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

Category Archives: Faith

Written this morning. I was so bummed about being confined to bed and missing Easter services, and this was my spiritual exercise for the day… Big day for Christians, but every day should be a day to celebrate each other, hand in hand, faith joining faith to seek peace in this troubled world. This will also be at Poetic Asides, where Robert asked for prayer poems. Amy

New To This Church

He hangs out near the front door,
unsure about entering, what with
seeing men in suits and ties and
women dressed up, hats and all.

And here he is in raggedy jeans
and a tie-dye shirt his buddy gave him.
The VOA fixed him up with an army jacket
and boots broken in so much, they’re almost broke as he is.

He considers his options: Lingering on another park bench
like the one he slept on last night…
Or maybe he’ll leave to find Gus and Sandy
near that cheap coffee shop again.

An old lady sniffs as she passes.
He must smell a little ripe.
“Well, it’s Sunday, I’ll give it a try.”
And as he slips inside, Jesus takes a seat in the back pew.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also published at Writer’s Island (My April Poem a Day home) and Poets United. Please click these links to discover a lot of talented poets!


Here in Madison, we are fighting for unions and for fairness – PEACEFULLY.  Don’t believe the FOX BS.  There have been no laws broken, except by the Governor and the Legislature.  Please read and remember – I have been there, on site.  I tell you the truth:  There are no marauding throngs of thugs (unless the Gov. decides to plant them, as he has admitted on tape to considering); there have been NO windows broken at the Capitol Dome (that report was retracted.)  In fact, the Gov. ordered the window jambs sawed off to prevent them from being opened, patently illegal and a safety risk – this is why the “cleanup” of the Dome is up to $7M.

Yes, I’m an activist, and proud of it.  So sue me.  Make a lawyer rich with another frivolous lawsuit!  For ABC Wednesday.  Amy

Here, Heroes

Have you heard?
Hope is heralded here in Madison.
Hands up if you heed the Constitution.
Hands up if you’ve heard about Mother Jones,
Headlining the cause of unions
with the heart of a lioness.

Heading to the Capitol Dome,
heeding our call as citizens
to have our grievances heard.
Head of Wisconsin, the poster boy
for hubris, hedonism, and dishonesty.
Have you heard?  Do you care?

Heads up:  Greed is heading for
your hometown next.
Wisconsin is ground zero:
It will halo out from here.
Jesus said, Help the hungry, the homeless…
or are Hannity, Beck, and Hagee your only heroes?

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Simply a meditation on power and overcoming its shackles. Amy

More Than This

She burned with the anger of the powerless.
That incendiary pissed-off-edness:
Light the fuse, fueled by years
wriggling under the thumb of
a cruel, oppressive man…

There must be more than this.

Seething through silent beatings
which left no marks, bruising only her ego,
mangling her tangled inner weavings,
thread by thread he delighted in pulling apart
the uniqueness she had once treasured.

There should be more than this.

When at last the reaching occurred
(God to her? Her hand outstretched to the Divine?),
the tinderbox of regret, hatred, guilt
burst forth in flame, melting away
tarred resins of the past.

There can be more than this.

Emerging from the fire,
refined to her pure self,
she took her little girl’s hand and smiled.
His pursuit was futile,
for she finally possessed an unbreakable truth:

There will be more than this.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


At We Write Poems, we were asked to write about a guardian angel. I have always known mine, but in this particular circumstance, I do believe she nearly saved my life. Filed under “Amy: The Lost Years.”

Who Did I Hear?

We’re hangin’ out back
in a converted garage
that is tacky but serves
as a home, for now.

Rafters overhead hold
mic stands that belong to
The New Riders of the Purple Sage
(I can’t make this stuff up).

I’m comfy on a couch but
suddenly extremely thirsty.
Someone offers me a beer
from the lukewarm coffin,

but I need something cold.
RIGHT AWAY. Can’t say
what’s in my brain, but I
jump up and go out the door.

Two seconds later, CRASH!
And looking at the couch
where I was sitting moments before,
a mic stand had fallen, base first.

If you ever lifted one of those suckers,
you know they’re damned heavy,
plus it shattered a framed picture
on its way to my former nest.

Something, someone told me,
YOU NEED TO MOVE NOW.
Must have been my grandma Blanche,
who knew all about brain trauma…

…and the need for a really cold beer.

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


At Sunday Scribblings, the prompt is “a thousand years.” Enjoy, and happy Sunday! Amy

A THOUSAND YEARS

A Fundie sighed
that if I died
today I’d go to hell

“How do you know
just where I’ll go;
and when we hear that bell?”

Until the “Rapture”
let us capture
what God bids us to do:

Doing justice
living kindness
and walking humbly, too

End it today?
Guess I’d say
I truly have no fears

I live as though
the earth will go
another thousand years

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Re-posting, as the first version kept re-starting in the middle of the line. This was a prompt for a will from Poets United. Please click on their link and read some other poets’ thoughts as well! And don’t worry – rumors of my impending demise are (hopefully) simply rumors!! But that dark humor runs in the Irish side of my family, and I embrace it heartily.

