“The Devil in Paris”, A Short Story in four chapters.

October 21, 2017

madame-gormosy

Madame Gormosy is a Devil.  She can change her sex at will, from Louise Gormosy to Louis Gormosy.  John Garret is also a Devil, (half of one but not so powerful.)  They have known each other for centuries as devils generally do. The scene is Paris, 1770’s.

THE DEVIL IN PARIS

CHAPTER ONE

 

Madame Louise Gormosy stood by the tall window, looking at the rain-slicked street. Paris was cold and dreary this spring.  Wood had gone up in price, and a timely delivery was a matter of bribes. That should be the concern of her steward, but he had disappeared. Already her servants were breaking up small cabinets and chairs to burn in the main salon and kitchen. She could hear the smashing of wood somewhere in the large apartment.

Madame shivered for the room was chilly.  Ah, she thought, if ever I see him again, I will make him pay with his life for my discomfort. I will tear his stomach open with my nails and eat his liver.

She had a visitor, a sullen-looking Englishman, now with his large frame stretched across her settee.  John Garrett was a friend of many years.  He was an easy-going devil and good company when in proper temper.   She cast her eyes towards him, a smile forming on her painted lips.  Patting her high-dressed hair and smoothing the gray satin front of her gown, she wondered what had put him in such a mood. She remembered he was quite a wit when not bothered with serious thought. She hoped he would reform his manners, for she wanted nothing to spoil the afternoon.  The rain could not be helped.

“John Garrett!”    Madame’s natural voice was low pitched but now showed her exasperation with a rise in key.  “Are you going to continue your gloom and sour my day?”

Garrett, his eyes drawn slowly from the low burning flames, looked up at her.  He stared for a long minute, a sneer forming on his handsome face.

“We are alone,” Garrett said quietly. “I know you better as “Louis”.  Why behave this way amongst friends? “

Madame did not answer.    She walked to the double door, locked it and threw the key into his lap.  For a moment she stood there, with her head cocked to the side, an elegant older woman, dressed in the latest fashion and only a sharp rise in the middle of her skirt gave warning of what was to happen.

In an instant, “Louise Gormosy” was “Louis Gormosy”. Gone were Madame’s satin overdress, the high coifed and perfumed hair.  A bit of makeup remained, but it was the current fashion among Parisian men.  Louis laughed at the expression on Garrett’s face. He now was a slight-figured man, above middle age, with powdered hair and white silk stockings that sagged around thin calves.

John Garrett shuddered slightly.  He knew his friend was not just any man in Paris.  He was a demon, an important one– the Archduke Demon of Lust, with sixty legions under his command.

Louis Gormosy had ridden out of Hell on a white camel and long tormented the earth. It could not be helped; it was his nature. It was his ‘calling’.

Ah, Louis thought, I miss my camel… along with my legions, but tant pis!  Paris’ cobblestones were hard on her aging hooves.

His guest, John Garrett, was also a demon, but not of the same stature. Louis Gormosy was not sure of Garrett’s actual position in Hell, but knew him to have the patronage of the powerful Archduke Abigor, close to the throne. With friends like that, even the powerful Demon of Lust had to watch his hoof.

Louis Gormosy chuckled at his guest’s expression. “Oh come, John, surely you are getting used to my little trickNon? Well then, I have another reason to invite you here, besides parlor tricks.  This evening I am expecting some guests, and I have reason for you to meet them.”

John Garrett sat up, stretching his legs. “Are you planning a little entertainment this evening?  You know, Louis, one never can tell with you.”

Louis Gormosy lay a finger aside his nose and winked. “You have come at a good time, John.   I expect a young woman, a girl actually. She is the daughter of a neighbor in the country.  She is around eighteen and her mother is anxious to have her married.”

“I am almost afraid to ask, Louis.  What part do you play? ”

John Garrett looked at his friend from half-closed lids, like a cat settling in for a long story.

Monsieur Gormosy walked to the window and looked out at the still pouring rain. He turned his head slightly and gave Garrett a nervous smile before peering down at the street, watching for a carriage to stop at his door.

“Madame Luciern is a silly woman, a bit more stupid than usual.  She has a daughter on her hands she complains is a ‘bookworm’.  Ah! Bon Dieu!  So the young woman will educate herself with novels and newsprint. Tant pis!”

Louis Gormosy threw up his hands in disgust.  The words “Good God” had a strange sound in his mouth, just shy of a gurgle.

“You still don’t tell me what your part is in this affair.”

Gormosy turned and looked at his friend. “Better you ask me what your part is.”

John Garrett sucked his breath in sharply, and let out with a soft “Oh no, Louis!”

Louis gestured with his hands outward, all Gallic charm, and continued his appeal.

“What is a little fun amongst devils, neh? You have certain…ah…attributes that I unfortunately, do not have.”

“The starch issue again, Louis?”  Garrett’s words rattled Louis and he winced.

Quell dommage! I don’t know if this is a little trick of Heaven or Hell, John…but it persists.  I begin the attack, a few thrusts with the sword, and even with one parry, I wilt.”

And, thought Louis sadly, it always came down to what devil had more ‘reach’. It always came down to a measurement.  Here on earth the length of the cock, and in Hell, the amount of control.

 “So, what is your plan and why should I care?”

Monsieur sucked on the side of his thumb, thinking how to present his case.

“I have not seen the young woman.  Her mother keeps her well hidden in the house. If she is a bookworm as the mother says, perhaps any attempt here in Paris to marry her off will be impossible. Perhaps she is ugly!”

“Or perhaps she has no bosom,” said Garrett from his seat, eyes wandering back to the fire.

“Or perhaps she has a harelip!” said Gormosy. “What do I know?  I have not seen the poor girl.”

With a grimace, Gormosy shook out his hand.  He had bitten deeply into his flesh, and blood spurted from his thumb.

Garrett asked, “Does she have a good fortune?”

Non, unfortunately not.  Madame Luciern is a widow and her estate is lessened with the behavior of her oldest son. That young man has no sense at cards…and worse luck!  I would give him some pointers in faro, but I do not cheat at cards.”

What a lie, thought Louis, laughing silently.  There was honor amongst devils but not at cards.  What was the worse that could happen?  A duel, you die, you come back fresh and new, with another chance to cheat life.  And at cards.

“But!” continued Louis, raising a finger into the air for dramatic emphasis.  “She has an honorable name!  That is worth something, I think.”

“Hah,” said Garrett.  “Perhaps of worth to mortals.  But it is something.”

The blood continued to spurt from Gormosy’s thumb. “Merde”.  He pulled a sooty handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped his thumb.

“So, what do you intend to do with Mademoiselle? Do you have a cuckold in mind?”

“Why would he be a cuckold, mon ami?  I have all intention of marrying her to someone worthy and with a good fortune.”

“And if she is not marriageable due to this harelip or flat bosom?  What do you intend then for Mademoiselle?” asked Garrett.

“I intend to make her a whore.”

There. It was out, thought Gormosy.  Let him chew on that.  There was profit to be made here, and he, Louis, would take the advantage.

“Why do you need me?”  John Garrett’s eyes half closed again as he looked at his friend who was grinning broadly.

“If I can not obtain an acceptable offer, I will need your –ah, efforts, John.”

“Meaning?  Come Louis, do not make me beat it out of you.”

“You will seduce her.  You will make her more pliable for her gentleman callers…I, of course, will revert back to Madame, for this is all her mother knows of me, and you will play…”

“Hold on, Louis.  Do you or don’t you intend to get her a husband?”

“How should I know?” Louis Gormosy shrugged his shoulders and presented his palms upward.

“I don’t know if she has a harelip or an unfortunate bosom.  We both, my old friend, will find out this evening.”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007 -2017

(“The Devil In Paris” was reprinted in the 2sd edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com, 2016.)

revised-cover-2776

“Chicken Hawk Talk”

October 19, 2017
0403Whe-R01-012

Young RedTail Hawk, Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor

 Bodhirose ( Gayle) is hosing Open Link Night over at d’versepoets.com, where you can post one poem of your desires.  No prompt.

Lady Nyo

Chicken Hawk!

Leave my chickens alone!

I have worked hard for them,

A handmaiden of fowl.

Collecting beautiful eggs

The gift of the species

Naturally dyed

Pink, brown, blue-green and white.

 

These colorful gems

Presented at Easter,

A symbol of the Lamb of God,

And the Spring of Life.

 

Leave my chickens alone, hawk.

I won’t even share.

 

I remember two short years ago,

When I saw you wheeling over the kudzu

Riding the thermals,

Not graced with the brick-colored tail of a proper Red Tail hawk–

 

And I gasped at your splendor, a winged god

From the cosmos, glittering white ash against a cobalt sky,

And you landed one day in my birdbath,

Trying to look like a stone sculpture,

And just the flicker of your 8x eyes

Looked over the songbirds for lunch.

