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Monday, May 23, 2022

Goines On: Hard thing to question
soft love and desire (a sestina)

Click image for more vignettes
Sometimes, passing that house, Goines felt a thing
whispering in his ear that he found hard
to dismiss, something he felt strong desire
to contemplate – a ghostly fragrance, soft,
a haunting presence, like an absent love,
like a note reminding him to question,

Sunday, May 22, 2022

All Over the Place:
The Money Garden

From a themed book I’m working on:
“The Tattoo Garden
of Capella”


By Michael H. Brownstein



A grove of money trees loiter on the hill
covering emeralds and diamonds rich with coal.
No one is allowed to dig for anything,
orders of the Mistress of the Tattoo Garden,
and no one can touch the trees without permission.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Goines On: Virtues of vices?

Click image for more vignettes
Goines thought of the two Korean women in Soo Hugh’s drama series Pachinko talking about coffee. One remembered how good it smelled when she was poor and couldn’t afford to have any. And then, years later, when she tasted it, it put her off, she found it so bitter.
    Mrs. Goines reminded him that flowers were like that. Some of the most poisonous ones smelled the best.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (27)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
June 2, 1915,
concluded


The man ran in front of the truck and pointed the rifle right at their windshield. Annalee screamed. Thomas Duckett slammed on the brakes.
    The man jumped on the passenger side running board and shouted at him over the terrified Annalee. “I’m Bob Ashley and you’d better get your ass moving right God damn now!”
    Shaking, Duckett started the truck moving.
    “Faster! Git goin’!”

Thursday, May 19, 2022

From the Alwinac:
  Violoncello Without a Master:
  Alwin the Auto-Didact

[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]

Alwin Schroeder’s status as a self-taught cellist gained widespread notoriety from at least as early as 1885. That year the Leipzig Musicalisches Wochenblatt (LMW) published a biographical sketch of the then 30-year-old Gewandhaus solo cellist emphasizing the unusual nature of Schroeder’s cellistic beginnings:
Those who hear Alwin Schröder play without knowing about his studies will assume that he has been playing his instrument since early childhood. … And yet that is not the case: Alwin Schröder did not discover his love for what is now his main instrument until very late in life, and the level he has reached at present is clear evidence of his great talent, since as a cellist he is completely self-taught, i.e., had no teacher.
    With certain variations and embellishments, the 1885 account of Alwin’s switch to cello would be repeated throughout Schroeder’s career, in sources including the Riemann and Baker biographical dictionaries of musicians and the Wasielewski and Van der Straeten histories of the violoncello and its players. The LMW profile tells it like this:
During this period, as chance would have it, he found a cello left behind by his brother Carl at their parents’ house and felt the urge to learn the familiar solo from Rossini’s William Tell Overture. As a joke, the next time his brother Carl visited their parents, he played it for him, but Carl took the successful attempt very seriously, and told Alwin to continue his studies of the cello in earnest. Alwin took his brother’s advice and used the free time he had – he had meanwhile taken a post with the Fliege Orchestra as a violinist, which took him to St. Pe tersburg – to continue studying the cello. He worked so hard that only a few months later he was able to exchange the violin for a cello. In autumn 1875 he became the first cellist in the Liebig Concert Orchestra…
    This narrative raises a number of questions that I will now explore.... 
 _______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Highways and Byways:
The Des Moines

By Maik Strosahl

Dear Reader: A slight departure today on these Highways & Byways. I decided to handle the following story in the style of the original Moristotelian’s Goines series as a tribute, reviving my character Flanagan for the process.

Goines was out driving one afternoon with the Missus when he saw an Iowa license plate and started wondering about the meaning of the French word “Moines.” He did a quick internet search, finding a statement from the ever faithful Wiki that the city of Des Moines, capital of the great state of Iowa, is named after the Des Moines River and its full French name translates to “the river of the monks.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (26)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
June 2, 1915,
continued at
6:47 PM


Miami Police Officer John Reinhart Riblet was talking to Desk Sergeant Edwin V. Stevens, who was sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of City Hall, two blocks west on 12th Street from the city jail and Wilber Hendrickson’s house. Stevens wanted to talk about his application to become a lieutenant.

