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

Category Archives: Free Verse

Rich Guy Pyramid 001
Artwork © 2015 Amy Barlow

Rich White Guy Pyramid Scheme

Now you gaze fondly upon
your bread of life pyramid
filled with evidence of
those “special rights” you cherish

The right for your hubris to rule my life
The Right be right, the Left be damned
to burn in hell (at the intersection
of Wall Street and Walmart)

The real family values:
caring for children and elders,
keeping the whole family healthy,
ensuring a future for the children’s children

These values don’t make it
onto your pyramid
Unless they are your blood relations
and you can escape the inheritance tax

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Ah, it’s Open Link night at dverse, and Grace is tending the bar. Haven’t posted there in a long while, so come on over and sample the hors d’oeuvres! Also at Mrs. Nesbitt’s brainchild, ABC Wednesday, where Roger and friends are on the letter O (for One Percent!).  Peace, Amy

Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Turn the clock forward
Look toward tomorrow and tomorrow
First, let the shock set in, the sheer lack of
jetpacks, hoverboards, silver clothing
No Soylent Green, no Big Brother

Rockets long stilled by common sense
Conscience triumphed over nukes
Phallic skyscrapers are no longer the norm
Even in cities densely populated, there is
stargazing; children of the largest towns
know constellations not by book but
by sight, every night
“O Star…”

This is tomorrow
Where land’s expanse is not viewed as
Future Golf Course or Strip Mall
It is now treasured
Allowed to lay fallow for its own sake
Marshes unharshed, not tamed and smothered
by another load of concrete, nor
paved for enslavement to profit seekers

Where liquid groans of dinosaur bones
are songs sung only underground
No longer sucked by pipes and tubes to
lube mechanical mindlessness

Where all walks of conscience from faith to atheism
are neither hammer nor scythe; rather, a
measure of one’s capacity to love
and dwell in peace

Where confessional souls examine their lives
as they turn toward helping and healing
this wounded world
And war is a sorry-ass memory painted hideous
And rightly so

Where is this tomorrow?
In ours dreams, in our hearts
In the minds of children, who say,
“Of course it should be that way”

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Many thanks to dverse Poets Pub and TED Fellow Ben Burke, whose mind-blowing “poem from the future” can be heard on the site. He invited all dverse contributors to join him and take a trip to the future, to give our own interpretations of what that might look like. I, who possess a bitter, dystopian view of that coming day, took an ironic turn and went for the hope… hope which dwells in the marrow of my soul, overtaking my sarcasm and cynical worldview.  UPDATE:   Thanks to folks at dverse for suggesting I relink to their Open Mic after I missed the Linky!

A bow to Robert Frost with a simple phrase that echoes in every corner of my dreams, “O Star…” I hope the future is Lennonesque, best viewed through circular shades, with lots of hand holding and hugs. And with that, as always, I wish you peace. Amy

Muse-ical Demands

Starts off humbuzzing
nuzzling, within and without
her brain stirring to life

“Wait awhile,” says a muse-ical voice
“Hang out here – words are
on their way.”

Then her mind’s forest glade
is overtaken by a storming swarm
of mystical creatures
Scurrying round her chair
Mumbling jimmystewartlike
Shaped in curves and lines
The stuff of scribbled margins

“Hear us!” they demand
“No idyllic comforts for you today!”

Passion’s blessed curse
She knows but one way:
She and the skittersliding
can coexist

And she fumbles for a pencil

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads asked us to consider the work of Eugenio Montale, an Italian man of words who was a Nobel Laureate. He wrote prose poems, and I have adapted his mostly nature-themed works into my own “human nature-themed” work!

Have been drawn to art (acrylics and the like) lately, so have not been around my blog much. Apologies, and many thanks for all who stick with me, even when I don’t stick with myself. To myself. Oh, you know what I mean…

Peace, Amy

Frrp, Frrp, Frrp…

Frrp, frrp, frrp, frrp…
His slippers drag in the hall
Pulls the blanket over her head
It’s Daddy’s nighttime call

She has a lot of sore throats
and trouble swallowing pills
Doctor never questions
rashes that sting like quills

And Daddy took her to the hill
to watch the stars at night
And Daddy brought her home so late
She can’t remember things right

Frrp, frrp, frrp, frrp…
The sound will haunt her dreams
Even though he’s dead and gone
He still looms large, it seems

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

If you’re new here, I hope you will take this recollection of being sexually molested for what it is: Dark truth, frank as blood from a tapped vein. I was a victim; eventually, with work, I became a survivor. This is for anyone who gets a flutter reading this poem. Think about starting therapy. There could be something worth harvesting… and throwing away.

For ABC Wednesday, the letter “F.” Check out the link and find some amazing poets! Amy

O the Dreams for blog 001

I wrote this straight to art paper before I went to sleep the other night. Iraq, US-backed Israel vs. “we already bombed the hell out of the Arab world already” Palestine. Children deserve better. All of us deserve better.

(800) 456-1111, toll-free number for the White House.

Linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry, free write and who knows what hijinks any one of us will be up to at any given moment?  Give it a try!  Also, although I missed the dverse deadline by TWO DAYS (!), I still want to give you the link for this dverse “small world” PROMPT. There are great things happening at many prompt sites around the WWW (Wonderful World of Words); this is one of my favorite places. That it is called a “poets’ pub” can only enhance! Peace, Amy

Yes, it’s true, I’ve joined the “700 Club”! Oh, wait a sec… actually, this is a poem that Pat Robertson would do well to read, since he’s all about putting down anyone and anything he doesn’t understand, and using God as an excuse. He makes the phrase “bully pulpit” come to life in a new way… So let’s talk about love, shall we?

Love is Not/Love is

Love is not the flip side of hatred
Love is not a sexual act
Love is not what your parents told you
or what your friends brag about
Love is not locked up or meant to be hoarded

Love is friendship to the nth power
It’s giving up what you cling to in the world
for the sake of helping another
Turning your back on Honey Boo-Boo in favor of
cradling abandoned crack babies in the NicU
It’s holding hands that are colder than yours

Love is vast as creation
Warmer than bread fresh out of the oven
More beautiful than your granny’s eyes

Each day we are given the chance
to show love to others
Love is the only thing that can heal our fractured world,
and it starts with each one of us.

Fling wide open your arms
Dance to the sacred rhythm
Unlock that latched love and give it to the world

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Poets United, where Kim Nelson was looking for poems about locks. I wrote this earlier today before encountering her prompt, as though the planets were in alignment! Also “in the margins” at my poetic Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace to all, and let the love begin. Amy

Night-Scented Stock, by Kate Bush; purchased online
Listen while you read the poem

Free Peace Silence

Eyes close
in cozy bed

Mantra repeated
heightened view

Swirls of
green and blue

with the One

Freedom from
confines of body

I am by myself
I am not alone

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Poets United, Kim Nelson wanted poems about freedom. Then she asked us to pare them down to the essentials. A wonderful exercise in excising the extras, Kim, so thanks! Also at my poetic lily pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace, Amy

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
years past
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
circumspect circumnavigation
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 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

Authentically Fake

How come some have it all, she wonders
The clothes the Corvettes the coats so warm
Houses so big, all for one movie star and her boy toy
Pools they don’t swim in, just get drunk beside
More cars than they could ever drive
like little boys collecting marbles

Women panicked by age, skin stretched and sewn
Poisons injected into foreheads, butt fat into lips,
plastic made for Barbie breasts and big booty

Arnold must sit in a private spa with a head full
of foil to keep that blond, Redford, too
Hair Plugs For Men (I’m not only an action star;
I’m also a client)
– only his agent knows for sure
Guys gayer than picnic baskets, hand on the girl’s
knee – but never higher than that.

Rich people dressed like… clowns.
BEIBER! Pull up your damned pants!
HEIDI KLUM! Put those girls in a bra!
KARDASHIANS! Just go away, now!
Jeez, they are all so fake…

My shopping cart, yeah, this is real
And my cup full of change from kind people
This bench, solid and all mine, for now
I may be homeless but I’m not a public joke
Here on Hollywood near Vine,
I’m the most authentic person in town

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poets United wanted poems on truth, on authenticity. As seen through the eyes of a homeless woman, we begin to question what is real and why some people work so hard at faking it to appear authentically young, perky, and prosperous. Peace, Amy

Let Your Heart Take the Reins

In Biblical times, the “heart”
was actually one’s gut.
To “know in one’s heart”
was to feel in the region
of the solar plexus the nexus
of thought and emotion,
an ocean of intuitive knowledge.

If you get that pain
in the pit of your stomach,
stop. Listen to your
better angels; let your heart
guide you, provide you with peace.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Kim Nelson at Poets United’s Verse First wanted a poem, in fewer than 13 lines, about our passions. Mine do not include brevity, so this was a good challenge for me!

Interpreting the Bible to relate to modern-day times is a passion of mine. So many folks use the Bible, as my friend Ben recently wrote, as a weapon… slandering gay folks, denying poor women health care. All the things Jesus decried when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself…” Loving God brings me closer to doing the right thing. It’s hard, having manic depression and PTSD, to find that quiet place, but the ache in the pit of my gut I always pay attention to! Peace, Amy