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La Piccioletta Barca - Issue 19

Non-fiction

This Is What We Are Doing Today

This Is What We Are Doing Today

The Noki Trilogy - Part III   On a summer day not so long ago, my husband and I stood, our shovels in hand, on the lower edge of the sloping hill leading toward the higher ground of our backyard. We were burying our seventeen-year-old dog there, between the empty...

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This Day

This Day

The Noki Trilogy - Part II   It was off-season on an unusually balmy day just after Thanksgiving when Paul and I arrived at the gated entrance to the state park. We wore bright yellow and green caution vests over our coats, Noki, our old dog, had one strapped...

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Bodies

Bodies

The Noki Trilogy - Part I   One early fall morning, Paul and I walked down to the beach to examine what looked like, from the small corner deck of my apartment, large pink slabs of flesh that had washed ashore during the night. This was over two decades ago when I...

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The Writer Inside The Writer

The Writer Inside The Writer

It was an irresistible treat to read Virginia’s Woolf Genius and Ink, a collection of essays for the Times Literary Supplement, now published by that same TLS as they were originally written. It was Woolf’s own wish, fulfilled at last. They are thoughts of striking...

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A Collection

A Collection

The Rites of Paradise, my first full collection of poetry, is in print. I have considered gathering my work for a while. Initial enthusiasm from one publishing house came to nothing. Then, unexpectedly, an offer was made. Scattered poems were to be collected and...

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When There Is Nothing

When There Is Nothing

Like a time of war, the deadly virus spreads changing everything. We are in lockdown when we might be elsewhere. What follows are diary entries at various times in various places. Our sense of travel, even in a shrinking world of instant communication, retains its...

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On The Lost Center

On The Lost Center

An erudite creative writer in his own right, Zissimos Lorenzatos developed into a scholarly critic and commentator without the benefit of advanced formal studies and exposure to classroom instruction. As such, his writing is that of a natural sage, of a man of inward...

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A Refutation of the Road

A Refutation of the Road

I have never, not once in my adult years, been on the road. I have left the house, you understand. I have driven and been driven to schools and offices, weddings and anniversaries, christenings and, lately, a funeral too. I have nothing against the occasional change...

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The Time for our Consolation of Philosophy

The Time for our Consolation of Philosophy

‘Would that our age could now return To those pure ways of leading life. But now the passion to possess Burns fiercer than Mount Etna’s fire. Alas for the man, whoever he was, Who first dug heaps of buried gold And diamonds content to hide, And gave us perils of such...

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Ritual Grief

Ritual Grief

Part 4 of Some Thoughts on Love and Memory   During her illness, my mother spoke to me about her own mother’s death. She remembered that her mother had not wanted to be cremated because she was afraid that the fire would burn her soul. I never knew my...

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A More Perfect Grace

A More Perfect Grace

Part 3 of Some Thoughts on Love and Memory   Someone very important to me said that Love is just something people say to start and end conversations. I took this to mean that, ultimately, the word has been rendered meaningless, bearing no relation to the curves,...

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Heavenly Bodies

Heavenly Bodies

Part 2 of Some Thoughts on Love and Memory Historiographically, the Renaissance has been conceived of as the rebirth of reason and liberation of thought, inviting a newly defined sense of subjectivity. Hundreds of years later, in response to the ripple effects of...

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The Numbers Vendor

The Numbers Vendor

When Nelson el Raro walked out of his house the morning heat had settled on the cobblestone. Breakfast was sitting nicely in his belly now and his second day without sleep was but a faint unpleasantness under his skin. Most of all, he felt lucky today, an altogether...

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A Tale of Two Gustavs

A Tale of Two Gustavs

Part 1 of Some Thoughts on Love and Memory   Around the turn of the 20th century, two remarkable artists were working in Vienna whose contributions would bring to surface deep cultural tensions that had somehow remained buried and unresolved in the Western...

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Boredom and Excitement

Boredom and Excitement

Chapter 4, from his The Conquest of Happiness, 1930   Boredom as a factor in human behaviour has received, in my opinion, far less attention than it deserves. It has been, I believe, one of the great motive powers throughout the historical epoch, and is so at the...

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Both the Prickles and the Cold

Both the Prickles and the Cold

My friend Armaan used to mention an allegory which compared humans to hedgehogs in winter. The hedgehogs don’t want to get near each other because they each want to avoid getting pricked by one another’s prickles. However, if they stay apart they’ll die from the cold....

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Always invoking an echo, a summer’s day

Always invoking an echo, a summer’s day

Sometimes words stick. Read enough and the most innocuous and well-trodden of words can suddenly harl onto an older, wispier network of voices imbedded deep in our minds. J.H. Prynne’s Al Dente (2014) has for its epigraph, all in italics, the inobtrusive phrase: “O...

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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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