“Winter Widow”

February 3, 2017

revised-cover-2776

https://goo.gl/YNzows

“Winter Widow” is published in the new edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com

 

At the window she saw the naked trees of winter lit by a slivered crescent moon, casting thin shadows upon frigid ground. Skeletons in the moonlight, ghostly trees, as brittle as her own internal landscape. There was little flesh about her now, she a fresh widow, reduced by grief until resembling the fragile branches outside in the sullen night.

There was a time when she was juicy, ripe with swelling tissue, wet with moisture, velvet of skin. She lapped at life with full lips and embracing gestures. Speared on her husband  she moaned, screamed with laughter and pivoted in sheer joy. Her life had been full, overflowing, desirable, endless, a portrait of promise.

He died one day, and life turned surreal. So much remained, only the reason for living gone. The temperature of life grown colder, like him under the soil.

Outside it started to snow. She watched the gentle coverage of branch, bush and ground, a tender benediction offered to a cradled earth. She went and knelt in the snow, now grateful for this arousal to life and sensation.

She would live, but thought he must be so cold under the snow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

My beautiful picture

 

 

 

 

 

“The Token Rose”, a plea for love and tolerance.

February 1, 2017

 

The Token Rose

 

Outside it is cold.

No leaves flutter

In bitter winds,

No birdsong to

Sweeten the air,

Just the Token rose

Trembling in fierce gusts

Howling round eaves.

 

This rose started to bloom

Too early this spring,

A miracle of season,

A miracle of mercy.

 

Named for a woman

Who died by her  hand,

A hand forced by ignorance

Intolerance

Isolation–

No Mercy.

 

We are so hard on those

We say we love,

We lack  compassion

To those who march

out… of… step.

Those who don’t believe

as we do,

Then we hide from

What we have wrought,

Uneasy but still righteous.

 

If there is a hint of shame

We bury it deep as the grave

She now lies.

 

The Token Rose flutters in the cold.

A pearly white

Catches the feeble sunlight

And waves a forgiveness

That we, hardened of heart,

Do not deserve.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014-2017

At the beginning of the year, I post this poem in tribute to Token, a woman I knew a long time ago. She, a minister’s wife, with two small daughters, believed she was a lesbian and left her family.  She suffered harassment and intolerance, little compassion from those around her.   She came to the end of her rope after about a year, and while talking on the phone to relatives, shot herself in the head and died.

I don’t know what those involved felt. Was there any guilt or remorse? These people considered themselves “Christian”.   They still do.

Faced with the issue of unconditional love, this isn’t of Christ. I struggle with this issue of unconditional love myself.  I don’t know if I can ‘love’ those who take such judgement into their own hands and a woman dies.  How do you love such people? How do you love anyone who threatens your life?  Token  was a woman who went against something  she could not bear.  Right or wrong, she deserves our love and compassion.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Transition”

January 30, 2017

 

Kohut-Bartels-LS-3

(“Dawn Geese” Watercolor, 2004, Jane Kohut-Bartels)

 

Bjorn over at dversepoets pub is presenting a quadrille challenge, with the word ‘dawn’.  Quadrilles are poems of exactly 44 words.

Lady Nyo

 

Tender peach clouds at daybreak

Float over placid water.

The moon still hangs on

As dawn grows bolder.

Goddess Nut calls to her sleepy houri,

Tucking them under her belly.

I heard the earliest swallows

Twitter as they flew by,

Sharing the night’s gossip.

“Iliadic Tale” …From “A Seasoning of Lust”

January 28, 2017

revised-cover-2776

https://goo.gl/YNzows

ILIADIC TALE

(A not so close reading of Homer)

 

Prince Achilles faced angry King Agamemnon.

“Your Majesty, gettings are keepings with you. Brave men fought gallantly. Your stores and granaries are overflowing. Now you demand I give back my only prize, given by your hand.” (Old Greedyguts! he thought.)

The maid Briseis was desirable. Almond-eyed, slender hipped, golden hair down a tawny back, she was war loot, father a distant king. He wanted her back.

Achilles started to draw his sword, but his divine mother, Thetis appeared as a vapor.

“Pretend to give back the maid, and then, my poor child, take revenge. Kill her and spoil Agamemnon’s game.”

Briseis was led from Achilles quarters to a moored ship. His heart raged, and a quick flash of his sword killed the guards.

“Come fair Briseis, and be my wife.” Achilles leaned her back upon a rock and pulled her legs around him. “The first time is unpleasant, but you will grow in desire.”

Poor Briseis clung to his neck, and sank slowly down. He plunged into her, and blood covered his sword, Briseis no longer virginal.

“Come on my sword, Briseis” he muttered, groaning. Briseis did. Twice.

Agamemnon’s game was up. Achilles won by spoiling the prize.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016 , from “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com, 2016.

January 28, 2017

 

 

“Queen of Sheba”

January 25, 2017

revised-cover-2776

https://goo.gl/YNzows

 

Queen of Sheba” is a poem in flux…movement.  I published it in the new edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, published in mid December, 2016, by Amazon.com.  I’ve changed it a bit here, and I believe many poems can be revised, rewritten.  I tried for rhythm in the beginning and found it hard to sustain. 

Lady Nyo

Queen of Sheba

She walked right by me,

The Queen of Sheba

Black skin glinting like steel in the sun.

Proud breasts topped with prouder nipples

Black cherry rubies jutting east to west.

Spangled turban hits the North Star

Jeweled feet tramples South Pole beneath,

All space guarded by curved, sharp fangs,

Such dangerous territory–alien ground.

Tattooed ribbons down sinuous arms

Black snakes born with sensuous intent.

Hot sun glances off gold-tipped teeth–

Shot of mystery tween mahogany lips,

Rarely a smile– more of a sneer.

Kohl eyes flashing steady disdain,

Measuring decayed urban jungle

From cracked sidewalks littered

With  broken shards of broken lives,

Burnt out neon signs,

Tumbled pool halls,

Violence growing—

Like kudzu in the night.

I offered the most honeyed of fruits,

Celestial music of spinning spheres,

Jewels of priceless glowing stars,

Captured in baskets for her fondling,

Brought to earth to surround with

Undeniable majesty-

An aura of delight,

Honor,

Cosmic glory.

Ah, Cruel Queen of Sheba!

No glance in my direction.

Obviously  other fish to fry,

Plenty of empires to plunder–

Though I promised the

Wealth,

Splendor,

Fame,

And the Wisdom of Solomon.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, from “A Seasoning of Lust”,  published December, 2016, by Amazon. com.

 

 

 

 

“Help Can’t Wait” Haibun for Monday at dversepoets pub.

January 21, 2017

pleasant-grove-alabama-storm-damageThe prompt over at dversepoets pub is about waiting.  Since this haibun is about the issue of waiting for help…or not waiting….it fits in my estimation.

This memory is written in a Haibun form.  Haibun is a very ancient Japanese form used for travel notes and memoirs.  Usually a few paragraphs with a relating haiku at the end.  I have been playing around with this form for only a few months, but I find it fascinating.

Many thanks to Kanzen Sakura for introducing me to this lovely, dynamic form. 

Lady Nyo

(Sunday’s tornados  killed 18 people in south Georgia and north Florida, yesterday.  Rescue workers are still looking for missing people in the Georgia storms. The death count is expected to rise)

 

I remember the tornado in 1998, Hall County, Georgia that ripped through at dawn. I was safe down in Atlanta and caught the morning news report with a cup of coffee in my hand. Back then I attended the Meeting for Worship in Atlanta. Almost trembling, I stood and addressed the end of the Meeting about the tornado. The only response I got from the Meeting was “Help can wait”.

I turned to my neighbors in our rather poor SW Atlanta neighborhood. They gave from the heart. My ten year old son and I drove to Gainesville with my husband’s ‘newish’ truck, the one with a paper license plate on the back. We got lost, stopped at a Denny’s and when the waitress heard we came with supplies, she refused to take our money. We got lost again, looking for the Salvation Army site. An old man insisted we follow his truck to our destination.

We weren’t supposed to go into the tornado area, but as we were leaving Gainesville to go home, there stretched between two radio kiosks was a big yellow banner: “Help Can’t Wait”. The sky was azure blue with clipper-ship-clouds floating by, peace after a terrible storm. My son’s eyes were enormous as he turned to me. “Mom, God is speaking to us. Help can’t wait, those Quakers were wrong!”

That day was filled with miracles: the police never stopped our truck. Our license plate had blown off. They waved at us. We saw the total destruction of a Nature Hell- Bent on  a major disaster. We saw metal sides of trailers twisted like ribbons through denuded trees, baby strollers smashed on the side of the road, blue tarps over just about every house. Right next to total devastation were cows in a pasture peacefully grazing. Trees were gone, the landscape was a moon scape.   Small debris fires were everywhere. Porta Johns were everywhere. We found the hearts of total strangers open everywhere. Thirteen people died from that tornado in Hall County.

A month to the day another tornado hit a  wealthy  part of north Atlanta, neighborhoods where many  Quakers of the Meeting lived. They weren’t the working people of Hall County. These were the professors and lawyers, doctors and teachers, etc. of the Meeting. I wondered if ‘Help Can Wait’ applied to them.

