Posts Tagged ‘“A Seasoning of Lust”’

“Musings on a Closing Day”

February 11, 2017

revised-cover-2776

https://goo.gl/YNzows

Over at dversepoets the prompt is the word ‘heart’ included in a poem.

Lady Nyo

 

“Musings on a Closing Day”

I move my chair

to observe Mt. Fuji-

monstrous perfection

topped with the cooling crust

of spring snows.

 

Languid movement

of a branch,

like a geisha

unfurling her arm

from a gray kimono,

makes petals fall,

a scented, pink snow

covering my upturned face

with careless kisses.

 

Timid winds caress

my limbs,

a fleeting relief

to tired bones

brittle now with

the sullen defeat of life.

 

Raked sand of garden

waves barely disturbed

by feet like two gray stones

as grains flow

round ankles.

 

I realize once again

I am no obstacle to

the sands of time.

 

My heart is quieted

by the passage of nothing

for in this nothing

is revealed the fullness of life.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016  “Musings on a Closing Day” published in the new second edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, Amazon.com, December, 2016

“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

 

 

 

 

 

“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.

 

 

 

 

“To The New Lover, #1”, From “A Seasoning of Lust”, second edition

January 12, 2017

revised-cover-2776

https://goo.gl/YNzows

It’s Open Link Night at dversepoets pub.  Come read some great poetry!

 

In December, 2016, “A Seasoning of Lust” was published on Amazon.com.  It is now in its second edition.  Nick Nicholson, a long time friend in Australia,  did the heavy labor on this book, bringing a new cover and together we rewrote some of the poems. Nick also lent some of his marvelous photographs taken on his recent world tours to illustrate some of the poems and all of the short stories.

It was my first book, published in 2009 by Lulu.com, but most first books can be redone.  I am very pleased with the new book, and am very grateful to my dear friend, Nick, for his keen advice and his patience.  There is an emphasis on literary erotica inside this book, with poems, flashers, prose, and concluding with three not- so- short stories.

Lady Nyo

A piece of erotica to get the blood moving this cold January morn….

To The New Lover, # 1

 

Fingers flit over cheeks

rubbed raw during the night

by ardent kisses and the

rough beard of a man in rut.

 

An early morning’s light

peeks through drapes drawn

for modesty’s sake

shielding the

sweet debauchery

of the night before.

 

She feels his hands move to her breasts

and nipples greet their caress,

arising to a new and different

touch, demanding notice.

 

His dark head moves to kiss her mouth now

dry, her lips bruised with their late passion,

he  filled again with early need.

She feels him push at her thigh.

 

Eyes barely open, he now knows

the terrain, and with a growl, rolls on top,

spreading the sweet apex of her thighs, a hand

in the warm  darkness there, waiting.

 

She stretches, remembering the sweet movements

of the night, a savage pas de deux.

An ardent moan escapes  her throat.

 

This morning, he is gentle, she is sore,

almost virginal, challenged by the heat

of the night

and with gentle touches, he commands

her arousal,

 

and calls her out to dance again.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

“A Seasoning of Lust” can be purchased on Amazon.com 

“Queen of Sheba”…….poetry

July 13, 2016

 Image result for Queen of Sheba

 

She walks right by me, Queen of Sheba,

Black skin glinting like steel in the sun.

Proud breasts topped with prouder nipples

Black rubies jutting east to west.

 

Her spangled turban hits the North Star

Jeweled feet trample the South Pole beneath,

All space between guarded by curved fangs,

Such dangerous territory–alien ground.

 

Tattooed ribbons flow down sinuous arms

Black snakes born with sensuous intent.

Hot sun glances off gold-tipped teeth–

A shot of mystery between mahogany lips,

Giving rarely a smile– more of a sneer.

 

 

Kohl eyes flash a steady disdain,

While measuring the urban jungle

From cracked sidewalks littered

With the broken shards of broken lives,

To burnt out neon signs of tumbled pool halls.

