Metamorphosis III and IV

February 18, 2018

from ‘the’


Continuing the series….



Now a widow, Laura’s life took on different dimensions. The house was on the market, and she decided to travel. She thought of spelunking, exploring caves, climbing mountains.

Pouring over brochures, she heard a scratching sound. She unlatched the second story window and allowed Bart Batkowski to flutter in.

“I wish you would use the door like a normal person. You will draw attention this way.”

“Laura, do you forget what I am? Besides a co-conspirator in murder?”

Laura signed. Harold was dead, gone, Bart now sharing her bed. But it wasn’t the bed where the action happened. It was the damn closet and sex was gymnastic at best. Though Laura had known a transformation, it wasn’t complete. The angle of penetration was off. Bart would insist on hanging from his heels, and all attempts at necking gave Laura a stiff one; neck, that is.

Since Bart said his DNA required the closet hang, they compromised with a vertical 69 position. Bart would embrace her with his wings wrapped tightly around them, and Laura would get comfortable with her pubis level at Bart’s nose.

It was a strange mating, but when Bart snored it sent Laura to heaven.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010-2017




Laura twisted in the wind. Well, rotated in the air conditioning. Bart had a new kick, called ‘Shibari’. An ancient Japanese practice of wrapping things. Precisely. With hidden knots. She should have thought twice when he insisted she strip.

Arms wrapped behind her back, more cloth holding her legs together, she sighed. She didn’t mind hanging upside down, was even getting used to the headaches.

Bart, however, was having a bit of his own transformation, and Laura didn’t know if she liked this one bit. He was becoming ‘weirder’, taking up hobbies. Piercing was one, this shibari another. Laura was seeing Bart in a different light, helped along with her new, nighttime vision.

*Goddamn Japanese! Why can’t they stick to wrapping small packages?*

Bart told her ‘shibari’ was the ancient art of “wrapping the heart.” She bought it, didn’t even mind the bananas, mangos and kiwi he stuck between the bindings. He was, after all, a common fruit bat.

Up on the roof, Bart had other plans. From under his wings, he drew out a new black, leather- riding crop. He slapped it on his palm, laughing with glee.

Laura was about to obey.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010-2017

Metamorphosis Series

February 17, 2018

Supermoon in dec.

About ten years ago I started this series.  It was supposed to be a ‘horror’ series, about a bat and a woman who was transforming into a bat, but I couldn’t maintain the horror.  It just didn’t feel ‘natural’ to me.  So I continued on and it evolved (devolved??) into farce.  I write  better that way….

Lady Nyo

Part One.

She stood at the window, lost in thought. The crispness of autumn
purified the air at dusk. The moon had just risen, the sky was still
light, that peculiar time of evening when both sun and moon balanced
in the sky. Watching the swifts and swallows flit over chimneys and
rooftops, wheeling like tiny black crescents in the sky, she wondered
about her unrest, her weird illnesses. As the moon rose, the swifts
were replaced with bats speeding like rockets back and forth in front
of the window. She could hear the sound of their twittering as they
flew by, sharing the day’s gossip.

“Laura!” Her husband’s voice near. “I’m coming” she called back.

Peering out the window her pupils opened wider. She saw strange
things. The veins in the leaves, the mounds of disturbed soil from
moles far below. The moon so close! The night beckoned to her, she
felt like flying out there.

Under her gown she felt thin membranes grow under her arms. The
tissue, transparent, joined with two hooks on her elbows. Her breasts
shrunk to nothing, only large nipples remaining. Her sex seemed to
shift backwards, her vulva misplaced.

“I’m coming along nicely,” she whispered.



“Laura, come to bed! What are you doing out there?”

Laura was doing nothing. Just drinking tea and looking out the
window, humming to herself.

She had lost weight, grown taciturn, seemed sexless. Harold,
confused, was getting on her last nerve.

She entered the bedroom. Harold, bald and boring, glared at her.

“What is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear me?”

Oh yes, thought Laura. Thirty years of marriage doesn’t stop up your
ears, just your mouth. And your heart.

Laura opened the closet to hang up her robe. Inside, on a hanger, was
a giant bat, its dull black wings wrapped around itself, hanging
upside down. Laura shoved it aside, looking for a hanger for her
robe. She got into bed and turned off the light.

The police looked at the carnage on the bed. Blood everywhere, a real
massacre. Something was wrong, damned if they could figure it out.
The wife, mute, had to be in shock. Weird batty woman.

Laura, her gown bloody, drinking tea, looked out the window. Under
the tree was a big dark man, standing with his arms wrapped around his
chest. He looked up and nodded.

Laura smiled back and winked.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

“Gauzy Ghosts”……

February 16, 2018


Frank Hubeny, over at is hosting right now and challenges us to write short verse.  Maybe tanka, maybe other forms…but brevity is the key.

Lady Nyo

The moon floats on wisps
Of clouds extending outward
Tendrils of white fire
Blanketing the universe
Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

A companion piece written the same time….

Shooting star crosses
Upended bowl of deep night
Fires with excited gaze-
A moment– and all is gone.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

“Poem To My Husband”…..

February 14, 2018

Valentine's Roses

Roses from Fred this Valentine’s Day.

And Happy Valentine’s Day!….


“You’re all I have”
Heard in the dark
Heart almost stopping
In an inattentive breast.

I dare not look at him
Too bald a sentiment
And too true to bear
A light, comforting answer.

What would occasion
Such a piteous sentiment?

When one has lived
Within another’s hours, days, years,
The fabric of this making
Can be forgotten.

The warp and weave, the very thread
That appears as if out of air
(and it does…)
becomes substantial,
it covers and clothes more than the body
and the life blood of sentiment,
Becomes the river within, unending,
Even transcending the pulse of life.

“You’re all I have,”
A whispered refrain
That echoes in the heart
And burrows deep.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2010-2018


‘A Fortunate Fate’, a Japanese inspired short story.

February 13, 2018

Geisha picture 2016



Hana Takate was nineteen years old, a courtesan in old Edo. When she appeared in public, men’s eyes turned like sunflowers to her sun.

Lovely Hana had bones like melted butter and skin shaped from powder. She was a creature so luminous a flower of purest jade could not compare. When she rose from a nap, wearing a simple gauze robe, free of makeup and perfumes, she floated like a spider’s web. A vision of culture and desire, her laugh was a tinkling bell, her hair of bo silk, and her movements like cool water.

One day during cherry blossom time, she was entertaining, her robes folded open like gossamer wings, her rouged nipples suckled by another. A young daimyo was admitted to her rooms by mistake. This new lover was so angered he cut off the head of his rival with his katana in one swift blow.

Hana knelt before him, head down, exposing her swan neck, awaiting death. Seeing her trembling fragility, her obedient meekness, he could not take her life and disappeared to write some bad verse.

She became known as “The Immortal Flower”, a courtesan of first rank. She prospered and became fat.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, “A Fortunate Fate” is from the second edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”,, 2016


“The Night of the Stain”….

February 11, 2018

Marsh Grass 3



Izumi hid in the willow greenery
cascading to the ground.
Hair of blackbird gloss
Trailing in the grass
Black and green tangled
In the layers of her hems.

Her maid searched for her,
Full of duty to her mistress.
These peaceful moments now rare.

“My Lady! I found the most beautiful
Robe in the bottom of a chest.
It will be perfect for your wedding”

Yes, her wedding.
(Better she shave her head and become a nun)
Izumi parted the willow,
Looked without interest,
Her maid holding
A pale jade silk kimono
Embossed tarnished silver embroidery,
Seed pearls gleaming from
Gossamer folds.

Izumi’s breath caught in her throat.
Hands trembling
She opened the kimono.

There it was, faded with time-
A blood stain.

He was dead now, her greatest love.
Closing her eyes
She remembered his face,
His hair black as a raven,
His sandalwood perfume, still faintly trapped
In the jade bo silk.

Through tears leaking
From shadowed lids,
She remembered that night-
The night of the stain,
When locked in his powerful arms
She screamed out—
Scattering the servants listening outside the shoji.
She had bled from
The strength of their passion.

Now she was to marry an old man,
Arranged through the court.
Scandal and poverty, Ah!
The two banes of life.

She would marry in the stained kimono.
It wouldn’t matter anymore.


Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2011-2015,  “The Night of the Stain” is from “A Seasoning of Lust”, 2016



“Lord Nyo’s Lament”, from “Song of the Nightingale”

February 8, 2018

images (9)

Lord Nyo’s Lament

Oh my wife!
My feet take me over mountains
In the service to our lord
But my heart stays tucked in the bosom
Of your robe.

Lady Nyo, circa 2015


The song of the arrow
As it arced into the sea
Was as tuneless
As a badly strung samisen.

Gun- metal clouds
Stretched across a dull horizon
The sun still asleep
As he should be
His quiver empty
His heart, too.

When had the callousness of life and death
Become as comfortable as breath to him?
He had become too much the warrior
And too little the man.

His distance from his wife,
From most of life
Was as if some unseen object
Kept them ten paces apart.
Perhaps it was the cloud-barrier
Of earthly lusts which obscured
The Sun of Buddha?


Perhaps he should pray.
What God would listen?
Then it came to him
That joker of a Buddha, Fudo
With his rope to pull him from Hell
And his sword to cut through foolishness-
Fudo would listen.
Fudo knew the quaking hearts
The illusions embraced
To stomach the battlefield
The fog of drink,
To face life
In the service of Death.
Fudo would save him from
The yellow waters of Hell.

He remembered those years
When she could bring him to his knees
With the promise of dark mystery
Between silken thighs,
And the glimpse of her white wrist-
A river of passion
Just beneath the surface.
How he had steeled his heart
Believing himself unmanned
For the love she induced!

Three cranes flew low to the shore,
Legs streaming like black ribbons behind.
Three cranes, three prayers, three chances
To find his way back
Bound up in Fudo’s ropes,
Prodded in the ass by Fudo’s sword.

He would write a poem
On a bone-white fan
To leave on her cushion.
She would know his love
She would know his sorrow.

The sea took his arrows
Beyond the breakers,
The glint of sleek feathers
Catching thin rays of light.
An unexpected peace came over him
As they journeyed far from his hands.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2016-2018

Song Book cover


“The Stillness of Death”

February 6, 2018

Japanese Lovers II


From “Song of the Nightingale”.  this is the first episode of “Song”.  A few readers were curious about this series, so…..

Lady Nyo



“My heart, like my clothing
Is saturated with your fragrance.
Your vows of fidelity
Were made to our pillow and not to me.”
—-12th century

Kneeling before her tea
Lady Nyo did not move.
She barely breathed-
Tomorrow depended
Upon her action today.

Lord Nyo was drunk again.
When in his cups
The household scattered.
Beneath the kitchen
Was the crawl space
Where three servants
Where hiding.
A fourth wore an iron pot.

Lord Nyo was known
For three things:
And drink.

Tonight he strung
His seven foot bow,
Donned his quiver
High on his back.
He looked at the pale face
Of his aging wife,
His eyes blurry, unfocused.
He remembered the first time
pillowing her.

She was fifteen.
Her body powdered petals,
Bones like butter,
Black hair like trailing bo silk.
The blush of shy passion
Had coursed through veins
Like a tinted stream.

Still beautiful
Now too fragile for his taste.
Better a plump whore,
Than this delicate, saddened beauty.

He drew back the bow
In quick succession
Let five arrows pierce
The shoji.
Each grazed the shell ear
Of his wife.

Life hung on her stillness.
She willed herself dead.

Death after all these years
Would have been welcome.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted , 2015

Song Book cover


“Lady Nyo’s Torment”

February 4, 2018


My beautiful picture

Front Garden

Haibun Monday is tomorrow night over on dverse.  Come read some wonderful haibun  there. It is one of the very oldest and most popular forms in Japanese literature.  Priests, poets, travelers used the haibun form to document their observations, and sometimes these above were spies.

Lady Nyo

  • I stay here waiting for him in the autumn wind, my sash untied,
    Wondering, is he coming now? Is he coming now?
  • And the moon is low in the sky, the only company
    I have tonight.
  • Now near dawn, paling Milky Way appears–
  • .
  • And Oh, my husband! There are not stars enough in the heavens
    To equal my sorrowful tears.

Once I believed
No love could still linger
Within the heart
Yet, something springs from the air
And forces itself on me.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

These poems and tanka above come from “Song of the Nightingale”, Amazon, 2015

Song Book cover


“Winter Widow”, a haibun

January 31, 2018

My beautiful picture


At the window she saw the naked trees of winter lit by a slivered crescent moon, casting thin shadows upon frigid ground. Skeletons in the moonlight, these ghostly trees, as brittle as her own internal landscape. Little flesh about her, a fresh widow, reduced by grief now resembling the fragile branches outside in the sullen night.

There was a time when she was juicy, ripe with swelling tissue, wet with moisture, velvet of skin. She lapped at life with full lips and embracing gestures. Speared on her husband she moaned, screamed with laughter, pivoted in sheer joy. Her life had been full, overflowing, desirable, endless, a portrait of promise.

He died one day. Life turned surreal. Much remained, only the reason for living gone. The temperature grown colder, like him under the soil.

Outside it started to snow. She watched the gentle coverage of branch, bush and ground, a tender benediction offered to a cradled earth. She knelt in the snow, grateful for this arousal to life.

She would live, but he must be so cold under the snow.


Come kiss my warm lips
Cup my breast in your rough hand,
Growl into my mouth.


Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018



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