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

Category Archives: Writing

LEST WE ARE FOOLED INTO FORGETTING

The sheer weight of it
leadens my gait
Each breath less caught
then captured

Rooted to my roost
My throne of self-indictment
Too groggy to blog
Too depleted to give a damn
Too depressed to feel blessed

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where LaTonya Baldwin and I had our collaboration posted HERE, and where the challenge today was to write essentially, write with direct treatment of the subject, in the style of William Carlos Williams. I hope I have fulfilled that prompt, using a subject I know too well, one I would not wish on anyone.

I’ll get past this. I always do. But Lex is at the family reunion, (I opted not to go), with a sick cat, a sore molar, and now with the president rattling war sabres once again (probably the only thing Congress WILL push through this year), this time no doubt to drone the crap out of Syria… well, let’s say I’ve had better days.

Thank God for a call from an old friend and for little Diva, who lays on my stomach and rubs her face against mine. Even when she’s under the weather, she’s such good company. And SHE doesn’t drop bombs, except in the litter box. Amy


GET TO THE GIG, GIRL!

Take the A train? Hell, no
I’ve faster ways to go

Head south on Amsterdam
Keep low and lively, ma’am

I filter through the fog
and gusting city smog

The traffic’s fierce, you see
I keep it high and free

Some pieces of the News
Fly by in folded twos

Through bitter cold and then
I spring balloon to end

And climb on up and out
the fountain’s water spout

The cries of “Viva! Viva!”
when I arrive, La Diva

Enough to warm my heart
And now my gig I start

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The “B” on the balloon is for Barlow, my former stage name. At dverse Poets Pub, we were challenged to an ekphrastic prompt – writing to an image; I used words from The Sunday Whirl. The brill artist is Judith Clay, and you can see more of her fantastic fantasies and read other poets HERE, as well as check out what other poets did with the Whirl Wordle HERE.

Fun prompt. Was ready for one. It was a long week, but things are looking up! Peace, Amy


Brian, Abbreviated

He walked into the party like… yacht. Abbreviated man, missing pants, unembarrassed, but bare assed. Cake, PUNCHy punch, kids screaming H.B.D!

Serenaded by open mic readers, feted by muses, celebrated by blogosphere. A party to be remembered; a personality destined to move mountains, if only by click click click on the keyboard and constant commenting.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At dverse, Brian Miller wanted 55-word stories to celebrate his birthday. I even borrowed one of his deVICEs to pay tribute. My comments about his sense of humor and his dedication would be longer than the story so I’ll stop. Happy Birthday, my friend! Peace, Amy


FATHER COMPLEX (Complex Father)

It’s tricky, sticky wicked
That piñata over her head
Follows her night and day and
especially late at night
Waking sweatshivering but
carrying HIS shame, unfair…
Quivering over vague memories or
screaming at every fire alarm,
My house is burning down
(as her young kids cower)

Piñata full of poisoned treats
Candied little deaths
One for every time it happened
It’s chockfreakinfull
Been that way for many
yeasty years, its yaw
occasionally pin-pricked
(precision meets sweaty palms)
but never baseball batted

The conundrum:
If she whacks it, will candy
attack her with what it is?
Will she binge on the bittersweets
and purge up the truth?
Or will the piñata float
over her like a raincloud
Rancid, restless, ever
present

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, the letter being F. Also in the margins at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads and Poets United.

For all women who have not gotten to the truth of having been molested as a young child: this type of horror is usually perpetrated by a family member or close friend. For me, it was my dad, so I used him. Hell, he used me enough, why not?

If alarms alarm you to the point of screaming, if the surprise of a lover’s gentle touch makes you jump out of the bed… Think about seeing a therapist, NOT a psychiatrist, cause baby, this chigger can’t be chased away by chugging drugs.

A comprehensive article on the signs pointing to both remembering and finding the way to recovery may be read HERE.

You’ll go through hell in therapy, maybe need a temporary anti-anxiety med, but you just might be rewarded with a life worth living, and kids who are not scared of you, nor embarrassed by your public explosions.  Call Samaritan Counseling, they have a sliding scale.  And your issue may be something totally different, even a more recent event that still sticks to your muscle sheath memory like Elmer’s Glue.

I have a life thanks to therapy.  It does work, if you’re ready to dig deep.  Blessings to all, and may this never be visited on ar young person you know…  Amy

 


LONELY GIRL

Face of oblique glitter hears
Whispers that he done her wrong
Restless spirit, frozen
Hearing again their sad old song

Shine it all on, lonely girl
You know I’m kin in spirit
Face it now, lonely girl
That song, you know I can hear it

Neither of us had no loving since
January, February, or so
Why not climb off that lonely perch
C’mon – ready, steady, go

We’ll speak of days gone wrong
We’ll snicker at misbegotten men
We’ll hide our eyes from strangers til
We do it all over again

Find others to do us wrong
To keep us stuck in one place
But I’ll remember our big time out
Each time I look at your face

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Ha! Betcha didn’t know the subject of my poem. It’s

… and yes, we did trip the light mediocre one night eons ago, back when the world was full of vague regrets but more possibilities.

The subject was the moon, courtesy of Izy at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Catch: We were not to place the moon in the sky, speak of night or starry night, etc. So I took my girlfriend off her perch and we talked it over. Sure, she’s seen same place, same time, every night, but now she does it by choice, because we got so plotzed on Margaritas, she doesn’t want to come down to earth again. My bad.