Monday, May 16, 2022

14 Years Ago Today: ​
Sometimes, if rarely,
smoking saves your life

By Moristotle

[This spot was originally occupied by a premature “Goines On” piece, “What about This Thing />called ‘Having a Thing’? (a sestina).” I realized a day or two later that it was far from ready – so far from ready that I felt ashamed to have posted it…so, I unpublished it and let the spot remain open for a couple of days. Today’s repeat of a 14-year-old post is offered in recompense. 
    I will publish a better version of that sestina in a week or two. Thank you for being kind.]

I found Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy such a good read, I decided to read his Autobiography as well. I’m enjoying it even more than his history of philosophy, and there have been many, many passages I’d have liked to share, and might have shared if I hadn’t been so preoccupied lately with moving out of our house of twenty-five years. Last night, for the first time in several weeks, I felt relatively relaxed, and today I feel up to reporting the following amusing passage. Soon after World War II, when Russell was about 75 years old, and

Sunday, May 15, 2022

All Over the Place:
The Dance of Two Coat Hangers

By Michael H. Brownstein

Something soft, perhaps indelible.
Make sure the bathtub water is cold to the touch,
but not unbearable—lean into your body—
find your quiet space.
But first, the door must be locked.
No one can disturb you.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Westward (prose lined as a poem)

By Paul Clark (aka motomynd)

I had all but forgotten Mary Oliver until listening to a recent Sunday morning NPR program. A quick read of a couple of her poems reminded me of how her writing is often described as “unadorned.” I think that is as an understatement. Her writing is sparse, vivid, brilliant prose. But is it poetry – and is she a poet, as she is generally described?
    In attempting to sort out her work, I’ve arrived at what is likely a stupid question: What exactly makes most of her work poetry, as opposed simply to great prose written in a funky, disjointed fashion? Examples abound at “10 of the Best Mary Oliver Poems.” Thinking about this brought me to my own bit of prose, which I chose to turn into an alleged poem by breaking it down in a funky, disjointed fashion. I titled it “Westward”:


Friday, May 13, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (25)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
June 2, 1915
6:35 PM


Deputy Sheriff Wilber W. Hendrickson Sr. sat at his dinner table with his wife, Marion Platt Hendrickson, and his son, Wilber Jr. Wilber wiped his face with one of the nice new cloth napkins he’d bought his wife on sale from Sears and Roebuck catalog.
    Wilber loved his wife of thirteen years and liked to indulge her when he could. She had come from the Lake Worth Platts, who were not rich but “comfortable,” as the saying went, and her family had been less than enthusiastic about her choice of the young fellows who had sought her hand. He’d been a shopkeeper at his uncle’s store in Lake Worth for ten years when they met in 1899. He was set to inherit the business as his uncle had no children, but the old man was hale and hearty yet so that was a distant dream. In 1904 the store had burned down, but his uncle was a sharp businessman and had purchased insurance.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Goines On: Postmister

Click image for more vignettes
The Goineses’ local post office had acknowledged their hold request for April 28 - May 9, when they would be away to visit family in California and Minnesota, and on May 9 their next-door neighbors handed them the few items that had evaded the hold.
    They expected their carrier to deliver a huge stack later that first full day back – probably to their front door, because it would be thick with Sunday editions of The NY Times, various magazines, and numerous glossy political ads for the upcoming primary.
    But the mail truck came and went, and their box remained empty.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Highways and Byways: Poinciana

By Maik Strosahl

A couple of months ago I stumbled on Vic Midyett’s December 2016 posts, “Thunder Down Under: Four little paintings for Christmas,” which featured art works his wife, Shirley Deane/Midyett, had done for Christmas gifts. I really liked her 5" x 7" painting of a Poinciana (#4), 12/29/2016, but didn’t know much about it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (24)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

March 1915,
concluded


Hanford had been hit in his upper right arm, and although it missed the bone it was a nasty wound. The same bullet had passed through his arm and punched a thumb’s worth of flesh from Frank’s left shoulder as he turned at the sight of the old fuck with the damn antique artillery.
    “Civil War shit,” Frank said over a few snorts of ’shine, back to the homestead. Shook his head. “Who’d’a thunk?” He didn’t admit it, but the old man and his surprise weaponry had scared the hell out of him. He’d never been shot, and had never killed anyone before either, although that too he kept to himself. John had. Hell, even Hanford had killed a man, at just seventeen years old. By God, if they could do it, he sure could.
    Bob Ashley had been trying to figure how to break John out of the Dade County Jail. He’d gone to the big Army tent and pressed Kid Lowe and Shorty for ideas, thinking they might know something he didn’t, bein’ big-time Chicago gun-thugs an’ all.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Goines On:
Tightening a loosening grip

