The Punishment, haibun form

September 25, 2016
My beautiful picture

Peach blossoms in the back yard. Spring

This haibun references Shibari, an ancient Japanese rope technique. Before modern times, it had quite an interesting military history.

Lady Nyo

 

While binding me for his pleasure, I uttered displeasing words. With a level glance he considered options and too soon decided my fate. Grabbing my hair, he pulled me to my feet, opened the shoji, and forced me out in an early spring’s snow. A lavender sky tinted the snow purple, gray in the shadows. Ordering me to kneel, I obeyed, shivering in the cold morn. Drawing an early cherry blossom from his sleeve (a gift that was to be mine), he threw it down. It was his pleasure for me to feel the sharpness of the morning until the soft snow covered the blossom. I, who a month ago would not have cared what I said, now trembled with remorse, feeling more than cold air. My nakedness conspired in my shame. A crow in the cherry tree laughed scornfully.

When love grows deep and the heart overflows, one submits and becomes a slave.

Snow soon covered the blossom at my knees. Fearing I would die, he picked me up, carried me to the brazier and tucked me deep amongst his robes, singing softly of the foolish maiden who would die for the last word.

A swirl of blossoms

Caught in the water’s current

Begins the season.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 22

September 24, 2016

 

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“Letter From Madame Gormosy” makes an appearance, as does Madame….on Morgan’s blog: http://booknvolume.com

Chapter 22, where Demon Garrett seeks the advice of an Arch Duke of Hell, Lord Abigor, and where it is suggested that Mme. Gormosy is hired to be a tutor.

 

“Abigor? Are you there? I can’t see for the fog.”

“Walk to the north, Garrett. It is heavy today.”

Abigor’s voice floated on the thickened air like molasses.

Garrett walked to what he hoped was the north, the fog disorienting him. It finally cleared. Abigor was perched on a stump, smoking a long, white clay pipe in a clearing of the woods. He seemed to be alone, but one can never tell with Devils.

Garrett bowed to him, and sat upon another stump. He took his own pipe out from his coat and started to smoke.

The two devils smoked on in silence. Abigor stretched his legs out before him.   All around, except in this small clearing, the trees were dappled with a combination of fog and sunlight dancing among the limbs. It was like an “aurora borealis” flitting along the ground and trees. There were no bird calls, or rustlings of small animals on the forest floor. This place was betwixt heaven and hell, a place of neutrality among spirits. The lights sparking between trees were alien energies, for this was a magical place, inhabited by many dimensions.

“How do you fare in your present work, son?” Abigor blew a long stream of smoke in Garrett’s direction.

“It goes, father. In fits and starts.” Garrett answered him honestly, a sentiment not known among devils but appropriate in this quiet place.

“Have you procured Andras’ support to your claim?”

“Ah! That is one issue I seek your wisdom. But of the Others, I have the support of Forcas and Leraie. Forcas’ brawn and Leraie’ strength in archery.”

“A good start, but only a start.”

Abigor puffed on his pipe in contemplation of the issue.

“I would suggest Aamon.”

Aamon was the demon who reconciled problems between foes and friends. Garrett grimaced and spat on the ground.

“You could at least seek his council.”

“Father,” said Garrett slowly, “what stands between Obadiah and me has a sharp and annoying history. I would as settle it now instead of having to endure his pinpricks for eternity.”

Abigor laughed heartily. “What stands between you and Obadiah is that be-witching mortal woman.”

He chuckled, in a good mood this morning for a demon. “Get rid of her, and you and Obadiah will settle.   ‘Sharp and annoying’, indeed.”

“Ah! That is a problem. What to do with her.”

“And what do you intend?”

“Oh, to breed her, eventually.”

Garrett’s voice sounded casual to Abigor’s ears, but Abigor knew the devil opposite him a bit better than the other supposed.

“There’s much pleasure in the breeding part. It’s what comes after that is annoying.”

“Yes, but the bitter must be taken with the good.”

“Ah! You have actually learned something from my teachings! Or better, you have remembered!”

Abigor was a dispenser of herbal lore and teachings. He was powerful in the usage of medicinal magic.

Abigor smoked his pipe with a scowl on his face. “You know, even that sentiment expressed before the wrong devil could make you…ah…”

“Toast?”

“I was thinking more charcoal.”

He spat on the ground.

“You must cover your heart better, my son. Betwixt thee and me, I can well understand. I have had mortal women before, even your mother. I can remember my youth.”

“You knew my father, Abigor, what would he have done with her?” Garrett spat on the ground. It seemed to be a ritual among devils.

“Who? Your mother or your….ah…consort?”

“Bess.” Garrett blurted her name before thinking. He looked up at Abigor in surprise.

Abigor laughed  quietly.

“I forget you are half mortal. The weaker half. So, you have named her. Surely once you name a pet, you know you keep it.”

Abigor continued to chuckle to himself.   “Or, at least you don’t eat it.”

“Well, I couldn’t keep fetching her with ‘woman’.”

“Yes, well woman will have a name. Eve, Lilith, Mary, Gormory…they get stubborn and surly if you don’t name them.”

“And…they don’t put out.”

“Hah! That should be no problem for you! Just charm them still. No nonsense then.”

Garrett smiled. The sweetness in her manner made the act more wholesome. Something Abigor would not know.

“I have been thinking of a familiar to train her. She is headstrong for a mortal woman, so the spirit will have to be strong.” Garrett knew Abigor would have a suggestion for him.

“Well, there are a number of spirits that come to mind. What is it you want her to learn? To obey? Better that come from you. These mortal women, they follow so easily. You want her to follow you. I wouldn’t introduce Leraie to a woman to learn archery. He is too winsome. Woman are easily impressed with a broad chest and handsome face.”

Abigor thought for a moment.

“Ah! I have the very devil! Gormosy would do well here. A respected Duchess of Hell.”

Abigor puffed on his pipe, his face wreathed with smoke which looked curiously like little snakes.

Abigor continued. “What else does a mortal woman need to be bound for? Procure this and the other issues follow.”

Abigor’s suggestion was good. Garrett thought Gormory could teach her things of importance. At least to him. What she was famous for in Hell would work nicely on earth.

“Thank you, Father. That is one thing resolved.” Garrett placed his hand over his heart, and bowed from his stump.

