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

Category Archives: Jazz

At Writer’s Island, the prompt is “Foretell.” This is my second of two! Enjoy a true moment… Amy

PROPHESY

Five-year-old
pulls up an ankle sock and
turns to the grown musicians

“In B Flat,” she whispers, “one-two-three-“
and launches into “K-K-K-Katy”
Two choruses, much applause

She’s found her spot:
Face to the crowd, in front of the band
Selling the song

No fortune teller could have read her palm
Nor Tarot deck have been laid
any better than this

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Another take on the Writer’s Island prompt, Embark. The journey many of us would love to undertake.

TIME TRAVEL

O, to travel through time…

To the Harlem of Langston Hughes
To feel jazz wash over me and see
faces reflecting the culture of America

To the never-was Wessex of Hardy
To view broad expanses of countryside
and drink warm ale wearing home-sewn clothing

To trace the footsteps of Jesus, follow his sandals
to the lake share, witness the dropping of nets,
the spark of belief in a widow’s face

To occupy even the worst seat at a concert
featuring Jacqueline du Pre or Glenn Gould
To see Billie at Carnegie; Judy at the Palace

To hear firsthand Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”
echoing through every hidden corner of
streets in the Beats’ Greenwich Village

O, to travel through time!

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Writer’s Island asked for a poem about Triumph. Can’t think of anything more triumphant than a great gig with the right crowd and my voice in good shape…! Click on the link and check out the comments section to read other takes on the prompt! Amy

JAZZ AFIRE

Spotlight’s hot tonight
Fresh coffee on the side table
My fingers touch the cool ivories
and all hell breaks loose

Thumping the bass line
Reaching deep, drawing out
the raw fire of jazz within
Souls of legends aflame as I call to them:

Feed my soul, strike the match
Light a fire under my piano bench
til I burn with desire to shout it true
Til the keys melt at my touch

Hellzapoppin at this piano bar
Crowd heats up and calls for more
Coffee’s cold, neglected
but I’m a pyre of pure jazz afire

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Anyone who’s thought of writing poetry should check out Three Word Wednesday. That’s the heart of it – you get three words to play with, once a week. If you have a blog, link your poem to the site and get visits from other poets, then visit them back… if you don’t have a blog, click on the names listed, and you’ll see what they have done! It’s a nice way to get started in poetry. Also: Leave a pad and paper in three places: In the bathroom (!), by your bed, and next to where you usually waste time watching reality TV! You just might come up with something! Peace, Amy

IN LEANER TIMES

We the hardscrabbles
etched our names on our forearms
lest we be found in a ditch
with no one to utter our names

The nights in dim pubs
speaking easily of all we intended to do
dabbling in art, thinking youth and inspiration
would always be on tap, like Guinness

Those were the leaner times
Now most sit in cubicles or
stand in unemployment lines
remembering the joy of possessing nothing

…save inspiration

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


From the Poetic Asides prompt, “Setting The World On Fire.” Remembering some great gigs!

JAZZ AFIRE

Spotlight’s hot tonight
Fresh coffee on the side table
My fingers touch the cool ivories
and all hell breaks loose

Thumping the bass line
Reaching deep, drawing out
the raw fire of jazz within
Souls of legends aflame as I call to them:

Feed my soul, strike the match
Light a fire under my piano bench
til I burn with desire to shout it true
Til the keys melt at my touch

Hellzapoppin at this piano bar
Crowd heats up and calls for more
Coffee’s cold, neglected
but I’m a pyre of pure jazz afire

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


We were challenged at Sunday Scribblings to write about swapping lives with someone. I thought about my childhood hero… and what happened along the way! Key of E-flat, if you please…

Barbra Streisand, Only Protestant

I knew I wanted to be
just like Barbara Streisand
when I was six, watching TV
Her voice, her style, her smile, and

her larger-than-life persona
completely captured me
I declare to Mom, “I’m gonna
sing like that, you wait and see”

To grow a Cleopatra nose
a neo-classic profile
To sing in high-class Broadway shows
with quirky, campy style

As Barbra aged, my interest waned
Her voice too perfect, shrill
Her long nails screamed “I’m awfully vain”
I lost the Barbra thrill

We girls have our heroes, true
And mine was quite outrageous
But I became a writer, too
Accessible, contagious

No beefy bodyguards on call
No need to lock my door
Without that fame, I’ve found my all
and still have work in store

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore, Sharp Little Pencil