Orion, Reimagined (a pleiade)

Orion, Reimagined (a pleiade)
In memory of Wilmot Dunn, stargazer

Old Grandpa Dunn and Charlotte
Out to the telescope shack
(over Grandma’s dead body…
only money saved, for that?)
“On left, three stars, that’s O’Toole.
One Irish constellation.”
Obviously, Grandpa fibbed!

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Poets Pub, where (while sipping a fine Wisconsin microbrew (Bitter Woman, tastes just like it sounds!), I wrote to the prompt, a new form called a PLEIADE. “Inspired by “Pleiades,” a star cluster in Taurus constellation, also called the ‘Seven Sisters’ (Greek Mythology).” Seven lines, seven syllables, plus the first letter of each line must match the first letter of the title. I found this doubly delightful because I could remember Grandpa Dunn, my wonderful second great-grandfather.

The Story: My mother’s Great-grandma Dunn was mortified when her mischievous, spendthrift husband used their entire life savings from his work as a railroad conductor to buy a state-of-the-art telescope. He proceeded to build a shack around it, which Grandma referred to as “the Shithouse,” both for her opinion of the endeavor… and for the state in which Grandpa found himself after the purchase. (Can’t blame her. This was mid-1930s Depression Iowa.)

Wilmot Dunn was a dreamer. Mom said he had many, many graphs written up of a proposed rocket ship to the moon, and, after Grandpa Dunn died, little Charlotte asked if she could keep all his charts and writings. Grandma had already donated the telescope to Drake University, per Grandpa’s wishes. The writings, she left in the Shithouse, which she promptly doused with kerosene and burned. Mom was heartbroken, but it instilled in her the telling of his stories to me, and it’s still a part of that rich Shanty Irish oral tradition in my family! Peace, Amy

Muse-ical Demands (Real Toads prompt)

Muse-ical Demands

Starts off humbuzzing
nuzzling, within and without
her brain stirring to life

“Wait awhile,” says a muse-ical voice
“Hang out here – words are
on their way.”

Then her mind’s forest glade
is overtaken by a storming swarm
of mystical creatures
Jumping
Scurrying round her chair
Mumbling jimmystewartlike
Shaped in curves and lines
The stuff of scribbled margins

“Hear us!” they demand
“No idyllic comforts for you today!”

Passion’s blessed curse
She knows but one way:
She and the skittersliding
ROWDS
SWORD
WORDS
can coexist

And she fumbles for a pencil

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads asked us to consider the work of Eugenio Montale, an Italian man of words who was a Nobel Laureate. He wrote prose poems, and I have adapted his mostly nature-themed works into my own “human nature-themed” work!

Have been drawn to art (acrylics and the like) lately, so have not been around my blog much. Apologies, and many thanks for all who stick with me, even when I don’t stick with myself. To myself. Oh, you know what I mean…

Peace, Amy

Sun Goes Down Bitter

Sun Goes Down Bitter

Sunset is the saddest light there is
when it signals another night
for a blighted, blindfold family

Threats shouted, curses thrown
‘cross the supper table
flung like mashed off a ladle

Someone always slams palms down
Leaves in a huff, mumbling stuff
This time it’s Dad – which is really bad

Cause he’s mad at Mom, anxious
When he’s anxious he wants some
and he’ll take it from someone

who’s smaller than he is
Can’t talk back, can’t fight back
Can’t swallow her vitamin in the morning

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Susie at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, “Play it Again, Toads.” I chose a line (“Sunset is the saddest light there is…”) from Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, a book I read years ago and now must read again.

The thought of summer sunsets, very sad. Alcohol for Mom all afternoon… two martinis for Dad – after he had stopped for a drink with the guys. He was quick to anger, yet completely arbitrary… kept his buttons hidden from us, but if Mom knew he was “in the mood,” she’s spark a fight and later go to her room and lock the door.

So much for the safely of the suburbs and the oft-Tea-Partied “stability of two-parent families.” I’d have given anything to get them a divorce! Peace, Amy

PS I am not posting much, but I am in a cycle of artwork: acrylics, India Ink, pastels, courtesy of Cornucopia Arts Center of Madison, WI, a free center for neurodivergent people. I’ll try to sneak in some art next time. A

Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory

She dresses for the party tonight
simply
sweetly

She fusses with her Hello Kitty necklace
dreamily
purposefully

She lingers in a view of
herself
and her crown of glory

Her “all clear” party and
chestnut
hair jewelry

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Locks of Love allows people to donate 10” or more of their own hair to help create wigs for low-income girls who have allopecia or are fighting cancer. My favorite donor was a girl in our Attica church who had done it twice before her 16th birthday. Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Magaly asked us to write about hair jewelry. This sprang to mind as a survivor adornment, as one friend told me, “until the real thing comes along!”

Peace, Amy

Wisconsin’s Burden (Stale Pale Male Scott Walker)

“Duuhmm…” (heavy breath) “…well, it’s about jobs and…” (sigh)

Wisconsin’s Burden (Stale Pale Male Scott Walker)

Scott Walker for Prez?
Vote for him at your peril
He’s blind to injustice
His heart has gone sterile

Dim, inarticulate,
slack-jawed mouth-breather
If he ran for dogcatcher,
wouldn’t vote for him either

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Gage Skidmore; attribution HERE.

People on FOX talk about Scott Walker like he’s the new Ronald Reagan.

I rest my case. The “trickle down” from those policies requires toilet paper… from a company owned (as are Walker and Paul Ryan) by the Koch Brothers.

He (along with equally optimistic Paul “Mr. Schu on Glee” Ryan) are BOTH from Wisconsin. Walker has never worked a job in his life, other than nursing off the taxpayer teat since forever. Walker is running for another term as governor (remember 100,000 protestors at the Capitol Dome in 2011? Yeah, let’s do that again.), and he fully intends to ABANDON that position (or at least totally neglect it) to try for the White House. Even if he still sucks, he won’t be there.

Mary Burke is my choice for governor. Mary Burke ran her family’s business, Trek Bicycle, a nationally known concern that turns out quality bikes. She knows budgets; she understands the need for women to have reproductive care (oh, you don’t favor poor and low-income getting advice from Planned Parenthood? No free condoms? No free birth control pills? Then shut the hell up about “too many babies,” unless you’re willing to adopt them ALL). She knows how to balance a budget. She doesn’t LIE about job creation, and she donated a bunch of money to The Road Home, a path for families from homelessness to housing. YOU GO, GIRL!

Peace, Amy

To-Do List

To-Do List
Candle.JPG
Scour bathtub, walls, etc.
Set aside bubble bath
Find candles, matches
Freeze sundae glasses
Find Sinatra mix CD (Reprise cuts, Jobim bossas)
Run hot bath, extra bubbles
Kick off sneaks, rinse stinky feet, etc.
Brush teeth
Boot up sound system, insert mix CD
Call Lex, tell him come home ASAP
Pour Capital Amber into sundae glasses
Set beers, candles on table by tub
Put cat in closed room with treats
Hit “Play”
Greet Lex at door (red nightgown?)
Let nature take course

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
“Candle” by Christoph Michels – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Shay’s “Fireblossom Friday” at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads challenged us to make a list, any list that spoke to us. I’ll be away for two days and when I come home, I will have just missed Lex, who’s attending his family reunion this weekend, so…

…this was the only list worth making.    ;^)    Hope Y’ALL have a fun night!  Peace, Amy

Blinded by the Pattern (dverse)

Blinded by the Pattern

Front room blinds
Lines and ever more lines
Perfect symmetry, vertical, straight
Setting sun squeezes through, says it’s getting too late
Too late for punishing gym workout
Too late for art workshop
Pajamas

I don’t care
I’ll sit here in my chair
Imagining pushups and treadmill
Feign guilt at missing tonight’s yoga (I’m so ill)
Wish giddyap would trump inertia
Blinds help me stay blind to
this pattern

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of WikiCommons, thanks to photographer Petrolli, who graciously uploaded the file for all to use! License can be viewed HERE.

Victoria C. Slotto is the bartender at the dverse Poets Pub, and her prompt was ‘patterns.’  This poem is called, I believe, a triquain, relative of the cinquain.  My syllable scheme for each stanza was 3 – 6 – 9 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3.  Thanks to the Toads for turning me on to the form, even though I didn’t participate in their take on it!!

