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

Category Archives: Media

Birdcage Liner of the TV Screen

Staying at a friend’s house, I switch on the TV. No cable, but
anything will do as I sip my Black Irish heartstrong brew.

My heart sinks… The Evening News. I listen, trying to look past
fluorescent teeth and blonde helmet hair, at the redwhiteblue flag pins, de riguere.

What kind of News Hell is this?
Gone, the anointed news anchor who
actually decided which stories were aired.

No more fastball pitches in interviews, only slow, sliding grapefruits,
and once they get to the nitty-gritty comes: “We’ll have to leave it there.”

Edward R. Murrow dug to the marrow.
Walter Cronkite, trustworthy and true, integrity personified.

The current crop of dopes read from teleprompters
and think they know the story. Or they’re ‘embedded’ (in bed)
with troops and get to wear fatigues and EV-rything!

Unsinkable twinkies at the helm, naifs who
answered casting calls for Wide-Awake 6 am hosts,
all mammary glands on deck. And in the evening,

pitch-perfect choirboys or gruff cuff-linked old smokies
navigate the stern schedule of the 24-hour news cycle.

Rail all we want; Murdoch is Captain of the Stinking Ship.
FOX is the purveyor of FCC-approved misinformation,
but networks are in this way worst of all:

Infotainment silk-and-velvet-clad bobbleheads who
smile as they read you the story of a deadly car crash.
Treat politicians like celebrities and fawn over them.
Never ask a question that cannot be answered by
a sound byte, scripted before the interview started.

William Randolph Hearst is grinning in his yellow grave.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For The Sunday Whirl (wordle below, thanks Brenda!) and also at my poetic port of call, Poets United.

I Heard The News Today, Oh Boy

I note, fascinated, that
TV prophets cheerfully tender
the day’s torments,
as though yesterday left no scars,
no rusty bloodstains on the streets
of Kabul.

The sun has been swept under
a cement cloud.

Why chance a morning walk
when crawling will do?

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Sunday Whirl words are in BOLD. Try Brenda’s Wordles – they are fascinating!
Also on Poets United, my poetic collective home.

Just when you thought she’d reached her maximum ditz quote, Sarah makes that mistake… opening her mouth about Paul Revere “ringing them bells”!  So ABC Wednesday wanted a “V” poem… and of course, Poets United will also get a posting!  Posting from the Left, I wish you peace… and a break from FAUX News!  Amy

Vile, Yet Vapid

Her smile is so sweet,
but vile is her mind.
Her style, “thrift store” neat –
beguiling her kind.

Her words are quite vapid
(though written by others)
Her speech, shrill and rapid;
she’s one grizzly mother.

She writes talking points
in the palm of her hand.
Just where her sycophants
all want to stand…

Don’t call her a Guv:
Never finished her term.
So why do folks love
this Tea Party germ?

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This poem is an erasure. I leafed through the Madison Chronicle’s front section, chose four stories (hence the four stanzas), and picked words out in order but at random to form a prose poem (free form). There is another site, Erasures, which offers many paragraphs from famous authors, inviting you to click around and erase (or replace) words to create your own poem. I felt the topics in this particular paper calling to me. Peace, Amy

Monday, March 28 News

Man dumped still bleeding from car
at hospital died, believe stabbed at intersection.
Officials put two plus two together,
the fight nearby minutes before.

Gov. Walker’s budget would cripple network,
force police to close connections,
connect the dots.
“It would be like, you got a horse,
next week a mule,” said the chief. “It
could hurt the network Google.”

Japan’s nuclear plant dismissed,
an associated show. Confidence prompted
overly optimistic Earth,
the level of fury pushing to multiple meltdowns.
Ample waves before and again, clear
important network plates strongly coupled,
storing extra stress.

Weakened minor still around her apartment
but sometimes on her own fell to emergency.
The organ couldn’t matter; that can be
common among the residents,
a service to spring through.
Suffer in silence, afraid, falsely advancing, inevitable.
“It’s fun to hit a waitress as she lay on the floor.”
Help her. Step right up.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Three Word Wednesday asked us to create a poem using Educate, Object, Silence. Mine seemed to go toward the political side of the spectrum. Interesting that “object” takes both the verb and noun forms.


The object of failing to
educate our youth
is to silence dissent

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


In opposition to corporate domination,
three options are clear:

Educate those around you
about the history of abuses;

Object publicly, speaking
truth to power; or,

Keep your silence, avoid roiling waters…
and wait for them to come for YOU.

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Love is not best expressed
through sex, yet sex sells
on the squawk box. From
VH1 videos to BET, you
can bet our youth are so
deprived of anything more
thank the depravity of the
booty call. Of women as
moving, bump and grinding
blow-up dolls. Of men with
faces only a mother could
love, whether country stars
(ten-gallon disguising their
hair plugs and plaiding their
paunches), Promise Keeping
Brothers who still leer at
the camera, or rappers who
pull teeth in favor of diamond
implants. These images imbed
like a cancer; only one answer:
The parental counter-punch.
Demonstrating healthy, loving
relationships. Turn off the
TV and unplug the modem;
talk about what lies beyond
the birds and the bees. Soul.
Spiritual bonding. Looking
your partner in the eye, not
sneaking peeks at anatomy.
Friendship first; hormones in
harness; self-esteem before
chasing the false, fleeting
dreams of sexy steam.