“But I have another request to tax you.” Abigor nodded. Garrett was to proceed.

“Andras. I fear to expose her to him. It is not that I can’t control her in the presence of Andras, I can put all sorts of spells upon her for that.”     (Abigor thought this hardly a show of confidence in her obedience to him.) “I know how ‘touchy’ Andras is. The woman would drive any devil to violence.”

“Perhaps the solution here, my son, is to keep them apart.”

“Knowing that Andras is brother to Bucon, Obadiah’s father, can I do that without disrespect to him?” It was a question of protocol, with deadly results if he guessed wrong.

“Andras will be looking for a fight. He is, after all, Demon of Quarrels. He doesn’t have a ‘good’ side to him at all. I would not provoke him further with a moral woman. Especially if you can’t control her.”

Those last words were meant to slash at Demon Garrett. They were, after all, devils.

“I would dangle something else in front of Obadiah than my consort. Like my sword.”

“Ah! Flesh or steel. Either the same to you young bucks.” Abigor chuckled heartily.

“So, you have given her a title? A name and then, shortly, a title? My, you stick your head in the trap fast. I would have thought, as the son of your father, you would have some of his..ah… ‘polish.’”

“About my father, Abigor. How would he approach Andras? I can make the woman disappear, or not appear, as is called for, but what right do I have to ask Obadiah’s uncle for a boon?”

“About a snowball’s life in hell.”

Abigor looked at the younger demon through a haze of smoke. As they talked, it seemed they recreated the fires of hell with their pipes.

garrett-in-devils-revenge

This Young Turk, thought Abigor, part god though he be, had no standing in Hell. He was unaware of the name of his father, but he had most of his traits. And he couldn’t, as powerful as Abigor was, he couldn’t reveal the name of Garrett’s father. It was something this Young Turk would have to find out for himself.

 Abigor pulled deeply on his pipe and thought: He was tolerated by the Others because he came by his powers through royal blood. The demons had reason enough to fear him, though Devil Garrett was unaware of his breeding.

 “You answer me in riddles, Lord Abigor. If I am to be my father’s son, I need know what he would do.”

Garrett took liberty with this Arch Duke of Hell, but threw caution to the wind. It was good Abigor was feeling tender towards the young devil this day.

“Your father would do as you do. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Abigor puffed languidly at his pipe. He was enjoying his morning. Riddles were a pleasant part of eternity.

“Is your consort too fearful to have me to tea?” Abigor smiled around the stem of his pipe. He looked…well, rather devilish.

“Not fearful enough.” Garrett smiled, thinking of what her reaction would be.

“Ah! I remember the brio of some mortal women. The Latins were good for it, though they were always calling the name of Christ and their infernal Pope down upon heads. I would advise you to rip out her tongue early.”

Garrett smiled at Abigor. “I would rather work a charm on her. She can use that tongue for better things.”

Ah. These half mortal devils have such patience with their women, thought Abigor. They don’t know a minute of peace because of it, either.

“I would approach Andras with courage. And caution. It will not be easy to gauge his moods. Dangle a gift before him. A pillow of lavender for sweet dreams, an axe to chop his foot off, you figure it out. But know that Bucon will have already approached him for support. The only angle I can see is that Obadiah has been a pain in the butt before to Andras. Bucon’s son comes by his hatred through blood. Quarrels are fueled either by love or hate, and Andras has had his docket filled with Obadiah’s sins. Other than that, you could be toast with him.”

“Thank you, Father. I will remember your wise words.”

Garrett appeared and been answered. He knew not to take up Abigor’s valuable time. This Arch Duke had many activities and the docket of Hell was just one of them all.

He had secured Abigor to his side, and was glad of this. Obadiah, backed by his father Bucon, was no easy fight. There would be battles aplenty before the dust settled. He just hoped he could keep all his demons in a row here. He knew he was playing with Hell’s hottest fires.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Autumn Dusk”

September 22, 2016

Kohut-Bartels-LS-17

(Oil painting, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003, “Pastoral” (after Constable)

(Morgan at  http://booknvolume.com has posted an interview of Madame Gormosy of Devil’s Revenge fame on her blog website.)

 

Stuttering winds blow across

Clouds tinted by the failing sun.

Brittle air softens,

Now a faded blue–

Shade of an old man’s watery eyes.

 

A late flock of Sandhill cranes lift off,

Pale bodies blending in the

Twilight with legs

Flowing dark streamers,

Their celestial cries fall to

Earth–

A harsh, chiding rain.

 

The trees in the valley

Are massed in darkness

As waning light leaches

Color from nature,

Creeps from field to hillock

And all below prepares for the

Rising of the Corn Moon.

 

Even frogs in the pond

Listen between croaks

For the intention of the night.

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2016  (‘Autumn Dusk’ originally published in “White Cranes of Heaven”, Lulu.com, 2011)

 

“Pitcher of Moon”

September 21, 2016

 

Cover painting for "Pitcher of Moon"

was to be the cover painting for “Pitcher of Moon” but didn’t work out.

 

 

I dip into the pond

And gather a pitcher of moon.

Above it glimmers,

Smiles at my efforts

This late-winter moon.

It is just a bowl of cool water

I am holding

But the magic of the cosmos settles

In this plain clay vessel.

Janekohutbartels,

Copyrighted, 2016

“Pitcher of Moon” is the lead poem in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, Amazon.com

917ce-pitcher

“Turkey Vulture”, poem.

September 20, 2016

turkey-vulture-sept “Frank”

(courtesy of pc.wallnet.com)

Dedicated to Sherry Marr whose compassionate nature and especially her love for animals stands as example for me.

 

Knew a woman

in a trailer park

in the scrub pines of Florida.

 

Poor as a church mouse,

half–crazed by life,

fed all  strays-

pariah of the neighborhood.

 

Every evening flocks of vultures,

like fixed-wing aircraft,

skimmed the pines,

landed in a muddle of dusty feathers,

awkward, out of their element

and with a group waddle

came to the cat food offered in pans.

 

They were patient guests,

waited for the strays to finish.

 

There was decorum

amongst them,

these fierce looking birds.

Perhaps they sensed

the charity offered

humbled their nature,

perhaps they had reformed,

I don’t know.

