Indian Men and the Authorities are Hiding their Heads in the Sand.

October 23, 2016

Indian Men and Authorities Are Hiding Their Heads in the Sand…..Hoping the World Will Forget What They Condone.

I wrote this short article “On the Misogyny of Indian Men” in July, 2014.  It doesn’t begin to cover the topic of the entrenched violence of Indian Men towards women and children.  It was then a stab at the very outrageous behavior that is seen as ‘normal’ by many in India.  Has much changed?  In the estimation of many, No. (The demonstrations of thousands are a start, but this is a country of over one billion people).  When you have lawmakers making statements that support the disgusting misogyny and murder by the bus driver (Mukesh Singh) of a 23 year old medical student, you can only throw up your hands at the hopelessness of the situation in India. 

But this raises a question:  Is Mukesh Singh a monster, along with the other 4 men convicted of murder and sentenced to death, or is it a reflection of a deeply entrenched belief in the value of Indian woman in Indian society? As disgusting as Mukesh Singh and his gang of rapists and murderers are, it’s supported by the mentality of many, many men in Indian society.

When the Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu declared:  “We can ban this film (“India’s Daughter”) in India.  But this is an international conspiracy to defame India.  We will see how the film can be stopped abroad, too.”

When defense lawyer A.P. Singh said “if his daughter or sister engaged in pre-martial activities he would take daughter or sister and in front of his entire family, would pour petrol on them and set them afire.”

How is this not barbarism?  India has a long way to go before it can join the civilized world.

‘On the Misogyny of Indian Men’, a short essay and an addition.

Today, March 3rd, 2015, was another article about the rape and death of an Indian woman on a bus.    This interview was  with the bus driver, who has been charged as one of the rapists, and condemned to death for his participation. Though it is hard to understand his justification, this isn’t a surprise to those women in India who suffer the twisted and misogynistic philosophy of many  in Indian society.  In my own country, (USA) I have come across resistance in even discussing the violence towards Indian women from women who should know better. One woman in particular  said this topic was not to be spoken of at dinner.  She went on to endlessly discuss a holiday.  So runs the mentality of many people who refuse to see the suffering of women. She was an educated, professional, American woman.  Should we expect more of the men in Indian society?

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Indian Rapist Blames Victim for the Rape.

(from AFP News)

One of the men convicted of the gang-rape and murder of an Indian student that shocked the world has said he blames the victim for “roaming around at night”.

The comments are made in a documentary to be screened on International Women’s Day.

Mukesh Singh, who was sentenced to death for his crimes, said the victim should not have been out at night, and should not have resisted the attack on a moving bus in 2012.

“You can’t clap with one hand -– it takes two hands. A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night,” he said in an interview for “India’s Daughter”, a BBC documentary to be broadcast on Sunday.

“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died from her injuries 13 days after she was savagely attacked on her way home from the cinema with a male friend on December 16, 2012.

Before her death she was able to speak to police about the crime, which caused outrage across the world and triggered mass protests in India.

The attack highlighted the frightening level of violence against women in the world’s second most populous country and led to a major reform of the rape laws, speeding up trials and increasing penalties.

But Singh, 28, said his execution would “make life more dangerous for future rape victims”.

“Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her,” he told Leslee Udwin, the award-winning British filmmaker behind the documentary.

(Note: these ‘men’  rammed her with an iron pole, rupturing her intestines…she died days later of toxic shock in terrible agony.)

He also criticised the victim for fighting back against her attackers.

“She should just be silent and allow the rape,” he said. “Then they’d have dropped her off after doing her.”

(To me, this piece of human garbage expressed the core of Indian men’s misogyny.  She should silently allow them to rape her. She has no worth.)

“India’s Daughter” will be televised in seven countries including India and Britain on Sunday, International Women’s Day.

Udwin will speak to media at a screening of her film later Tuesday alongside the victim’s parents, who have campaigned vocally for improvements in women’s safety since their daughter’s death.

She said she was inspired by seeing ordinary Indians take to the streets to protest “in unprecedented numbers” following the attack.

“In my lifetime, I can’t recall any other country standing up with such commitment and determination for women’s rights,” Udwin said.

The case sparked much soul-searching about India’s treatment of women, but women’s rights campaigners say little has changed in the deeply patriarchal country.

Singh, one of five people convicted over the attack, admitted driving the bus during the incident but denied taking part in the rape.

He is appealing the verdict against him.

(Note: Indian authorities have banned the showing of this film in India.  As of March 5, 2015.)