Click image for more vignettes
Goines had been noticing that whenever he picked up his new iPhone and turned it over to look at the screen, its “I’m locked” icon immediately changed to “I’m unlocked.” If anybody just picked up his new phone, would it immediately unlock for them? What kind of security would that be?
    He thought of a way to check. He grabbed the T-shirt that he was about to put on for the day and held it over his face before carefully picking up his phone, turning it over, and then peeking an eye around the edge…. Voilà! – the phone stayed locked! 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

All Over the Place: For Mothers

From My Teaching Book

By Michael H. Brownstein

[Too often I have witnessed toxic mothers and devoted children who enable their toxicity. I wrote the following in my first chapbook, The Shooting Gallery (Samisdat Press), which might even be available from Amazon. It’s a small section from the story ”YO Mama.” 
    Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there who are doing their best and trying their hardest to make a positive difference in the lives of their children.]

Because he was new and dressed well, the biggest bully in our class got into his face and said, “Yo mama. What’cha goin’ to do about it?” Then she spat, almost hitting his new and clean shoes. “Yeah,” she spat again, and we knew for sure fists would fly.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

From the Alwinac:
  Have Cello, Will Travel:
  Alwin’s Toothbrushes

Schroeder with (presumably)
his 1824 Pressenda cello
[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]


In the late 1890s, Alwin Schroeder and his family spent their summers in the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine. In her book The Islanders, Elizabeth Foster recalls, “Whenever Grandfather invited [Schroeder], he would accept promptly, adding, ‘— And I will bring my “toothbrush.”’ ‘The toothbrush’ was his pet name for his ’cello.” The only way to reach the Lakes was by narrow-gauge train, but “Schroeder’s ’cello was too large to go through the tiny door of the parlor car, and too valuable to make the journey in the baggage car, so it was always placed on the rear platform where Schroeder could watch it and stop the train immediately if by some dreadful chance it fell off.” At the end of one of his visits, Schroeder had boarded the train to depart from the Lakes, and the train was already pulling out of the station, “when he rushed out on the back platform wildly waving his arms and screaming, ‘Stop the train! Stop the train!’
    “‘What’s the matter?’ yelled Grandfather, running after him in an attempt to stop it.…
    “‘Mein Gott! I have left my “toothbrush!”’ cried the frenzied musician.
    “Grandfather caught up with the engine, and the train backed slowly into the station again, where Schroeder’s ’cello was put on board the rear platform and peace restored to the parlor car.”
    The “toothbrush” in question was likely a cello made by Nicolo Amati (1596-1684), a third-generation member of the distinguished family of instrument makers from Cremona, Italy. It came into Schroeder’s possession in or before 1885, when a Leipzig concert review refers specifically to Schroeder's “excellent Amati ’cello.” Two years later Schroeder “sang delightfully on his Amati cello” on another Gewandhaus concert. As he debuted in various American cities during the 1891-2 season, Schroeder garnered critical praise for his playing, but critics did not comment on what make of instrument he might be playing. The old Italian instruments played by the members of the Kneisel Quartet, including Kneisel’s own 1714 Stradivarius violin, became the subject of commentary in the US only after the quartet’s 1896 London concerts, in the wake of English commentary on the superiority of the Kneisels’ instruments to those of other world-class quartets of the time. The Chicago Tribune reported in fall 1897 that “the instruments used by [the Kneisel] quartet are said to have cost $14,000.… Mr. Schroeder of the quartet owns an Amati cello of unusual value.” Elsewhere that value was stated to be $6,000 (about $200,000 in today’s dollars) and the instrument declared to be “one of the finest Amati ’cellos in existence.” I have not found any mention of the year this instrument was made, and only van der Straeten identifies which Amati created Schroeder’s cello, describing it as “one of the most perfect specimens of Nicolas Amati’s work…”
_______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Friday, May 6, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (23)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

March 1915

Kid Lowe had readily admitted to shooting John, in front of the whole family back in Gomez. “He was back inside reloading. Smart, like, so’s the front-seat guy can shoot, ya know? Like he knew what I was thinkin’.”
    Lowe’s nasal whine irritated Hanford Mobley no end, and he was disgusted by the sucking up, but he listened closely to what was being said.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

“Goines On” Goes On to Win

State Library of North Carolina
2021 Writing Contest



By Moristotle

My “Goines On” portrait includes a string of eight fictional vignettes from Spring 2020 that I’m especially proud of because they investigate some dark disparities of life and come to a light resolution:

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Highways and Byways:
Tolls of the Road/This is How

By Maik Strosahl

There are tolls on this road I travel. The life of a trucker can be very taxing on one’s home life. That same driver who charges across the country to make sure everything you need is available on the store shelf has sometimes payed a high price to do so.
    As with many other drivers, it was the financial aspect that drew me to the road. Driving can be a solution for those looking to catch up their bills and provide for their families. But what they don’t sell to you is that it can be lonely on the road and for those who are waiting for their family member back at home. Thus, many relationships are strained by the distance. Unfortunately, that has taken it’s toll in my family.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (22)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Thursday,
February 25, 1915


John Ashley woke to a deep, throbbing pain in his face. He tried to look around, but it hurt to move, and his right eye was dark, the whole right side of his face heavily bandaged.
    He could tell he had been given morphine, and while the pain was bad, as was typical on morphine, he just didn’t seem to care all that much. He’d tried it. He’d taken it a few times when he was injured and needed it. He ran morphine sometimes, and a man should know what his product does.
    He knew perfectly well what good ’shine did for a man, but he never drank too much. He knew what guns could do but tried never to shoot anybody he didn’t absolutely need to. A man who didn’t know what his product did was a fool, but a smuggler who used too much of his own goods was destined to fail or die.
    He tried to speak, but his voice came out as a garbled moan.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Adventures from Bulgaria:
The Most Unanswered Question

A Requiem 
for My Nephew

By Valeria Idakieva

A month after my 33-old nephew took his own life, when the rivers of grief and tears that had flooded us shrank a bit, I decided to take my mother out, change the view from four white walls, and breathe some fresh air.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

All Over the Place:
A Need to Only Play Basketball

From My Teaching Book

By Michael H. Brownstein

After school in the After School All Stars, the boys tell the gym teacher and me that they want to play basketball.
    Not an option, I explain. We play all kinds of sports. Not just basketball. When you signed up for the gym program, you knew this.
    But we’re black. Basketball is what black people play.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

From “The Scratching Post”:
Bring back the Inquisition

By Ken Marks

[Opening from the original on The Scratching Post, April 19, 2022, published here by permission of the author.]

The Spanish Inquisition was a stain on world history, but it needn’t have been. It was badly botched. An inquisition is, after all, merely a formal inquiry. There’s nothing in the term that connotes punishment, torture, or malice. It’s simply a search for facts. In more tolerant times, the Spanish might have gathered testimony on why Jews choose Judaism over Christianity and left it at that. Instead, their proceedings were poisoned by hatred. A calamity was inevitable.
    We have learned better. We need to give it another go, but with an entirely different mission. Today, there are dozens of people who have tens of millions of fervent followers. They are political leaders, religious gurus, people of enormous wealth, and various others possessed of exceptional charisma. They command extraordinary power. From the standpoint of public safety, it’s imperative to know the histories of these people, the beliefs they hold, and the social agendas they support.
    I propose that an alliance of governments, perhaps with the help of philanthropists, create an International Inquisition Academy (IIA). The academy would consist of acclaimed critical thinkers from all parts of the globe. Their task would be to interview powerful people and publish a transcript. It would have an addendum titled “Assessment,” where interviewees are judged on their credibility, honesty, and rationality. Instances of factual error, deliberate lying, evasion, and oversimplification would be called out. Regardless of the contents, interviewees would earn the IIA seal as evidence they had submitted to the extensive questioning of experts.
    You may wonder why powerful people would agree to such an ordeal. They’d do it for the seal, a symbol that they had done a civic duty and had the courage to “bare all.” Any public figure who declines an IIA invitation would, in effect, imply they have something to conceal from the public. (The rules of the interview would stipulate that no question about sexual conduct is admissible, unless its intention is to reveal the interviewee’s hypocrisy.)
    It may be difficult to imagine how an IIA interview might go, so I’ve chosen to do a mock interview of a popular holy man whose opinions have been widely published. He is the Dalai Lama, a title that means “Ocean of Wisdom.” He was born in Tibet in 1935, with the name Lhamo Thondup. Later, he took the name Tenzin Gyatso, meaning “Upholder of Teachings.”
    What follows are the Dalai Lama’s essential teachings, shown in bold italics, and my corresponding questions.
[Read the whole thing on The Scratching Post.]


