Absinthe Minded

Absinthe Minded

With the grace and delicacy
of a tea ceremony

Wedge-lipped crystal
with bulbous bottom

aswirl with the
green fairy muse of

Wilde and vanGogh
and so many others

A magnificent silver spoon
to pour water over

a sugar cube, to stir
the emerald drowse

Sipped silent/slowly
Connoisseurs’ craving

Slip into halcyon heaven
Linger and luxuriate

Imagine
Create

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Poets’ Pub, the third anniversary of a vital, vibrant voice in our community. Hope they have the proper equipment behind the bar to pour a round of these! Peace to all, and thanks to Brian, Claudia, and the bartenders for continuing this wonderful tradition. Amy

Dance With Me

Dance With Me

Possessed of a prominent nose
Sloe eyes and sensuous smile
Regina, dancing muse
Real-deal belly dancing, repleat

with silver – snaking around
slender arms, on her ankles
shandangling about her svelte,
supple, flexible waist and hips

Her ultimate adornment was
her boa, whose name time has
swallowed, but whose image is
indelible; the trust, the sure

partnership, he lovingly
encircled her neck and arms,
living jewelry and friend

Slow their duet, slithering
in a Roma-tinged tango,
she so proud of her partner
The two cast a potent spell

Regina often allowed me to
help deliver him back to the
safety of his Indian woven
basket, his genie bottle

He graced my arms with
a cuddle. Warm skin, still
damp with her sweat from
his beloved perch, Regina.

Years later, still dancing,
Regina contracted that
slow-eating cancer, yet retained
her smile, her love of life

Now Regina has crossed over
to the side where pain is no more
Snakes in the hereafter are lining up
for the chance of just one dance

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Regina Star was just that – a queen and a celestial being. She worked with us at the fabled Great American Food & Beverage Company. I have combined several instances in her life to create this portrait. Having love snakes all my life, I was humbled by Regina’s trust that I carry Jack’s basket around at the GAFB 30th anniversary. Cancer had ravaged her body, and yet she danced with the same grace and self-assurance, Jack extending his head past her hand to view the audience. A whirling force of nature, our Regina. May she be at peace.

Oh, and one word to the “eeeew, snakes are slimy” crowd: The next time you are near a boa constrictor (preferably one recently fed!), if you aren’t game to have it be on your body, at least caress it. The smooth skin, the warmth, the decidedly non-slimy nature of snakes… trust me, you’ll dig it!

Written for the Poets United prompt for poems in praise of snakes. Peace, Amy

Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck

Thrill of ozoned air
freshbursting scent
as one slate cloud
butts heads with another

Firmament’s daring exchange
First chains of switchblade
streaks; thunder strikes
from clouds’ loud clash

In love with customary
pelt of hail I walk
To stop me is to defy
another force of nature

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Scotto Bear (free media use) at Wikimedia Commons, License detail HERE.

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, Michael (AKA Grapeling) gave us a list of words. To see that list, along with links to myriad original contributors, please click HERE.

City or country, I have always been fascinated with the random, dangerous, glorious free fireworks of thunderstorms. I know it’s probably stupid to walk down the street in one, but I figure with my various brain spasms, a little lightning wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it might help! Peace, Amy

Rattling the Cage (Rollie Triptych, Part III)

Rattling the Cage
(Rollie Triptych, Part III)

Rollie Matt 001
Perfect timing for
a horrible outcome
On impulse, we drove
to Binghamton for a visit

Stayed with my folks
Call at 5 am, Mom
jostled me awake
“Rollie’s in the E.R!”

He’d sat up in bed
Said, “I can’t breathe”
and all 300 pounds of him
flopped back, dead
Rollie Casey Teddy Bears 001
Hospital. “He’s gone, Amer.”
But his son turned 1 last week
Older son only 4
I was so pissed at God

Funeral, Baptist Church
His folks’ choice, wife’s
voice unheard, unheeded
Pastor, on a roll, droned on

“Rollie’s above with Jesus”
(when his true loves were his wife,
a beer, a bong, and a beer bong)
“Blah blah blah Jesus blah blah”

Mid-sermon, a THUD
A big one, stopped preacher
mid-pontification
about the Pearly Gates

Sis whispered, “What was that?”
Couldn’t help my reply
“Rollie turning in his casket”
We cracked up, but good

Shoulders shaking and
folks behind us thought
we were sobbing, patted
support on our shoulders

Which made us laugh harder
Yowza, leave it to Rollie
prankster, stoner, merry-maker
To poke us with one last joke

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The final chapter of The Book Of Roland Newton. Rollie died at 36 of an embolism.  Pictured above with older son Matt, around age 2, and younger son Casey on his first birthday, surrounded by the teddy bears that always remind me of their dad.  Matt and Casey are young men now, both charting their different courses.  I wish they knew their dad from more that just stories told – usually funny ones.  Everyone should have a Rollie in their lives.

This is for ABC Wednesday… Y is for Yowza and Young.  Peace, Amy

Hysterical Women Running Amok

NOTE about “ROLLIE” trilogy: It will be completed tomorrow. Couldn’t resist this prompt.

Hysterical Women Running Amok

Hysteria was once thought
uniquely confined
to the female side
of all mankind

Said to be caused
by a “wandering uterus”
That’s why TPs think
our birth control’s ludicrous

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image: Free license, free use via FunnyPictureFunnyPhoto.com

This was for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, courtesy of Isadora. She sent us to the Random Fact Generator, where the perfect prompt was given to me (I confess) on my third click… “TPs” are, of course, Tea Partiers!

I researched “amok” vs. “amuck,” (my original choice) and found that, in modern parlance, “amok” wins. Harrrumph. Peace, Amy

“…to get a drink?” (Rollie, Part II)

“…to get a drink?!”
Connie Lee Francis
Rollie was funny as hell but
in those days, ‘queer’ jokes were
all the rage (except around me)
But Rol never made fun of local queens
or butch girls who beat the pavement
in biker boots back in Bingo

Walking Manhattan with Rollie and Jo
and tomorrow morning’s groom
(later, my ex-husband)
All my fave boys were there
We took my family for
a walk on the sparkly side

Drag show, which bar?
We walked in to claim our
Night Before Wedding toast
(most men have bachelor parties;
I’ll give my ex credit for that)
Drag star, Connie Lee Francis

Finished “Where the Boys Are”
Stood at bar, waving glove at
bartender, then a flirty falsetto,
“What does a girl have to do…”
Thirsty girl, she dropped to baritone
“BOURBON ON THE ROCKS!”

We didn’t have a proper laugh
until later – the whole thing
The setting, the show
Her range of voice; she had
no choice. Like I said…
Thirsty girl

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The second of three consecutive poem/stories about my late brother-in-law, Rollie Newton.

Matt and Casey, this one’s for you. Bet you didn’t know your dad rolled this cool. Love you guys.  I will link this up with an Open Post this week as well.  Peace, Amy

Pre-Wedding Surprise (Rollie, Part I)

Rollie Bob Amy Twirl N Puke

Rollie, Amy, and Bob, July 1984

Pre-Wedding Surprise (Rollie, Part I)

What a night
Jo and Rollie drove down
from our hometown to NYC
We chowed Chinese, then
scrabbled cross Canal
A little Italian style

La Bella Ferrara
Sinatra-stacked juke
“Summer Wind” as we
strolled in for cannoli
Surprise! Down the block
in full swing was

the San Genaro Festival
Smiling street vendors
Splendy Christmas lights
Rides, rides, rides
Rollie, Bob and I fly
spinning on the Twirl N Puke

Bob’s brother Roy
brought his camera and
just for fun, with arms
stretched above his head,
snapped photos – but didn’t
know what would develop

Who would know he’d
hit the jackpot shot
Four years later,
Rollie was gone gone gone
This happenstance photo
is how he lives on

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This is the first of a TRIPTYCH about Rollie.  If you want to read more, I just posted #2m and the third will probably go up Tuesday or Wednesday.  Check back then if you wish!

dverse Poets asked for poems with repeated words or phrases. This was written yesterday, so I suppose it was meant to be!  Also submitting to Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link Monday.

Bob (now Rob) was my first husband, father of Riley. His brother Roy has the most incredible luck – timing – he’s a drummer! Rollie was my sister Jo’s husband; more about him as we go through a three-day reflection on a sweet man who died suddenly – and far too soon. Check out the pic again and see the big man with the big heart. Peace, Amy

Wisconsin Tragedy (Slenderman)

Wisconsin Tragedy (Slenderman)

Where does real begin?
At a mother’s breast
First dip in a pool
First lick from a puppy

Where did unreal begin?
Remember Bambi
The shotgun off-screen but
your parents were there
to hold your hand and
dry your tears and
talk about how movies aren’t real

Where does the new unreal begin?
Parents turn on the TV
and tune out their kids
The video games seductive
Playing pimp or dealer with
a steady aim and BLAM
And all the women are whores

Where does real begin now?
The Internet, shady Slenderman
A sick fantasy with lots of fans,
lots of kids, is calling the shots
The stabs

Real is unreal
Fantasy is reality
Parents are clueless
Kids rule their own worlds
Worlds of pain and loneliness
Worlds their parents don’t
care to think about

Boomers, we were lonely too
But we had trees to climb
and time and time
…and time

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, the letter “W.” I wish this was not a true story. I wish it did not involve 12-year-old girls trying to kill their friend because some sick person told them to do it and they believed in Slenderman more than God.  For those who aren’t in the States, two girls were convinced by a fictitious character (whose stories are all over the Internet, written by hundreds of people) that to enter his “club,” they had to kill someone.  Whoever created Slenderman in the first place is sick enough, but whoever dangled this bloody carrot should rot in jail.  The girl survived.  Her friends (being tried as adults) left her for dead but she crawled to a roadside.  She is home now, but psychologically, who knows what is in store for this poor kid?

This was in the suburbs. Waukesha is in the heart of the Christian Right, Paul Ryan’s land. I pray for the soul of my state, even as I reside in the “hippie district.”

Peace, Amy

The Thirteenth Floor

The Thirteen Floor

Oh, my mind resides
on the Thirteenth Floor
at the Riverside
back behind a door

made of oak and spruce
in Victorian style
and I keep it loose
here behind my smile

All my friends are here
cyber-found and true;
others will appear
when the moon is new

We’re expecting you

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poets United wanted poems about the number 13, in poems of exactly 13 lines.

I counted them twice.

Peace, Amy

Summertime 60s

Summertime 60s

Back in the 60s
Not the Beatles 60s and
before Carnaby Street
and Twiggy and Verushka

The Roger Miller 60s
Peter, Paul, and Mary
Nat “King” Cole
Peggy Lee still made the charts

Radio was on all day
Mom was calmer then
Her heroes had not
been gunned down yet

“Trailer for sale or rent”
Most songs, we’d sing along
Drinking coffee and
listening for the mailman

“Is that all there is?”
Yep. And it was enough

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

dverse Poets asked for the theme about each poet’s hisTORY. I poked along on this one and missed the chance to link this poem there, but do visit dverse and read some amazing poets!

Sure, there were difficult aspects to my childhood. Many of you can relate to parts of THAT story. But this felt right for the prompt, and it’s good sometimes to accentuate the positive. Peace, Amy

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