On the Misogyny of Indian Men

Recently I have been reading about this issue of misogyny of men, and in particular, Indian Men.  In part I am pulled into this by some experience.  Misogyny is defined as ‘a hatred of women’Most people think of this in a sexual context.  However, I believe misogyny in some cultures is so prevalent that it defines much more than sexual attitudes, or to speak plainly, it is the total dismissal of women in that culture as second class, intellectually inferior, etc.  This of course, is not isolated to men from India, but is seen world-wide, especially in Muslim countries.

My direct experience with Indian men has been of a certain class, mostly from the upper classes.  These are very well educated and placed men in literature, education, the sciences, etc.  They are not the people one would associate with this mentality and behavior, however, I think it is very hard for Indian men in general to avoid the psychological and social issues of misogyny.  It is so prevalent in Indian society at all levels that it stains all classes.  In most  conversations I have had with upper class Indian men, there is a total blackout of any acknowledgement of misogyny in male behavior.   In only one conversation did an Indian man come forth with what he thought was the problem (lack of sex education..which begs the question to me…), but then avoided any further discussion.  Perhaps because I am an American woman this was what was making him uncomfortable, embarrassed,  but I think it is more to the issue that Indians are not comfortable talking about these things in general.  They are a very prudish and traditional society, regardless the level of education.

Actually, misogyny is so deeply entrenched in Indian society (and also in many women) that violence and devaluing women (and what flows from the caste system) is justifiable.  To them.

We read of the horrible prevalence of child and women rape in India.  According to statistics, there are over 100 REPORTED rapes of women daily.  This is just the reported rapes.  The amount of rapes unreported is much more.  Why is this so?

First, the usual men who are charged are lower middle and working class men. (of course, there is the case of  Tarun Tejpal, owner and editor of Tehelka in India, decidedly not a working class man, posturing as a left-leaning liberal) There are social and economic issues that make this obvious.  In the major cities  (and especially Delhi)  it is almost dangerous for women, unaccompanied by male relatives, to walk the sidewalks without what is called “eve-teasing”, which is groping and attempts of molestation, besides just wolf-whistles and obnoxious comments about women’s physical characteristics. (The name of this, “eve-teasing” is interesting: Eve being the temptress  of Adam?).  In the countryside, it is as dangerous and perhaps even more so. Gangs of men lie in wait for women walking home from work or on errands. However, what is even more troubling is the role and position of educated woman, women of privilege and class and caste, some who openly attack through media these women who are raped. (And hold that these crimes are those of “little brown men”, who just happen to be their own countrymen.) This is another form of misogyny, female hatred for themselves.  These women align themselves with male oppressors, thinking they will escape all the treatment of male misogynists, at least in the intellectual sphere.  But this is not the behavior of only upper class women.  It is also seen with working class women.  Blaming the rape victims is only part of this hatred.  In one village reported, a rape victim was set upon and threatened with burning alive if she didn’t leave the village of her home.

The intellectual class, the upper classes, like to blame the officials, the lawyers, the courts, and the police in particular for the lack of bringing these rapists to justice, but the base is set within Indian culture and society.  Of course, a high percentage of Indian police are corrupt, and in villages, in the countryside, bribes are standard procedure.  Having full knowledge of rapes and not reporting them is another practice by police.  The police tried to buy off two parents from their legitimate and horrifying complaint when their 5 year old daughter was kidnapped (by three local men) and raped and sodomized for three days.  The parents courageously resisted this. Another man raped a 5 year old girl.  His answer? “She was a beggar’s child. She had no value.”

These atrocities continue on and on.

Tour groups (some from here in the States and Europe, and most from India)  tell  tourists to immediately contact the police when they are molested on the street by Indian men.  But others say that this is rarely help. In fact, it can be even more obstructive to any justice.   One group of women who were staying in a hostel in some Indian city found out fast that every morning, like clockwork, police would show up banging on their door demanding bribes.  What to do?  It’s a difficult situation and only traveling in groups and not certain cities can you attempt at least a semblance of safety.

Where do these attitudes and behaviors of misogyny come from?

The answer to this question is not the place of this short article.  It would take a lot more research and study to answer this fully.  This article is just to raise awareness amongst women thinking about travelling to India and to pose some facts and warnings.

Recently I have been reading some literature that these attitudes are ‘post-Colonial influences’, left over from the period when the British were more than involved with the Indian continent.  Of course, the influence of the British imperialists certainly impacted on just about everything in Indian culture, but the problem of misogyny in India is far older than that.

It goes back to feudalism, and probably farther back.  The approach of man to woman relationship was built upon three things:  1) the availability of sexual release for men, 2) the issue of domestic  servitude and 3) reproduction.    Only where women are educated is some of this lessened.  However, this is also showing to be a double-edged sword. There is resentment from men of all classes where women are educated.  And as one Indian woman said to me recently, the very thing that should liberate women from the backwardness of society doesn’t.  “We are educated to not bring shame to our upper class and professional parents and relatives, but we are stopped from real liberation because of tradition. We can only go just so far with education.  We must not step on toes.”

Religion is of course part of the mix.  There are female goddesses in Hindu religion and they are devotedly worshiped.  But the culture of misogyny is so deep within the Indian mindset that even this has little effect in abating the behaviors of rape, molestation, etc. Goddesses are one thing, women are another.

Female Infanticide and the Sex Trade of Children


There is a long history of female infanticide in India history.   Girls are killed at birth, or aborted or abandoned to die because their ‘worth’ is so much less than boys. ( In some families, the girls are only allowed to eat the leftovers of the boys after they have eaten.) This is part of the cultural behavior within India and is very old.  This is very much the base of this Indian misogyny.  It starts at the birth.  IF a female child is allowed to grow in the womb.  Recently I read that there are over 750,000 abortions of FEMALE fetus per year in India.  And, in many cases, if a woman delivers a girl child, the husband, the male of the family will tell her to  ‘get rid of it’.  In other words, many women face the situation of killing their own daughters shortly after birth.  Interestingly enough, there is now a shortage of women in India, and this fact is given for the rape and molestation by Indian men.  One man I know speaks of the necessity of sexual education in Indian culture, and this might be so, but I believe the situation goes beyond this.  It has everything to do with the cultural attitudes of Indians towards women, and yes, the attitudes of Indian mothers, also.  Plus, this educated man, who is a professor, refuses to even address these things:  he is too far above the mob to be bothered. This is an example where Indian men who have the ability to speak out against the misogyny are basically, misogynists themselves.

Women are just dismissed, demeaned, and denied within the broader Indian culture. They are truly second class citizens.  They are seen with little value by men.   It isn’t always sexual, but the fear that women live with is constant, and many times it is sexual.  The truncated intellectual progress that is denied because a woman is born a woman in India is one of the greatest wastes of humanity.

Statistically over 100,000 children are kidnapped or disappear from their parents and villages every year. This feeds into the sex trade and is generated also by the blinding poverty of the masses of Indians in rural villages and urban slums.  Parents sell their own children into this trade, or children are driven by hunger.

We in the West certainly have these same things, but definitely not to the extent that Indian women feel today.  Our laws are strong when applied and our police of course have the same ability to be as corrupt as the Indian police, but when our laws work, they abate some of this. But we don’t have one billion citizens and we don’t have quite the corruption of Indian lawmakers. Indian  courts are, at best, chaotic.  Rape and abuse cases can be ignored, or drag on for years.  And the feminist movement in India is little older than a decade.

I believe that generally good Indian men don’t understand how they can easily slip into the mind thought and behavior of misogyny.  Unfortunately, Indian men, many men in my experience take it as their right to demand that women do things they themselves don’t want to do.  It is because we, as women…our work, our creativity, are of a lesser standard in their eyes. Surely we can put aside our work, our propulsion towards our success for what is more ‘important’ in their belief.  This is an intellectual form of servitude.  We must see this behavior for what it is and bring it sharply to their attention.  Further, we must not be cajoled with praise to do things that put us off our road of progress.  This is a dead end for women and puts us further back in our successes in life.


Is India too dangerous to visit today?


Finally, is India too dangerous a country to visit?  I have had numerous friends, professional women and other poets who have gone to India in the past year to bring home their daughters studying there.  I would say that yes, India is in too much turmoil socially and politically for foreign women to visit, especially single women.  Even couples have been attacked, the woman gang raped and the man beaten. We have heard of many gang rapes of European women in the past few years  and this doesn’t even begin to amount to the terror and fear that Indian women and girls must live with daily.

What is the solution?  One Indian woman friend said that “all Indian men are misogynist. It’s in their DNA.”  I am hoping that those sane and good Indians, men and woman, realize how their country women (and men) are suffering and how the rest of the world sees India in all its disgusting denial for the violence it inflicts (and shows little remorse) upon the women and children of India.

Otherwise, travel there at your own risk.

Lady Nyo


Jane Kohut-Bartels who is also Lady Nyo

Copyrighted, 2015-2016

Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a common thief and liar.    She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US.  This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.

“O Absalom”, posted for dversepoets.

October 20, 2016

Watercolor, Salisbury, janekohut-bartels, 2005

(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2004, Untitled)

O Absalom,

Ensnared by long hair in the

Boughs of an oak,

Pierced through the heart three times–

The shimmer of life now faded.



Pulled into mysteries

So abandoned by love

Now given over to lust

Charged with stolen rapture

Dizzy as a drunken dervish-

One hand upward to Heaven

One hand spilling to Earth

Skirts stiffened with sins hard as stone

Corrupted over a life time and now–

Flayed on an unending mandala.


Mystery of Life,

Unstoppable desire,

O beautiful Absalom,

We float upon a divine river

Entangled in the reeds of human wanting.


This is our nature,

This our calling while

Flesh answers flesh.

What quarter be given when the heart is

Overwhelmed by passion’s excess?


Lie still–

Let the waters cleanse our loins,

Mud of the banks soothe our wounds,

Our blood mingle with the floating grasses,

Our hearts sink beneath the surface.

Let the rivers of Babylon

Carry us away.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016





Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a common thief and liar.    She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US.  This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.

“The Kimono” Chapter 21

October 20, 2016

Image result for 16th century Japanese dancers



I hope to publish this novel Spring, 2017.  I started this one eight years ago, but the publication of five books of poetry and a novella stopped the progress on this novel. I’ve finished it this  late summer, but there is of course. rewriting and editing to be done now.

It’s a time-warp novel…where Mari, a Japanese-American woman is in Kyoto in the 21st century, with her husband on business there.  She buys an ancient kimono, a plain black, heavy crepe kimono with a band of silver cloth running around the hem and up the side. Inside is a strange knotting of stitches, which happen to be some sort of code.  Upon wearing it, Mari is transported back to the 16th century where she lands on her face before a Daimyo…a feudal lord and samurai.   I patterned this kimono on the one I bought right before I started writing this novel.  It was exactly like I have described this magical kimono, but it hasn’t flown me anywhere.  Yet.

Lady Nyo


Chapter 21.

Mari had little chance to think more of Lord Ekei. The shoji opened and two tiny women appeared on their knees, bowing very low, their heads almost touching the tatami.

“Ah! We are to be entertained by a dancer and musician tonight”, said Lord Ekei. Apparently he wasn’t as drunk as Mari suspected, for his words were not slurred.

The two women shyly came into the room. One had a shamisen, knelt, sat back on her heels, and started to play on the three stringed instrument.

Mari could not take her eyes from the dancer: she was robed in a number of kimonos of bright colors with embroidery on the outermost robe. Her obi was not of the more familiar kind that Mari had seen in Kyoto in her century: it was of a much thinner sash, but still embroidered and of a rich pattern.

The dancer flipped out two fans from her sleeves and struck a pose. After a few moments of music, she slowly stretched out her arms and fluttered the fans. Slowly and gracefully, she moved through the dance, obviously telling some story with her movements. The expression on her face changed from placid to sorrow as she danced, barely moving her body, but swinging her kimonos around her.

The story line was lost on Mari. She felt Lady Nyo move next to her. In a few whispered words, Lady Nyo began to explain this dance. Springtime, lovers meeting, a betrayal, and the sorrow that came from such. Mari could make sense of some of the pantomime: the flutter of the fan held high and horizontally was the gentle spring rain, the positioning of her body gave clues to her happiness and sorrow. She was glad Lady Nyo was beside her, whispering, explaining the story. The music certainly told the sad tale, if nothing else. The plunking of the shamisen was strange, alien to Mari’s ears. She had attempted to play one under the tutelage of Lady Nyo and remembered Lady Nyo’s ‘excuse’ that a clumsy servant had knocked it over by accident and damaged it enough so Mari’s lessons were at a finish. Mari had found it not only discordant but alien to her ears.

Mari had only a casual knowledge of the flower and willow world. She read a few short, illustrated books in Kyoto, the writing obviously geared to tourists. It seemed there wasn’t much information given out. Perhaps this particular world had died out; perhaps Japan had become too modern to pay attention to the geisha world. There were plenty of young women in front of stores and inns who looked like maikos, but these were invariably young students, who would pose for the tourist’s cameras.

Mari didn’t have a clue as to what was before her. Was the dancer maiko or geisha? She had a suspicion the dancer was too old to be a proper maiko. She realized suddenly that the term ‘geisha’ would not be used for female performers for another 100 years! This woman before her might be a tayu, a courtesan.


Mari had seen a couple of Japanese dancers since she and Steven had arrived in Kyoto. Business dinners had always a dancer to entertain the employees. But this woman seemed different, and it was more than the four centuries between what Mari saw in her century and what she was watching now.


She decided to ask Lady Nyo when she had a chance.

The dancer and musician only did two dances and then, bowing heavily and backing out the room, they disappeared.

The party broke up soon after that, and Mari found herself sharing a 6 tatami sized room with Lady Nyo. She remembered her question about the dancer.

“The dancer?” Lady Nyo sniffed pointedly, while braiding her hair for the night.

Lady Nyo started to laugh and threw up her hand to cover her mouth. She looked at Mari, her eyes crinkled in amusement.

“Yes, the dancer. I admit I have not seen that many dancers, but perhaps she was a well-trained tayu?”

“Well trained? Oh, forgive me, Lady Mari. She was hardly tsubone-joro—third rate tayu if even good enough for a rank.”

Lady Nyo dropped gracefully to her knees and lay down next to Mari on the tatami mat.

“She probably is the elder daughter of a local official.   Perhaps she performs to help support her aging parents. Her kimonos are not very impressive.”

Well, Mari had been given an opinion. This town was a bit of a backwater, off the main road and perhaps ‘good’ entertainers could not be expected. Lady Nyo would be a better judge of all this tonight and many other things before.

Mari lay awake, tired but couldn’t fall asleep. Pictures from the day’s travel flooded her mind: it was an endless silent film unreeling before her closed eyes.

The lanterns outside had been blown out, as was the small oil lamp within the room. Mari could see a maid shuffling past a paper shoji carrying a tiny lamp. Other than this, the night was quiet, except for the song of a nightingale. The guests of the inn seemed to be asleep. Mari was grateful for the plump form of Lady Nyo next to her. That alone made the strangeness of her surroundings less so.

It was later, after she had fallen deep asleep that Mari awoke with a start. She listened for sounds, but even the nightingale was silent. The only sound in the room was the gentle snoring of Lady Nyo. There was no other disturbance that could account for Mari waking up.

There was….but it was without a sound.

Mari looked at the bottom of the tatami where her feet stuck out from the blanket. Something was snaking around her ankles, rubbing against her legs. Mari sat up and gave a loud yell.

“What is it? Did you see something?”

Before Mari could answer, Lord Mori and Lord Nyo flung open the shoji and came in with swords drawn.

The moonlight was the only light. Mari and Lady Nyo grasped each other tightly. It took a moment for them both to realize who had entered their room in such a rush.

“What has happened here?” Lord Mori’s voice cut through the darkness.

“Oh, I am so sorry, my lord, but something was wrapping itself, rubbing around my legs. I thought it was a cat but could see nothing. There was nothing there, but it wasn’t a dream.”

Mari felt like a fool. The innkeeper and his wife, followed by maids crowded the door.

Lord Mori turned to them, bowed and explained that one of the women was having a nightmare. The innkeeper and his wife were glad to go back to their bed. They bowed to the men in the room.

Lord Mori and Nyo sat cross-legged on the tatami, their swords on their knees.

Addressing Lady Nyo, Lord Mori asked her what in her opinion disturbed the sleep of the Lady Mari.

Lady Nyo had clasp herself tightly to Mari when she yelled out, waking her from a sound sleep.

“My lord, from what the Lady has said, I would think it to be a sunekosuri. I have never seen such a creature, but I have heard of their work.”

Turning his head slightly he addressed Lord Nyo sitting to his side.

“You have married a woman who believes in such spirits. Perhaps you should beat these superstitions out of her.”

Lord Nyo chuckled under his breath, recognizing a joke.

Lady Nyo responded, perhaps without deeper thought.

“My lord, there are things that exist beyond our eyes—because we can not see them or don’t believe in them doesn’t make them not exist.”

Lord Mori blinked. Whether he was in agreement or annoyed, Mari couldn’t tell.

“Have you been telling ghost stories?”

“No, my lord,” said Mari. “We only discussed the dancer before we fell asleep.”

Lord Mori blinked again, considered something and announced they would be changing arrangements for the night.

Mari sat there, looking dumb. Lord Mori rose, turned to go, and turned back. He hissed and gestured for her to follow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a common thief and liar.    She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US.  This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.