Copyright © 2022 by Ken Marks
Ken Marks was a contributing editor with Paul Clark & Tom Lowe when “Moristotle” became “Moristotle & Co.” A brilliant photographer, witty conversationalist, and elegant writer, Ken contributed photographs, essays, and commentaries from mid-2008 through 2012. Late in 2013, Ken birthed the blog The Scratching Post. He also posts albums of his photos on Flickr.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (21)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Friday,
August 11, 1922


Red had been running back and to between taking care of Guy and trying to keep the farm going. He tried to do most of his work before dawn or after dark, but he was working for two.
    And yesterday he was sure he’d seen someone watching from over Ezra’s way. Probably spyin’ on him for them Ashleys. He had never met any of the Frankenfields personally, so wouldn’t know one if he saw him. They had been Guy’s occasional drinking and carousing buddies, but he doubted that would stop them killing him if it was business. You do business with the Ashleys, he reckoned, you’d damn well better do as you’re told.
    And sure as shit, somebody had blown guy’s God damn leg off. You’d think they would of let it go after that. Lucky for the spy Ezra hadn’t seen him in the gathering darkness, Red thought.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

About Two Islands of Malta (3)

Image from
Black Mountain – Part 3
More Hiking…
before Our Problem Escaping


By James T. Carney
Photos by
Detmar Straub


We resumed our hiking the third day, over a field in whose stone we could see ruts that some believe to have been worn by prehistoric carts.

All Over the Place:
US Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds

For Yom HaShoah—
Holocaust 
Remembrance Day

By Michael H. Brownstein

The day the commandant of the Nazi POW camp called us outside,
he came to our commanding officer and told him to separate the Jews from the others.
Our Christian leader said in a voice steadfast and perfect so we could hear:
We are all Jews here. Everyone step forward.
The Commandant put a gun to his head and demanded: Separate the Jews.
He answered: Sorry, we are all Jews here. See? My men stand with me.
The Nazi threatened to blow his head away if he didn’t do as he said.
I am a Jew. Jews are not afraid of death. Jews are not cowards.
The only cowards present today are those who obey orders without thought or restraint.
The Nazi’s face bubbled over, his lips quivered, his eyes lost control of their sightline.
Then he placed his sidearm in his holster much too hard, turned and told his soldiers:
Get into your vehicles. We are abandoning this camp. Let the Jews starve.

It’s been many years now, I still remember how I stood for something moral and great.
Many times I met with frustration, conflict and life-threatening circumstances.
I would recall his words. Jews are not afraid of death. Jews are not cowards.
A great peace would fall over me. I knew he had said the only truth I needed to learn.

Copyright © 2022 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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Highways and Byways:
Clarity from the Swirling of Clouds

By Maik Strosahl

I owe much credit to the individuals who have inspired me through the years. Take these last four years in Missouri, for instance.
    After a few months alone in the truck, I was starving for fellowship with creative minds. I found a writing group in Columbia, but their focus seemed more on prose than the poetry I longed to write. My wife and I saw a notice of a local author book sale in Jefferson City and decided to see if we could find like-minds there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (20)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Tuesday,
July 4, 1922,
8:00 PM


When Red pulled up outside Senegal’s Sumptuous Palace, there were only two cars there under the oak trees besides him. The building was done up like a Mississippi riverboat, the clapboard walls white, with red railings painted on. At the center of the blue painted paddlewheel was the door, which was almost round. The second floor sported real railings like the observation deck on a steamboat, on a balcony for the girl’s rooms. Senegal had told him looking up at a woman enticing them from a balcony was a traditional whorehouse touch that men enjoyed. The façade above the second floor was all pastel curlicues and gingerbread.

Monday, April 25, 2022

We Humans (a poem)

By Neil Hoffmann

The day lingers late,
Grey, wet, cold and windy.
April showers seeming sad,
Not promising joy and beauty.

A last crust of winter, perhaps,
Soon to be forgotten
In an early summer blast.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

All Over the Place: Wintering in
the Tattoo Garden of Capella

From a themed book I’m working on:
“The Tattoo Garden
of Capella”


By Michael H. Brownstein

Almost five,
the sun still brightens the sky
Winter in the Tattoo Garden of Capella,
the ink less obtrusive,
its coloring calm and clean,
soft white cotton linen,
fine lined with the nibs of fine pens.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Acting Citizen:
Racial Inequity
through a Botanical Lens

By James Knudsen

Following the death of George Floyd in May of 2020, some Americans have sought to improve issues surrounding racial inequity. Attending protest marches, running for public office, and changing the racially incentivized packaging of your product, are three ways attempts have been, and are still being, made to address our nation’s oldest and most vexing issue. And yet, with all the progress realized, the work remaining seems to increase with each passing year.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (19)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Tuesday,
February 23, 1915


Joe knew it was time to make a move. They needed money. They sold untaxed bootleg moonshine up and down the coast, and were expanding into the center of the state, but the profits were slim. His side business running call girls and taking protection as a Palm Beach Deputy were over.
    He’d shaved, dressed up, and gone into Palm Beach to see Geneva, who told him she’d got wind of a large deposit at the Stuart Bank and Trust. The cash shipment would arrive on Tuesday, the 22nd, late at night.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

About Two Islands of Malta (2)

Image from
Black Mountain – Part 3
Some More History
and Hiking


By James T. Carney
Photos by 
Detmar Straub

The island of Malta was a major fortress in the war with air bases built into caves and air raid shelters in many public buildings. The tourist picture of Malta envisions blue skies, sunny days, and sandy beaches, but the reality is a little different: Malta is very hilly and often the hills run down to the sea, so there are not nearly as many beaches as one would expect. Warm sunny days may characterize the summer, but not March with temperatures in the 50s and frequent stiff winds.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

How can we grow our readership?

Our writers 
deserve more

By Moristotle

My leading question is addressed to anyone and everyone who is reading this. The writers of Moristotle & Co. provide valuable content, and they express it artfully. I believe the subtitle states a truth: Our writers deserve more [readers].
    The fairly small readership we have so far been able to furnish them is worrisome, a burden to me to contemplate. That’s my immediate prompt for issuing this appeal for help in increasing our readership. I want Moristotle & Co. to reach a wider audience for our writers. Help me find ways to do that.

Highways and Byways:
The End of the Biscayne

By Maik Strosahl

Another one of my photography friends, Sandra Nantais, recently posted some new photographs that got my brain whirling. Sandra’s photos have inspired several of her poet friends to ekphrastic pieces and we have collaborated on pieces many times. I used one of her photos before in this column (“Fiji Musume: The Wisteria Maiden,” the tribute to Carolyn Files, August 11, 2021).
    Normally when Sandra posts pictures, I ask her for some specific details that can add depth to a piece. This time, though, my mind already was spinning a story—complete fiction that just seemed to grow from the image.
    I hope you enjoy her photo and the poem that grew from it.



Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (18)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Sunday,
February 7, 1915

Joe Ashley stood on his porch in the sunrise and thanked a merciful God the cool weather had shut down the God damned mosquitos. Gomez was flush back up against the Everglades to the west. Stuart was to the north and Hobe Sound to the south. Clouds of the little biting critters swarmed from the massive swamp on warm days.
    Joe’d had a three-room house on the Gomez Land Grant for several years and had legal claim to a hundred acres. It had just made sense to retreat here, into the remote backwoods, when John escaped from the Palm Beach Jail.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Shoplifting Called Out

By Penelope Griffiths

What does “shoplifting” mean? There are many different takes on this; for instance, the person doing the shoplifting is just “shopping” for things he or she wants but doesn’t intend to pay for (or can’t). These things could range from essential items such as soap, toothpaste, and food to the “luxury” items like electric toothbrushes, curling irons, razor blades – some makes are very expensive!
    To the retailer it’s a cost issue, because every item shoplifted has to be accounted for and can lead to financial loss and even to closure if it’s a major issue.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

All Over the Place: Seasons

From a themed book I’m working on:
“The Tattoo Garden
of Capella”


By Michael H. Brownstein

We know the change in the season
by the inks in the water,
their uneven spread across
the flesh of plant and tree,
the way it spirals inwards
rainbowing leaf and rain,
snow and ice, quartz
and the red breasted bunting.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Goines On: “Proceed with coition”

Click image for more vignettes
While working on a poem using sexual metaphors for depicting a writer’s encounter with his muse, Goines remembered his virginal college sophomore shock during a Saturday night party in Yale’s Calhoun College upon seeing the placard tacked on one of the host suite’s two bedroom doors: “Proceed with coition.”
    Though Goines had not quite yet had sexual intercourse, he was not unschooled in some of its vocabulary, so he got the pun. (Had anyone thought the third word a misspelling?)

