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

Category Archives: Ekphrastic

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?)


GET TO THE GIG, GIRL!

Take the A train? Hell, no
I’ve faster ways to go

Head south on Amsterdam
Keep low and lively, ma’am

I filter through the fog
and gusting city smog

The traffic’s fierce, you see
I keep it high and free

Some pieces of the News
Fly by in folded twos

Through bitter cold and then
I spring balloon to end

And climb on up and out
the fountain’s water spout

The cries of “Viva! Viva!”
when I arrive, La Diva

Enough to warm my heart
And now my gig I start

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The “B” on the balloon is for Barlow, my former stage name. At dverse Poets Pub, we were challenged to an ekphrastic prompt – writing to an image; I used words from The Sunday Whirl. The brill artist is Judith Clay, and you can see more of her fantastic fantasies and read other poets HERE, as well as check out what other poets did with the Whirl Wordle HERE.

Fun prompt. Was ready for one. It was a long week, but things are looking up! Peace, Amy



Image by L. Diane Wolfe, used by permission of the artist

Edgy

In the left corner
Invisible
I
maneuver this heady circumference

Rough and jagged as
I
and just as blue
Stepping lightly, lest

I
fall into the bowl
scratching again with nails
bloody from the task

See the marks from
years past
No one else here so
I

continue my inchworming
Whoops! that damned crag
I
hit it last time around

Slipdip and down
I
go, clawing my way to the top
like a silicone starlet

There is no end to this
circumspect circumnavigation
I
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


GOTTA GO!

Gotta go now
Wanna sing but day job pays bills
Run to catch the ‘bway
Pressed against other cogs in the car
We’re a movable beast
You can taste the air in here
and that ain’t a good thing

Gotta hurry up
Stop by coffee shop, grab a bialy and
some hot dark that speeds through veins
and makes brains go pop
In my cube 7 x 7
Hamster Heaven but Human Hell

Gotta run to help fix the copier
Maintenance can’t reach the tricky places
My fingers are nimble
I can take apart anything and I
joke with the guys and let them see some leg
as I crawl on the floor doing their job
I make soul-sucking misery look fun

Gotta go home to my wretched box
So square even the wallpaper is plaid
Swear to god it’s plaid
Gig tonight, no pay but exPOSURE
Pose in the mirror, pouty pretty

Gotta get to the gig
Back on the ‘bway downtown
This city is laid out in perfect lines
The A, B, C
The 1, 2, 3
The RR, bastard child of the rest

Follow the tic-tacs to find
a place to be, to become, to behave
but still believe it’s lasted
as long as it has
Here in the Gotham Game

Gotta go again
Shouldn’t’a drunk so much water
Surviving the City is easy
as long as you graph the clean bathrooms
on your mental map

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Joseph Harker’s “Naming Constellations,” an ekphrastic poem (written to an image or inspired by same). I chose the Piet Mondrian piece, “Broadway Boogie,” but to tell the truth, I didn’t notice the name before I wrote this – I picked the image because it made me nervous, and that reminded me about deadlines and there was also a resemblance to subway maps! So there you go. Thanks, Joseph; you’re an inspiration even when you don’t throw us a prompt.  (This is also in the “ticker tape” of poems at Poets United.)

Two notes:  The ‘bway’ is not Broadway; it’s our old nickname for the subway (or the tube, for my European friends).  The City is always and forever New York; no real New Yorker would ever refer to it as The Big Apple, either – unless you’re a surviving vaudevillian, for whom that expression had true meaning, because playing New York City was indeed getting a bite of the “big apple.”  Bit of history for you!

The painting is a low-resolution image and is in no way fully representative of the original piece. Mondrian, a superb talent; this is meant in tribute to his work, not a “snatch and grab.” Peace, Amy