 

“Frank” was their leader

who held back until

the others were done.

 

Frank would never face you,

he sat sideways

though I believe he peeked.

Perhaps he was ashamed

A Lord of the Sky

brought to this station,

filling his crop with kibble

from a dented metal pan.

 

 

 

Come sit with me.

Extend a feather,

I promise not to stare.

 

Your warty red neck,

your hang-dog countenance

does not disturb me.

Your feathers a faded black

on Earth,

but wheeling into the Sun,

how glorious your wings–

Feathers exploding in prisms

And diamonds from Soloman’s mines!

 

Come sit with me.

Let our talons dig into the sand

let the ocean cleanse our feathers.

I will call you friend, brother

for the gift of humility

brought in on your wings.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016 (an earlier form of “Turkey Vulture” was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, by Amazon.

some paintings of birds done by me.

Song_of_the_Nightingale_COVER

0403Whe-R01-009

Kohut-Bartels-LS-3

 

Kohut-Bartels-BOP-8

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001

 

“First Snowfall”, haibun form for d’versepoets.

September 19, 2016

 

My beautiful picture

 

First Snowfall

 

There is such beauty in the night. A sudden snowfall pushed the boundaries of the mundane back and fantasy flows—an outrageous mythology upon the landscape. The white challenges the moon, lights up a trampled ground and gives purity to all it covers. Shadows form where there were none, now a supple mystery to something once familiar. A week ago leaves were brocaded quilts beneath our feet, crackling with a season’s wind- driven music, tearing around eaves and scaring the haunts in the attic.

Behold a strange, alluring world transformed, made anew.   Huge trees groan with icy burdens. The moon paints the top of pines with frostbite. Bushes split in two with alien gifts and powerlines are crystalized spider webs crisscrossing streets. The silence is complete.

 

 

A half-moon drifts

Across wintry sky.

Trees become monsters.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

“A Letter from Madame Gormosy”

September 17, 2016

madame-gormosy

(from: “The Pragmatic Costumer.com”)

 

Very recently I was asked by a blog to ‘interview’ a character from “Devil’s Revenge”.  This proved almost impossible, as the man I wanted to interview refused to stand still.  So I called upon Madame Gormosy, also a character in this novel to speak.  She has graciously done so and gives a good accounting of what was happening.  As she is also a Demon, please take what she writes with a grain of salt.

Lady Nyo, with sunburn today and not from the Sun.

“My name is Louise (Louis) Alphonse Margot Gormosy. As you can read, I have the delicious ability to change my sex at will. I am a Demon of Lust in the hierarchy of Hell. There are many Demons of Lust down there, but they generally are stupid devils. I, Madame Gormosy, am not. I appear in this novel at the bequest of Arch Duke of Hell, M. Abigor. He too, is a Demon of Lust, but he is not stupid. Non, he is not. He is a much respected Military Strategist and an ancient Healer. He sends legions into battle and then he tries to stop up the wounds. Of course, this is hardly the point, as all the  chiefs  in Hell have our own legions. I, Madame Gormosy, have 60,000 devils to deploy at my whim. M. Abigor has many, many more, uncountable, but his hoof is close to the Throne.

When Bess, who is trying to finish writing a book to end the conflict between M. Garrett and M. Obadiah, asked me to do this interview, I was pleasantly surprised. She later told me that the interview was mostly intended for that scoundrel, M. le Demon, his mortal name Garrett Cortelyou. I was not so pleased. I will tell you a secret. When I am in the form of M. Louis, Garrett is amiable. We two have fought battles, shared women, have caused much mischief over thousands of years, but he is unfortunately, uncomfortable when I violently shake my head and become “Louise”. Quel dommage! But he is a good soul (if Devils have souls) and we have each other’s back. Yes, and Devils have morals, of a sort.

This morning M. Garrett came in the room, nodded and listened to my request for this interview. Mon Dieu! He is a handsome man this morning! He is tall, broad shouldered, with dark hair that is too long to be fashionable. This picture of him on that blog? He is far older and much more handsome. That picture makes him look like a spoiled brat. He is a formidable man and has many conquests, but he is much older. Your readers would faint to know how much.

He refuses to wear wig and powder,  his hair is bound into a tail by a black silk ribbon. He will not wear the silk stockings either. He wears trousers and boots. He has dark eyes that snap when he is angry. I have seen the results of his temper over the centuries, and it can be impressive. But he is not a cruel devil. Non, in fact, if you must know… he is not a ‘proper’ demon at all. His mother was mortal and his father? Well, only M. Abigor knows for sure who his father is, and he is not telling. But M. Garrett’s father must be a very important person in Hell and History, because he is treated almost like a son by M. Abigor. And that status for a devil, is a much desired one. M. Abigor is known for his own temper, but this is to be expected of Devils. He can, if he so chooses, turn one to toast.

M.Garrett listened to my request for an interview, closing his eyes while I talked. He then snorted  and disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving the scent of brimstone in the room.   I saw him walking towards the woods with a shotgun and a dog so I would believe he is out hunting this morning. He could easily make a bird fall to earth with magic, but non, he forgets sometimes his bag of tricks  most devils have. And of course, he is half human. Not a proper devil at all. So, his magic is mostly  making ale and tea appear,  levitating a chamber pot, and  appearing and disappearing at will. This last is not good for an interview. He is a tricky devil. He is also a sexy devil.

As I mentioned, I am here at the bequest of M. Abigor. I am flattered that this exalted Demon would choose me, Madame Gormosy, to appear in this story. Bess (the author) might think she is controlling these events, but she is naïve. She is mortal, and mortals can’t see much beyond their noses.

I was brought into this novel to give instruction to Bess. As a mortal woman of the 21st century, she doesn’t have the  knowledge how to relate to M. Garrett or really any other Demon. She is to be the consort of M. Garrett, and avec vous et moi? She is rather….stupid. All mortals are stupid compared to most devils. Except the stupid ones.