Friday, April 15, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (17)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Tuesday,
July 4, 1922


People were lined up along 20th Street by noon, waiting for the parade, which was to start at two o’clock. Red Dedge sat at the same table in Jimmie Owens’ Flamingo Café on 21st Street. Once again, he was sitting in front of the fried catfish dinner and talking with the same man, Judge Greyson Stikelether.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

About Two Islands of Malta (1)

Image from
Black Mountain – Part 3
Getting to Malta

By James T. Carney
Photos by 
Detmar Straub

Malta – or rather the Maltese islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino – lie in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea about half way between Sicily and Tunisia. It has been held by Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British, among others, given its strategic importance in what the Romans called mare nostrum (our sea) and its excellent harbors.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Mind’s Eye (a poem)

“The Mind’s Eye,” watercolor
by Jennifer Wigg
By Paul Clark (aka motomynd)

When he fell in love with her,
she had her father’s mind,
and her mother’s glamour.

Her mother had the mind of a model,
a cynical wit cloaked by a cackling laugh,
and a body that made all forgivable.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (16)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

June 1912 – May 1914

Joe Ashley drove the department issue Model T through the night, cursing the dragline crew who’d found the body of Desoto Tiger. He’d planned it with John that the young men would go trapping together, John would kill Desoto, and the ’gators that plagued the New River would take care of the body.
    He hadn’t counted on the dragline crew poisoning the water with arsenic. They were extending the canal to Okeechobee, right through the swamp. It was getting more common that, rather than taking chances on getting snakebit, mostly, but ’gator bit too, swamp crews would dump arsenic in the water. They didn’t care that it killed everything, the snakes and gators sure, but the fish, the birds, turtles, hell the fuckin’ frogs. It was a sin and a crime, how these citified folks just destroyed every natural thing they touched.

Monday, April 11, 2022

From the Alwinac:
  Telo-melo Cello:
  Step-Child of Gasparo?

[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]










My recent post on cello poetry brought to mind the writings of Robert Haven Schauffler, who studied cello with Alwin Schroeder at Princeton University at the turn of the 20th century. The author of numerous books, article, and poems on music and other subjects, Schauffler credited Schroeder for encouraging him to pursue writing professionally. He quoted Schroeder as telling him, “As a cellist you would spend your life playing into the air the music of others. ... But as a writer you might create something yourself that would live after you are gone.” (From R. H. Schauffler letter to Victor Danek, 1955, quoted in Danek, A Historical Study of the Kneisel Quartet [Bloomington: Indiana University, 1962], 197)
    Schauffler’s poem “The Music Maker” opens with a tribute to his own cello, made by Gasparo da Salo:
Beneath the bow
Your live cords, ’cello mio, throb and stir,—
My viol-like, dreamful child of Gasparo,—
Raising from reverie your Lombard voice,
And bidding us rejoice,
In all the things of soul and sense that make
These beauty-consecrated chambers glow….
                    —Schauffler, Selected Poems
                    (London: Heinemann, 1922), 48
    In his 1911 collection of essays on amateur music-making, Schauffler discusses his first tentative steps toward mastering cello technique. In “Fiddler’s Lure” (Schauffler, The Musical Amateur: A Book on the Human Side of Music [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911], 30-55), he describes how, at fifteen, he “chanced upon an old ’cello in the attic” and “fell devoted slave” to it: “A week of furtive practice convinced me that I could play the ’cello, though I now remember grasping the bow like a tennis-racket and the fingerboard like a trolley-strap.” In this essay Schauffler takes the Old King Cole nursery rhyme as his point of departure, arguing that the King himself played the cello in string quartets, with his “fiddlers three.” Discussing the effort and dedication required to play well enough to read Beethoven’s Op. 59 quartets (mentioned specifically in the Old King Cole rhyme), Schauffler imagines a yet-to-be-invented “telo-melo cello,” an electric instrument playable by just the touch of a button, that would remove the toil and struggle of mastering the old-fashioned instrument “with bow in hand.”
    Though but a passing thought in Schauffler’s essay, it wouldn’t be long before Leon Theremin, purported to be a cellist himself, was marketing his electrical instruments through his New York-based Teletouch Co. Patented in 1928, the space-controlled theremin remains the best known, and most often played, of Theremin's electric instruments....
_______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean