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

Category Archives: Protest

Handling the Truth
(for Euro-Americans)

Bought and sold at auction
Everyday transactions
Fractionally human, they said, if that

In those “golden olden days,”
African lives were cheap
From deep in jungles, sold
by bribed tribal chiefs or
simply rounded up like
fleet and feisty animals

This nation brutalized
an entire civilization
If Anglos never feel
the slash of the lash…
If whites will not dare
to share the shame of slavery

After all these years
the pain of the past endures
and we won’t even watch the film

How can we dare say we care
about rancid, ruthless racism
still rampant in America?

Buy the ticket, damn it
(You already saw “Hunger Games”)
Or was Jack Nicholson right?
“You can’t HANDLE the truth”

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

I have seen “12 Years a Slave” TWICE. Second time, to hold a friend’s hand and discuss the movie. Lex and I were breathless, angry, ashamed… especially that this film, the most important film ever made about the enslavement and unimaginable treatment of African peoples at the hands of “white” slavers, is tanking at the box office. People have said, “It’s too heavy,” or even, “I go to movies to be entertained, not educated.” Really?! What the hell do they mean? If people went through this shit, we owe it to them to at least watch a dramatization of the true story.

I know it’s tough. Especially when everyone is engorging themselves like tics on Thanksgiving turkey and bloating their credit card debt on Black Friday. But I implore you, GO SEE THIS FILM. We all need to face the facts.

This is for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads (protest poem) and Poets United’s Poetry Pantry. Peace, Amy

GROUND ZERO: Fukushima

She’s alive,
she still simmers
waiting for someone to
fall asleep at the console, or
not pour enough water over her
spent uranium rods, which steam and thirst,
fuses lit, then drenched, then lit again as if by evil
magic. Stock up on iodine pills just in case she implodes…
Japan has
plans to
Tokyo so
sleep tight.


looks like it’ll be a long winter

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, the letter is Z. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Which is what we’ll be if the US doesn’t step up… did you know they have had THREE meltdowns at Fukushima? That’s two more than Chernobyl.  And have we heard about any of this from the American media?  No!  Why?  Not because they are “liberal,” (the left would be all over this) but because the TV stations, papers, and radio stations are owned by power (plant) brokers and their elitist ilk.  Makes me want to rent “The China Syndrome” again.  This will also be in the side bar at Poets United.  Peace, Amy


Here is the heart of the matter:
One percent get fatter
while children starve.

Their parents are
stark-stricken with guilt.
We 99ers built this country,

White indentured servants;
Black slaves who gave all and
all they got was, “Y’all are lazy,

yer not even worth
one whole person.”
They nursed hope anyway.

The Rich are the sons
and grandsons of men with
ideas but the DNA diluted.

Ever see a xerox of a xerox of
a xerox? Sometimes that’s called
Mister President.

The Rich of today
have never worked
or earned their money.

They play Monopoly
using real people as
little game pieces.

They play the game of Life
using worthless mortgages
as cash for their bank.

They don’t play chess.
That game takes work.
Effort is not their style.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “R.”  Also posted at Poets United, my poetic sanctuary.

At We Write Poems, a prompt went out: Write a poem about writing a poem. You never know when or where the inspiration will strike. I’ve long since given up on sitting down and deciding to produce something… and yet, the more I write, the more I want to write!

This poem is also posted at Writer’s Island, where I’m posting daily for National Poetry Writing Month. Amy

Prelude to a Poem

Teapot screams meeeeeEEEEEEEE
demanding attention
Drip of the French Press into the mug
Pressing grounds through as
ground falls from under my feet
taking me back to that cafe in the Village where…

Drifting with the breeze down State Street
Lots of UW students hang and hacky-sack here
Whole lives ahead of them
One potent whiff of a fattie gives me
a contact high and suddenly I’m on Venice Beach…

We march in solidarity with unions at
Madison’s Capitol Dome
The golden statue atop is called Miss Forward
The governor inside is called Mister Backward
My anger at injustice boils inside my gut
I plop down on the pavement and start to
scribble on the back of my sign…

Startled awake, sweating, full-body tremble
recalling those nights when
a little girl was tucked in tight until
HE decided it was her turn
I switch on the light – it’s NOW, dammit, not THEN!
I pick up a pen…

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

There’s going to come a day in the near future when anti-war protests will start up again.  Even if I have to start them.  In the meantime, just as a reminder of how “free” we were during the Bush years, a snapshot of a Buffalo city protest, “back in the day.”

ORANGE MESH (the Bushista years)

We are herded behind
the orange mesh fence
hastily erected by minions to protect
Dick Cheney from our opinions
Residents vs. the vice president

Local police, paid overtime (by our side) to ensure
there will be no crime, no ordinance breached
such as burning and looting and freedom of speech

We are cattle herded into our enclosure, our stall
Orange mesh strangling the voice of the people
encasing us, muffling our rage, this cage

“Why not trample it, stampede the Code Orange?” says I
“Because.” My friend points to
snipers on the roof of an old Buffalo landmark
Our turf is their turret

We have changed species
We are sheep bleating
shorn by orange nylon and rubber pylons

© 2008 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil