Mama Needs a Brand-New Bag (a barlette*)
Reached deep in paisley purse
Pulled out six feet of handsome man
(Must’ve been Mary Poppins’ old bag)
Cleaned him up, schooled him on manners
Hoped he’d make good decisions
(Naïve, but her heart was in the right place)
Purse hung on door knob
They coupled and created new life
(It’s easy – leave The Pill on the shelf)
From the depths of her own inner purse
Emerged the most precious gift
(She’s still giving)
Man tired of being lugged around
Purse too heavy for both dad and baby
(Women have lots of baggage)
Baby grew too big for bag’s confines
Dad grew too big to carry
(Was he used to being the only child?)
Now purse is set aside in favor of
concentrating on contents, now a 5’9” woman
(How she once fit in that purse, I dunno)
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
* The barlette is my own form: Three-line stanzas; the final line is in parentheses and usually comments on the first two lines. Subject matter, rhyme or free verse, syllable count… none of that matters at all! It’s my nonconformist form. (“Barlette” is taken from my middle name, “Barlow.”)
For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where dedicated, prolific poet Mary Kling is taking a leave of absence after months and months of wonderful prompts. The new doyen of Mixed Bag Friday, the incomparable Kerry O’Connor, asked us to identify two items in our real, imagined, or psychic purses. Her use of an actual bag/purse put a fun twist on what is normally a free-for-all. Mary, thank you for your efforts; Kerry, welcome to the fray!
Also at my poetic luxuries shop, Poets United. Peace and beaded bags, Amy
March 15, 2013 at 6:16 pm
Amy–how could this make me smile –and yet it did—just wonderful writing!
March 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm
Amy, I especially like your last stanza. Purse put aside in favor of concentrating on contents. Actually I think one can do without a lot of contents in purses anyway…LOL. It always amazes me when I see women with gigantic purses, looking more like suitcases, filled to the brim.
Thank you also for your kind words, Amy. They are greatly appreciated. You will continue to see me ‘around.’ I had enjoyed very much doing the “Mixed Bag” prompts.
Kay, Alberta, Canada
March 15, 2013 at 6:38 pm
Amy, I love your “barlette” and the story it tells. Sad, but with a beautiful upside.
March 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Now I’d like to try your form
Can I please?
(I liked your poem!)
March 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Amy this was so clever and well done! I love your “barlette” wow 5’9! Yes, I love the upside, too ~
Sherry Blue Sky
March 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm
OMG! This is my favorite poem just about EVER!!!!! Love what you keep reeling out of that purse…..I had one of those giant babies too (talking about the Ex), and likewise the marvellous daughters who keep on giving………..this is a totally inspired fantastic hoot of a poem. It totally kicks the prompt’s ass! AND I love the form.
March 15, 2013 at 10:14 pm
really cool form…and great story telling in this as well…interesting the things (people) we carry at times as well….the concentrating on contents as well is a great line….really cool form too…i LOVE parenthesis so i might have to try it….smiles….
March 16, 2013 at 1:57 am
I love your innovative form, and the impression it gives of two voices in the poem. I often wonder how my precious contents ever fit in the purse too!
March 16, 2013 at 3:39 am
What a fun, tongue-in-cheek form. I love the parenthesis and how you’ve used it to insert an aside in the verse itself.
Your poem was a bittersweet one. Your composition made it easy to read, but the emotions were raw and evoked a twinge.
I must use this form sometime. Haiku like, but with far more freedom and that comment-in-brackets 🙂
Emma llm calling
March 16, 2013 at 4:46 am
I love this, brilliant write
March 16, 2013 at 5:29 am
This is brilliant – I love the form and the content, despite the subtext!
March 16, 2013 at 6:05 am
Love the poem (and the shout out to James Brown).
Josie Two Shoes
March 16, 2013 at 10:46 am
This is a wonderful form you’ve devised! I tend to use a lot of parenthetical commentary in my writing, so this attracted me, may have to give it a try! Your poem said everything about the things (and people) we end up carrying in life. I had one of those men that I never could get out of the bag and standing on his own two feet. Ditched the man, and the bag, now I’ve got someone who will carry me when I am tired, but most of the time I am doing just fine walking in my own Two Shoes. 🙂
March 16, 2013 at 11:00 am
Mary Poppins… practically perfect in every way, just like this poem! What a fabulous method of storytelling, Amy. And that Riley is most certainly the best gift a woman could ever have received. Now, I’m on the hunt for a new bag! 😉
March 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm
This is absolutely brilliant!
March 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm
I really like what you’ve done with this. Terrific form. I love the thought of using the bag, setting it aside, then concentrating on what’s important. Very good.
March 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm
Ha! So enjoyed this. I remember when I was pregnant holding baby clothes (upside down) up to my stomach, and feeling so disbelieving, and of course, now that my two girls are taller than I, it is truly hard! But this has so much charm and also realism – mixed bag for sure, but that a mixed bag is all life generally provides. You describe it so well, and with kind of a wry wisdom. Thanks. Thanks also, Amy, so much for getting Nose Dive. I do hope you enjoy it. It’s a bit silly–frivolous–but a pretty quick read. Thanks again too for your fun/serious/inspiring work. k.
March 17, 2013 at 1:44 am
Big big thank you, Amy! I needed your kind words. You are in my prayers too! Odd coincidence, the other day I mentioned your poem Lithium to another poet named Bjorn Brudberg and I got your name wrong, calling you Amy Bartlett, didn’t know why until I saw the barlette 🙂
Also – I edited out the address, just in case. Peace to you, Amy!
March 17, 2013 at 1:47 am
Oops it’s Bjorn Rudberg. Apparently my memory of names does what it wants 😦
March 17, 2013 at 5:32 am
I loved this piece. I love the Barlette. The comments in the parenthesis are a delight. Its like a conversation.
I loved these vereses ->
Cleaned him up, schooled him on manners
Hoped he’d make good decisions
Susie Clevenger (@wingsobutterfly)
March 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm
I love the form you created! Oh and I love what you are saying…although I haven’t experienced what you speak of, I know plenty of women who have!
March 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm
I liked this piece a lot. I was not familiar with The Barlette. What a marvelous form of poetry. ‘Trifecta’ should use that for a prompt sometime.
March 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm
March 18, 2013 at 7:15 am
Mama Amy, I love your nonconformist form and have always loved that song. Very clever take on the prompt, glad that you were able to free yourself 🙂
Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
March 19, 2013 at 2:32 am
I’m always in for new poetry forms.. I might try to write it 🙂
March 19, 2013 at 6:36 am
How very clever of you, Amy… the Barlette looks like a fun form. I like the Mary Poppins purse, too… pulling out the man and trying to mold him. But the purse within is the most delighful. Nothing compares to birthing a child.