Last Words

These are the last words you will hear from me
as I have recently ceased to be

To my sisters, I leave my rainbow flags
To my parents, I leave forgiveness in bags

To Jack, pour the bourbon – I’m headed your way
To Sarah Palin, read a paper at least once a day

To RJ, Sheila and Colette, three copies pristine
a pic of my bum on a xerox machine

To John, all the books full of music and lyrics
To Leslie, the “Dead Man’s Eyes” hysterics

To Christopher, HAH! You thought I’d outlive you
Now whom shall you the baby grand give to?

And know that I’ll be in great company
With Jeffery and Jimmy and Bill and Marcie

To Marcia and Jesse, my thanks for the light
To Greggie, close your eyes and I’ll be in your sight

To Sweeney, my rants and my ravings and Lex
Your best buddy – don’t take him to Mme. Orr’s for sex

To GW Bush my wish for long life
to witness his hubris, his headstrong-caused strife

To Barack, prayers for peace and a tougher demeanor
To FEMA, that they FINALLY clean up Katrina

To elected officials, no more of my protests
But FBI, I’ll rally, in spirit at best

To Lex, all my love and may you find another
To Riley, long life and my pride I’m your mother

My girl, find someone who deserves all you can give
To challenge and cherish as long as you live

And after the tears have finally been shed
Remember, I’m dancing… I’m just overhead

So raise up a toast to the girl with the brass
Recount all the ways I’m a pain in the ass

Sing out the songs, pass ’round a doobie
I’m headed to heaven in slippers of ruby

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


We are moving from the Buffalo area to Wisconsin, as Lex has been called to a new church.   Lake Edge UCC offers Lex new challenges, and the Madison area is alive with cultural possibilities. Only sad part, leaving St. Paul’s UCC, Lex’s first church, and Attica friends who have become family to us… Peace, Amy

MOVING

All day I lay paralyzed
Panic-stricken by the massive undertaking
of a major move

The task is like a ton of marble
meant to be chiseled
reshaped into shippable form

The more I chip away
the farther the flotsam flies
Last chance to cherish tsotchke before unpacking again

Now the room is a frenzy of
forgotten details, floating memories
Taunting bytes of mislaid input

Cable movers – nail down days
Valium for the cat, pet-friendly motels
Electric stop here electric start there

Change car rental ALL insurance
Ensuring my mental collapse, or at least
a surging synapse

Graph paper at the ready, grid lines map
our new home – orderly oragami
I’m so anal it’s damned convenient for the movers

Around 4 pm I am clueless in clutter
cup of decaf by my side and
comforting cat on my lap

Then a skitch of that endless marble flicks my face
Embedding itself in my ear, burrowing
into my brain. The cycle begins again

And who the hell moves from snowy cold Buffalo
to blizzard-ridden frigid Wisconsin
And in mid-January, yet?

I’m blaming God, who is laughing Her butt off in Heaven
After all, She issued Lex’s call to ministry, and now She chortles,
“I’ll get you, my pretty… and your little cat, too!”

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Sometimes you get a prompt from a blog… sometimes from the moon above. Peace to you all, Amy

THE LONGEST NIGHT

Solstice birthed a full moon
A bulging butternut squash
cleaved open to reveal pale orange flesh

No bleak midwinter’s night, this
My world illuminated by moonbeams
peeking through slits of hastily closed drapes

The moon reminds me of life
Life waiting its turn under downy blankets of snow
Life in stars half hidden by a light cloud cover

Life behind facades of houses on Main
as I make my way back from the market
where bored cashiers wish me “Happy Holidays”

Life beyond this Moon and beneath it
To be lived gratefully, audaciously, fully
with a child’s abandon and faith in tomorrow

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Not your typical Christmas offering, and yet I feel called on this, the Solstice, the longest night of the year, to think about different paths. I’ve spent the day reflecting on what Jesus means to me, as I await his birth again in my heart with the calm and preparedness of a midwife. But this season excludes many, and counting agnostics and atheists in my circle of friends, I figured I’d offer up some food for thought!

The Atheist and Me, the Lay Minister

Try to explain to a fellow Christian
why atheism is acceptable

Try to explain to a deaf man
why the radio’s undetectable

One man’s meat is another man’s candy
One woman’s faith does not fit all

Every journey has pitfalls and triumphs
There is not one true, right call

I know my call is to Jesus, to God
My soul is filled to the brim

But if my friend thinks otherwise
That’s his right – up to him.

If he doesn’t believe in the Bible
and God’s not his only light

Yet he does good things in this bleak world
I won’t shove God down his throat tight

I’m called to be the best Christian I can
so I will not presume to oppress

my friend disillusioned, let down by his church
’cause he’s going from pants to a dress

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


At the Poets United Thursday Think Tank, we were asked to put forth a poem about forgiveness…

MAKING AMENDS

Humbly consider your own part
in whatever caused the rift

Take a breath before you start
Don’t allow your words to drift

Take the blame for your wrongdoing
Let the person hear your sin

Silence, key to real renewing
God forgiving, God within

This time may not seal the deal
ending in a warm embrace

But if you want the wounds to heal
You’re started at the perfect place

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil