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La Piccioletta Barca - Issue 19

Issue 14 – December 2019

Stimulus: The napkin on which the ‘Percentages Agreement’ between Churchill and Stalin was drafted.

All Pieces

Atheism, Religion, Judaism and Mathematics

Atheism, Religion, Judaism and Mathematics

1 I am a research mathematician and a Jewish American in the twentieth century United States. My own Jewish background comes more from the universalist Socialist Yiddishkeit tradition than from rabbinic Judaism. I mention all these facts upfront since it is relevant...

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Bar-Tabac at Saint-Jean

Bar-Tabac at Saint-Jean

for Luna   Today, the stars will fall out of their sockets. A stain of grease has sparked a bearded lip; the flustered face implodes with bread crumbs. “I am the universe!” – a brazen voice reveals, too bright for our blind confessions. You tell me that the stars...

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Blind Navigations – Phantom Islands

Blind Navigations – Phantom Islands

The series of mixed-media renderings of St. Brendan's Island, Thule, Taprobana, Hy-Brasil, Frisland and St. Matheus Island pertains to a subject that entails fact as well as fiction, and that embodies a process of orientating and familiarizing an unknown, perhaps...

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The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo

I imagine him sitting inside the ruined buildings on his straight-backed chair, his white shirt shining out from beneath the dark of his tuxedo. He leans forward into his instrument, draws his bow across tensioned strings--notes tumbling out into the streets in ten...

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Concrete Beehive

Concrete Beehive

Kyiv, December 2017. This 16 floor building was always the view from my window while I was living in Ukraine. Such a lonely monster in the center of a sleepy area surrounded by the "mere mortals" that were the 5 floor khrushchevkas. But only after my move and then,...

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Excerpts from ‘The Church That Is Not There’

Excerpts from ‘The Church That Is Not There’

              '...there should not be one single church left within the borders of Soviet Russia,               and the idea of God will have been banished from the Soviet Union'               ~ Joseph Stalin   The ice wagons are nailed; even the windows at the...

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Many Voices

Many Voices

An attempt to replicate the voices of three authors in the same environment and scene. Patrick Rothfuss The wind howled past him, driving up a stinging sheet of salt. Below, the sea toiled black, and heavy waves of froth churned against the hull. He stood in silence,...

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Ossian and Malvina

Ossian and Malvina

Ossian sets down his harp By the crag of the woods, And his sheaf of songs Beneath the strings, his shoes. Turning to Malvina, he asks The way: “I do not Know this country,” he says. Is there a moment For the dog to find the stars And point the way? The songs scatter,...

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Peaches

Peaches

When my grandmother spoke of what she lost she chose to tell me about the perfume and flavor of peaches from another country. I sat and listened, age six, from a creaky kitchen chair. Her words tumbled like a river. I thought they might never end. She didn’t mention...

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The Phoenix

The Phoenix

I have been pleading for the fire to come For a long time now; it springs up from the ground In a shining, shifting arabesque and paints My world in sweeping strokes of crimson. It crawls up old and weary features masked By a net of scars so ancient Even they have...

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Respect the Mountain

Respect the Mountain

All those magical places, awaiting to be seen. All those breathtaking moments, awaiting to be lived. Every feeling that makes you want to scream “I’m alive!”, from the bottom of your lungs and heart, that awaits to be felt. That, is “the great outdoors”. And yet, we...

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Robert Shaw’s Watch

Robert Shaw’s Watch

On May 25th, 1862, Robert Gould Shaw watched with his comrades in the Second Massachusetts Infantry as Stonewall Jackson defeated General Nathan Banks at the First Battle of Winchester. General Banks with his 6,500 Union troops would meet Stonewall Jackson’s near...

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The Yarn of Your Young Life, 1923-1956

The Yarn of Your Young Life, 1923-1956

[A Letter for You in Your Second Childhood] My sweet grandmother, édes nagymamám––a memory for you is a splintered reliving. Now at 96, you exist as shards of yourself. I wonder if inside your mind, is a prism. You think sharply of a small city, at the center––a...

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