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

Category Archives: Environment

The Autopsy

Fluids drained systematically
First cut delicate
Then deeper, probing for
what’s needed to harvest

Skin ravaged
Insides filled to the gills with pills
Pharmaceutical to the cuticle

The heart unusable, broken
The rest is flotsam
yet spoken of reverently

After all, this was once
our planet

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Free write after contemplating how Wisconsin helps the fracking industry by mining and selling off the ‘perfect’ sand for piercing our earth… and collecting shale farts. Between that practice and the damned Pipeline, how do lowly wind/solar advocates stand a chance? We are muted by Big Money. Peace, Amy

Portrait by Edward Lear, poet and artist

I Made a Bu-Bo (and other nonsensical blather)

Snickering up on the biggest owl
on the entire Gaia Marble,
the Eagle Owl
(some are longer than,
some are heavier than,
but the Eagle Owl is
generally considered, by those
ornithologically inclined,
to be biggest, so who am I
to argue with expertations
of the nth degree; their
degrees on their walls and
in their halls of edification

So I am snickering up,
that is, asneak, all the better
to pop the vroom lens on my
Kodak Not A Brownie But
Something Of Great Cost,
the camera, my only friend
since my husbandonment
left me too for spending
so much money on this
gadgetary nonsense

As I said (for I digress,
even upon egress), I am
snickering up sneaky as pie
to take a rotogravurical image
of the Great (if not largest or
heaviest, per said experts)
Eagle Owl, as rendered
(in ink, not in olive oil,
for this bird has little meat,
and the plucking’s torture,
especially if the owl is still
alive and quite ornith… ornery)
I say, as rendered by the Even
Greater Edward Lear, I thus
with my gravuracospity at its
heightedness, do snarkily step on a
bygone Snickers wrapper and oops

The Bubo-Bubo, as it’s called
in Eurasia, yes, boob that I am,
it flies off before I can get a shot
(with said camera, and not with
assault riflage of any repudiation)
My questation, a lost causation…
The owl, gone the way of
other fowl, and growlsome, I
retreat fleet back to my bungaloo,
buggered again by Naturama.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, a tribute to May birthday boy, poet and artist Edward Lear/ I thought he was known only for his doggerel (including The Owl and the Pussycat) but now I know (thanks to the site) that he produced fine artwork, especially his collection of bird portraits. I decided to try the fun doggerel style of Lear as well as writing about one of his portraits. Hope I succeeded! This is also on the rolling right column of my poetic nest, Poets United (proud to be a member!).

The Eagle Owl is arguably (as poem says) the largest owl, found in Europe and Asia. It’s about halfway up the Endangered Scale. I like its expression because it looks like my late black kitty Missy when she put on her “mean face”! Amy

Welcome to my 600th post!! Of course, it must be a rant… where would I be without political commentary disguised as poetry?! Thank you, all my wonderful readers, for keeping me honest and challenging me on the more controversial topics, such as today’s… (drum roll, please, Riley)

Frickin’ Frackers

Relentless, those frackers are going for bear
Digging it deep to get what’s under there

Our potable water, environment, be damned!
Exhaust every option all over the land

Washington monument cracked at its top
Virginia’s first earthquake would not make them stop

Marcellus Shale bed on North P.A.’s border
extends to New York; Andy Cuomo’s no hoarder

He says, “Frack away and to hell with the facts*,”
although we all know methane leaks through the cracks

A Vietnam vet lives in Candor, near where
I grew up with sweet well water; clean, pristine air

This vet served his country and what does he get?
Tap water that lights up, burns like a gas jet

They’re siphoning water to sell back in bottles
I wonder which politic neck I should throttle:

The one who claimed fracking is “clean, natch’ral gas,”
Or our President Obama, for letting it pass

You cannot claim conscience and turn tail on truth:
No water, no farming; no milking. Our youth

inheriting worse that our parents gave us
We Facebook, petition; we Twitter and cuss

But no one will listen will Kochs are in charge
‘cuz they’re corporate energy – they’re livin’ large

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, now on letter F; also for Trifecta, using their chosen definition of “exhaust” as a verb.

One of the lines below my email signature is, “Citizen For Potable Water and AGAINST Hydrofracturing.” This proved problematic for a time, when one of my nephews was working for a fracking company out West; it caused friction between me and a family member… but I didn’t really care about that. The big picture is not how much money a twenty-something is making (and it was the big bucks), it’s whether or not we will leave our grandkids and five generations past that ANY drinking water. At this rate, we’re losing ground.

* For more on the dangers of hydrofracturing for natural gas, see THIS LINK from Peace, Amy

Creation Circles

Circling dew-drenched winds
Particles settle, drawn into a core
Water seeps over to shore
and upward to the clearing sky

A sphere, then
Slowing moving, a circular wholeness takes shape
Revolving, arcing around a star
as other spheres form

In the waters, moving creatures differentiate
Unique beings, yet still part of the whole
They swim, consume, reproduce
as nature will allow

Some beings are drawn to the shore lines,
dwelling near coral reefs for eons
until fins lengthen, gills morph into lungs,
and land beckons them to a new home.

They reproduce as they did in the sea:
Those with penises plunge into waiting wombs;
babes pop from the penetrated and drink milk
from that parent’s body as they learn to live.

Some come to shore without gender.
They adapt as they must to continue the species.
Some beings take to the air, darting into water
to devour their forgotten cousins.

There is a Creator of all this fecund beauty
Whether it is Nature or God or Gaia or a
legend born of necessity to explain the world…
We will only know when we leave this place

Once there was a void of intermixed, intermittent
molecular flotsam floating, flung far and near
Now there is something so ancient, so precious,
all humans do is fight about where it came from

But I know this much…
It is and
it is beautiful and
it is worth preserving for as long as we deserve it

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For We Write Poems (Creation) and my poetic home, Poets United

BIG NEWS! Just found out I am one of 49 poets chosen for Poets United’s first Anthology! I am thrilled to be part of such an inspired group of poets. I’ll give you info when it comes out… but for now, it’s all about the good vibes! Thanks to Robert and the Poets United group for choosing my work.

Our first week in Madison, WI, and we got pounded by a blizzard. Thrilling. Brought back memories of growing up at the top of a hill in Apalachin, NY, and praying for a snow day with Kim, Vaughna and the gang!

Full-tilt boogie of a blizzard
A whirling curtain of snow flutters in a stiff wind
Up, down, sideways, manic, tornadic

Drifts recall the dunes of San Juan
But these surfaces are not calm, nor smooth
Small patches plot courses to oblivion

A moment of calm; street lights visible across the courtyard
Suddenly, wind shouts commands
and snow obeys

The Dance of the Seven Veils, inverted;
one layer piles upon the next:
Shards and Shivers

The wind may bellow and billow
But snow takes wing in whispered abandon

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Sunday Scribblings wanted to hear thoughts about December. Long ago and far away, I was a Manhattanite…


Central Park in December
At dusk the sun has dipped below
the stark skyline
casting reflections of blue
on the new-fallen snow

It’s as if even the snow knows
it’s part of an urban landscape
the color of steel and
the crunchy crust it so readily forms
As if to say,
“Hey, there’s nothing fluffy to see here
Move along, now”

Making my way across 72nd Street
the heat of the subway has already risen
and melted this fresh blessing
into muddy pools of rusted slush

It’s City snow, all right
It won’t last the night

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Last night slumped in an armchair
A barely lucid lump of woman
Juiced up on cough syrup to quell
the oncoming bronchial nasties

This morning, hastily dressing for church
Chipper, ready to play both carols
and hipper tunes for kids as they
pieced together ornaments for the church’s tree

Tomorrow is whatever it will be
Be it fancy free or down in the dumps
Crummy weather or fair smattering of sun, it’s still
the gray matter under my gray hair that gets the final say

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Poetic Asides, we’re still writing a Poem A Day. Today’s theme? Metamorphosis.  I promised Robert, no cockroaches!

Someone once said, “Before you’re 30, you look like what God made you. After 30, you look like what YOU made you.”


Can’t outrun the clock
It chimes, it chisels
upon our rocks of ages
our faces, once smooth

Now grooved with memories
of roaring laughter
and mysterious fears,
tears settle in grooves
then follow the trail
downward toward the heart

Crow’s feet from laughing
from smoking
from squinting
from shouting about
how life isn’t what you’d planned

Face placid, etched like acid,
smile lines betray
black Irish humor
that finds even the horrific
a bit funny, given time

The deep Rushmorian crack
by the right eyebrow
was the first divorce

And the brand-new dimple
next to the smile line that’s
next to the other smile line?

It seemed to appear after
talking about politics
with my dear chum today

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For this Sunday’s prompt, we were asked to write about the harvest season. I gazed at a picture of Riley playing in fall leaves during her first Autumn, and the words fell like the proverbial fall leaves. Please check in at Sunday Scribblings to see other poets! Amy


She was three
and had never seen falling leaves
never heard the crunch as crumpled tossaways
made munching sounds under her feet

“Mommy, where is the sand?”
Ah, Puerto Rico
The only land she had known thusfar
We had moved back to my hometown

“The beach is far from here, mi nena
Look above at the sunshine
streaming through the colors!”
She said it looked like a rainbow, una arca de iris

My daughter fell in love with Fall
and she a September baby, born on Labor Day!
We left behind the everyday glare of the tropics
for a land of constant change and atmospheric delights

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


The prompt was about cooking, but I got stuck on ingredients!  Amy


Don’t eat Red Dye Number Two
Skip the yellow, green and blue
Sure, your kid wants blue-tongue bliss
But there’s poison in its kiss

Wheat flour that has been enriched
Grips your colon like a stitch
Keep hands off the soda, too
Even diet’s bad, it’s true

No plastic in the microwave
Lest you crave an early grave
Phthalates leach into your food
That cannot be any good

Lest you think I’m paranoid
Thinking all food births typhoid
Rest assured, I’m very healthy
Even though we’re hardly wealthy

Whole foods do taste great, you know
Sure, they cost some extra dough
But the outcome’s worth the cost
Fat Cats bought control – we lost

Skip the fructose, shun the dyes
Don’t believe the corporate lies
Lots of crap is on those shelves
Read the labels. Protect yourselves.
(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil