“Night Fire Road”

March 29, 2020



Painting by Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor “North Carolina” , 2009

 Many don’t like or read poetry, but this one is for those of us who do.


Sharp right into mystery,

Down black macadam churning

Guts and apprehension,

Pot-holed surface falling

Either side into waterlogged ditches.

Hurtling towards a tunnel

Of dark, smothering trees,

Deep in the mountain.


This is Night Fire Road

Spiraling down and up

Like the dark flames of its name.


Tires dumped in the tar of night

Maybe a car or two

Stolen, torched,

Liquor bottles christening the

Games of drunken fools.


Maybe it was meant

To be named for foxfire—

Bioluminescence come down from

The borders of Heaven

A gleaming fool’s gold

Only appearing at night

To tease greed and imagination.


Or perhaps it was named

For the illicit meetings

Of furtive lovers

Who shun daylight

And go enflame passion on

Night Fire Road.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014-2016 (“Night Fire Road” was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, Amazon.com 2014)

“Winter Into Spring”

March 28, 2020
My beautiful picture

Taken from the East


Mysterious, unfathomable, muted season,

where life and reason are suspended

upon a cold metal wire.

The wind a razor of clipper glass

sailing through glassine air

slicing the pallid sun’s rays–

an attempt to warm a frigid earth

to a remembered fertility.


Solemn seasonal palette,

white, gray, black,

cut with a flash of blood-red–

Kamikaze cardinal!

like the demon wind bearing its name,

dares the thin and paling air

to brighten for a flashing moment–

A witness to recurring life.


Season of bountiful snow,

brings a thirst to the land

where hoar-frost leaches

moisture with a crystallized withering-

hands to crack, bark to shatter,

and all dries and curls about

in a perverse furnace of freeze.


One day, a pale day

a southern breeze

breaks through the bonds of Winter

brushes up, slides up

upon the ice

and a crack like a thump is felt in the gut

a slow drip-drip of water

signals the end of this harsh season,

as icicles emit a hesitant stream,

and then the ice dam down in the brook

cracks with a louder sound

and the rush to Spring

is heralded with these natural sounds.


A blind movement

felt deep in the soil-

a careful stirring,

barely a rumble in the gut of Earth

as birth beneath replaces death above

pushing through the Great Womb

to a pallid sun above.

The tyranny of Winter is broken.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2019



“To The New Lover….#2

March 26, 2020

via “To The New Lover….#2

“To The New Lover….#2

March 26, 2020

lovers, halfhearted dude

A bit of erotica to affirm you are alive…..


Fingers flit over cheeks

rubbed raw during the night

by ardent kisses and the

rough beard of a man in rut.


An early morning’s light

peeks through drapes drawn

for modesty’s sake

shielding the

sweet debauchery

of the night before.


She feels his hands move to her breasts

and nipples greet their caress,

arising to a new and different

touch, demanding notice.


His dark head moves to kiss her mouth now

dry, her lips bruised with their late passion,

he is filled again with early need and

she feels him push at her thigh.


Eyes barely open, he now knows

the terrain, and with a growl, rolls on top of her,

spreading the sweet apex of her thighs, a hand

in the warm, dark moistness of her sex.


She stretches, remembering the sweet movements

of the night, a savage pas de deux, as

an ardent moan escapes from her throat.


This morning, he is gentle, her sex sore,

almost virginal, challenged by the heat

of the night

and with gentle touches, he commands

her arousal,


And calls her out to dance again.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008

“The Etruscan Jar”

March 22, 2020

via “The Etruscan Jar”

“The Etruscan Jar”

March 22, 2020

Image result for Etruscan ancient jars


I came late to poetry, but it cracked something open in me.  Poetry led to short stories, more poetry, and novels.  This is the first poem I ever attempted.  I can laugh now, but it was courageous to write it.

We saw it the same time,

standing on a sterile white plinth

in an alcove,

a dome of acrylic

Guarding it

from life outside.


A simple clay jar,

fecund with love handles

jutting from hips,

behind rounded buttocks,

in front the folds of the clay

a definite mons venus.


The lips of the jar–beestung,

puffed and swollen with lascivious


the opening a slit

pushed together

by two loving thumbs

molding the clay.

A mud vagina so lovely

the glass could not stop

me from trying to trace it.


Our love was a new one,

awkward and tongue-tied.

Lust simmering below surface,

neither one of us sure

how to dig through

to more fertile soil.


Bending down to read

the description before me

I felt him poke.

The Jar vibrated

with silent laughter-

I shivered in answer-

my own denied lust.


Now emboldened,

I turned

whispering softly:

“I’ll be the jar,

You be the stopper.”


We raced to

his bedroom,

tearing off clothes,

slamming doors,

falling into

the unsullied sea of his bed.


All it took was an ancient Jar,

Etruscan in origin,

found buried in soft, staining earth.

He filled his new jar with his honeyed mead

and grabbed the love handles on top of my hips.

stung my lips with his swarming kisses,

the buzz of my senses lost to my ears.



Closing together my thighs

wanting to capture his sweet liquor,

that seed coursing like a white river

through my own subterranean depths

he nuzzled my stomach

making me laugh,

the milk of our lovemaking

spilled over the dam,

and I lost him.


That Etruscan Jar on the plinth

was wise beyond years,

taking two lovers

unsure how to dance,

making them

two vessels

in the service of love.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007

A sign of the times……

March 20, 2020

Cat Crazy.

From Nick who lives in Australia.  And has two cats.

Short Story: “Bob Dylan and Me”

March 15, 2020

A true story…..

I was fifteen years old and not cool.

Fifteen was after dolls, during horses, and way before boys.  I was a slow learner, combined with a timid manner and a few pimples.  My parents were no help, they were off fighting the war called marriage. We three kids were on the battlefield, carrying water to each side.

At fifteen I was barely holding on to daylight.  Life was getting complicated and I was in a permanent daydream. Now, forty years later, I understand all this was the natural process of growing up.  Then it was just massive confusion with a good dose of shame to leaven it all.

On top of this there wasn’t any real guidelines for parents back then.  No Dr. Spock or if he was around, my parents certainly didn’t read him.  Most fathers back then were WWII  veterans  and had their own view on childhood trauma. Fully half the men in my father’s B-24 squadron were under twenty. Babies flying bathtubs.  “Buck up and take it like a man”, “wrap a rag around it, it’ll stop bleeding” was what most of us heard from our fathers, and the mothers just looked away and dropped another Miltown.

I’m not much of a better parent today, just with more guilt.  Genes hold like superglue.

I remember lots of rather ‘beat’ parties at our house, where my mother and father would serve white wines and people would sit on the wide plank pine floors. Each year Halloween masquerades for the adults, my mother in fishnet stockings, stiletto heels, a ballet leotard, and for some reason, cat ears on the top of her head.  I must have been pretty young, because my nursery was set up in the future upstairs bathroom.  I remember her leaning over me and the smell of Woodhue floating off her into my mouth as she kissed me good night.  Must have been some party, because I heard her complain chillingly to my father that he had ‘slipped her a Mickey.’  Apparently she had vomited in the one of the four fireplaces downstairs, and blamed my father for her drunkenness.  My mother never got drunk, so this memory remains strong of my childhood.  These things stick because they are the few times I got noticed. Maybe it’s something sensory with the perfume, but I don’t really know.

I also remember the concrete divisions between adults and children.  There was none of today’s behavior asking kids their opinions around the dinner table.  We didn’t have any. We were trying to swim through the deep waters of childhood and adult issues generally elicited a groan of having to think hard, something we only attempted in math.

High school, sometimes for all four years, was brutal.  Too big, too many stairs and too much distraction complete with cynical teachers who should have retired but were hanging on. Where else could they abuse the unworthy?  They were addicted to the power,  while we, their slaves, went under the wire.  The natural order of life back then.  The time of “squat and hug your knees”, the threat of Commies dropping bombs on our baseball fields- all good training for life.

I had a girlfriend in my sophomore year. I can’t remember her name, but except for getting two tickets to the Bob Dylan concert in McCarter Theater at Princeton University, she was unmemorable. I’ll call her Gloria for this story.

We had no idea who Bob Dylan was except for posters glued to walls calling him a  New York Folk Singer.   Both of us were in band or orchestra, depending upon the need of the teacher.  Violin and clarinet were our only forms of music back then.  Radios were tuned by my parents to classical or their big band music.  In fact, the only time I can remember listening to radio was on a Saturday night, when my brothers and I would listen to WOR in New York, and the crazy dj would try to scare us with stories about the Jersey Pine Barren Devil. Can’t remember his or the Devil’s proper names, though.

So Gloria somehow gets two tickets to a Bob Dylan concert.  We, at fifteen, decide our Sunday best would be appropriate. It’s a concert after all, and this signals dress up. On the afternoon before the event, we curled and sprayed and flipped our hair, put on white dresses with pearls and our white low heeled Sunday shoes and went to McCarter Theater.  I don’t remember much about it, except they set up the stage with chairs, right behind Dylan, for the overflow of audience.  Somebody thought it cute to put the two strange girls in matching white dresses right behind the singer.  I remember sitting there very primly, our hands crossed in our laps, trying to take it all in, watching his ass.

The stage lights of course were glaring in our eyes, and drunken frat boys yelling, “Hey! Bobby! Play Blowing in the Wind!”  “Hey, Bobby, get some singing lessons!” “Hey, Bob, …..”  A couple of cans of something were thrown on the stage, probably beer.

I remember Dylan looking mystified as he turned and looked behind him.  I didn’t know the word then, but now I would say his thoughts were clearly: “What the fuck?”  Each time he turned we would beam and clap. He would bow.  We were his own cheering section as the cans of soda and beer came hurling from the balcony.

As I write this, I am laughing but there is also embarrassment: I was such a hick.  I got cooler as the 60s progressed.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted , 2020

Concerning the Coronavirus …a Pandemic.

March 12, 2020

via Concerning the Coronavirus …a Pandemic.

Concerning the Coronavirus …a Pandemic.

March 12, 2020


(Watercolor by Jane Kohut-Bartels…..a coal barge in 1954 from England)

From Christine Higgins in Bergamo, Italy.

Iam writing to you from Bergamo, Italy, at the heart of the coronavirus crisis. The news media in the US has not captured the severity of what is happening here. I am writing this post because each of you, today, not the government, not the school district, not the mayor, each individual citizen has the chance, today to take actions that will deter the Italian situation from becoming your own country’s reality. The only way to stop this virus is to limit contagion. And the only way to limit contagion is for millions of people to change their behavior today.

If you are in Europe or the US you are weeks away from where we are today in Italy.

I can hear you now. “It’s just a flu. It only affects old people with preconditions”

There are 2 reasons why Coronavirus has brought Italy to it’s knees. First it is a flu is devastating when people get really sick they need weeks of ICU – and, second, because of how fast and effectively it spreads. There is 2 week incubation period and many who have it never show symptoms.

When Prime Minister Conte announced last night that the entire country, 60 million people, would go on lock down, the line that struck me most was “there is no more time.” Because to be clear, this national lock down, is a hail mary. What he means is that if the numbers of contagion do not start to go down, the system, Italy, will collapse.

Why? Today the ICUs in Lombardy are at capacity – more than capacity. They have begun to put ICU units in the hallways. If the numbers do not go down, the growth rate of contagion tells us that there will be thousands of people who in a matter of a week? two weeks? who will need care. What will happen when there are 100, or a 1000 people who need the hospital and only a few ICU places left?

On Monday a doctor wrote in the paper that they have begun to have to decide who lives and who dies when the patients show up in the emergency room, like what is done in war. This will only get worse.

There are a finite number of drs, nurses, medical staff and they are getting the virus. They have also been working non-stop, non-stop for days and days. What happens when the drs, nurses and medical staff are simply not able to care for the patients, when they are not there?

And finally for those who say that this is just something that happens to old people, starting yesterday the hospitals are reporting that younger and younger patients – 40, 45, 18, are coming in for treatment.

You have a chance to make a difference and stop the spread in your country. Push for the entire office to work at home today, cancel birthday parties, and other gatherings, stay home as much as you can. If you have a fever, any fever, stay home. Push for school closures, now. Anything you can do to stop the spread, because it is spreading in your communities – there is a two week incubation period – and if you do these things now you can buy your medical system time.

And for those who say it is not possible to close the schools, and do all these other things, locking down Italy was beyond anyone’s imagination a week ago.

Soon you will not have a choice, so do what you can now.

Please share.


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