“Metamorphosis IV

April 6, 2017

 Image result for fruit bats

 “Mine, mine, mine”.

For those not following (and you are legion…) this is part of a series of basically 200 word episodes.  There are 8 in all.  I’ve never published these, nor have I posted them on this blog.  As far as I can remember and that is getting harder. The earlier episodes are on this blog if you scroll backwards.

Dversepoets is having an open link night (OLN) where you can post a piece of your choice.  I am posting this because it is funny and we need comedy desperately in the world.  Y’all too glum out there.

Lady Nyo

Laura twisted in the wind. Well, rotated in the air conditioning. Bart had a new kick, called ‘Shibari’. An ancient Japanese practice of wrapping things. Precisely. With hidden knots. She should have thought twice when he insisted she strip.

Arms wrapped behind her back, more cloth holding her legs together, she sighed. She didn’t mind hanging upside down, was even getting used to the headaches.

Bart, however, was having a bit of his own transformation, and Laura didn’t know if she liked this one bit. He was becoming ‘weirder’, taking up hobbies. Piercing was one, this shibari another. Laura was seeing Bart in a different light, helped along with her new, nighttime vision.

*Goddamn Japanese! Why can’t they stick to wrapping small packages?*

Bart told her ‘shibari’ was the ancient art of “wrapping the heart.” She bought it, didn’t even mind the bananas, mangos and kiwi he stuck between the bindings. He was, after all, a common fruit bat.

Up on the roof, Bart had other plans. From under his wings, he drew out a new black, leather- riding crop. He slapped it on his palm, laughing with glee.

Laura was about to obey.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2017

“Metamorphosis III”

April 4, 2017

Image result for fruit bats

     “Mine, mine, mine”

(fruit bat drinking orange juice.com)


Now a widow, Laura’s life took on different dimensions. The house was on the market, and she decided to travel. She thought of spelunking, exploring caves, climbing mountains.

Pouring over brochures, she heard a scratching sound. She unlatched the second story window and allowed Bart Batkowski to flutter in.

“I wish you would use the door like a normal person. You will draw attention this way.”

“Laura, do you forget what I am? Besides a co-conspirator in murder?”

Laura signed. Harold was dead, gone, Bart now sharing her bed. But it wasn’t the bed where the action happened. It was the damn closet and sex was gymnastic at best. Though Laura had known a transformation, it wasn’t complete. The angle of penetration was off. Bart would insist on hanging from his heels, and all attempts at necking gave Laura a stiff one; neck, that is.

Since Bart said his DNA required the closet hang, they compromised with a vertical 69 position. Bart would embrace her with his wings wrapped tightly around them, and Laura would get comfortable with her pubis level at Bart’s nose.

It was a strange mating, but when Bart snored it sent Laura to heaven.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010-2017

Haibun: Shadows

April 3, 2017


(“Dusk”, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2005)

Over at dversepoets pub, Kanzen Sakura is calling for poets to write a haibun with the theme “shadows”.  Go visit dverse site for more information and to read some wicked good submissions.

Lady Nyo

The newborn radishes are shadowed by cherry tomatoes. The almost-red globes drop down to visit. They compare hues. The garden is bathed in the light of a horizontal crescent moon, grinning like an idiot, suspended over trees that cast shadows on hillocks and deepening the valleys with their creeping darkness.

It is very early Spring. Dusk and day still balance in a pale sky, though the moon has risen. Oh, the mystery of the night where shadows churn with imagination!

I sit on a concrete wall, watching distant clouds dance on the wind. The oaks are feathery with their foliage, the pecans still winter-nude. Day is closing. Doves are almost silent, sleepy sounding. Bats speed by, scimitars of the night. I close my eyes and drink in the approaching dark. Only those shadows attend me, and possibly a few lurking monsters.


Night’s benediction:

Bull frogs bellow in the pond

Shadows blanket day.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

“Metamorphosis, Episode II

April 1, 2017

“Laura, come to bed! What are you doing out there?”

Laura was doing nothing. Just drinking tea and looking out the window, humming to herself.

She had lost weight, grown taciturn, seemed sexless. Harold, confused, was getting on her last nerve.

Laura entered the bedroom. Harold, bald and boring, glared at her.

“What is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear me?”

*Oh yes, thought Laura. Thirty years of this marriage didn’t stop up my ears, just my mouth. And my heart.*

Laura opened the closet to hang up her robe. Inside, on a hanger, was a giant bat, its dull black wings wrapped tightly, hanging upside down. Laura shoved it aside, looking for a hanger for her robe. She got into bed and turned off the light.


The police looked at the carnage on the bed. Blood everywhere, a real massacre. Something was wrong, damned if they could figure it out. The wife, mute, had to be in shock. Weird, batty woman.

Laura, her gown bloody, drank her tea and looked out the window. Under the tree was a big dark man, standing with his arms wrapped around his chest. He looked up and nodded.

Laura smiled and winked.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

“Metamorphosis” Episode 1.

March 31, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

This is an eight episode story.  It was my first attempt at horror, and my last.  I couldn’t keep it up, and it devolved into slapstick.  The characters are Laura, a woman who is ‘transforming’….and a fruit bat, Bart.  There are references to Gorean practices which add to the silliness later on.

Lady Nyo

Standing at the window, Laura was lost in thought. The crispness of autumn purified the air at dusk. The moon rose and the sky was still light. It was that peculiar time of evening when both sun and moon balanced the sky.

Swifts and swallows flitted over chimneys and rooftops, wheeling like tiny black crescents against the sky. As the moon rose, the swifts were replaced with bats speeding like rockets in front of the window. She could hear the sound of their twittering as they flew by, sharing the day’s gossip.

“Laura!” Her husband’s harsh voice cut into her mind.

“I’m coming” she called back. But she didn’t move.

Peering out the window her pupils opened wide. She saw strange things. Veins in the leaves, mounds of disturbed soil from moles far below. The moon so close! The night beckoned to her and she felt like flying out to greet it.

She wondered what was happening to her physical self. Under her gown she felt thin membranes grow beneath her arms. Transparent tissue joined with two small hooks on her elbows. Her breasts shrunk to nothing, only large nipples remaining. Her sex seemed to shift backwards, her vulva misplaced.

“I’m coming along nicely,” she whispered.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, © 2017

“Contrary to reports…..

March 29, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

My doctor leans in close

Steel stethoscope coursing my chest

Like a sucker from an octopus,

Though that would be warmer.


“Not good, not good”

He holds out the instrument a foot,

Two feet from his ears and makes faces.

My heart murmur is annoying him.



He’s from Nicaragua and I guess

That’s doctor humor where he comes from

But still I am uneasy.


Another pronouncement: “Terrible, terrible”

As he looks at some notes.

When did I get to be terrible, (two times over) ?

I look down at my hands folded in my lap.

Is this what my mother has been saying forever:

“Such a disappointing child.”

Are these the predictions of teachers, ex-inlaws

And assorted strangers that have come true?


“Go home and walk.”

What? No meds this time?

Nothing to irritate my gut,

My conscience, and ultimately

My soul?


So I do, and listen for

That ‘not good’ heart

And notice it is dusk,

And the spring trees in the distance

Stand as sentinels just brushed with

A phantom greenery

And the swallows and bats

Play chicken in the darkening sky

And I go crazy in the looming dusk and yell:

“Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!”


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted. 2017




“The Darkness Was Deep”

March 24, 2017


(European Eagle Owl, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, in a private collection)


William Stafford wrote poetry every day, including the day he died in 1993.  When people asked him if he thought a particular poem of the day was weak, he would say “Then I will lower my standards.”  I think this is good advice for any poet. Don’t doubt, reject but keep the flow going.  We learn day by day.

Lady Nyo


The Darkness was deep

My father was too

And I craved any lamp

To get myself gone.


He wasn’t much with language,

But if I watched quietly

I could see a world

Shaping under his hands

As he carved, planed, sanded

Nothing much into something.


This was the beginning of poetry

Though I never knew it for half a century.

The quiet observation of things outside myself

That tumbled into stanzas

With peacock feathers and bird of paradise colors.


I wondered what world he was fermenting

With hands colored  by  wood stains,

Toughened with labor

Cracked with the mechanics of cold and old age.


He with his turnings, me with my words

Silently observing what each other was made of

What would come out of that darkness

And be led into the light.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017 (poem for the day)

“The Thaw”

March 23, 2017


(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2003, “Spring Thaw”

Over at dversepoets pub it is Open Link Night where you can post a poem of your choice. Go see what poems are fermenting there…

For some reason, a small poetry group objected to this short poem.  They thought the last two lines  redundant. I disagreed.   I think that is the natural ending to this short poem.  You have to trust your own vision on these things.  After all, you are the writer.  The haiku was added later.

The Thaw

Spring comes drumming through

Breaking up ice in the creek

Destroying a beaver dam

And with the unexpected noise-

The un-damming of my heart

A softening of my bones

A juiciness of my loins

A waving of budding branches

In a new born wind-

Encircling tender arms-

A phantom will o’ wisp lover.