“Bob Dylan and Me.” From “Memories of a Rotten Childhood”

October 18, 2016

Last week I formed a poem for dverse from this work below.  It is included in my  unfinished “Memories…Rotten Childhood” and I certainly am old enough to write about my childhood…and some later years.  I thought it would be interesting to post the whole piece, and it also serves as a way to clean the palette of the depressing “Plague of Death”.  Ugh.  Writing such stuff is too close to the bone.


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, fifty 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 2009, 2016


Tags: ‘Bob Dylan and Me’ from “Memories of a Rotten Chlldhood”, Adults, childhood, growing up in rural New Jersey, McCarter Theater at Princeton, Princeton, simplier times, the 1960’s., the brutality of High School, The Jersey Pine Barren Devil, WOR radio in NYC


Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a thief.    She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US.  This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.

“Plague of Death”…haibun for d’verse.

October 17, 2016


(from my files. can’t remember where to accredit this, but thank you!)


The sound of gunfire rivets the night. Sirens add to the harmonics of chaos, as a wailing woman kneels in the street, arms thrown out, face contorted. A ghetto Pieta. No one saw nothing. No face came to mind, as two men back away, invisible blood on hands– deliverers of Death.  So easy, they have done it before. The Devil pays well. We know to stay away from the mean streets, but random killings haunt every section of the city.  Survival is a crap-shoot in Atlanta.

A hard rain continues to fall, washing away the river of life.



No heart is exempt

Distance makes no barrier

The sun rises, sets.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


Please don’t read my work from the site: JP at Olive Grove.  Jingle Nozelar Yan owns the site and is a thief and a liar.  She steals my work, rewrites it, and slaps my name on her ‘revised’ garbage.  She said  she doesn’t have to ask permission to revise or post your work.  She said she depends upon this. She preys on real poets because she isn’t one.  She refuses to follow the US Copyright laws of the US, (she’s a Chinese national). This behavior is insulting to the entire poetry community.  Jingle Bells Yan is no poet and a true opportunist If you love poetry, avoid her like the plague she is.




“Bob Dylan and Me”

October 13, 2016

Children playing in a field

Bob Dylan and Me


Fifteen and not cool.

Parents off fighting

The war called marriage.

We kids on the battlefield

Carrying water to each side.


High school, all four years

Of it brutal.

Sadistic teachers who should

Have been gone, but hung on.

Mr. Martin’s rubber nose

shot off in the war

the only thing good about



It was the times of Commies

Dropping bombs on our baseball fields

(we hoped…)

The time of ‘squat and hug your knees’

All good training for life to come.


Gloria, an outcast for her pimples

A kindred spirit

Got tickets to a ‘real New York folk singer’

Said the wall posters, blowing in the wind.


So we primped,

And curled our hair into flips,

Wore best Sunday dresses

Because we weren’t cool.


The name of the folk singer

Meant nothing to us

We were too young,

Too wet behind the ears

To know what was ‘too cool’.


They took one look

And some wit decided

We were a kink backdrop

And put us on stage behind


“New York Folk Singer”

A skinny kid,

With messy hair

Playing a guitar.

With faded blue jeans

That fell off his hips.



We were right behind him,

Our ankles crossed

Our hands in our laps

Looking at his shapeless ass.


Drunken boys from Princeton

Yelled rudely:

“Hey, Bobbie! Play Blowin’ in the Wind”.

“Hey, Bobbie! Get some singing lessons!”

More than a few beer cans were thrown on the stage,

While we kept on smiling and nodding

And Bobbie kept turning, mystified

At the two white clad girls

Who shouldn’t be there.


I didn’t know the word then,

But if I had to guess,

His mouth formed “WTF”

At the chaos out front

And the aliens behind.


Each time he would turn

We would smile and clap–

He would bow.

A private performance

For two virgins in white.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


October 12, 2016


Stripy Looking Presidential.

More important stuff than poetry looms….

My write-in candidate for President. He’s tough, he knows the terrain, he warms slowly, ( I have been bitten and scratched by Stripy many times) and once he trusts you….he’s loyal. He’s a realist, and though not a monk by any means (tom cat) he has taken a vow of poverty. He’s the opposite of a foul mouthed and vulgar billionaire and a candidate who takes millions from Arab princes. He’s a stray and has no politicians to pay off favors.  All he asks is chicken gizzards 4 times a week. He knows the sound of my car. I tell Stripy all my woes…and he listens. Until the gizzards are gone. Except for refusing to use the kitty litter in the Oval Office, he would be a placid pres. No hate, just purr. He’s the Dali Lama of the Cat World. Not a bad choice. And he can’t press the button hard enough to destroy the world.