 

 

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 had other fish to fry,

With plenty of empires to plunder–

Though I promised the

Wealth,

Splendor,

Fame,

And the Wisdom of Solomon.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016 (Queen of Sheba originally published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, Lulu.com, 2009)

‘A Fortunate Fate’, from “A Seasoning of Lust”

January 13, 2015

 Cherry Blossom Viewing by Daimyo's daugher

(Cherry Blossom Viewing in Old Edo with Daimyo’s daughter…first panel)

This tale originally appeared in “A Seasoning of Lust” published by Lulu.com in 2009.  I reworked it a bit for the blog.

Since it is the New Year I have decided that I will have more fun with this blog.  I will attempt to entertain readers with works that aren’t so solemn or serious.  To that purpose I will present my “Japanese Tales”, a collection of stories based on fictional characters.  I will also post chapters from an earlier novel, “Devil’s Revenge” which will contain a warning where there is sexual content. All of this is mild stuff, but some readers appreciate a warning. It’s a funny piece of work, one between a mortal and a devil, with other devils chiming in eventually.

I thought a lot about the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris last week, and how writers can support our craft and not be cowed by the violence that is intended to shut down our various freedoms.  I also don’t believe it wise to yank the whiskers of people who have such a different set of values.   However, I am just a writer and not a politician. I will use this blog to further my writing and to entertain my readers. Connecting to people around the world through stories and poetry is one of the purposes I see of this blog and one of the greatest of satisfactions for this writer at least.

In the spring I will publish “The Nightingale’s Song”, which is a collection of poems about a 17th century samurai couple and their marriage.  I have had the best of times writing these pieces and hope they entertain readers of this blog as much as they have entertained me.

Lady Nyo

A FORTUNATE FATE

Hana Tanaka was seventeen years old, a courtesan in old Edo. When she appeared in public, men’s eyes turned like sunflowers to her sun.

Lovely Hana had bones of melted butter and skin shaped from rice powder. She was a creature so luminous a flower of purest jade could not compare. When she rose from a nap, wearing a simple gauze robe, free of paint and perfumes, she was a vision of culture and desire. Her laugh was a tinkling bell, her hair of bo silk, her movements like cool water.

One day during cherry blossom time, she was entertaining, her robes folded open like gossamer wings, her rouged nipples admired by another. A young daimyo was admitted to her rooms by mistake. This new lover was so angered he cut off the head of his rival with his long sword in one swift blow.

Hana knelt before him, head down, exposing her swan neck, awaiting death. Seeing her trembling fragility, her obedient meekness, he could not take her life and disappeared to write some bad verse.

She became known as “The Immortal Flower”, a courtesan of first rank. She prospered and grew fat.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2015

“The Shibari Series”…..

November 15, 2014
"Sea Eagle", jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001

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

I’m taking a chance  in posting these pieces.  They will not be liked, understood or embraced by many readers.  But I think this is part of our creativity: daring to write or even develop some rather outrageous pieces that go against the grain of what we are known for as writers, as poets.

Breaking open myths and creating new ones…..

These segments of “The Shibari Series” speak to transformation, and a rather weird tale at that.  I started them in 2007, when I was sorely pressed with many issues and some dangerous influences. They are rather a personal story, and though they came to me in a rush, it took me years to understand their significance. Perhaps we have to grow into what springs out of our unconscious, even distasteful and confusing things, perhaps this is part of the path of creativity.  We have to take chances.

People can look up what Shibari is if they are interested.  However, in my research, and my study of Japanese culture, shibari means to ‘tie’ (as in packages) but it earlier meant a military procedure:  soldiers or police would carry a small length of jute, hemp rope, and depending upon the status of the criminal, would tie the hands as he was brought into police review.  If the ‘criminal’ had high status, he was loosely tied, or not tied at all.  If a common criminal, his hands were secured tightly.  Also, shibari was never seen as a sexual proponent until the beginning of the 20th century in Japan (though there is doubt about this) but in the West, shibari has been very much sexualized in the practice of bdsm.  My husband and I both studied shibari and did some practice, but it’s intense and it takes a lot of consideration. And ….a lot of work to do it safely and make beautiful designs with the body as a canvas and the rope as ‘paint’.  We decided it was better to write about it as fiction than to practice it.  In some cities of Japan, the police still carry a short length of jute, probably symbolic of former usage of shibari.