Let me tell you how this mess started. Bess, sixteen years ago started writing a story. She played around with these mortal characters, brought them to life, and then closed the book on them without finishing. I think she pinched M. Garrett’s tail. Then, in 2006, she went back to the book, but she saw  she had written a very boring novel. So, what to do? She took a number of characters, M. Garrett and M. Obadiah  (who hated each other) and stupidly made them into devils. Bon! She continued the novel. However, M. Garrett was furious that she had ‘closed the book on him’, (and dented his overarching ego) and he did not spare his temper. In fact, he did something that is not what a ‘civilized’ man would do. Of course he is half demon so that would account for his bad manners. Bess fell in love with this devil (who could withstand his charms?) and the story took off. It was not a straight love story, though, of course not with demons around. M. Obadiah, from the previous novel, made his appearance and the battle between the two men started all over again. M. Obadiah’s offense was intolerable. He abused Bess in the vilest way, but this was just to get at M. Garrett. Those two are like bulls fighting over the same pasture and heifers. Mon Dieu!

I was commanded by M. Abigor, who has powers over all of us….Bess included, though she doesn’t know it yet, to tutor her in deportment. Bess has had the standard education of a modern woman, but she knows nothing about the great French salons, the intellectuals and wits there, she has no idea of the power the Underworld has over mortal dealings. True, she knows of the power of the Church, but she knows much of nothing. Since M. Garrett has declared her to be his consort, she must now learn how to deport herself. She doesn’t know all the characters (mostly demons) she is interacting with, but soon, IF I can get her up to snuff…she will have tea with M. Abigor. By then, perhaps this woman (who is not a young, spring chicken) will not disgrace us all. Or become toast.

I must say this: What M. Garrett is focusing on, this great adventure to discover his father, his detour into Celtic history, is just a ruse by those more powerful than he. They are called “The Others” and they have been around since the beginning of time. They are more than Demons, they are Immortals. Some of them come from the Nephilim and some from cultures that have passed out of history. But they are the Untouchables above us.

I, Madame Gormosy, think these “Gods” are playing with us all, but we have our tasks here on Earth and in Hell. So, the fight continues between these two bulls with Bess the mortal woman the prize. I just don’t understand it, for Bess is no Helen of Troy. She is nice enough but her ignorance of life and history gets in the way. And, she can appear as a slob. I have come to her rooms in the morning and I see her sitting with her elbows on the table, in dishabille, a mob cap almost over her eyes. Mon Dieu! What Devil (or man) can tolerate that in the morning? But M. Garrett must be besotted because he just smiles at me. And of course, Bess doesn’t have a clue as to who is pulling the strings of life.”

Your faithful (as far as Demons go…) Servant,

Louise Gormosy

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) Haiku Poet with Enormous Heart

September 16, 2016

spring garden 4

 

 Tulips in the South

are as permanent as snow

and yet, and yet….

I have had “The Essential haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa” for a few years and have only really gotten to Basho. But recently reading Issa, (Issa means Cup-of-Tea), the world of haiku opened up in ways I didn’t expect.

What is remarkable about Issa’s poetry is the compassion for the lowest of creatures (insects, etc.), the deep interest in the commonalities of life, compassion for humanity, and the celebration of the joyful celebration of the ordinary.

Haiku can be a perplexing poetry form. Recently I have read a lot of bad haiku. I’ve written about this before. (I’ve also written bad haiku ) It seems people throw together observations and call it haiku. It generally isn’t. There are ‘rules’ and structures for this poetry form, and it seems that many people who attempt haiku have no regard for even reading or researching some of these fundamentals. If they started with a reading and research of renga, they would get some background of haiku, or hokku, which is what haiku was first called. One of the main problems is this ‘learn the rules and then break them’ mentality.  Why in HELL would you disregard the guidelines for a particular form of poetry?  Would poets disregard the ‘rules’ of sonnets, etc?

I believe it’s a problem of western arrogance.  And laziness.  These ‘rules” that poets object to are the basis of all Japanese art forms:  aesthetics.  The terms of yugen, ma, mono no aware, etc. are the parts of the structure of haiku and tanka.  They make tanka and haiku, tanka and haiku.  We think that freeverse is the same.  It’s not. What we generally write, when we disregard these aesthetics are nothing more than freeverse.

Renga, or linked verse, is marvelous to read. One poet starts with a three line poem, another picks it up, and so on. They can go on for a hundred linked poems or more. Usually accompanied by sake.

What was remarkable of renga, and later of haiku…is the shifts and dissolves that remind one of early surrealist films. And there are some modernist poets, like Ezra Pound’s XXX Cantos, or even better, Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” that comes near to the renga spirit, this shifting and resolve.

But the Buddhist tradition embraced this shifting and resolve. Renga, and then haiku, have a way of embracing this life, this transitory nature of all things.  Pretty much the same with Shinto.

I came across a part of a 14th century treatise on poetry: “Contemplate deeply the vicissitudes of the life of man and body, always keep in your heart the image of mujo (ephemerality) and when you go to the mountains or the sea, feel the pathos (aware) of the karma of sentient beings and non-sentient things. Give feeling to those things without a heart (mushintai no mono) and through your own heart express their beauty (yugen) in a delicate form.”(from “Basho and the Way of Poetry in the Japanese Religious Tradition”)

Again, haiku isn’t as simple as it seems. But it’s direct, forceful and of a keenness that satisfies.

People complain of the ‘oddness’ of haiku. Perhaps it is this ‘shifts and resolve’ embedded in the form. To me, Issa has less of this than Basho or Buson. There is a directness and compassion of Issa that deeply involves the heart and eyes.  This to me is ‘kokoru’ or feeling.

My words will not convince anyone. But perhaps examples of Issa will.

 

Lady Nyo

 

Haiku of Issa: from The Essential Haiku, edited by Robert Hass

 

New Year’s Day—

Everything is in blossom!

I feel about average.

 

The snow is melting

And the village is flooded

With children.

 

Don’t worry, spiders,

I keep house

Casually.

 

Goes out,

Comes back—

The loves of a cat.

 

Children imitating cormorants

Are even more wonderful

Than cormorants.

 

O flea! Whatever you do,

Don’t jump.

That way is the river.

 

In this world

We walk on the roof of hell,

Gazing at flowers.

 

Don’t kill that fly!

Look—it’s wringing its hands

Wringing its feet.

 

I’m going out,

Flies, so relax,

Make love.

 

(approaching his village)

 

Don’t know about the people,

But all the scarecrows

Are crooked.