No longer safely ensconced
behind the curtain
the veil of privacy

No longer pulling levers
where no one can see you
registering your choice

No longer safe
from voting machine hackers
who can manipulate elections

Thank you, Bush and Dieboldt
for giving me a metal chair
and a stinking cardboard screen

The only ‘up’ side of the fetid new system
was watching Carl Paladino vote on TV
loading his card in upside down

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
previously published at Poetic Asides


Americans hold dear our freedom to vote.
And rightly so.
We take for granted the ease with which
we breeze into polling places to cast ballots.
No death threats or intimidation
(except for people of color
when the majority of Anglos don’t step up
and ensure their rights, too).
And it’s been almost one hundred years
that I, a lowly woman, got the vote!

Free and fair…
until a presidential hopeful
and his golfing buddy discussed voting machines.
“I have a new-fangled computerized one.
It’ll put the mechanized ones in the museum!”
New York State had foolproof levered machines
(tallied after unsealing by all parties for certification
and carted off to the county hub intact).
No chads, no room for error.
You’d have to dump the machine in the river
to get rid of the votes!

Dieboldt: Planned obsolescence for
that which was never obsolete,
replaced by computerized gizmos,
many without paper trails,
most so vulnerable they are hackable, even by teens.

The golf partner promised the presidential hopeful,
“I’ll deliver Ohio for you.”
And that he did.
Now my beloved state has mothballed
perfectly functional, foolproof levers
in favor of “Never Say Nevers.”

We have only our lack of information and action to blame
for the shameful fact that,
although we can vote,
it is no longer guaranteed
that our vote will be counted, reflecting our choice,
or changed overnight
by interests more powerful than those of freedom.

We’re looking forward! We’re making progress!
We’re hurtling headlong into
a new golden age of fraud and abuse.
President Palin and Vice President Palidino?
That would serve us right, I suppose.

I’m going to vote today,
and pray that tomorrow –
whatever the outcome (sincerely) –
the votes were counted fairly.
But in the back of my mind,
Bush and Dieboldt practice their putting…

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
previously published at Poetic Asides and my blog

After the debates in the NYS Gubernatorial race, I was soooo pleased that Poetic Asides posted the prompt, “What I Like About…”  This is an equal opportunity offender!  Even the Dems get it in the butt!


Sure, Cuomo’s in
but I watched the debates anyway
Hoping to see Paladino explode
but he ran offstage to do his exploding in the men’s room
He must have been tranquilized
I didn’t hear a single remark about gays being damned or that his son is STRAIGHT, dammit

I have no horse in this race
since the all-but crowned winner
is same old, same old
and his daddy held the office first
and I saw how that played out in the White House

But the also-rans were great
A former madame for the Anti-Prohibition Party
who, while endorsing legalized marijuana and casinos,
did not endorse legalizing prostitution
Now there’s a confused person

I swear, I couldn’t make this stuff up
Col Sanders is now black
And while rent may BE high
I cannot in good conscience give them my vote
Because the correct name should be
The Rent Is Too DAMNED High Party
I hate bad grammar

Loved the Greens cause they love the earth
Great agenda on the environment
They understand that ‘hydro-fracturing’
is actually ‘hydro-chemicals-including-methane-fracturing’
You can’t frack without chemicals
As Starbuck would say, “Don’t frack with me”

Libertarian, suitably stern
Would privatize everything
and we’d watch our houses burn
if we didn’t keep up our fire dept. payments

Cuomo, silk-suitably smug
Talked like a weiner
I mean winner

There were more candidates, I think
But these were the standouts
I’m going to start my own party
and call it:
The Price Of Prostitutes Is Too Damn High/Don’t Frack With Me/Legalize Pot/Tax The Rich Til They’re Poor/Health Care For All/If You Want To Wear A Hijab or Other Arabic Dress In Public, Juan Williams Will Have To Get The Hell Over It


Remember when TV had real news reporting, truthful coverage, and fewer ads?


In the beginning was creativity
Watch This – brought to you by
Buy This
This pattern morphed over time in sinister ways
as Buy This bought out the creators of
Watch This
Buy This now dictated the watching
Watch This was shuffled about according to Buy This trending

Our only anchor was the anchorman
the Network Evening News
Buy This pulled up that anchor and we were adrift

Then Buy This created
Watch This Happening Now
which became
Watch Only These Bits, then
Watch Only These Bits And Think This About Them

Buy This also went from choosy moms and see the USA in your Chevrolet
to eyes narcotically glued to the tube
Plasma spasm
Minds restless, but legs so lazy they got their own syndrome
and consequently their own drug
well-advertised, saturating the market like Crisco
and every bit as healthy

In the beginning it was
“Watch This, then
Buy This.”
This pattern morphed in sinister ways
as the creators of Watch This
were bought out by Buy This.

Buy This dictated what we’d watch
Watch This was shuffled about
according to Buy This trends.

Our only anchor was the anchorman
(to our sorrow, no more Morrow)
Buy This took over the news department

Watch This Happening Now
Watch Only This Part We’re Showing You
then whittled down to
Watch Only This Part, and Think This About It

Buy This also went from choosy moms and peanut butter
to couch potatoes with legs so lazy
they got their own lazy syndrome
and consequently, their own drug.

To be fair, Buy This does mention the side effects:
Dry mouth, dry South,
desiring more sex but
unable to harden one’s resolve
and urges to gamble
and drive while asleep at the wheel

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil