit of the prescribed word count of 100, including the 9 words of its opening quote from Karl Marx. I remember the pleasure of whittling the words to exactly those 100, which took me many drafts. They were not an easily found 100 words, just like an article I recommend says:

Sunday, July 9, 2023

All Over the Place:
“The Laurel Tree—Because....”
from The...Other Poems

By Michael H. Brownstein

The Laurel Tree—
Because Daphne Prayed
to the Gods for Help
When Apollo Wouldn't
Take No for an Answer

This is how magic works against us—
how being in hell is not always necessarily a bad thing—
how the odor from the man sitting nearby decomposes oxygen—
how the feral cat bites the hand that feeds it—
how newspaper headlines promise to lie
and skin sickness spreads into leaves of hair—
sorrow bends tears into strings of bark—
a minute slaves into an hour, the lecturer going on and on,
an hour becoming a day, a day a week, the pen out of ink,
the pencil lead broken, a time to sleep, a time to stretch,
a heart stone, the grain in laminate, rings of tile,
the number of seats in one row, the moon, the sun,
the moon, the sun, the moon, the sun, the moon,
clouds, rain, snow, frost, the moon, the sun, the moon,
the sun and the man at the lectern still speaking
clears his throat finally, swallows an imaginary wind,
begins to sing—the sweat of swamp, the swamp of musk,
a triage of lips/tongue/throat: an eczema of wood.

Copyright © 2013, 2023 by Michael H. Brownstein
Michael H. Brownstein’s volumes of poetry, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else and How Do We Create Love?, were published by Cholla Needles Press in 2018 & 2019, respectively.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Goines On: Wind rushings

Image from
Juan de Valdés Leal’s
“Finis gloriae mundi” (1672)

Click image for more vignettes
In perusing his archives, Goines was reminded of something from thirteen years earlier. The passenger window in their car had stopped working, and as he was driving with both front windows open to a repair shop, a cattle truck passed him on the interstate, and he got a nose full of the aroma of livestock.
    The cattle were presumably on their way to a slaughterhouse, and Goines had felt bad about that.
    He still felt bad about animal slaughter. Those animals were related to us, as his 2010 reading of Richard Dawkins’ 2004 book, The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, had underscored for him:

Friday, July 7, 2023

Goines On: تونِس

Click image for more vignettes
Mrs. Goines’ chuckle reached Goines in the kitchen. She was at the dining table reading the day’s features while he prepared breakfast.
    “What?” Goines inquired, in the shorthand that had evolved from his various ways of asking her what she was finding funny or otherwise interesting.
    “The people of Tunisia are obsessed with tuna. They put tuna on pizza, pastries, and in many other dishes.”
    Goines joked that was probably why the country was named “Tunisia.”
    And then he wondered why Tunisia (
تونِس) wasn’t spelled “Tunasi,” pronounced “tuna sea,” but he didn’t have the Arabic for that thought, nor the pronunciation.

Copyright © 2023 by Moristotle

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Boldt Words & Images: Sawdust
(a poem and its back story)

By Bob Boldt

Not much talk in my father’s shop.
I stood for hours watching him work
helping where I could. 
I remember how it felt when my sweat
caught the ticklish maple dust,
in Tinley Park, Illinois, 1947.