STRIPY FOR PRESIDENT!!!  Let your vote make a difference this time.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2016

another cute pix of Stripy:


(Stripy contemplating his campaign policies….)

“FREE RATS and SQUIRRELS for ALL!!!”  Campaign promise from Stripy.

It’s not a landslide yet but 5 Humans have endorsed Stripy for President!!!!

After Harvest Song

October 11, 2016

Marsh Geese, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2007


This waning autumn season,

That burst upon the mindscape

Hijacked a summer landscape,

Dared mingle dazzling elements

Of color, odors, tangled undergrowth,

Where things are lost in each other

And plausible limits vanish.


And with the passage of these days

The Earth transformed in scarcity,

A stretching silence,

A gathering solitude

Where Pan’s pipes are brittle straw

Made golden, hollow by harvest.


Come celebrate this solitude

Rejoice with me in silence

Where time warps

And darkness gathers,

Where mystery is beckoned

By hoar frost and shadows.

All color now corralled

Like old dun horses

Barely moving against the grey of day.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


The Passion of Japanese Poetry

October 8, 2016
My beautiful picture

Cover for White Cranes of Heaven, 2011, Watercolor, janekohut-bartel



Life gives  such beauty and pain, sometimes in almost equal measures. I find solace in reading selections from the great Man’yoshu, this document from 8th century Japan. I have written here before about this great collection of over 4500 poems, but of course, not all of them appeal to our modern senses and tastes. In particular the love poems from the Man’yoshu, written over a span of 130 years, are poems that liberate, throw us into a free-floating dreamscape, where our sentiments connect with those lovers who lived 1500 years before us.

The passion of these poems cannot be denied. They speak over the centuries to our own hearts, and in some lucky cases, to our own experience. I will attempt to give some explanation to each poem. I am working in  some  commentary by Ooka Makoto and translations of Ian Hideo Levy, from “Love Songs from the Man’yoshu”. This small, beautifully bound and illustrated book (by the late Miyata Masayuki) is published by Kodansha International in Tokyo.

Lady Nyo

Going over the fields of murasaki grass

That shimmer crimson

Going over the fields marked as imperial domain

Will the guardian of the fields not see you

As you wave your sleeves at me?

–Princess Nukata

This is one of the most famous poems in the Man’yoshu, given prominence as it appears towards the beginning of the document.

It is answered by Prince Oama:


If I despised you, who are as beautiful

As the murasaki grass,

Would I be longing for you like this,

Though you are another man’s wife?

Though the poem seems to be of a love triangle, it is not actually so. Princess Nukata is now married to the emperor Tenchi, and her heart is torn between Prince Oama, her former husband. These poems have a gracious melody and a way to stir the emotions of modern readers.


In a single sprig of

Of these blossoms

Are concealed a hundred words;

Do not treat me lightly.

—–Fujiwara Hirotsugu

This is a courting poem. The poet plucked off a branch of cherry blossoms, tied his poem to it, and sent it to a young girl. This was a well-used method of presenting a poem. A twig of blooming tree flowers, a blade of sawgrass, a branch of plum, wild plum or maple leaves in the fall. The answering poem from the girl was touching, too. It says that the reason the sprig is bent is that it couldn’t support all the words it contains.

The heart longs to say yes. But language still hesitates.


Whose words are these

Spoken to the wife of another?

Whose words are these;

That bade me untie

The sash of my robe?


This is most likely a folk song, and these kind of poems figure in great amount in the Man’yoshu. “the wife of another” was an object of male sexual desire; the poets of the Man’yoshu showed a special attachment to this theme of secret love.


The silk-treeflower that blooms in the day

Closes as it sleeps,

Yearning through the night.

Should only its lord look upon it?

You too, my vassal, enjoy the sight.

—–Lady Ki

Lady Ki was the wife of Prince Aki, but he was sent into exile and she became familiar with the great poet, Otomo Yakamochi. There is a reversal of sexes here as Lady Ki writes as a man. This is not unusual for the period. Actually, Otomo, the scion of the great Otomo huse, was above her. This is poetic license for the time.


Fearful as it would be

To speak it out in words,

So I endure a love

Like the morning glory

That never blooms conspicuously.


It is thought that a curse would be brought upon the speaker to speak the other’s name. Hence, we read many poems like this one above in the Man’yoshu, not naming the two lovers.


As I turn my gaze upward

And see the crescent moon,

I am reminded

Of the trailing eyebrows

Of the woman I saw but once.

—-Otomo Yakamochi

One of my favorites and written when Otomo was only 16! There is an expression that comes from the Chinese meaning ‘eyebrow moon”, i.e., the new moon, the crescent moon. This poem refers to the painted trailing eyebrows of women in this ancient period. But how precocious of Otomo at just 16!


Though I sleep

With but a single thin rush mat

For my bedding,

I am not cold at all

When I sleep with you, my lord.


A lovely, poignant poem, though it seems the woman, with her single thin rush mat of the lower class. However, beautiful enough to be included in the Man’yoshu. And about that: The Man’yoshu was the first and probably the last collection of poems that included such a range of people in ancient Japanese society: fishermen’s songs, weaver’s songs, priest’s poems, prostitute’s laments besides the imperial court and upper classes. It would never be seen again.

O for a heavenly fire!

I would reel in

The distant road you travel,

Fold it up,

And burn it to ashes.

—–The Daughter of Sano Otogami

One of the most famous love poems in the Man’yoshu. She was a female official who served in the Bureau of Rites, whose precincts were forbidden to men. She had a secret affair with a minister named Nakatomi Yakamori. Their affair was discovered and he was sent into exile as punishment. They exchanged around sixty-five poems expressing their concern for each other’s safety and pledging that their love would not be changed by exile. The distant road is the long road he must travel to exile.


Brave man like the catalpa bow

That, once drawn,

Does not slacken-

Can it be that he is unable to bear

The vicissitudes of love?


This is one of my favorite poems of the Man’yoshu. I used it as a heading in an episode published “Song of the Nightingale” where Lord Nyo frets as to his resolve and manhood. He finds himself, as the figure in the original poem, bewildered that he, ‘a strong man’ could find himself powerless to resist the invisible passion of love. He is more used to war and weapons, something tangible, not the chimera of love.


It is Fall  in Atlanta. These love poems churn the mind and enflame the passions, along with the ragweed and winds. One would have to have a heart of stone not to be swayed by such passionate beauty in verse.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


And the usual warning:

From Jingle Nozelar Yan (JP at Olive Grove ):

“when you post on word press or blogger, you do not have to pay or ask permission in person. which is what we count for.”

Every poet and poetry group I frequent would find that surprising.  There are Copyright Laws in the US,  Jingle. Even in China. But bless your little  heart. (You might have to be Southern to understand that “Bless-heart” thing.)

Please  don’t read my work on her site. If you care about literature, you will go to the original source and bypass Jingle Bells.


Two poems….. some fall tanka and haiku.

October 6, 2016




Winter’s pale afternoon

Creeps into night like skim milk

Poured from one china bowl to another.

The thin crescent moon appears,

A broken cup of feeble light that

Spills upon the ground

Too watery to brighten the road.




The garden spiders,

Black and yellow, such

Fierce looking bugs,

Because they are


Hang out on the bushes

Trap moths and flies

Entrap unaware walkers

Entangled in their steely webs.


A few tanka….


When Autumn enters

Inexplicable sadness.

Season fades to death.

Hunter’s moon sits in Heaven–

Garden spiders finish, die.



Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add  bellowing sorrow.



Out with the gold fish,

The bullfrogs croak their sorrow.

Summer is passing

Autumn brings sharp, brittle winds

 Winter  cuts to the bone.



Like the lithe bowing

Of a red maple sapling

My heart turns to you,

Yearns for those nights long ago

When pale skin challenged the moon.



In this single branch

Of a wintry holly,

A hundred words hide

A thousand blushes appear.

Do not overlook the thorns.

A few haiku….


Fall’s crispness compels

Apples to tumble from trees.

Worms make the journey.




A pale crescent moon

The sky colored lavender

Nothing more to wish.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016


And the usual warning:

From Jingle Nozelar Yan (JP at Olive Grove ):

“when you post on word press or blogger, you do not have to pay or ask permission in person. which is what we count for.”

Every poet and poetry group I frequent would find that surprising.  There are Copyright Laws in the US,  Jingle. Even in China. But bless your little  heart. (You might have to be Southern to understand that “Bless-heart” thing.)

Please  don’t read my work on her site. If you care about literature, you will go to the original source and bypass Jingle Bells.


%d bloggers like this: