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

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?)

Pink Champagne (Georgette Klinger)

Pink Champagne

Was that the name of
the chalky rose that graced
my 20-year-old lips

Was it a drag queen or
my girlfriend Rickie who gave me
that stick/mystical tube

Cylinder of cotton candy
and chemical confection
that no doubt helped my pout

Yes, it was Rickie after all who
slipped Georgette Klinger into my purse
and said, “Work it, girl”

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

When Imaginary Garden With Real Toads mentioned the color pink, this little memory emerged from the silver tube of my synapses! I will always be grateful that Rickie Lee Jones is my friend… we are almost the same age, but she was always the big sister, more worldly, a bit wiser. And yes, she still has the BEST makeup, hee hee.

She has her first album of all originals coming out in June, so stay tuned. I will write to one of those pieces.

Amy

Rich White Guy Pyramid Scheme (with art)

Rich Guy Pyramid 001
Artwork © 2015 Amy Barlow

Rich White Guy Pyramid Scheme

Now you gaze fondly upon
your bread of life pyramid
filled with evidence of
those “special rights” you cherish

The right for your hubris to rule my life
The Right be right, the Left be damned
to burn in hell (at the intersection
of Wall Street and Walmart)

The real family values:
caring for children and elders,
keeping the whole family healthy,
ensuring a future for the children’s children

These values don’t make it
onto your pyramid
Unless they are your blood relations
and you can escape the inheritance tax

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Ah, it’s Open Link night at dverse, and Grace is tending the bar. Haven’t posted there in a long while, so come on over and sample the hors d’oeuvres! Also at Mrs. Nesbitt’s brainchild, ABC Wednesday, where Roger and friends are on the letter O (for One Percent!).  Peace, Amy

Now! (with Sid the Kid)

Sid the Kid NOW

NOW! (with Sid the Kid)

Now is the time
to sing our songs
while we’ve breath in our bodies and
souls that speak out loud
those thoughts that were heretofore
only whispered

Now is the time
to sing our songs
Our collective outpouring
of grand illusions
grander delusions
of elusive goals that never
leave our sights

“If not now, when?”
We don’t do ‘then’
We won’t surrender
the immediacy of this impulse

We want it now
We sing it now
We create it now

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

About time I introduced you to Sid the Kid, previously known as A Guy (and usually accompanied by His Ancestor, who shall remain hidden for the moment!). Sid has morphed over the years into an androgynous kid, always full of fun and optimism. I’ve been drawing him for years, much to the delight of my dear friend Sidnie, for whom I have named my little buddy… even though Sidnie is about as cis-gender a woman as I have ever met, lol.

For ABC Wednesday, the letter N… where our fearless leader, Mrs. Nesbitt, quotes John Donne and we all bring our best alphabetically minded selves to the table! An homage to the eternal liveliness of spring. May the season stir us all from our winter lairs of mind and spirit… if indeed that is where we are stuck at the moment.  I know I was, but this prompt helped me break out.  Woot!

Peace, Amy

#art #poetry #spring #now #sketches #coloredpencil #abcwednesday

Bedside Manner (Imaginary Garden With Real Toads)

Bedside Manners

Sometimes in the fever of my dreams
Mom is alive but dying…

Here she is, going again… an alternate version
conjured in my vulnerable, variable mind
DAD has come to pay his respects to his wife
who is laid up, Frida Kahlo style
Four-postered with guests

He enters to their collective gasp
because he’s brought his girlfriend along
(now I know it’s a dream because he
is asking permission)
She is a short one, tanned midsummer dark, brown hair
Big smile. Would be likeable
if not for the timing and her smarmy date (Dad,
who holds her hand while his
other paw is on her shoulder
like a pull on a bra strap)

Mama smiles, honest to God
She seems happy
Then Dad’s date begins to shrink
Below his shoulder, almost to his elbow, then
shorter still as Mom watches fondly/strangely

Same straight hair, same dark coloring, same
as me
Same brown eyes, same smile, same
as me
And then it hits me, I understand Mom’s smile
She wasn’t happy
She was relieved

Sometimes the best way to
get a bad man out of your bedroom

is to send him across the hall

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Open Link Night, the Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads! Love me some gardening, especially on such a beeeeeautiful day here in Wisconsin. Peace, Amy

#abuse #WithRealToads #poetry #freeverse #daughters #night #openlink #death&dying

Oh, the Horror! (Marshmallow Peeps)

Oh, the Horror!

Bane of childhood Easter basket
Gumptious lather
clodded by machine into
alien-colored, noxious turds

Unnatural, they were, and
poisonously sugar-laced
Pillowstuff spongy

Look if you dare into
the Wayback Machine
That’s me
The kid who ate three or four
The girl whose stomach rebelled
Whose barf was projectile and yet
so colorful
Whose cat was not quick enough
to dodge the onslaught of
harsh-dealt
secondhand
marshmallow peeps

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Never too late for an Easter memory, even on Wednesday! No, I didn’t really barf on the cat, but it seemed like Diva (sitting on my lap, natch) wanted a cat mention in this one, and that was the only way to appease her…

For ABC Wednesday, M for Marshmallow: Merciless Mouth, Madcap Misadventures… add your own ideas in the comments. So glad to be back writing! Amy


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