The series details the transformation of a woman to different species, her empowerment and finally back to human.

These tales are also about compassion and empathy…and the form is just a unusual vehicle to ‘tell the tale’.  Nothing to be afraid of, though many will reject these short pieces because of their own moral and religious beliefs.  I hope others will try to have an open mind.

The Japanese words used to describe the shibari practice can be looked up easily enough. Tengus are shapeshifters from Japanese mythology.

Lady Nyo

1.

Japanese hemp coiled about the torso, creating diamonds where there was once only skin, looping back upon itself, over and over. Breasts now defined by a rope cut-out bra, while waist, love handles, now enclosed in more diamonds, thighs entwined. Added turns and thin jute split my cleft with a hard caress, the large knot on the bottom shifting upward. It would tease in mid air.

Dance comes from the earth, through the feet, up and out, giving shape to song. This time I would dance in flight, the pull of ropes challenging gravity, compounding my efforts.

Movements liquid and extreme startled me, the kikkou and hemp anchored me in space, my first taste of freedom in the ropes. Suddenly I felt the sting of a whip and I jerked out of time to the beat. I fell deeper into the dance, determined to continue. Again the whip’s sting and I faced a split reality: pain or pleasure. I went inward, deep into the music and rhythm, where movement was birthed and pain banished.

I flew, hollow bird bones filled with joy. Cradled within the ropes I spiraled up from heavy earth.

2.

(Spider Web)

Restrained by the hemp to a beam above and to posts at my sides, I was secure in a blue rope karada. It bunched my skin where it bound, creating its own mountains and valleys, distorting my natural figure.

Pain was the door, the portal, the whip applied until I cried “Mercy!” I had slipped into an altered state, far from where pain ate at my flesh. Just back from subspace, I had dangled in the infinite where time stopped and a crude salvation was born.

Looking up at the ropes I was now in a spider web, frozen at all points, the fly caught, splayed in a hemp web 360.

I glanced behind me. The spider was a big one, gently stroking my welts, drinking a glass of water, or perhaps it was green goo. He smiled, now aware I was conscious and with a questioning expression, picked up the single tail and shook it at me.

“More?”

I smiled slyly. Such gluttons we were, the spider and the fly.

 3.

Again, I am restrained on all sides, a fly trapped in the stickiness of a dismal fate. I can hear the spider behind me, warming up, flicking the whip, marking his targets on my body, my wings too shredded for further flight.

What am I searching for? I thought salvation, but there was little of that. Perhaps transcendence? At this point, I would settle for any transformation out of here.

The whip caught me by surprise. I jerked forward, lifted six inches in flight with a high scream, the sound pairing pain and confused need. Blackness poured in like oil and I went limp.

I awoke, the burn deep in my feathers. Looking to both sides, my eyes now two sharpened orbs with 6x vision. Hooked beak, my feet wicked talons. A furious shake and I was free of the web, free of the ropes. Extending strong wings, I flew to the top of the beam. With a loud hawk hunting call I surveyed the ground, hungry, need fulfilled – almost.

The spider saw me, only a moment of fear crossed its black eyes before bowing his head to fate.

4.

I flew high but it was spring, and the weak thermals did not support my flight. I was hungry, without food, except for the spider. A freshly fledged hawk must learn how to fend for herself. Beginnings are dangerous.

Cupping my wings, I hovered over a stream, watching the ice break apart far below. Three days of freedom had left me weak, confused and with a troubling need. Breaking my bindings I was now lost, abandoned to nature, cold and alone.

“Hep-Hep-Hep”. I heard the ‘call-in’ of the falconer below me, as I floated over the landscape. Seeing the whirling lure with a rabbit head was too much. Starved, I spiraled downwards, landing with a thump.

“Good Girl” I heard as the man beckoned me to his glove covered with fresh meat. As I mantled over and stepped up, he slipped a jess upon my left leg, another with silver bells on the right.

“Good Girl” I heard again as he tied me tightly to a perch.

“Good Girl” as the hood slipped over my head.

At least no one whips a hawk. And there is always the sky.

5.