This is also “visible” at my poetic lunacy rompfest, Poetic Asides.  Amy


READY TEDDY

Minors with major
attitude, back when

Betty Page assurance met
Edwardian drag chic

Teddy Girls, they looked sharp
Teddy Girls, they were sharp

As they cut you down to size
with a casual look in their eyes

But underneath the lipstick façade,
faces full of grace

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads gave us a Teddy Girls prompt last week. These girls were the Brit spin on Teddy Boys, who looked like very early pix of John Lennon: greasy, front-flopped hair; leather jackets; and jeans. In the States, we called ’em “greasers.”

Teddy Girls were the sassy ones – some probably the lesbian ones as well – and they hung on until the next style came. Too bad this “British invasion” never caught on in the States, because I quite like the look! Missed the original ‘Toads’ prompt, but that’s what dverse Open Mic Night is for. Peace and blood-red lipstick, Amy


THE DRINKING YEARS

The drinking years poured on
in various degrees of fizzfriction

My dream manifested: 18 at last
My tribute, a friend bought
the first round and round we went

Soon, my lonely heart found itself
nestled in the arms of some shlump
I met the night before… score

I had envisioned losing IT
over Chateauneuf du Pape
Not snotlockered over boilermakers

Finally I was a space cadet in
launch mode: “If I am to…
stay here for a… p-period of time,
will someone pleeeeeease
persuade the floor to pleeeeease…
stop spinning?”

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Sunday Whirl gave us a Baker’s Dozen of words. Click the link to see what others have done with this unique prompt, and, as always, thanks to Brenda Warren for her sharing the list!

This is also “in the margins” at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads and Poets United.

Suffice it to say, after watching my mother die from a combination of 50 years of smoking and 40 of drinking (she was in recovery toward the end), I gave up partying. Besides, I’d much rather enjoy the occasional microbrew beer than depend on Gordon’s for a lifeline. Thanks, Mama, for showing me the better path. Peace, Amy


Letter to Blanche

Dear Grandma Blanche,

I know it’s been a long time
since I have written
I was only seven
when you met heaven

But I want you to know
in case you’re not watching
that as I grew
I was more like you

Sure, crossword puzzles and
acrostics and such we share,
but playing by ear?
Piano, my dear!

That gift of gab we were
both born/cursed with
Talking to all
Talking to walls…

Yes, I got that, too
Manic depression, haunting
Sometimes “crazy,”
sometimes “lazy”

in the eyes of others, that is,
bound as they are by convention
They don’t see through
like we do

Thanks for teaching me manners,
That conversation with your hostess is never
better than your words
with servers of hors d’oeuvres

Thank you for the music knack
the restless spirit, the lifelong struggle
And if I learn it
Let me earn it

Love, Amer

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

dverse Poetry Pub wanted us to harken back to the age of writing letters. I’ve been writing more letters lately, if only to help the struggling post office. But writing a letter to someone dear who’s dead is a challenge.

I write about Blanche, my maternal grandmother, a lot. Gone for some 50 years, I still feel her presence in my life. She had that knack of talking to people where they were, no matter what race, gender orientation… she spoke truth to power and often ending up in a cruel sanitarium for doing so. She is my HERO. God rest your soul, Blanche. Love, Amy

This is also “in the margins” at my poetic lily pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.


Don’t Forget The Mesquite
(musings on Hell and Oscar Wilde)

Lots of folks
Some in my family
say I’m gonna burn in hell

‘cause we love
our daughter, gender queer
We ring her praise like a bell

Hell must be
fun, funny, musical
Gershwin, Gertrude, Oscar Wilde

I’d rather
burn in hell with those folks
than live in sanitized Mild

But please don’t
forget to put mesquite
in with me, to smell my best

when I descend
to see Blanche and Charlotte
and our cat Gable at rest

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Yes, it’s true, our cat Gable was gay. The only one who could pick him up was our landlord, and they would plotz over each other like two preening queens. My mom Charlotte and her mom Blanche were not lesbians, but they knew and loved the whole gay community, including “Auntie Frank,” she of the cowboys boots and best friend (a femme who “never found the right man either.”). So, yeah, I’m going in a handbasket, whatever.

I actually don’t believe in Hell (there’s enough on Earth), but they still want me to go there. Whatever.

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Marian asked us for poems about, influenced by, or concerning Oscar Wilde. She posted a BRILL YouTube clip of countertenor David Daniels, whose voice you would swear is alto – he’s a countertenor, higher than a tenor – but he seems pretty chill for an opera singer. Click HERE to witness his magnificent voice, as he prepares to premiere an opera about Oscar Wilde, starring as the man himself.

And oh, you homophobes, I hope you enjoy this piece. It is absolutely true, every single word! Peace and solidarity with my LGBTQ bros and sisses, Amy


CUPPA

First
cup of
coffee is
curative brew
Excites my brain
Gets my train
back on
track

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons

Kim Nelson, at Poets United’s Verse First, asked us to edit, edit, edit and create a poem about something ordinary… in a handful of words.  Unaccustomed as I am to brevity… !

This also appears in the left margin of my home pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.  Peace, Amy