Spring comes drumming through,

Cracking open where winter nailed me shut.



Fallen leaves crackle.

Sparrows add the treble notes.

Season’s musical.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015



A Sacred Universe….and an Introduction.

March 22, 2017




(Watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, for the book cover above, 2015.)


The world can become a sacred universe for poets when we become such.  That ‘golden thread’ William Blake and William Stafford wrote about can bring us to the gates of Heaven but I envision a very different Heaven than what has been spoken about by the religious.  That golden tread  leads through, or encompasses the sights, sounds, chaos and experience that makes up our poems and our dreams can be easily broken. We must not grab it so tightly.  We, and it, must have room to breath. 

Perhaps that is why we compose our poetry in silence, roll it around our mouths, recite it to the cats, and, when we are lucky, recite to other poets. But it is by necessity a solitary pursuit.  There can be no demand to ‘let me into your artistry’ when it is forming.  It must complete itself before seeing the light of day.  It is our contract with ourselves, sacred universe in its being.

Lady Nyo

Introduction to “The Nightingale’s Song”

In Old Japan there was an even older daimyo called Lord Mori who lived in the shadow of Moon Mountain, (Mt. Gassan)  far up in the Northwest of Japan.  Lord Mori ran a court that did little except keep his men (and himself) entertained with drinking, hawking and hunting.  Affairs of state were loosely examined and paperwork generally lost, misplaced under a writing table or under a pile of something more entertaining to his Lordship.  Sometimes even under the robes of a young courtesan.

Every other year the Emperor in Edo would demand all the daimyos travel to his court for a year. This was a clever idea of the honorable Emperor. It kept them from each other’s throats, plundering each other’s land, and made them all accountable to Edo and the throne.

Lord Mori was fortunate in his exemption of having to travel the months to sit in attendance on the Emperor. He was awarded this exemption with pitiful letters to the court complaining of age, ill health and general infirmities. He sent his eldest, rather stupid son to comply with the Emperor’s wishes. He agreed to have this disappointing young man stay in Edo to attend the Emperor. Probably forever.

Lord Mori, however, continued to hunt, hawk and generally enjoy life in the hinterlands.

True, his realm, his fiefdom, was tucked away in mountains hard to cross. To travel to Edo took months because of bad roads, fast rivers and mountain passages. A daimyo was expected to assemble a large entourage for this trip: vassals, brass polishers, flag carriers, outriders, a train of horses and mules to carry all the supplies, litters for the women, litters for advisors and fortune tellers, and then of course, his samurai. His train of honor could be four thousand men or more!

But this tale isn’t about Lord Mori. It’s about one of his generals, his vassal, Lord Nyo and his wife, Lady Nyo, who was born from a branch of a powerful clan, though a clan who had lost standing at the court in Edo.

Now, just for the curious, Lord Nyo is an old samurai, scarred in battle, ugly as most warriors are, and at a lost when it comes to the refinement and elegance of life– especially poetry. His Lady Nyo is fully half his age, a delicate and thoughtful woman, though without issue.

But Lord and Lady Nyo don’t fill these pages alone. There are other characters; priests, magical events, samurai and a particularly tricky Tengu who will entertain any reader of this tale.

A full moon, as in many Japanese tales, figures in the mix. As do poetry, some historic and some bad. War and battles, love and hate. But this is like life. There is no getting one without the other.


The present Lady Nyo, descended from generations past.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017 (“Song of the Nightingale” can be purchased at Amazon.com, published in 2015)



“Seasons Change”

March 21, 2017


(Watercolor, Dawn Breaks, jane kohut-bartels, 2000)

Over at dverse, Paul Dear is giving a prompt of “River” meaning many things to different poets. This is my interpretation.


I took a walk this morning.

The seasons have changed here

though where you are they don’t.

The dried, brittle grass beneath my feet

made a consistent crackle,

echoed by the gossip of sparrows above.


The leaves are stripped from the birches and maples.

They fell like rain on a fallow ground one day

and I didn’t see them go.


I think of your rounded arms when I see the shedding birches,

the smooth bark like white skin with a faint pulse of the river beneath.


Do you remember that river, when it scared you to stand close to the bank?

You thought the earth would slip inward,

take you on a wild ride downstream where

I couldn’t retrieve you,

and I saw for an instant your raised arms imploring me silently to save you—

though it never happened and you never slipped down the bank and I never could save you.


But imagination plays with your mind when it’s all that is left.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

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