For the next week I remained in the mews. During that time I was prodded, examined and weighed.  The Falconer was experienced and knew to avoid my feet when I was restrained.  I would slice him, even with bindings securing my wings and the hood blinding me.I was to eat only from his glove. He cooed, watching me as I greedily swallowed down the sparse meal, his dominance enforced.

When I was a woman I yearned for the ropes.  I wanted them tightly around my body, ‘tender is the bight’ so to speak, yet now I pecked, pulled at my leather restraints.  One day the Falconer found me hanging upsides down, like a bat, hooded and unhappy, but I gleefully bit him as he righted me on my perch.

Soon after, he put me to the glove and launched me into the air, I screaming in delight.

If I thought I had freedom I was fooled. The Falconer had tethered me with a long hemp rope. He jerked hard and I thumped back to earth.

“Good Girl” I heard through my outrage and humiliation.

“Good Girl” I heard as he pinned me to the ground.

6.

I remained in the mews for my fall back to earth broke my wing. The cage was large, one I shared with a goshawk only allowed to a Master Falconer.

One day Master claimed me from my perch, set me on his glove and launched me. This time I had no tether and made my escape. Screaming into the wind, I climbed high until he and the hated glove were invisible. I flew with the currents, my eyes bright with freedom.

Suddenly, I was changing, feathers dropping from my breast and wings. I spiraled, awkward in my descent, landing by the same brook once choked with winter’s ice. Instead of talons I had a woman’s legs and slowly my feathers molted leaving me naked, shivering, my limbs white as the remaining snow peppering the early crocuses. My cry now a sob instead of a hawk’s high shriek.

Instinct made me start at the sound of the hunting call and there was the Falconer, a blanket in his hands. He threw both of us down and took his rights, my cooing not of doves. Later, collared in steel with long jesses I walked behind his horse.

7.

The spring was gentle, tender rains like warm tears coursing down on sullen earth. I looked skyward and saw the palest of blue, everything fresh and transparent.   Sometimes, when I knew I was not watched, I spread my arms and called out to the wind. My voice was too thin, my bones too solid for flight, chained also with gravity.

One morning I brought meat to the goshawk in the mews. He sidled away refusing my meal. Admiring his powerful wings, thinking of the past, I called to him in chirps as I did when a hawk and he swiveled his head to me. Looking deep into his eye I could see my former freedoms as I passed over mountains and rivers, hunting and soaring, all given up for earthbound comfort.

Freedom and hunger traded for slavery and food.

I knew then what would happen. Captured, I had the power to free. Slipping on my Master’s glove, the goshawk stepped up and I worked the belled jesses from both legs.

A launch and he soared over me, screaming his delight. I raised my arms, my spirit in flight, my chains now looser for his freedom.

8.

The Falconer, now my Master, was not a cruel man. I found this out when he realized his goshawk gone. He did not question me as I served him his dinner, nor did he ask anything of me when we slept that night.

Only at morning did I find him watching me with a quizzical look on his face.

“Do you understand the point of keeping a goshawk, girl?”

I shook my head. Rarely did I use my voice in answering him. I did not trust it after so many changes

“Well, let’s say that in freeing him, you have upset the balance of nature.”

I looked at him curiously. What balance of nature?

With a slight smile he asked: “What do you intend to cook for dinner tonight?”

Of course! The goshawk hunted and we ate what he killed.

“Know you goshawks are called ‘the pot bird’? And since he ate from the glove as you did he will probably starve. That is what I meant by upsetting the balance of nature, girl.”

I looked for the goshawk all day until my neck was stiff. My dreams that night were full of broken feathers.

9.

(Introduction to the Tengu)

It was weeks of anxiously watching the skies for the goshawk before I gave up. I never saw him again. I learned to trap rabbits and put offal on the roof of the mews in case he flew over.

My Master sometimes watched me from the window, never saying a word about his goshawk. I now set the traps and killed the rabbits and in effect I was the goshawk.

Trapping rabbits is tricky, but soon the spring would bring fiddlehead ferns and tender green dandelions to vary our diet.

One day I passed the mews and there sat a huge bird. I quickly entered, my basket of offal in my arms. He turned his head towards me, and I screamed, the first real sound I made since my capture

It was a beautiful iridescent bird, having a man’s head with a long, red nose. He shook his feathers and crept towards the offal and wrinkled his nose.

