“Spring Forward” and Spring.

Kimono looking a little thin.....

Tomorrow is the local Spring Forward Festival…..the first one in this collection of about 3 neighborhoods.  It’s been fraunt with issues from the start…the usual politics, racial issues and naysayers.

However, Vern, a neighbor and friend…has brought this first festival together and there are some really good and interesting people who have come out to support it so far.  These are the organizers and the worker bees.

These have been, for the last 10 or so years, neighborhoods of gentrification.  I’ve been here for 37 years so I remember some of the older residents (and I am becoming one of them now).  It used to be a white neighborhood, then in the mid 70’s became black as integration took hold here in the South, and white residents grew old and died off.  The crack epidemic didn’t help these beautiful old WWI and before neighborhoods, and criminal activity of all sorts inflitrated the area.  A continuely corrupt city government with one mayor going to prison for fraud, etc….didn’t help.  There was quite a racial divide, and whites moved farther and farther away from the city.  Then the trend started to reverse, and whites other races started to move back in.  That was about 10 years or so ago.  There was some resentment by resident blacks but in many cases these people were part of the problem.  My neighbors watched and were excited because they saw an influx of ‘new money’ and energy and a willingness to tackle problems with these new folk moving in.  I was too, though most of them were much younger than we were.

So out of the blue…Vern, who is a social worker sick and tired of the system….came up with this festival idea.  It was quite a challenge because many of us have been sitting on our collective asses for a long time….and we had become chary of events.  In most cases when people attempted to have something public, there were so many hoops that you had to jump through, so many fees because the City of Atlanta has to get their pound of flesh for the parks we pay out of taxes.

There was also the issue of politicians.  Damn them! You couldn’t go to a local community baseball game (meetings, etc) without one or two standing there with their campaign workers….UNINVITED…passing out brochures, leaflets and pressing the flesh.  Hopeful school board members, etc…were like flies over these community events.  And many didn’t live in the area.  A blight unavoidable because these people didn’t have the manners to ask first if they could pass out and corner potential voters.

But this time there seems to be a consensus that politicians will not be allowed to give speeches, pass out literature, use this event for their own promotion.  That is a radical rupture from the way things usually go around here.  And This Is Good.

There has been some issues of ‘people not wanting to go door to door and announce the festival because they don’t feel comfortable doing so’.  Then why are you LIVING here?  You talk about community all day and night  but how in HELL are you to get to know your neighbors???  How do you Build community?

These are new people…whites mostly, and they either will get over that or they will leave.  We treasure our neighbors…black and white, because they have been here almost as long as we.  Yesterday Bobby delivered a bit of good oak to our gate because on a job site they were cutting down some oak trees, and he thought of us.  Blessed man, and thank you!  We will use that good wood next year…perfect timing for drying.  Verlie had to pee the other night at 2am and while up saw four men jump the fence of our neighbor who had a stroke.  He came outside with his phone as he called the cops.  They were gone by the time the police arrived but they left when they saw Verlie watching and callin’.  Another Blessed neighbor.

Spring brings hope and energy to the land.  We have had some major events here with Fred’s kidney failure and he’s having outpatient surgery this am.  The power surge and resulting outage wasn’t fun and cut into a lot of other activities.  We both played a very minor role on the Spring Forward Festival event, but I have composed and will read the opening poem tomorrow at 11am. Vern came up with the idea of a Crazy Spring/Easter Bonnet display on heads and this looks fun and promising…Mine is already gluegunned together…and I have birds, flowers, ribbons, a sailboat, etc..so much junk up there that it won’t go unnoticed.  A lot of the gay folk are embracing this Bonnet idea and that should be quite a display.

I was thinking about the different cultures here in our area.  It’s more than black and white, but we forget this.  We need to do a lot more outreach to the Hispanic and Asian residents amongst us or around us.  I decided to wear a formal kimono, actually two….with an obi sash I made just for this Festival.  Something that screamed SPRING!!!!  The local fabric store supplied the beautiful cloth at a very good price….and my husband will also wear a kimono of my making.  This will be funny because he will be wearing (again) a ‘purse’ down his leg.  That seems to be the only joke of urologists:  purse means urine bag.  But he, at least…won’t have to run to the park toilet, over the bridge, up the hill, etc.  He can stand there, smile and wizz as he is talking.  Nobody will even know.

Our hens are laying prolifically with this warmer weather and the increased light.  I think I’ll put a sign on the back of his kimono advertising  “Organic, Free Range Eggs:  $4 a dozen.”

The weather says sunny and 65 degrees.  I did a run through of the kimonos and they ….and the obi….are Heavy.  How can silk be so heavy?  But I guess I can shed layers or go home and change into jeans and sheepskin boots.  I’m not willing to have cold feet yet, regardless what the weather says.

Lady Nyo

PS: Malcolm’s weblogs:


Just a random poem….


The flowers, the cherries,

The blossoming things,

Colorful heralds of tender Spring–

Do not bloom for our eyes

Or delight.

They bloom for the bugs,

The insects

In a lovers relationship

Of give and take.

But we are

Nestled in the curve of the planet

Perhaps with the status of bugs,

Transient, fragile things,

Then perhaps the cherries

Do bloom for us.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

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8 Responses to ““Spring Forward” and Spring.”

  1. Berowne Says:

    Very nice essay, and poem. Say, are those Middle Eastern drums I see behind the kimono? A kimono-clad belly dancer wearing an Easter bonnet would certainly draw everyone’s attention. Best wishes for your husband’s medical procedure today. Oh, and if you get the URL for Malcolm’s blog, I’d love to see it; we have a small but growing collection of ERWA refugees here. 🙂


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Berowne!

    Fred is recovering but he’s out like a light. They doped him up with Xanax three pills in two hours. The procedure was supposed to take 45 minutes…but the doctor kept popping down to surgery. Poor Fred. He was ‘discomforted’ from 10:30 to 3:00. That’s a longgggg 45 minutes.

    Yes, those are dumbeks you see in the pix. They are great to play, and they improve your movements and rhythm in belly dance. When I get tired of dancing on the floor..(not solo stuff here)….I go grab a dumbek and wiggle between the drummers and they tolerate me. Actually, I ‘learned on the job’….just following what they were beating out…which I rarely could do….but I learned over the course of years.

    Yes, I would imagine that combination (of hat, dumbeks, kimono) would be Culturally Confusing!!!! Best to leave that challenge alone.

    Yes, again, there seems to be a growing ex-pat group that is loosely forming of people who have left ERWA. And the only thing I can see in all of this is that our writing is changing….and we no longer can write to erotic theme…. I think this is just growth. Not that there aren’t marvelous erotic writers like Steve Isaak, RG, Lisabet and some others there. They will always set a standard.

    Malcolm is certainly very happy at ERWA….he has found a group that will entertain him and he them with his knowledge of many, many things.

    However, what I see of Katie Troutman, Steve Isaak, (very much still at ERWA and no reason to leave!), Angela Cameron, and a few other of us…..is that we are deep at work. Steve is publishing his first book right now….and Angela is downloading a baby girl, “Mackenzie”, plus all her new reads….Katie is an artist of multi-tasking capacity, and there just seems to be a renaissance of creativity going on. Bill Penrose is back working on Mortal Turpitude and you know what I’m doing….besides cleaning up cat vomit.

    So, this seems to be a very busy time for all of us. And if Malcolm sees this:


    Lady Nyo


  3. Malcolm Says:

    My URLs:
    Check my blogs for poems:


    Because of your mention, I have put these back at the end of my emails!

    It’s so good to be noticed! Even at my age!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    For all of us, Malcolm…at any age.

    Lady Nyo


  5. shia1 Says:

    Hi Jane,

    I hope Fred will be ok. I know you must be worried, him too.

    I really am jealous of the Bonnet get together. The hat sounds great and I would love to be a part of it. Never know maybe someday I can be..lol

    Love your poem. You are really inspiring. Just have too many things on my mind to get it together to write. Maybe I should write down what is happening in my life even if no one reads it. It could be cathartic.

    Have fun and I love the kimono!



  6. Berowne Says:

    So, how did the Spring Festival go? Did you wow them in your kimono and obi, or your jeans and boots, or…? Did you read the poem?


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Yes, I read the poem….at 11am. It went well, and later more and more people came….Husband came for the opening and then I took him home, changed into jeans and boots and went back! Then home again to gather friends at our house for picnic there and there was probably over 1000 passing through. The beer truck was VERY popular…The weather couldn’t have been better!

    Lots of various musicians and one magician! A local kid. People were just wowed how many came out….it truly was a remarkable and first Festival. Amazing.

    People want a copy of the poem, signed….lol! and someone is working on that.

    Picked up 5 new belly dance students…probably 3 of them serious….Not a bad day at all.



  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hey darling!

    Fred is ok now….but very, very tired. He’s in bed sleeping, pretty drugged up on pain meds.
    You should write, even if it is only in a private journal for now. You can always transcribe to your blog if you get a hankering to do so. And it would be cathartic.

    Bless your heart, shia…..you are going through a lot.



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