 

A huge frog and I,

Staring at each other,

Neither of us moves.

 

All the time I pray to Buddha

I keep on

Killing mosquitoes.

 

What good luck!

Bitten by

This year’s mosquitoes too.

 

The bedbug

Scatter as I clean,

Parents and children.

 

And my personal favorite…

 

Zealous flea,

You’re about to be a Buddha

By my hand.

 

A few of my own, struggling with the form.

 

Dogwoods are blooming.

The crucifixion appears

White moths in the night.

Tibetan earthworms

Bring a halt to all labor.

Here? Fat koi eat well.

Soft rains caress earth

A hand slides up a soft thigh.

Cherry blossoms bloom.

Sorrow floats like air

Strong winds blow throughout the night

Plague of death descends.

Pale lavender sky

Balances the moon and sun

The scale shifts to night.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2013-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 5

September 15, 2016

c8d6e-ac19abb343178b0cea1812b49a58fff0

I haven’t looked at this chapter in a long time.  It needs rewriting, but until I do, it’s still a good story.  BEWARE:  Sex…sorta.

I had no way of telling time or sequence or anything that relates to the passage of time. I think of my life where we grew up around various clocks: mantel clocks, hall clocks, electric clocks in the kitchen, the battery run digital clocks by our bedsides, and our wristwatches. In the dimension I was visiting, or found myself, there were few clocks. No one so far wore watches. Perhaps there were pocket watches, but I saw few people and couldn’t tell

So I didn’t know what time it was of the morning, though I saw the sun had not risen. The room was colored by the timid light creeping into dawn, a blending of gray shadows. The fire had burned low during the night, and cast no glare. There before the fireplace was the Demon. He slouched in his chair, one booted foot upon the other, staring into the embers. He smoked a white, clay pipe, something I recognized as a “Dutch pipe.” He didn’t stir from his chair as I called his name, but blowing out a mouthful of smoke, he turned his face towards the bed.

“You are finally awake.” He grinned around the stem of his pipe, his large white teeth gleaming in the dim light of the room.

“It is too early to wake, Garrett. Aren’t you cold at the fire?” I snuggled back into my pillow.

“’Ah, an invitation to your bed this early? Would do, but there is a litter of puppies around your breast.”

I opened the covers, and there under the blankets, were his four pups. Little water spaniels, three boys and the girl, the runt, Sophie, snuggled between my breasts.

“Did you do this, Demon?” I laughed, for I had no memory of putting them there. The smell of puppies this close is a bit high, like sour milk

“The fire was low when I entered the room and you looked warm enough to comfort them.”

“Have you thought what you are going to do with them, yet?”

“I aim to keep them right here, and you, my darling woman, will be nursing them for me.”

“Ah, Garrett, had you ever thought that perhaps I might be a bit too busy to care for your dogs? I am trying to finish this novel, my friend, and perhaps it would have been nicer for you to ask me first.”

“Perhaps, yes…but it still doesn’t change the outcome.” He grinned and his eyes snapped in the firelight.   “The rules of the engagement are simple. You do what I want.”

“You are such an arrogant Demon! What makes you think I will do as you demand? Have you ever heard of free will?”

“Highly overrated and doesn’t apply here.”

He continued to puff and draw on his pipe and filled the room with his horrible smoke. Brimstone I believe.

“No so.” He continues to read my thoughts at will…his idea of free will, I suppose.   He packed down his ‘tobacco’ with his thumb. “It’s a nice cherry and spice blend I brought from the islands… Perhaps you would prefer a pipe of opium?”

“I have never done such a thing, thank you very much.”

He turned a half-opened eye at me, and said lazily. “Perhaps before you dismiss it, you should at least try it once.”

“And why would I do such a thing? It seems a half-death to me.”

My Demon continued to puff on his pipe, the lazy whiffs of smoke spreading across the room. When I first smelled the acrid smoke, I had thought fleetingly of the pot that I used to smoke on occasion. I thought, ‘fleetingly’, but that was enough for my demon to pick up. Suddenly, the smoke was not of tobacco, but of a sweet smelling herb I recognized though I had not smelled for years.

“You bastard demon!” I laughed at him, this conjuring trick a minor one in his bag. “Do you know how hard it is to quit that stuff? That is the last thing I need to smell this morning. Way too early!”

All this ruckus awakened the dogs in my bed. They were rolling over each other, and jumping at the pink ribbons of my mobcap. Little Sophie between my breasts grunted and stretched.

“You have disturbed your dogs, Garrett, now you better find something to feed them.”

He snapped his fingers and a bowl appeared on the floor in front of the fire. I handed each one from the bed to him, and he placed them around the bowl. Whatever it was, they ate with growls and snarls, stepping over each other.

“What is it you’re feeding them?” Even the runt Sophie was not shying from the food.

“Deer meat was handy.”

Well, at least he was sensible enough not to put down a dish of milk. Those pups would be runny within an hour.

“Oh, I thought about you nursing them but your nipples would give out fast. Though it would be amusing to see your milk spout when they started to howl.”

Oh, he was  such a bastard this morning!

“Well, I’m glad you decided on deer meat instead.” What a devil he was, to think of these ways of torment. His temper was like mercury, and he took offense easily. Perhaps it was part of the demon culture, for he certainly was a touchy devil.

“You should know, you thought me up.”

“Oh, Demon, I think you have had a long life before you ever came to thought.

“It used to be Demon Lover, and now it is ‘friend’? I think we go backwards.”

Opening the covers, I smiled at him sweetly, and decided to take my chances this morning. He was an entertaining fellow, and carefully handled, could be amusing.

He put down his pipe on the table, and moved to the bed, slipping in beside me. He placed my head upon his shoulder as he usually did  and settled next to me

“You know, Garrett, I have a lot of writing to do today. I am behind with the book and want to finish before the year is out.”

“You can write when I’m through with you, on the morrow…I want to show you things today. First I want to show John Thomas between us a seashell of delights.”

He was amorous in the morning. Actually, he was usually ready for a romp any time of the day or night.

“Besides, you avoided me in Chapter 4 and I mean to make up for that.”

He had a scent about him that was enchanting, a combination of musk and sweat and probably brimstone.

“It’s the scent of an aroused man, who is about to release a lot of little demons from his loins.”

I laughed at his clumsy wit, and blushed in his arms.

“You modern women wash too much. You have forgotten the scent of sex and its purpose. It draws the bees to the honey.”

Perfume and soap was such a part of my life that I didn’t realize my body produced its own scent of desire. Since he had bedded me my thinking on this had changed. After our lovemaking, we would lay in a nest scented with the smell of flowers, old flowers, ashes and wood. That must be part of his magic.

“Lie still, my darling woman, and indulge my mood here.”

When the demon demanded something, it was wise for me to listen. He had a way of bending me to his will, and I was learning, slowly, that sometimes there was an innate wisdom in what he did. Sometimes.

He touched my forehead, on both temples with one hand extended. He passed his hand slowly down to my eyes, and as he did, they closed. I barely felt his hand descend to my midriff, where he stopped and pressed down hard.   That is where I seemed to have fallen into a deep sleep, or at least a trance. Then, with something like a slow electrical shock, from the ends of my fingers and toes, I felt a gathering of energy, something warm and concentrating, moving down the passageway of my limbs to the center of my body, where he had pressed on my stomach. It seemed that all my nerve endings were coming alive, and centering in my stomach. My pelvis was flooded with a warmth that moved back and forth across my hip bones. An exquisite feeling of tingling took hold of my face, my breast, my entire body. Suddenly, it all rushed upwards, out of my body, like a current of many colored ribbons, opening upward and outward, bursting from my body like waves of liquid and spinning off like a million stars above me. I was lifted from all gravity and hurled through space like a ragdoll. I was transformed into pure energy, or something of that nature, for I had no words to describe what was happening to me. All I knew that it was an extreme pleasure, beyond anything I could imagine, and something that I didn’t want to stop. It dissolved my body into a stream of light, flowing through and around any obstacle, any fear. I felt like I was turned inside out, and my sex had blossomed like a giant orchid. My whole body, or what was left of it, pulsated with a spent desire. Slowly, I seem to have fallen to earth, to this bedroom, to this bed, and in the arms of a man who was lying there unconscious. I looked at him, and he was naked next to me, the bedclothes on the floor. The room was over heated, though the fire was still low. I felt a wetness on my side, and looking down, saw that he was bleeding from his left side, below his heart.

“Garrett!” I called out to him in a panic. “Wake up! Oh my God! You are bleeding, you have injured yourself.” I shook his shoulder, trying to arouse him.

He slowly came out of his trance, for it seemed that he was as spent as I was.

“I am fine. It’s just a little sacrifice for this pleasure.”

He passed his hand over his small wound, and it disappeared. My face was contorted with fear, my hands on his shoulders.

“What did you do? What happened to us?”

He smiled a weak smile and cleared his throat. “There are many things in this world and out of it. That is just one. It’s pretty spectacular, but there are even better things to come.” He burped loudly. “Right now, I’m starving, and am weakened with expending that energy.”   Turning over, he said with a grin. “Pretty good, no?”

I stared up at the ceiling, too weak to sit up. “Pretty good, yes.”

I lay there, silent, thinking of what had just happened. . My body felt like velvet, with no structure or nerves. I was empty of everything, completely undone.

“But why do you bleed?”

“Bess, you ask too many questions. Just think of Adam’s rib and the creation of Eve.”

He grinned and sat upright. Snapping his fingers, a tray of breakfast appeared on the table. He put on his long, linen shirt, and sat heavily in a chair.

I didn’t think that I could rise from the bed, much less walk to the other chair. My body was without bones.

“Oh, forgive me. I forget. That first experience usually knocks the wind out of your sails. You’ll find ways around that.”

He pushed out of his chair, and helped me sit up on the side of the bed, then led me to the chair. I sat there, not dizzy, but confused as to what had happened to me. Was this what is called Tantric sex?

“Nope,” I heard him mumble as he stuffed his mouth with bread and butter. “Far beyond that earthy delight, but we can play with it next if you want. Bit of a bore, though.” He drank a swallow from his tankard of ale, as he preferred this drink instead of my tea in the morning.

I could not imagine doing anything else that day or the next! He grinned at me, the lustful devil, and pushed some bread my way. He extended his hand across the table and looked at me tenderly, and I placed my hand in his. There was a little of that current still present in the air, and it melted my hand into his.

Ah, Devil, I thought to myself. You are a dangerous man or demon, whatever you be. I wondered when I fell back to earth if all the molecules fell back in place. I knew I had given something to him, far beyond my heart and sex, and it seemed to involve my trust. Perhaps that was the key to his heart.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

 

 

 

 

“Devil’s Revenge” Chapter 11

September 14, 2016

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www. theodysseyonline.com

This is from my second novel, “Devil’s Revenge”.  I am thinking of working towards its publication late next year.  There is a lot of sex in this novel, but don’t read if you are queered by sex or a prude.  I have tried to be ‘tasteful’ but working with devils, it’s a hard slog.  

Jane

Standing at a window in this bedroom, I find myself more and more in his world, the world of the Demon Lover. Not sure of the sequence of time, but it seemed every few days I appeared back in this room. Today, I was busy for a number of hours writing a chapter, one I hoped would bring me to the conclusion of the novel. I have been in starts and stops over it for the past month, and have trouble forming my thoughts. Of course, there has been much to distract me. His presence in my ‘life’, for I guess you could call this life, has been a major obstacle in finishing it. He is entertaining and sometimes charming, but brings much chaos to my days.

All in all, it’s been a fruitful time, for if I stumbled in the writing, there is much to learn. I have discovered numerous things about him. He is a jealous demon, who prates he will chase away any competition, and has little regard for my marriage. He already admits he visits me, and not just in my dreams, but takes a seat next to my bed, and involves himself in my sleep. My patient husband sleeps deeply, and I am not sure Garrett, the mortal name of my Demon, does not have his hand in this. A former friend from the ‘north country’ already has caught his interest, and he has as much threatened me with some foul magic if I continue to converse with him. I will not bow to his threats, for I think he has become fond of me, and does not want my displeasure. He can be a bully but I know now he needs much assurance from me, and that I give most willingly. I have grown as fond of him, as he seems to have of me, though he goes to great pains to hide it.

Ah! The masculine vanity! Alive even in demons!

The landscape was bleak as I saw from the window. The middle of winter, and fog was swirling on the ground around a clump of trees in the midground distance. Or it looked like fog. But then again, it came together like smoke and rose from a central point in the trees. How strange. It whirled and eddied and took shape like smoke from a chimney. It held my attention and I thought I would go out to investigate. I threw on my red cloak and went downstairs and out the front door. It was not a long walk to the stand of trees where I saw the smoke. I felt a strange compulsion to follow. The trees were bare of all leaves, their black limbs silhouetted against the gray sky. I walked through them, feeling a sense of discovery, being pulled by my curiosity. There, before me, was perhaps a low fire, though I couldn’t see any flame. The smoke was thick. It seemed to pour from the ground! As I looked upwards, around the trees, there were blackbirds perched in the limbs. They were totally silent, which is strange for a flock of blackbirds. Suddenly the smoke parted, and there, sitting on a stump, about twenty feet from me, was Obadiah!

Oh! I couldn’t tell if he was an apparition, a ghost, or something else, but he sat there, his long legs stretched out before him, one upon the other, his arms crossed over his chest. He was not wearing a coat, but was dressed in a white, linen shirt, with a black stock wound around his neck. His face had no expression, but his eyes pierced me with their intensity, and I wavered where I stood, not sure if I would faint. He smiled, a mocking smile, devoid of any kindness. For some reason I found myself drawn to him as in a trance. I should be afraid of him, considering what he has done to me, but I was not. I was excited and unsettled, perhaps fear plays into these emotions, but curiosity and a perverse desire was overcoming all else, all caution.

Suddenly, I was on the ground, pushed violently from behind. Obadiah disappeared in a flash, and standing over me was Garrett. He had a sword in his hand, and his face was terrible to see. He grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me to my feet, scowling and in a fine high temper. Dragging me out of the glen I don’t remember my feet even touching the ground, until we were back in my bedroom. I heard the door slamming shut. It was as if I was in a dream, or a trance, and I tried to shake myself awake.

“You damn little fool!”

He was furious, and grabbed me by the shoulders, shaking me hard, caught like a rat caught by a terrier. My head was thrown back and forth by his violence and I thought my neck would snap. He released me and I fell to the floor. I lay there for a moment, aware he was standing over me. I could still feel his wrath, like a thick fog in the air. I gasped with fear, and turned to look up at him. By the look on his face I thought he would kill me.

“Nay, get off the floor. You look like a kicked dog. I’ll not harm you more.”

His voice was strange, as if his anger had broken him. He extended his hand and pulled me to my feet, where he looked at me closely. I could tell he was still angry, but he was trying his best not to act upon it.

However, I was now furious. How dare he shake me like a child! How dare he throw me to the ground! Without another thought, I raised my hand and slapped him across the face. I saw his surprise, and then, to my horror, heard him utter a hollow laugh. He grabbed both of my wrists in his hands before I could think and pinned them behind me. He did not spare me any pain in the doing.

“So you want to play rough, do you?” He laughed again, and immediately pulled up a chair with his foot.. He up ended me across his lap and pulled up my skirts. He exposed my nakedness and beat me hard with his hand. I yelled loudly, and cursed him with all the names I could think of. He thrashed me, hitting my buttocks and also the tops of my legs. I screamed until I thought I would go hoarse. I cried and pleaded with him, yet he did not spare me his blows. Throwing me to the bed I cried and sobbed mightily, more from fear than pain, but there certainly was enough of that! My butt was burning with his blows. I hated him thoroughly, for I had never been treated like this before.   I cried myself out and he didn’t offer a word of compassion or apology. When I finally uncovered my face from the pillows, I saw him sitting there, smoking his pipe, like nothing in the world had happened. I felt humiliated and belittled.

“Tell me,” he said between puffs. “Tell me what possessed you to leave this room and go into the woods.”

His eyes glittered through the smoke and I knew better take him seriously. Now that I had proof he would not spare his hands, I was afraid of him.

“Oh, Bess, I can smell your fear, but that is not what I am after. Tell me, now, why you went into the woods.”

I rose up from my stomach, and gingerly sat on the bed. My butt hurt! He certainly was strong.

“I don’t know. I saw some smoke coming from the glen, and I thought that it was interesting. I felt curious.”

“Ah. Did you feel drawn to the woods?” He puffed more forcefully on his pipe.

“Well, the smoke drew me, but then, when I got down there, and near, I felt strangely drawn to the trees. The birds were all silent, I remember that.”

“Looks like Obadiah has called upon other forces for his designs.”   He puffed on his pipe hard. “Seems like he is getting a bit desperate.”

“What do you mean?”

“He is charming you and others to do his bidding. I don’t like it a bit. Makes me work harder, something I generally avoid. Looks like he’s preparing himself for battle.” He spit on the floor and I grimaced at him.

“Who is he charming, you make no sense?” None of this made sense at all.

The Demon thought a bit before he answered.

“You asked me before about my world. Well, there are many worlds. I frequent a number of them. This one, where I appear to you, is full of strange characters. I get lost in the numbers, can’t remember all the hierarchy. But it’s simple enough, or at least I’ll make it simple enough for you. Listen closely.”

He packed down his pipe with his thumb, though the tobacco glowed red in the bowl.

“Demons are intermediaries between gods and men. Most of us, what you call ‘demons’ were once men. We were not angels. Don’t make that mistake. No, there are lots of shapes and shifts abounding. There are Fates, who alter destiny, there are what you know as poltergeists, who cause much mischief, there are the incubi and succubae you have already experienced (here he tipped his pipe in my direction), there are familiars, who assist what you call witches.”

He puffed on his pipe, and a blue smoke whirled above his head in lazy, sensual spirals.

“There are Demons formed from human semen.” Here he grinned crazily, the smoke swirling around his face, obscuring his eyes.

“There are disguised Demons, which I fear our friend Obadiah is, makes it tricky in dealing with him. There are Demons who instigate Witchcraft. I don’t know what we are dealing with at present, but we are about to find out. He grows more powerful.”

“Is he more powerful than you?”

He grimaced around the stem of his pipe. “No, I’m still more powerful. But he grows. And he has enough tricks to harness Cheitan and Saalah to do his bidding.” He barked a short, bitter laugh.

“And who are they?” I didn’t like the sound of this.

“They are some minor demons, spirits if you will. Not of much merit, but amenable to a bribe. Cheitan is the demon of Smoke and Saalah is a demon who entices women into the woods. All kinds of mischief can befall a maid in the woods. They are known as some of the ‘Devil’s Handmaids’”.

He puffed on his pipe, sending up a plume of smoke to the ceiling that circled around as it hit the beams and spread outward. An example of “Cheitan”?

“And about your being in the woods, my dear lady. Very foolish of you. Had I not come at the moment I did, you would have suffered another rape by Obadiah. He seems to delight in taking his perverse pleasures with you. You can now thank me for saving you from an even more terrible attack than last time.”

What worse could he do to me than when he raped me? I shivered, remembering those details.

“Oh, there are plenty of tricks he could render upon your soft body, my darling,” said the demon, reading my thoughts. “What he did the first time was just a first course for his appetite. You forget we demons have terrific appetites, especially for mortal women. Your flesh, especially those places between your soft, white thighs, are irresistible to us.”

He leered at me and I shivered thinking of what could have happened.

“And with what bribe does he induce them to work for him?”

“Probably your blood, or a piece of your flesh. Or, if he’s in a particularly generous mood, a piece of your ass. Of course, that would be after he has sated himself on your charms. He would turn you over to them, where they would use you until they were bored and would tear you to pieces.”

Oh, what a terrible mouth on him! But now I was really afraid.

“You see, my dear, as long as Obadiah thinks that you are, ah, I think you call it “a free agent’ in your world? Well, as long as Obadiah thinks he can take you at will, even from under my nose, he will come back and try again. There are only a few ways to discourage him from this behavior.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Well, it is not by my authority to tell you how to end your novel, but killing him off would help….for a while. That would be one way. There is another way, but you would not want to go down that path.” He laughed to himself, and puffed hard on his pipe, his eyes glittering with mischief.

“And what is that path, Demon?”

It seemed the room darkened, or perhaps the sky did outside. But something changed noticeably. He still sat in his chair but it seemed he was whispering in my ear.

“A woman is much happier if she has a Master. Authority thrills a woman, my darling. Nothing but complete subjugation will finally satisfy her.” He smiled at me, and I shivered at his words. What a strange and alien a concept. To call him “Master”!

“In the animal world, nature’s decree the male shall dominate. And you are my little vixen, my little red fox.” He smiled around the stem of his pipe. “And I am very much the male here.”

I wouldn’t argue with that. He was more ‘masculine’ than ten men– twenty. And very proud of it. No ‘metrosexual’ confusion for him.

“You know, sweet darling, I am thinking Obadiah is nothing more than a very powerful incubus. Sexual relations with an incubus are decidedly unpleasant and an often painful affair. I think that you would agree with that.” He would get no argument from me.

“So, Demon, what are you saying I should do?”

“Why don’t you refer to me as Demon Lover anymore?”

“So, Demon Lover, what should I do?”

“Look, Bess, I think you should come under my power completely, and let it be known.” He grinned broadly. Oh! This was fun for him!

“What is it you are saying I do?”

“Sex is a powerful thing in our worlds, as well as yours. I am suggesting you become my consort, for as long as you inhabit my world. That could be a long time, it depends upon things.”

“What things, Demon?”

“Ah, that I have no competition in your heart and mind, that you submit to everything I say and do, and that I am Master of you and your body. That you obey me and submit to me in all things.”

“I don’t know. You know I am married. Would I have to give my husband up for safety here?”

“Well, I can not trample your marriage vows, came long before me.”

“What about my other friends, male and female?”

“Ah, that is another complication. But I will look the other way if you please me in all other things.”

“Are you talking about whips and chains and things, Devil?”

He laughed. “Why in Hell’s good name would I need such things? I’m talking about the natural roles of man and woman, or in this case, Demon and mortal woman. What could be clearer?”

“You have lost me. I don’t know anything of subjugation or submission. We modern women tend to avoid all such talk and behavior.”

“And are you any happier for it?” His eyes glittered through the smoke he exhaled.

He had me there. Relations in the twenty first century were confusing enough. Was there any real happiness between men and woman? There was a lot of anger, and sham, and moving about, exchanging partners and forming anew. There was a lot of unhappiness and divorces. The roles between women and men seemed to be mandated by some chaos that we danced to faster and faster. The ‘natural’ roles that seemed to work for past generations were lost to us now. Women were more like men, and men! God! They were like women! Most women I knew had more ‘friends’ who were homosexual, gays, than girlfriends. They were interchangeable.   The roles and relations had become very confused. Perhaps he had a point here. Perhaps what he was proposing was a balancing of the roles. The strong man (or devil) and the soft, weaker, woman. Perhaps he was on to something.

“You promise not to hurt me?” I asked him seriously. I don’t know what I was afraid of, but I was.

He shook his head at me in wonder, and laughed. “Are woman from your century so distanced from their natures that they don’t trust the masculine? Can you place your heart and body in my hands and know I will protect you? What is it that men do in your domain? Do they not occupy this fundamental role?”

“Well, not without a lot of confusion, Garrett. They get mixed messages from all sorts of places. I don’t think modern men know what to do with women.”

He laughed delightedly and gave me his opinion. “You use them good, and often, and they keep you entertained. It’s really an easy exchange. They lay down on demand, and you chase off all the wolves. What’s so hard about that?”

Ah, he is a trying and primitive Demon! He has the manners of a goat, but I have said that before. It is an exchange he is proposing here. My protection and security from Obadiah if I ‘cleave’ myself to him completely. He hasn’t given me much to go on yet, but I am interested enough in his idea. And he has allowed my marriage and my friendship (there are others he doesn’t know about) and promises to wink at them.

In any case, I am way over my head here, and not believing in anything supernatural or paranormal, I find myself at a disadvantage. He holds all the cards right now, and I am at his mercy. My fear of Obadiah and what he can do to me overcomes my disdain for my overpowering, vulgar demon.

Hopefully, he will be a kind and generous ‘Master.’   I think this is called ‘bargaining with the Devil’.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2006-2016

 

 


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