“Girl, even a Tengu eats better fare. Get me some meat and sake.”

I backed out of the mews, and ran to the house. Transformations be damned, this was a strange one!

10.

I ran into the house, panting with shock and exertion. A Tengu! Sitting in the mews.

No sake, just my Master’s single malt I dare not touch, but found sherry and some cold pieces of rabbit. I wondered if a Tengu, bird/man such as he was, would rather have raw fare. A bird of prey would disdain the cooked rabbit, but he did have a man’s face. The leftover rabbit would have to suffice.

My Master was gone, expected at dusk. I walked slowly back to the mews, hoping my mind was playing tricks. There he was, as big as, well, there was the Tengu scowling at my approach.

Human hands appeared from under his hummingbird colored feathers and he greedily grasped the sherry bottle and drank a long gulp.

“Not sake, girl, but good for a thirsty bird.”   He grinned and his nose got even redder.

“You are thinking, ‘why is he here now’? Ah girl, deep cosmic issues. You and me in the mix. One last chance for me to throw off some bad karma.”

He finished the sherry, belched and leered at me.

I heard my Master return on his horse.

11.

I ran out of the mews with my offal basket over my arm. I must have looked funny to him because he kicked his horse to hurry to me. Looking down he peered into my eyes and an expression of concern crossed his face

“What is wrong, girl? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

My eyes wandered back to the mews and his followed mine. Dismounting, he let the horse wander into the barn and walked quickly into the mews. I followed him with quick steps.

He pulled on the falconer’s glove and approached the Tengu, now looking very much like a large, normal bird. He looked for bands, jesses and bells but found none of course.

“Strange, girl, he would find his way here. Well, perhaps he has promise of hunting if he is young enough to train. I don’t know though, he looks rather old to me.”

Telling me to draw water and feed him some raw meat, he headed to the house.

The Tengu watched my Master retreat with hawk eyes.

He had a nasty cackle. “Your Master has no idea how old. Feed me well girl, I’ve got magic to conjure. Scram!”

12.

I came back with the Tengu’s dinner that I filched from my own. He wasn’t in a pleasant mood when I entered the mews, but certainly ate what I brought him with relish.

“Good”. He belched, wiped his mouth with the cloth that covered the basket of food.

Leering at me, he winked one eye.

“Sir,” I asked, “What am I to call you?” He had started to pick lice from his feathers, crush them and drop them on the ground.

“Sir will do nicely for now.”

“Where did you come from?”

“Ah, the eternal question! Well, I came from Mount Kurama, all Tengu do, but I prefer to haunt Toyko. Like to be a pigeon in a park and look up the skirts of the women there. Nothing more, just like to see muffs and thighs, favorite parts.”

I was a bit taken back. I read something of Tengu. “Don’t you hang with Buddhist priests?”

He barked a short laugh. “Picked on the wrong one. Powerful Yamabushi. Bad karma

now. That’s why I’m here. You need me.”

He wasn’t the pleasantest of Tengu, but he certainly was the first. Perhaps need went both ways.

13.

The spring warmed up and Tengu and I took walks through the countryside. He adopted the guise of a large, golden eagle in case my Master saw us walking in the fields above the house.

The soft air nuzzled my arms and legs and the Tengu shook out his wings, opening and closing his large beak, drinking in the sweet air.

I told him of my past, the strange transformations from woman to bug to hawk and back to woman. His eyes got big with surprise.

“You have one fucked up karma, girl. And I thought mine was shitty.”

My Master had placed me in light chains, and I caught the Tengu contemplating them.

“Ah”, he said, reading my mind, “I’m wondering if they will interfere with your wings.” I was afraid to ask anything, but my heart started to race.

Later that morning, he twisted my chains into a tighter bondage. He now used my soft body for ikebana, fertile soil for him to place the stems of spring flowers and twigs in my hollows, fill my lap and hair with long grasses, giving new meaning to gardening and beauty and gentleness.

The End, so far…..

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copywrited, 2007-2014

The “Shibari Series” was previously published in “Seasoning of Lust”, Lulu.com, 2009

Stolen Poetry and the issue of Creativity. Some preliminary thoughts….

March 24, 2014
My new book, “Pitcher of Moon” is available from Amazon!
Buy paperback: http://goo.gl/RzFRj4
Buy Kindle e-book: http://goo.gl/cOh8Ww 
 

I’m supposed to announce that “Pitcher of Moon” has just become a KINDLE e-book.  thanks, Nick!

Crabapple/Peach Tree in back yard, Spring

Crabapple/Peach Tree in back yard, Spring

( I posted this a year ago, but since the issue still exists for many of us on line, I am posting it again. I add a few thoughts on this issue of creativity, but these aren’t complete thoughts. I am preparing a paper on this, based on some reading I have done over the past year. When it is finished (hah)…I’ll post it on this blog.)

 

A while ago I received news a poem of mine had been ‘stolen’. Actually, a poet on an unknown poetry website had taken my poem, changed the title and a few lines in two stanzas, and published my poem on this website under her name. What was especially galling was she was no poet, and her revisions were horrible, awkward…an attempt to make something ‘more’ erotic by adding cheap and tawdry phrasing.  Confronted, she said that ‘she was inspired’ by other poet’s work. The webmistress contacted me and asked if this was my poem. I was surprised, because I didn’t know without the proper title how one would go about tracking the original poet. Apparently, she had her suspicions, and googled the first couple of lines and my name and website came up. She was deleted from this website.  No apologies at all, and she is still a thief.

I was rather dismayed. Poetry generally comes from some of the deepest places in our beings: it’s an outward form of some very personal experience, or something like that. This poem was written in 2009, at a difficult time in my life. I was going through some physical and emotional changes and a year later, it received an award, (up until now, the only one….) as “Poem of the Year” on a particular website. I had left that website, but was grateful for the award. Still am.

This had happened a few years before, when I first started writing in earnest. A major poem and a short story was lifted from a website and published without permission on a website in England.  At that time I was rather flattered.  The lawyers and advisors at this home website where the pieces were lifted were rolling their eyes:  don’t be flattered, this isn’t good.  Well, the owner of the English website pleaded that he just so admired the writing (he lifted a number of us poets and writers work from the original website) that he just couldn’t help himself.  hah!  The lawyers got everything back but I did feel sorry then for the guy.  I’ve learned better.

This ‘news’ about the plagiarized poetry came at a point when I was reading a chapter about creativity. In Fox’s “Original Blessing”, this third path, Via Creativa, speaks of the hard labor necessary to produce artistic works, regardless of the medium. It is not an activity of ‘letting it all hang out’ as we have been told by certain cultural ‘standards’ but one of a deep discipline. To attempt to bypass this hard labor is not only stupid, but robs the person of a deep meditation with oneself and an internal growth from this activity. It is also hard to trust those images that come to us at the beginning of our creativity. We are very judgmental towards our attitudes of our own self-expression. We have to develop an attitude of trust, a trust that that out of our silence, our waiting, our openness, our emptiness…that these images can come. I do know that after 30 years of painting, each blank canvas, each clean piece of watercolor paper sends me into anxiety. I don’t ‘trust’ that I can again, produce something that comes from that relay from the brain, through the eyes to the hand. I forget that I have 30 years of technique behind my painting, and feel like I have nothing to build upon for the next piece of work. But I do, I just don’t trust myself. It takes my ‘letting go’ of my judgmental attitude towards myself, towards my expectations, and settling down into the work and knowing that ‘something’ will come of it. But it still is always a struggle to trust myself to be able to do something in this creative vein.

And as a counter thought, I know a couple of good poets who have been writing for decades. They never publish or post their poems online because they are ‘afraid’ that they will be stolen.  Good God!  Like misers, they clutch their poems (volumes actually) to their chests and few ever see them.  Well, Hell’s bells.  I would rather them stolen (and this is actually pretty rare) than nobody ever having the joy of reading them. What are they amassing their poems for?  You can’t take them with you.  A central joy in my life is that everyday, across the world, somebody is reading the poetry on the blog.  And sometimes strangers contact me (besides the friends who graciously read the poems…) and we are able to engage in discussion about poems…both sides.

One of the problems for most creative people is to pick the image that sings loudest to us. Perhaps because we fail to choose the strongest image, we give up creating anything. The (dead) Zen artist Kenji Miyazawa said this:

“You experience something deeply. Later, you picture it in your own mind; you idealize it; you coolly and sharply analyze it; you throw all your passion and power into it. Then you fuse all these things together into one. If you do this without self-consciousness, the depth and the power of creation will be much greater.”

In tanka, especially the classical medieval Japanese tanka of the 8th and 9th century I see this. I also see this in Basho, Issa and before them, Saigyo. This lack of self-consciousness, where the poem is infused with the power of creation and the poet is not presenting a focus of ego. This is something you will recognize with enough reading of this period.

In music, I have come across this ‘without self-consciousness’ terms as ‘getting out of the way’.

Somewhere Meister Eckhart talked about the ‘bridle of love’ that we need to steer our passions. Not to control or abuse them, but to make them work for us. This is discipline, done respectfully towards ourselves, for our developing and revealing creativity. We suffer enough abuse, by ourselves and society, so adopting an environment of hard work, of sweat, of exhaustion, of joy and of discipline will only push our creativity further along. This wannabe poet who didn’t trust herself enough to settle, look deeply within and create, is more to be pitied than scorned, but perhaps put in stocks??? She stole other poet’s poetry because she did not love or honor herself. Hopefully she will learn to love herself enough to become truly creative. Hopefully, she will not rob herself of this wonderful process.

The American psychotherapist, Rollo May wrote a book “The Courage to Create”. On page 41 he says something I find interesting in general.

“Escapist creativity is that which lacks encounter”. Dr. May had a patient that reminds me somewhat of this poet/thief above. He would come to an idea, an excellent creative idea, flesh it out in his mind, and then he would stop there: he would write nothing down. It was as if the experiences of seeing himself as one ho was able to write, as being just about to write, had within it what he was really seeking and it brought its own reward. Hence he never really created.

These distinctions between talent and creativity are especially important. I believe that talent is given to many people; what they do with it evokes whether it is a passive gift or an active ‘act’ of creating. One is passive, and one is active. I also believe our creativity is directly linked to our encounter with opposition. I know this to be true of myself, though I never saw the pattern until later in life. My mother said 25 years ago that ‘no one would ever publish me.” That was an opposition to get over. Yes, I was published by numerous literary magazines, ecological magazines, etc. I also decided to self-publish with Lulu.com and now with Createspace, from Amazon.com. I had so many things to publish that it made up more than 5 books…and I wanted them out of the way and into the world fast. Nothing wrong with this issue, though people do look down their long noses at those of us (and we are legion~!) who do. Now? I have 4 or so novels to rewrite and publish and probably will go the same route. I don’t care about the ‘status’ at all, whether I am published by the ‘big’ (and overblown) publishing houses or not.

To add to this above, Rollo May also said this: “Creativity,” to rephrase our definition, “is the encounter of the intensively conscious human being with his or her world.” In my experience, there are a lot of writers, poets out there who are not ‘conscious’ or encountering enough. Perhaps sleep walking.

To plagiarize or steal outright a poem or a piece of work robs the poet of the greatest gift they can give to themselves: the deep research, the formation, the joy that comes from an original thought that manifests into art. They rob themselves most. They are just….lazy.

The small poem below was inspired by these words of Daichi-zenji (1290-1366) “and bring back a pitcher containing the moon’. Just those words set my brain on fire. There is nothing wrong with ‘being inspired’ by the work and words of another poet: just be sure that inspiration is true to your own vision and abilities and you are not putting your chop on the work of another.

Lady Nyo

 

Pitcher of Moon

 

 

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.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2013 

This poem was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, February, 2014

By Createspace, Amazon.com

http://goo.gl/RzFRj4 

 

Buy Kindle e-book: http://goo.gl/cOh8Ww 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Olsen’s Pond”, a poem…..and Happy New Year To All!

January 1, 2014

mignot-winter-skating-scene

My beautiful picture

Please bring in your cats and dogs, your pets.  The weather is fierce, and so many animals are killed by exposure. All over this country, dogs are chained to trees, or chained in kennels that have no real protection from the elements.  Here in the south, the brutality  and ignorance  towards animals is horrendous.  Even an official with the Atlanta Humane Society years ago told me that ‘dogs don’t mind sleeping on concrete, they don’t need shelter’.  The jackass.  I wish I could chain  him on concrete for a night.  He might reconsider when his joints freeze.

 We heat with a woodburning stove.  Our nine cats call a truce and all sleep on a wool blanket in front of the stove.  We are expecting some form of snow this Sunday night.  Tuesday we are expecting 6 degrees in the morning…and it’s not going to get beyond freezing for days.  Though I love Winter, and the possibilites of snow, it is hard on animals who don’t have proper shelter.  Make sure yours do.

Lady Nyo

OLSEN’S POND 

 

I returned to the old house,

now still, vacant,

staring with unshaded eyes

upon a snowy front garden,

shrubs overgrown with the

lustiness of summer and neglect

now split to the ground,

taxed with a heavy snow.

– 

I tried to light the parlor stove,

old cranky cast iron smoker

clanking and rattling

when heated in the best of times

now given up the ghost,

cold metal unyielding to wadded paper

and an old mouse nest.

 –

The silence of the rooms only broken

by hissing wind whipping around  eaves

rattling old bones in the attic,

stirring the haunts sleeping in  corners.

 –

It took a time for twigs to catch,

the water to turn coffee,

bacon and eggs brought from the city

and cooked in an old iron skillet–

tasting far better in the country air.

– 

I looked down at hands cracked

in the brittle winter light,

moisture gone,  

hair static with electricity,

feet numbed from the chill,

that woodstove not giving up

more heat than a miser.

– 

I walked down to Olsen’s pond,

looked through the glassine surface

remembered the boy who had fallen

through the ice while playing hockey–

slipped under the thin cover, disappearing

without a sound,

only noticed when our puck flew

Up in the air and he, the guard, missing.

– 

We skated to the edge, threw bodies flat

trying to reach him just out of catch,

crying like babies, snot running down chins,

knowing he was floating just under the ice,

silent as the lamb he was.

 –

Childhood ended that day for most of us.

We started to drift away to the city,

our skates and sticks put up,

Olsen’s pond deserted like a haunted minefield.

– 

Fifty years ago I still remember that day

when stretched as far as I could

my belly freezing on treacherous ice,

grasping to reach a life just out of sight,

his muffler and stick floating to the surface–

The boy, the important part,

gone for good from a chilly winter ‘s play.

– 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2012, 2014

“Olsen’s Pond” previously published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, available at Lulu.com

 

“Quiet Birds”, posted for Poets United, and a nod to the Hungarians in my life….

February 10, 2013
Dawn awoken, jane kohut-bartels, wc. 2006

Dawn awoken, jane kohut-bartels, wc. 2006

It’s still National Haiku Month, and I’ll try to keep up.

Under the dark moon
I awaited your return
Only shadows came.

from: “A Seasoning of Lust” 2009, available at Lulu.com

Quiet birds!
I have not changed you into metaphors yet.
Your chatter adds crystallized chaos
To last night’s tokaji clouding the brain.
My eyes open with reluctance
To splinters of light
Challenging soft, painful membranes.

The taste of bitter black coffee
underlines a bitter reality–
I am no longer young.
Last night should be wrapped in tissue
Locked deep in a trunk
To find when I am past temptations-
Having room only for memories and regrets.

Quiet birds.
The day looks promising.
I await a new flock of metaphors
With polished feathers
Landing on my shoulders,
Weighing me down-
Colorful daydreams,
Peacock words,
Bird of Paradise thoughts!

For some reason,
Words, whole paragraphs,
Circle my head, then
Flap off in a thunder of wings.

I hear laughter of rude crows,
See a mess of bird droppings,
And a few cracked seeds begin my penitence-
Starvation wages for a poor poet,
Left to a flightless life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

With thanks to George Szirtes, for the words: “Quiet Birds, I haven’t changed you into metaphors yet.” I couldn’t resist.

Lady Nyo

Lady Nyo


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