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

Tag Archives: ABC Weds.

REJOICE

No more cracks ‘bout “voter fraud”
Not a peep from Hair That’s Odd*

Ryan, back to same old lying
Mitt’s hair won’t need so much dyeing

Mister Prez must buckle down
Get it straight in Lobby Town

Stop the war, stop the fracking
Congress, he can start a-smacking

Beef up this new Health Care Act
ALL need coverage; that’s a fact

Give my friends the right to wed
You don’t need to see their bed

But the best must surely be
No more smack ads on TV

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

* Donald Trump tried to make this election about himself. “Birthers” should get over it.

You know how I voted, because I’m an unapologetic leftie. But I voted by default this time, not by mandate. Until our country reverses policy on energy – no Pipeline, no more fracking (all the water we have is all we’re getting, folks. Earth recycles it, and the more polluted it gets, the deeper trouble we’re in). Germany is awash with solar panels, something like 80 percent, and we have so many great places for that as well as turbines.

Don’t get me started about the war. I will keep pressing to bring our troops home NOW. Why not join me? Here’s a link to find out all your U.S. congressional contacts – click HERE. Don’t wait until January. There’s no reason they should sit on their asses on your dime!

Class warfare is not ended with this election, although the Right spent over six bucks for every vote, and the Left won with a little over ONE buck per vote. Since the election, racists are ramping up their rhetoric, and gays don’t have equal rights yet. Hell, WOMEN don’t have equal rights yet!

Next time, let’s see what a woman can do. As long as it’s the right person, I’m game. Peace, Amy


Mama Zen at Real Toads asked for a 20-word synopsis of the election results; ABC Wednesday asked for poems about the letter Q. Short and sweet today… very sweet, in fact! Also at my poetic polling place, Poets United.

Quick Recap of Quirky Election

Some clues
to amuse:

No horses, only gardens.
Women keep reproductive freedom.
Neither of the First Couple dye their hair
But there’s still war.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


November Dilemma

Conflicted electorate.

Convictions worn like armor
or on sleeves, bleeding
or, better yet,
whispered in the back rooms
of country clubs and
boo-yahed in skinhead bars: Are you
white enough, is the White House
white enough, is the First Lady
blonde enough for you?

If the robber barons manage
to steal this one, we’ll be
back to Reaganomics and
a president who, like Ronnie,
dyes his hair. Just. That. Vain.

The Trickle-Down Theory
will be the law of this land…
once again, the Free Market
(“as opposed to the slave market,”
joked a RedStateNeck who thought
I wasn’t listening), yes, the
Free Market will reign. And rain.

Trickle-Down Economics.
We know what’s gonna be
trickling down on us; we’ll need
lots of toilet paper to clean up
that mess. Should I buy stock
in Kimberly-Clark? It’s bound
to shoot higher than
Mitt’s real hairline.

Ah, but Kimberly is owned by the Kochs,
who invented the Tea Party (ironic,
those initials: T.P.).

Thus, you see
my dilemma.
Shall I profit off
the grief of the majority
or continue to
fight the moneyed minority?

Yeah, like there’s an option!
This year, make “Blues in the Night”
a victory dance,
if we stand a chance
against Diebolt and Hype Finance.

Or will we be finessed
by Salt Lake City’s best,
confessed, silk suit pressed?
(Though his agenda for the oppressed
shows him decidedly undressed.)

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday: P is for Politics! Check in a few days to hear it at Buddah Moskowitz’s Virtual Poetry Reading site. Also at the politically non-affiliated hub of activity, Poets United.  Adding to the dverse Open Mic Night, too!


Manly Men

There, he looked again,
right at me.
At my crotch, for God’s sake.
He’s at the table across from the bar
near the bathrooms.

Maybe he thinks I’m
“that way.”
Maybe the little queer
thinks he’ll score.
Who can blame him? I’m a stud.
I work out twice a week.

But God, he must
think I’m some kind of
perv.

Here he comes,
right over to the bar,
brazen little nancy boy.
I could buy him a few
drinks, get him out back
and beat the shi-

“Mister?” the young man says
softly.
“Your fly is open.”
He walks to the door,
greets some guy
They hug and grab a drink.

Maybe I should work out more.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Kerry at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads requested we write poems from the first person point of view using a narrator whose unreliability becomes clear to the reader through the course of the narrative. Also, ABC Wednesday is up to M, and, as always, it’s up at my favorite LGBTQ-friendly cafe, Poets United.

Remember, never judge the book without reading it first. Or something like that. I’m so sick of homophobes, and this is an example of well-deserved ego deflation (and shrinkage!). Peace, Amy


These poems are dedicated to the women of Afghanistan, and I thank Kenia at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads for introducing us to the landai, the form of which is explained below in notes, along with other information. This is also on the sidebar at Poets United and at ABC Wednesday, where we are on the letter “J.” This is my favorite J word. Peace, Amy

JUSTICE for women in oppressive regimes

How can ‘women’s spirits hold up half the sky’*
when their earthbound selves swelter under the burqa

Women nurture their baby boys at swollen breasts
only to watch them grow up and oppress their mothers

I am ten paces behind my husband, I make out his shape through net
I am ten generations behind my husband – this burqa, my ceiling

She wanted only to read, write, work figures, create
Acid was tossed in my little girl’s face for this grave sin

Mullah in the madrassa, my brother’s fate in his hands
Mother in the market, her fate already decided

How can I find peace with Americans on my street
when uniforms and guns serve as their faces?

The Prophet (PBUH)** elevated women to rights and inheritance
Ayatollahs strip us of those rights and instead force upon us burqas

On a day I will never live to see, my daughter will shed her burqa,
renounce the veil, leave this town, go to university, be free

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

* Kenia encouraged cooperation and playing off one another’s landai. This line, an old Chinese proverb, was used in a landai by Sherry Blue Sky – view her collection HERE.

** “Peace Be Upon Him,” traditionally said after invoking the name of either “The Prophet” or “The Prophet Mohammed.”

NOTES: According to Kenia at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads:

“The word landai means “short, poisonous snake” in Pashto. The poems are (two lines and) collective — no single person writes a landai; a woman repeats one, shares one. It is hers and not hers. Although men do recite them, almost all are cast in the voices of women.”

I had only to think of a movie I saw yesterday, Kandahar (2001). A woman who had escaped Afghanistan years before seeks to return, as her sister has written she plans to take her own life. Based on the story of Nelofer Pazira, who stars in the movie, I was struck by how the burqas had festive colors, since the burqa itself stands as a disgrace upon the leaders of conservative nations. It is a socioeconomic stance, country by country, as to what women are allowed to wear, whether they may attend school… whether they can stay alive when they fall down and accidentally show an ankle. Another movie about the lives of women in brutal regimes, also based on a true story – tough to watch but important to witness: The Stoning of Soraya M.


Incantations in Jazz

Back in The Day
jam sessions were serious affairs
Jazz hinged on trust, ears, collaboration, and rotgut

Cat would stay
Play for no pay
‘Til break of day

Strayhorn charts in clouds of smoke or
off-the-top-of -your head bebop
Slammin duels or cozy duets

Soubrettes mimicked Ella, got laid
Torchettes dug deeper, got respect
Getz and Jobim brought bossa to the scene

Miles straight up in any incantation
Trane proclaiming A Love Supreme
but his lover was the needle, the ride

Recording sessions went straight to vinyl
Benny, Lionel, Slam – his high-pitched, mellow voice
doubling his bass lines, so fine, class, no sass

Basie showed Sinatra how to swing
(before the “ring-a-ding-ding”)
All live, driving, vibrant, vital

Women with ample curves strung like pearls
Billie moaning, Ella owning the scat, Bessie howling
Flat-out fine, no whine about the need for pay

Getting laid, getting high, getting by
by the grace of jazz, flowing like honey or
slappin you upside the head like a pissed-off date

He’d make love to her later
after the session cooled off, horns packed up.
Then everyone got down to real business

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “I”; Three Word Wednesday (Need, Hinge, Lethal); the open call at Real Toads, AND Trifecta’s word, “Ample.”  Also at the place where I’m always jammin, Poets United.

This is the soil from which I spring. Call it a dangerous environment for a young girl, but I was right at home with the old cats, the ones who gave Art Tatum driving lessons (he was blind)… the ones who ruined their voices on bathtub gin and took up the drums to keep bread on the table. Imagine my luck, a little white girl who could sing blues, accepted by musicians of all colors and lifestyles! Peace, Amy


HOOPLA!

In silly, obtrusive hats
they banter on the floor of
the convention, knowing
the intention and the rules.

Their duty, to nominate
their candidate… yet, they’re
only in their element
acting like damned fools.

