Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Timepiece

TIMEPIECE

She is a perfectly wound timepiece
Impeccable, pristine
Her every movement serves a purpose

No effort wasted
Pristine, aglow
Admired by those who
value clean lines, precision
Who see time as precious, noting
her ease in handling each task in turn

And yet she dreams of
tarrying
and tarnish

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

William Carlos Williams was a master of metaphor (and also a fellow Virgo, if I’m not mistaken). I can only wish… and admire. Kerry at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads had previously posted this prompt; I am daydreaming with admiration for Mr. Williams and other Imagists today. Amy

People Talking Without Listening

People Talking Without Listening

Once more into the campaign crapper
They talk; we must endure
They espouse; we eschew, usually

They say why; we wonder “why not?”
They say how; we know they are lying

They say they are listening to us
They promise they will make it all better
like the US has a boo-boo, whether it’s
the economy
or climate change (if they admit that’s a thing)
or those pesky women who
insist on getting health care
or The Gays and their Agenda (like all gays have the same one)

They aren’t listening
Who can listen with
all that Hurrah and Howzitgoin Hoodoo
and sly glances in every passing window
to make sure the flop sweat
doesn’t show

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poets United wanted us to listen to “Sounds of Silence” and pick a line as a jumping-off point. This was easy, as Simon and Garfunkel’s classic is on a disc I listen to as I go to sleep… my personal answer to tinnitus buzzing all about me. Their song resonates to this day. Timeless, relevant, and a perfect record.

As for the subject, I was also inspired by another great song, their “Mrs. Robinson,” especially the line about campaigns:  “Laugh about it, shout about it, when you’ve got to choose… Any way you look at it, you lose.”

I am taking a break from Facebook until after the 2016 elections.  Between the climate change deniers, the not-so-veiled racists and homophobes, and the Planned Parenthood haters in my own family, it’s not worth the pain.  Amy

Dear Straight Guys… (adult swim!)

Dear Straight Guys,

It’s not like darts
Not if you’re smart
Not “point and shoot”

It’s not like b-ball
Not at all
She’s more than a rim to hit
and webbing to fall through

She’s neither mark nor target

The real woman lies beyond
what you’ll see
when you see her

As much as she wants you
(and make damned sure she wants you,
or we’ll have more than words, little man)
she needs even more

What lies within us is a world
An ecosystem
A universe of the delicate sublime,
of intricate, meandering passages

She’s a labyrinth and you must
must must must
caress the key, finesse the lock
with time and care, the kind
you’ve never shown your own

So talk to her
Let her guide you
She has places that need
the same soft kisses you place on her mouth
down south at the delta

And just in case you still think
you hold all the power, here’s a thought

After you don the raincoat to
dance in the lovely dew, think about this:
Whose parts will disappear in the meeting?
Who welcomes in, and who is swallowed up?

She has unfathomable fathoms
of phantom bliss
Remember that
from the very first kiss

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, we are on the letter F. That’s for “finesse,” you naughty children. Also on the Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads! Amy

Pro-Life For Dummies (Tea Party/Fundie Trigger Warning)

PRO-LIFE FOR DUMMIES

This bundle of cells
inside my body
must be protected
from me

This knot of matter
matters more
than the human host

My uterus must be guarded
lest my brain decide otherwise
since my brain is flawed
because I am only a woman
and you know better
and babies must be born
and intra-uterine ultrasounds are cool
(not a form of rape)

Even though the condom broke
The Pill failed
The boyfriend abused
The husband wanted and took
The father fathered
The stranger raped

Even though I know I
cannot raise this child in love
in security and hope
and the schools you provide
will never educate
and the help you will offer
is skewered by bitter judgments

After all that, you have
no words of condemnation or obligation
for the sperm donor
for the “father”
(who will never be a father)

My uterus must be protected
from my logical brain

Lord, save me from Christians
who believe pro-birth is pro-life

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Sometimes it has to be political. Sometimes it’s so obvious.  You are welcome to comment, but please don’t SCREAM AT ME IN ALL CAPS.  And no foul language, because everyone knows what a prude I am!

For ABC Wednesday, once they post today, E for Extremist.  Also for Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find an abundance of diverse voices.  Give these sites a try.  Take the leap!  Amy

Dance of the Vessels (Imaginary Garden With Real Toads)

From the Brooklyn Museum; photograph by Margaret, used with permission

Dance of the Vessels

They wait to be asked
asked to dance
asked to grab coffee
asked to participate

in the dance of the vessels
each filled in her turn with
disappointment, with joy
with whatever he chooses

They were told that if
they waited long enough
and stayed shiny, attractive
they would be chosen

See the restless vase
rustling her dust
edging closer to the edge
She will fall and break, in a

glorious shower of shards
and a mischievous giggle
They will clean up and toss her
Better to jump than to fall for it

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Margaret Bednar is a Toad.  Well, a member of the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads…and for this prompt, she offered up some lovely photos of vases.  I chose the group on shelves, but there are quite a few images of vases at the site, along with links to some dandy poets.  Why not head over to the Garden and try your luck?  Thanks, Amy

Bossa (Getz, Gilberto, Jobim)


Listen to Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto interpret Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “O Grande Amor”

Bossa

The beat is bossa
Songs with names like Dindi, pronounced ‘Zhinzhi’
Like fingertips stroking a five o’clock shadow

Stan Getz on sax, the American who
fell south and south again into Brazil
and landed in the lap of
hypnotic undulations of la bossa nova

His singular sax
wobbly, clarinettish vibrato
smoking breath of a dryer reed
(listen to Dusty match that menthol
on “The Look of Love”)

Here, meeting the challenge
of Gilberto and Jobim
(‘Zhilberto’ and ‘Zhobim,’ say it)
O Grande Amor

Chords minor and descending
never resolve until that solo,
the punchy, punchdrunk Getz

the aaaaaah of post-coital cigarette ash

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

I landed “north and north again” into the land of cooking from scratch and scritching in my notebook, sketches that are on my Instagram account, @amybarlowjazz. If you enjoy ink drawings of anxiety attacks, well, hell!  You’ll love my stuff!  Also political commentary using an old airplane barf bag… it’s complicated.

My first poem coming back on the scene is for ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Roger Green, who always stays in touch, even when I’m not posting.  Peace, Amy

THINK. (Midnight Rambles Art)

THINK drawn collage 001

Double-click to see full version, created by Amy verrrrry late one night during the Yikes! Cymbalta! Cycle, which is still going strong – forecasted to continue at least four more months.  For ABC Wednesday, the letter is TThanks, Rog and the Team…

Response to Great White Whines

Response to Great White Whines

So sorry you’re perturbed
That your lunch was disturbed
by our chanting
in the hallowed halls of
the food court

Loud voices demanding change, laying down
bodies; a die-in to protest
killing of unarmed black men
We were faces of all shades
chanting in one voice:

“Black lives matter”
Indigestion? You had it coming

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

ABC Wednesday, Q for Quandary… I am called white; Anglo; WASP, even, which stands for the ubiquitous White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and I stand with Black Lives Matter protesters. This is a natural extension of following Jesus, an enduring symbol of love at its best, embracing everyone as family. I admit I have a hard time embracing bigots; it’s my Christian learning curve.

White folks often cloak their racism in whitespeak, without realizing they are being offensive and ignorant. A good example was this true story above, where a white woman complained to other white women at JCPenney in my presence. She said, “They have the right to complain, but… do they have to use the food court? I had to try and explain what was happening to my granddaughter.” I replied, as evenly as I could, “I was one of the protesters. If you need help explaining it to her, let me know.” She was shocked.

She didn’t want my help. She merely wanted to bitch about being inconvenienced in the smallest of ways… some noise during her fast-food lunch. And she didn’t listen anyway, so I wonder what exactly she told her granddaughter. If she had listened, she would have understood that this was an organized, peaceful exercise of free-speech rights, planned in conjunction with mall security, who were informed by the group beforehand. We were protesting the recent killing of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed young black man with schizophrenia who had gone off his meds and was killed by a white police officer who discharged 14 bullets. Wisconsin – America – has a race problem, and it’s up to all of us to solve it.

Other Great White Whines:
Why do “they” have to tie up traffic during rush hour? (They? Really? Let’s start there…)
Why aren’t “they” nice like Martin Luther, King? The same people would complain about Dr. King if he was still alive. In fact, they would whine about any public assembly that calls for accountability, when it’s the white race being called out for unthinking privilege.)

My quandary is that I’m a white civil rights advocate. Racists, beige like me, assume I will tolerate their whining, when in fact I don’t, bluntly. And, at first glance, people of color see me as “one of the crackers,” which I’m not.

Many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting ABC Wednesday, and special thanks to Roger and the ABC gang for keeping those letters rollin’!  A great collective.  Amy

Where I’m Comin’ From

Where I’m Comin’ From

Look back at the burbs
White enclave; promise of the GI Bill
Manicured lawns, manacled wives who
drank a dram during the drudgery of
The Soap Trinity (Laundry, Dishes, The Edge of Night)
We were their kids, who tried not to notice

We ran scattersplat wild and messy as anything
Hair flying, legs booblaboobla gearing up to race
Kickball, swimming, badminton in a harsh breeze
Barbies hunted Nazis in the woods (we had badass dollies)
Anything was possible; everyone was some shade of pale
…except when my family hosted a jazz party

Singin’ & Sippin’ – white was not a prerequisite
for fitting in; all that mattered was the lushlife music
Screw being eight, ditch that perfect smooth hopscotch stone
Pocket a church key, cuz beer bottles will need opening
and the grownups’ll be too drunk to open their own
Time for goldenbronze fortunes to be shouted and whispered

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
The prompt at dverse Poets was “Where Are Your From?” We all wrote a poem about the soil from which each of us sprang. Mine dawdled at home base for our kickball game; but eventually, I found my way to the party. And in all honesty, once I’d found it, my heart never left! Amy

Sing to Spring (Real Toads, an alphabetic poem)

Sing to Spring
(Fade in on open field, where members of the local Women’s Chorus are engaged in their annual ritual of welcoming the new season. Dressed like milkmaids; everyone thinks they are a little nutty.)

Amorous buxom choristers, dancing everywhere
Fearless, guileless, heaving inspirations, juggling knowledge and
lascivious, mature natures…
Pendulum quickens; rhythmic sashay turns vibrant windmill…

(Two hours later, at a coffee shop, the event concludes with these time-honored words…)
Yum!  Zabaglione!

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Yes, my mother told me that, one fine spring day, a group of her friends from a local women’s barbershop group got together and did indeed “Sing to the Spring.” Of course, it didn’t involve a coffee shop; methinks they were slightly hammered!

For Imaginary Garden With Read Toads, where “Play It Again, Toads” found me attracted to Marian’s ABC romp through the alphabet, along with Margaret’s post of “Spring – detail” (1890) by Thomas Wilmer Dewing.  Peace, Amy (and what a fun singer was my Mom, right?)


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