Back then every morning broke both ways. Salty and sweet
Head already splitting sitting up, sliding into bell bottoms, frayed hems fringed over faded espadrilles
Peasant top, you know how it was, a roach clip on a looooong feather clipped into frantic loopy hair
Sip of last night’s to get me out the door, down to Ruby’s
Step out near the canals, the shaggy likewise join the journey
Who’s holding? Lights up, the high travels along the line of linked arms like a fuse
Snickersnorting to the boardwalk, Jingles and Frank ready for busking
All the lovely boys building bodies to bodacious on the beach, sand sticking to evvvvvery sinewed limb, pump pump bump
Now we can smell the coffee smell the bacon smell half the customers too, or at least their smoke
The clatter of breakfast – and always smiling Ruby (“somebody hit the juke for Ray Charles!” and his voice, “They saaaaay, Ruby, you’re like a dreeeeeeeam…”) She was 100% movement but never rushed us
Lazy, luxurious breakfast, runny eggs, and how they got bacon that crispy while retaining every bit of grease that came off the hog is a mystery of faith
OJ from the carton (back when we still called it that) not fresh, but we only drank it for the sugar hit
And so Sunday began. We were together. We had survived another Saturday night. And as we ramshackled back onto the mostly deserted boardwalk, it never occurred to us that something else might happen. That soon, Ruby’s place would turn into Starbucks; all the trash on the beach would become all the Eurotrash in the tragically samesame cafes; and eventually, Jingles might get a ticket for loitering.
Not yet. We didn’t have a clue that it was coming: the encroachment of developers, the diaspora of cool. I can still smell Sunday morning, the sweet greasy and the sweat weedy.
Thanks to my old friend Roger Green for kicking me in the butt to post something! He’s at www.rogerogreen.com
Scherzo (acrylic poured on canvas) by Suzanne LaFleur, used by permission of artist
Sprawling surface awaits her first pour
Thirsty for colors to caress
Thick acrylic syrup on parched canvas
Today is a lively melange
Cobalt and crimson, a bit of honey
In her mind, they crackle with life
Red tastes of ripest berries…
That lovely boulangerie last fall
as she lounged by the Seine
Blue, that glass sculpture, sheer perfection
She spent an hour gazing at the world
through its evening light
To be inside her head as she creates…
She is Artiste (Personified)
Effortless, this, while others bend over backwards to
pursue The Image
Her chiffon scarf danced between us
as we glided arm in arm down Julia Street
searching for abstracts, finding
Too much art, not enough time
New Yorker and European
by taste and by temperament
Awards are nice
but she thrives among others
who, too, hold art as sacred
Suzanne the Abstract
(c) 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Suzanne LaFleur (yes, do click and see her work!) is another force of nature I met during my stay in New Orleans. She is an award-winning artist specializing in abstract art (like I said, click the link!), a classy-as-hell dame, and possesses that extra oomph one needs to succeed in the arts. I know we will stay in touch, and I look forward to seeing her continue to blossom. I am linking this to ABC Wednesday for X (X-quisite!) and to the sidebar at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.
Folks, I regret not posting this sooner and perusing your blogs, but the Perfect Storm of computer changeover, malware on new computer, and That Old Gray Magic That I Know So Well (winter depression) converged and quite blew me out to sea.
Better days are coming. I look at Suzanne’s art, all your blogs, and know smoother seas are ahead. Peace, Amy
Living With It
I live with manic depression
My constant companion
Reflecting my moods,
flexible in social situations
Always ready for conversations
At night, as I lie in fetal position,
it spoons my spine
It dances in the rain with me; it’s
my partner trolling homeless venues
People say my brain ain’t right
I say, “Wrong”
I see things wide awake they
cannot conjure in dreams
Hear music of another world while
their ears are stuck in this one
Feel the breeze blowing
through my soul, sweet and
filled with love.
If all that’s wrong, well,
like the song says,
I don’t wanna be “right”
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
‘Bipolar’ sounds like you’re either up or down. It can be that way, but I prefer the term manic depression, rooted in depression with frequent upswings in energy when left untreated. Yet here I am, with proper treatment, claiming the best part – that “other-mindedness” of which I often write. I feel God has blessed me (God can be quirky), and I hope my gratitude is reflected in this poem. For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link Monday.
Image by L. Diane Wolfe, used by permission of the artist
In the left corner
maneuver this heady circumference
Rough and jagged as
and just as blue
Stepping lightly, lest
fall into the bowl
scratching again with nails
bloody from the task
See the marks from
No one else here so
continue my inchworming
Whoops! that damned crag
hit it last time around
Slipdip and down
go, clawing my way to the top
like a silicone starlet
There is no end to this
am doomed, Sisyphus in ceramic
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Ella interview L. Diane Wolfe, a photographer whose work has been evolving for over 23 years; Ella found her on deviantart.com. Diane graciously offered the Toads some of her pieces to use as inspiration for poetry.
Also “in the margin” at Poets United, my other outlet! Peace, Amy
The Golden Arches aglow tonight
Aglow every night as
teens collect, connect
Giggles, yo mama jokes
A squeal, somebody got tickled
Waitin’ for Bruno to get off shift
Scent of sensamilla
snakes through blades of my fan
I peek out; their shadows pass the joint around
Outside, they pack into someone’s car
squeal out of the lot in a cloud of exhaust
leaving a trickle of oil and a trail of fun
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
This is for dverse, “Meeting the Bar.” Claudia asked us to write as though we were Impressionists, with quick brush strokes and hints of lighting. My inspiration was the early work of Edward Hopper, who is not known as an impressionist but had a brief foray into the style with such works as “Soir Bleu.” He is simply my favorite artist, and the humanity of his work informs my eavesdropping on this group of kids last night. Also at my poetic canvas, Poets United!
Longing Becomes Art (also for Riley)
Longing becomes art.
Art becomes enjoyment.
Enjoyment becomes shows.
Shows become employment.
Employment because aaaargh!
Aaaargh becomes strain.
Strain becomes I Need A Vacation
For My Addled Brain.
Brain senses loss.
Loss becomes lack.
Lack of inspiration.
Slacking, she wonders,
where did it start?
Time gives her longing.
Longing becomes art.
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Poetic Bloomings asked us to take the last line from one of our old poems and use it as a springboard for a new work. The first line is from “Artistic,” about my daughter, Riley. The final line was, “Longing becomes art.” To see the original poem, head to this link, https://sharplittlepencil.com/2011/11/10/artistic-for-riley/