No matter which party,
they’re mostly foolhardy.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Three Word Wednesday (Banter, Duty, Element) and ABC Wednesday (H). Also at the convention of brilliant poets (who let me write there, too!): Poets United.

PROCESS NOTES: Yes, I watched BOTH the Republican and Democratic conventions, as much as I could, some online. The stupid behavior and outlandish dress displayed by members of both parties was truly a turnoff, considering the solemn duty they are to perform.

I hope all voters will take time to watch the speeches (now that they are so easily accessed online) and visit the various fact-checking sites to evaluate, to discern… not simply go for the usual line. However you vote, GET TO THE POLLS! Otherwise, I really don’t want to hear your complaints. Get active, get American, get real. Peace, Amy


Music in Mind… Thanks to My Fan

Flip on a fan
and in its breeze
vague Beach Boys harmonies
No lyrics, simply voices
floating through my mind

Open a window
and birdsong reigns
with backup vocals
from faraway sirens
in my stream of consciousness

Is it the meds?
Hallucinations?
No worries here; they are
benevolent offspring of
my inner sanctum of melody

Don’t switch off that fan, honey
It’s singing my song…

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “F” – and as always, at my harmonic hangout, Poets United. Peace, Amy


ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (haiku)

Face like a barn door
Heart of a lioness; she
craved justice for all

Franklin got the press
But her work on behalf of
others is legend

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “E,” and for my poetic haven, Poets United.

Eleanor Roosevelt was, in my opinion, the greatest First Lady in history.  Not only was she an invaluable advisor to her husband, but she constantly fought for human rights, for women’s causes… and she did so knowing that she was neither “comely” nor possessing of any powers other than her own personal tenacity.  She loved Nancy Hickock (AKA “Hick”) for years, and although her embarrassed family attempted to destroy any evidence of that relationship, many letters survived.  Franklin, likewise, had extramarital affairs; however, they remained a couple committed to the common good.

Eleanor is a hero of mine.  A class act, a diplomat, she could talk to haves and have-nots with equal comfort and lucidity.  She was, as they used to say, “a game girl,” ready for anything.  God rest her soul.  Peace, Amy


After a weekend of seeing our brilliant youth and their adult mentors in the church’s summer musical, then ministering on Sunday morning with the Edge Band, you’d think I’d be all tuckered out. In truth, it’s those busy weekends that sometimes set me behind the 8-ball of posting to last week’s prompts! Ye,t last night, I was up until 3 writing to a prompt from Joseph Harker (see last post, an ekphrastic poem), bitten by that late-night manic muse.

Here are two poems written for three sites. Enjoy, as I bask in cool air here in Wisconsin, an increasing rarity these days.

FOR ABC AND REAL TOADS:

Depression Hates Sunlight

Cloistered in my corner
Life passes by bay windows
Fresh air beckons

Big sis is on her horse today
Rides her farm, inspects the hives
Middle sis building a new home in the woods

I should be peeking at a wedding at the Gardens
Instead, birds taunt from the broad tree out back
now aglow in the burnt orange hues of sunset

Frozen in place, in space, I remain
tethered to an uneasy chair
Hiding from rays of healing

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday. This, written for the letter D, is about my Big D, Depression. Also for The poem’s imagery comes from Teresa of Razzamadazzle, hosting the prompt at Imaginary Garden With Read Toads. If you’d like to see the images from which this poem arises, please click HERE, as I didn’t have time to write Teresa for permission to reproduce them on my blog… believe me, they are stunning photos. If you’d like to read more of Teresa’s work, try here: Razzamadazzle.

FOR THREE WORD WEDNESDAY:

Empty Nest

A mother nurses her newborn
Emotion wells within me; my aging womb falters

I long to touch the face of my only child
even as she is grown, gone to graze in new pastures

Later, in the night sky
even stars mock me as they glimmerglow,
each seems a crystalline soul out of reach

None will glow within my empty nest.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Image from Breastfeeding.com. I strongly support moms who nurse their babies in public. We have enough “Wardrobe Malfunctions” on TV; why are folks repulsed by what Mary did for her baby, a ritual as old as time, and always practiced tastefully, lightly covered. I also know some women aren’t lucky enough to experience this bonding, and my heart goes out to them.

For Three Word Wednesday (yeah, I’m running behind on this Monday morning!), giving us the words Emotion, Falter, and Touch. Thanks to Thom at 3WW for hosting this wonderful weekly challenge!

Peace be with you all. Amy