I spend many days watching various arrays of sunlight as they stream through the venetian blinds. By the time I’m done pondering their endless lack of diversity (!), I find it’s simply too late to go out.  My new therapist suggested replacing “should” in my mind (as in, “I should go to the gym”) with WANT TO (“I want to go to the gym”). It helps me, honestly! She also said (and I love this), “Stop ‘shoulding’ yourself.” Get it? Got it? Good.

Peace, Amy

Frrp, frrp, frrp…

Frrp, Frrp, Frrp…

Frrp, frrp, frrp, frrp…
His slippers drag in the hall
Pulls the blanket over her head
It’s Daddy’s nighttime call

She has a lot of sore throats
and trouble swallowing pills
Doctor never questions
rashes that sting like quills

And Daddy took her to the hill
to watch the stars at night
And Daddy brought her home so late
She can’t remember things right

Frrp, frrp, frrp, frrp…
The sound will haunt her dreams
Even though he’s dead and gone
He still looms large, it seems

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

If you’re new here, I hope you will take this recollection of being sexually molested for what it is: Dark truth, frank as blood from a tapped vein. I was a victim; eventually, with work, I became a survivor. This is for anyone who gets a flutter reading this poem. Think about starting therapy. There could be something worth harvesting… and throwing away.

For ABC Wednesday, the letter “F.” Check out the link and find some amazing poets! Amy

Carpe See ‘em

Carpe See ‘em

Homeless souls – some call them “bums on the street”
Folded small into their desperate beat

Solo bench or so-low depressed bunch
Waiting for a handout or maybe a lunch

One lady says, “Why bring him into this place?
I don’t mind bums but, right here in my face?”

She’s talking about Ed, who’s depressed, just like me
We’re cousins in ways other people can’t see

Tells me over bagels, he’s long out of work
Routed from working by some kinda jerk

who left a buzzsaw blade-out where he shouldn’t
Blindsided my new friend Ed, who couldn’t

avoid it, no matter how cautious… so now
Ed lives on a deadwood bench – but somehow

he knows “sometimes better’s bound to come”
His faith is real strong… so now who’s the “bum”?

Aforementioned lady attends church every week
I say, “You know, you just called Jesus a freak”

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image obtained through Creative Commons thanks to psyberartist – see licensing HERE.

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Grapeling challenged us to “carpe diem” and remember Robin Williams and his struggles with depression by choosing some words from a list and writing on the subject in whatever way we chose. Since I live on Bipolar Boulevard, all I had to do was walk outside, take this guy to lunch, and we ended up having a great conversation. He turned me on to a bagel place I’d never heard of; we had strong, fair-trade coffee; and over the speakers, I was gifted with a song I will use in ministry tomorrow… but that’s a story for another day.

Robin Williams used to make my hands shake a bit, remembering the cocaine days as he’d imp and jester his way through routines at spitfire pace. But I also recognized what lurked under the surface, as with Jonathan Winters (who was given a gig on “Mork and Mindy” at Williams’ insistence), Lou Costello of Abbot and Costello (whose depression was compounded when his two-year-old son drowned in his family’s new swimming pool, there’s Hollywood irony for you), and so many more. Lots of comedians learn their craft as children, trying to cheer up a family member or escape bullying or simply stand out. Jim Carrey comes to mind.

The woman in this poem actually ‘called me out’ while Ed took a bathroom break. It’s like people don’t want to see the homeless, but they don’t mind bitching about them when they are not in the room.  She’s the kind of “Christian” who gives the rest of us a bad name.

May Robin’s family find peace.  Thanks for the laughs, Robin. I’m sorry you couldn’t see a tomorrow in sight.  Peace, Amy

O, the Dreams We Conjour

O the Dreams for blog 001

I wrote this straight to art paper before I went to sleep the other night. Iraq, US-backed Israel vs. “we already bombed the hell out of the Arab world already” Palestine. Children deserve better. All of us deserve better.

(800) 456-1111, toll-free number for the White House.

Linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry, free write and who knows what hijinks any one of us will be up to at any given moment?  Give it a try!  Also, although I missed the dverse deadline by TWO DAYS (!), I still want to give you the link for this dverse “small world” PROMPT. There are great things happening at many prompt sites around the WWW (Wonderful World of Words); this is one of my favorite places. That it is called a “poets’ pub” can only enhance! Peace, Amy

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