 

Compassion, balance

Restored in the Human Heart

If we feel the pain

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

Cosmic Couplings

January 19, 2017

D’versepoets challenges poets to write a poem with repetitions. This is my attempt.

Lady Nyo

cosmos

Cosmic Couplings

 

Come kiss my warm lips
cup my breast in your rough hand
growl into my mouth
raise the color of pale desire
blow cinders into lust
create steel where there’s water
command with your need.

Answer mine with that of yours
Answer yours with that of mine.

Press hard into skin
flesh opens like a bud
legs twisting round legs
hands clenching fruit-like cheeks
raised upon your sword
spread flesh that yearns to gasp.

Answer mine with that of yours
Answer yours with that of mine.

Over us, the stars
glitter–laughing witness
I reach up and hang
on two and lift my breast
level with your mouth.
You suckle like a babe,
and strain into my womb.

Answering mine with that of yours
Answering yours with that of mine.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2017

“The High Road”

January 14, 2017
Kohut-Bartels-BOP-8

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

 

The High Road

Asking directions to the high road,

I got shrugs and blank stares

yet knew there were two roads-

both led into infinity

both coursed through

all manner of life with pitfalls, trenches

where legs were broken

skulls rattled loose from moorings

like ships in high winds, dangerous waters.

 

What was the difference

and why should it matter?

The effort cost

energy regardless the choosing.

 

An old man sat at the crossroads,

a bum, grizzled gray hair

sprouting porcupine’s quills,

rheumy, pale eyes staring at the world–

little interest in what passed by.

 

I asked him the way to the High Road

and with a toothless grin

he stared at my feet, my hands,

lifted his eyes to my face.

I thought him mad and cursed myself

(asking questions of a fool!)

was moving away when I heard his voice:

 

“Did I know of the eagle and crow,

how they soared upon thermals

higher and higher

became dark, formless specks upon a limitless sky,

lost to human eye, invisible even to gods?”

 

I thought him crazed and started away-

he cackled and spat on the ground.

Something made me turn, startled,

And saw the wisdom of Solomon in his

now- shining eyes.

 

 

“The crow harries the eagle, the eagle flies higher.

Vengeful, annoying crow flies round eagle’s wing

turning this way and that, yet the eagle flaps upward

soars upon thinning air until the crow

breathless and spent, drops to the common ground-

falls to his death.”

 

“The High Road, the path of the eagle.

The low road, the path of the crow,

mingling with dullards

daring nothing, with eyes cast downward

only saving a bit of energy

learning nothing of worth.”

 

Silently he sat, an old man

eyes glazed with age and fatigue.

With a nod to his wisdom, a toss of a coin

I gathered my strength and pushed onward,

Upwards, the lift of eagles, now under my limbs.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016, first published in  “Pitcher of Moon”, Amazon.com 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Food Chain”

January 13, 2017
My beautiful picture

To the East

 

Poets are just chattel to the Poetry God. Many of us know no dimensions, no parameters, no walls, but keep writing until the cows come home.  One reason, probably the most common, is we figure out our issues, and the world’s issues by penning our verse. It’s hit and miss but we think we become, in doing so, a viable part of our world. Even though the world doesn’t read much poetry. 

We could be out carjacking, or indulging in murder, but instead we stare  into space and think. I thought I was over poetry. I didn’t count on Winter.  That bare palette outside the window started to pull  and before I knew, there was a stream of poetry forming and spilling over, not in neat piles, but chasing each other around the room, complicating my life all over again.  Poets know what I mean.  We are a tribe unto ourselves,   who hunt and plant with words, who harvest in paragraphs, grain precious to us and ignored except to the starving amongst us.

Lady Nyo  

– 

FOOD CHAIN

 

Are we really

At the top of the food chain

Or is this the conceit

Of humanity

Hit over the head with the Bible

And the further conceit

That Mankind-Has-

Dominion= Over= the= Earth?

 

I see a bit of a food chain,

It blurs when reality comes close.

 

Yesterday, the Coroner dragged a body bag

Out of the woods and over the rocks.

A homeless man died in those woods

The fox and worms and who knows what else

Had at him, so he was light as a feather,

Inconsequential, probably never more

In the eyes of most while he breathed.

 

He must have been,

this lightness of being.

It took only one man to drag

Him like so much garbage

To the van in the street,

Bumping him over the pavement.

(I’ve seen dead dogs treated with

More respect.)

 

So….the food chain

Gets blurred, confused

In the light of actual life.

And those who say  we are the wisest

The most intelligent–

Still allow their species to die in the cold,

To rot yards from their warm houses

To be fed upon by wildlife

That is waiting for our stupid mistakes

To reveal the real food chain existing

Under our noses.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

 

 

 

 


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