 

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

“Autumn Dusk”

October 17, 2017
Kohut-Bartels-LS-19

Sunset in a Violent Sky, copyrighted, 2007, janekohut-bartels, watercolor

Kim is hosting dversepoets tonight and the theme is Autumn.  Check out the wonderful poetry that will be on the site.  dversepoets.com.

 

AUTUMN DUSK

 

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, 2017

 

“Rain”…..

October 16, 2017

tuareg2[1]At Dversepoets.com

tonight is Haibun night, and the prompt is ‘water’.  My attempt might be ‘anti-water’.  LOL!

Lady Nyo

 

 

Rain

I feel the rain waiting to be born.
A spectral haunting
Charming eyes and nose,
Rebirth in the torrent –
The waters of Heaven
Waiting to be born.

Bushes rattle leaves
Wait with eternal patience
The herald-winds start to howl,
A Saharan Miracle!
And the back of drought is broken
With this rain waiting to be born.

 

In the Saharan
Flowers iridescent
Five drops of water

 

This was written last week listening to Berber music. It ended, this torrent of musicality, with 5 measured beats.  This was the ‘rain waiting to be born.”  In the desert, the rains are awaited patiently and in some years are 5 years apart.  So, though not exactly following a haibun standard, I am hoping this pleases.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2017

 

 

 

“Autumn Dusk”

October 14, 2017

0403Whe-R01-009

Marsh Geese, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2007

 

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 prepare 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, 2017

 

“Tanka of Seductions”

October 10, 2017

Flowers 2 (Late Summer flowers from Alum Beltline Market)

The moon floats on wisps

Of clouds extending outward.

Tendrils of white fire

Blanketing the universe

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.

Come into my arms.

Bury under the warm quilt.

Your scent makes me drunk

Like the wine we gulped last night.

Too much lust and drink to think.

—–

Give me a moment!

To catch my breath and settle.

Give me some peace.

Stop kissing my hands, stop it!

What if someone is watching?

—-

Presence of Autumn

Burst of color radiates

From Earth-bound anchors

Sun grabs prismatic beauty

And tosses the spectrum wide!

Bolts of lightening flash!

The sky brightens like the day

too soon it darkens.

My eyes opened or closed see

the futility of love.

Had I not known life

I would have thought it all dreams.

Who is to tell truth?

It comes at too sharp a price.

Better to bear flattery.

Cranes wheeled in the sky

Their chiding cries fell to hard earth

Warm mid winter day

A pale half moon calls the birds

To stroke her face with soft wings.

 

Glimpse of a white wrist

Feel the pulse of blood beneath-

This is seduction!

But catch a wry, cunning smile

One learns all is artifice.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2016

“The Geisha”, Open Link Night at dversepoets.com

October 5, 2017

 

 

 

Moon sits low

above solemn pines.

The night is cold.

As dawn breaks

the geisha kneels, waiting.

 

Plum tea kimono wraps

her tightly-

white would be right

color of mourning,

color of death.

 

Her lover, disgraced

has embraced

Death-

blood the sacrifice

to wipe clean a

particular stain.

 

She to follow

Honor fulfilled,

death follows death

rigid path of decree.

 

A life mostly of sorrow.

 

Opening her gown,

she exposes white skin,

her maid, quietly weeps

slides back the shoji

exposing a winter landscape-

white snow on rocks

white snow like her skin

soft, soon to disappear,

one to melt,

one to white ash.

 

Yes, life mostly of sorrow.

 

Outside

winter is silent,

no wind at all,

snow falling like silken petals

Ah! She will never see spring

or cherry blossom time!

 

Floating over muted,

glassine air

comes the sound-

two monks

playing flutes

welcome the day.

Shakuhachi artists,

mournful sound,

sound that brings

peace to an anxious heart.

 

 

She bows her head,

picks up the tanto-

and opens the vein.

 

Blood of her line

answers to that

of another.

 

Life.

So full of sorrow.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

A tanto is a short knife.  A woman would not cut her abdomen (seppuku), but would open the main vein in her neck. She would have tied together her legs at the knees, over her kimono, so she would face death with modesty.

Las Vegas….

October 3, 2017

"Eagle" Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2005

I am so very, very proud of the young men and women in Las Vegas who threw their own bodies over others, sometimes total strangers.  Putting their own lives in peril to save that of others.  This is the highest morality, the highest concern for humanity.

I am proud of the Police, First Responders, doctors, nurses, people who came to the aid of the wounded.

The political debates will follow, the arguments back and forth, but for now I am heartened at the courage and selflessness of my Countrymen and women.

I am proud to be an American.  These young people set the standard for me.  In the very worse of times, they have risen to a horrible challenge.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“Saigyo, Poet and Priest and also a Samurai”

October 1, 2017

 

Saigyo became a poet/priest, but before that he was and came from a samurai family.  He was, at the age of 22, a warrior.  He always struggled with his past in his long years of travel, wondering how this  former life impacted on his religious vows.  His poetry reflects this issue.

 

Lady Nyo

Not a hint of shadow

On the moon’s face….but now

A silhouette passes–

Not the cloud I take it for,

But a flock of flying geese.

Thought I was free

Of passions, so  this melancholy

Comes as surprise:

A woodcock shoots up from marsh

Where autumn’s twilight falls.

Someone who has learned

How to manage life in loneliness:

Would there were one more!

He could winter here on this mountain

With his hut right next to mine.

Winter has withered

Everything in this mountain place:

Dignity is in

Its desolation now, and beauty

In the cold clarity of its moon.

When the fallen snow

Buried the twigs bent by me

To mark a return trail,

Unplanned, in strange mountains

I was holed up all winter.

Snow has fallen on

Field paths and mountain paths,

Burying them all

And I can’t tell here from there:

My journey in the midst of sky.

Here I huddle, alone,

In the mountain’s shadow, needing

Some companion somehow:

The cold, biting rains pass off

And give me the winter moon.

(I love this one especially: Saigyo makes the vow to be unattached to seasons, to expectations, but fails and embraces his very human limitations)

It was bound to be!

My vow to be unattached

To seasons and such….

I, who by a frozen bamboo pipe

Now watch and wait for spring.

(Love like cut reeds:)

Not so confused

As to lean only one way:

My love-life!

A sheaf of field reeds also bends

Before each wind which moves it.

(And Love like fallen leaves….)

Each morning the wind

Dies down and the rustling leaves

Go silent: Was this

The passion of all-night lovers

Now talked out and parting?

There were tons of poetry written by many poets, officials, etc. about the moon, nature, flowers, etc.  But Saigyo’s poetry had an ‘edge’, a difference:  his view of blossoms, moon, nature, was not just the usual symbol of evanescence and youthful beauty:  his view of blossoms, nature, were more a path into the inner depth of this relationship between humanity and nature.   He spent 50 years walking the mountains, road, forests, fields all over Japan and his poetry (waka) reflected his deep understanding of the physicality of nature:  all seasons were felt and experienced not from the safety and comfort of a court, surrounded by other silk-clad courtier/poets,  but out there in the trenches of nature.  His poetry is fomented in the cold and penetrating fall and spring rains, the slippery paths upon mountain trails, the ‘grass pillows’ and a thin cloak, the deep chill of winter snows upon a mountain, the rising  mists that befuddle orientation,  and especially, the loneliness of traveling without companionship.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politics of Atlanta’s Mayoral race….

September 29, 2017

My beautiful picture

(Last Halloween)

 

By now we have 13 bozos who have registered to run in this November race.  And race is the key word here. Except for maybe 4, the rest are black and these folk are well established in the Black corridor of power that has run Atlanta for 45 years.

There is a howl and a cry to push ‘affordable housing’ and of course, none of these candidates live in areas where they have to consider this issue.  Mary Norwood (white) lives in a neighborhood with million dollar (plus) mansions.  She has never had the issues of having project folk, welfare mothers who throw their diapers in the street, nor has she had Section 8 people breaking into her house or garages, properties.  Yet she has been beating the drum for affordable housing in our neighborhoods, certainly not HER neighborhood.  She said to me back in 2009 (her first run at mayor) that she would take these abandoned houses and put ‘good’ people in them.  Yeah, right.  Atlanta has been the center of mortgage fraud for decades and our zip code was ground zero for this.  We, the home owners, residents of SWAtl are sick of this mentality. We have lived with this issue for 40 plus years with no relief.  A month ago across the street, a huge limb fell on the front porch of that house and the slumlord, from New Orleans, has done nothing to remove the tree.  Neighbors did drag it backwards so the woman renter could get in her front door. Repeated calls to the dept. of the city that oversees this have been ignored.  For a month.

Cesar Mitchell (black) is well supported by $$$$ mostly from outside Atlanta and Georgia. The Cascade Corridor is full of black mansions and they are beating the drums for Mitchell.   He looks like the one who possibly will win this race.  Why? Well, Atlanta is a majority black city and the thought of a white mayor just curdles in the stomachs of many  blacks.  They have been fed by the usual black mouthpieces that this would be a return to dogs and fire hoses.  Yep, that was part of the shameful campaign run by Shirley Franklin, Andrew Young, to put their man, John Eaves in office.  Incredible stuff, but ignorant people believe this crap.  And Atlanta has a lot of ignorant folk.

I have lived for 45 years in this neighborhood, along with my black neighbors, and this area has always been the dumping grounds for slumlords, ‘investors’, and the city.  Tear down a project and shuffle these folk into our southwest neighborhoods where we live with the criminal elements and the crime these elements bring.  We are over it.  Now? there is another ‘push’ to keep blacks from selling their houses under the guise of keeping ‘the original inhabitants in Atlanta, especially around the Beltline”. (I can see and hear the bulldozers directly behind my property trashing 38 trees and digging up the soil for the Beltline track.  You can google the Beltline if you are interested.)  Original inhabitants?  Rather tunnel vision I think.  The original inhabitants were whites, from 1854 in this neighborhood, walking by lantern light to a church that has disappeared.  When I moved here and bought my house in 1973, it was old white widows and older white poodles.  I should have seen the writing on the wall.  They died off, poodles and all.

Last Tuesday, due to power outages from Irma, we had looters.  These opportunist black bastards came through our neighborhood first breaking into cars.  Police were called, but by the time they showed up….they had disappeared.  Later that night they came back and tried to break into houses, rattling the front doors.  Someone tried to break in my car at 8am, the alarm went off and I saw this young man run up a side street.

Affordable housing is fine. But we don’t need more welfare folk whose grown sons are hanging off the porches and watching for the possibilities of  break ins and thievery. They swarm the area when the lights go out and look for opportunities.  Not one damn preacher, minister says a god damn word about the level of crime in the surrounding area.  And most don’t live in the neighborhood.

The power was off only two days.  What would have happened if it was longer?  My neighbors all are armed, with a shotgun at the door.  And these are my black neighbors. My new white neighbors haven’t caught on yet.  And they have been repeatedly victimized.  Black criminals are betting that the new young whites are too stupid to do this.  Or too…liberal?

Now there is an open call to blacks in Atlanta not to sell their houses to whites.  Especially around the Beltline.   This is from the present mayor (Kasim Reed) and other candidates who are running.  Of course they don’t see this as racism.   But so it goes here.  Backward ass city.  And run by opportunists.

Whatever.  I have been in Atlanta since 1969.  Nothing has really changed.  Atlanta wants to be called an International City but it’s a bog.  And these candidates are running nothing new, just attacking each other, though they have served on the same councils and are buds.  But it’s political gnashing time so I guess this is ‘acceptable’ behavior.

The corruption from City Hall equals or rivals the corruption of Bill Campbell, a mayor a few years ago who went to prison for a term for all sorts of criminal behavior.  Now we hear that millions of dollars have been either embezzled or paid out in ‘no bid’ contracts to ‘friends’ of some bureaucrats in City Hall.  Even MARTA, the only transit line that circles Atlanta has been hit with corruption by CEOs. The FBI is not closing the cases on City Hall because there will be more heads rolling. There is even a new issue of corruption at the Atlanta Airport on bids and cronyism. Good.  Heads should roll off the necks of these arrogant boobs.  They are just lining their pockets with taxpayers money and they pass the baton from hand to greedy hand.  Nothing really changes.Great Room Sept17 3.jpg

(this is a recent pix of our house, built back in 1880’s and one that we have been restoring for 40 years.  Not finished by a mile, either.  The Beltline is directly behind our property.)

So, whomever becomes mayor will have to be closely watched.  Obviously the temptations for corruption and lining your own pockets is almost unavoidable.  Even the Chief Procurement Officer of Kasim Reed’s as been indicted for taking bribes of over 33,000.00 clams.  How shameful.  But also, how natural in the current climate of Atlanta.

May the best woman or man win, but that might be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: