Hello, friends. I have two pieces of good news. First, my entry for the Trifecta “Week 35 Challenge,” which ran an entire month, was cited as the second-place winner – check out all three Trifecta winning entries at THIS LINK, including my friend Misky (Da winner and still champeen!!), and a new friend, Lucy Robinson Miller in third place.
Also, another great friend, Lady Nimue, edited the latest edition of the ezine, Fried Eye, and one of my poems is in there as well! So a big week, and truthfully, I needed the lift, so thanks, Nimue, for asking… and thanks to the folks at Trifecta for always having a wonderful challenge.
Detour Ahead? (an etheree)
Whether he’s right
she dares not question
If she does, usual
answer, the back of his hand
Unfortunate girl, brought up by
a mother whose own questions were rare
Mirrors mock them both: Their “normal,” scarred, scared
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Poets United (Follow/Lead and Usual/Rare).
NOTES: An etheree is ten lines with the first line having one syllable, the second two, and so on until you have ten lines with then syllables. There are variations. I only use form when it comes easily to my theme, and I hope Viv is proud of me! (She’s seen me struggle.)
The song “Detour Ahead” was (in my opinion) best sung by Billie Holiday, and best played instrumentally by pianist Bill Evans. Just in case you were wondering where the title of the poem came from. One of my favorite songs when I was in jazz clubs.
As the New Year approaches, I felt the time was right to post this, based on a person (whose name has been changed) who hung around Court Street in Binghamton, NY, back in the 70s. I didn’t know her personally… but she was different. And she was persecuted for it. This year, let’s be kind to everyone – especially “The Others,” those whom we may not understand, but who are just as worthy of respect as the next person. Let’s make this the year we put an end to homophobia and prejudice against all who buck the stereotypes.
Here’s the story of a fighter. Peace, Amy
FRANCES BY NIGHT
Frances took a lot of shit
back when cross-dressing was even more misunderstood
On Saturday nights, she’d dress to the nines
Scarves, handbag, nails done, bejeweled pumps
The Pink Cadillac was the only bar in town that would serve her
Sometimes she’d get bounced early for
flouncing around the married guys too much
(They were undercover, like the CIA)
This was back in the day of “those bars”
When you came in the back door and showed ID
Humiliating for closet cases, but worse for Frances
who had to show her license with her real name, Frank
It set her on edge every time, and she had a mouth on her
A few cocktails would set her right
She’d be fine ‘til closing time
If no prime escort took the bait
she’d wait as long as she could
before leaving for good (or for worse)
Fag bashers staked out the back door, on their beat
Ready to beat the crap out of “the little whore”
Yelling, “Frankie! Frankie!”
No cops were ever around that part of town
despite the shouts of the frantic rumble
She put up a good fight, that little queen
for all the mascara and cashmere, she was a scrapper
Her Georgette Klinger lipstick smeared on the knuckles
of some macho boy who really only wanted to touch her
but couldn’t admit it in front of his buddies
“Frankie,” they’d shout, “we’re coming for you”
“Boys,” she’d retort, “do come!
You need it more than I do”
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also at my poetic hearth and home, Poets United, for their Poetry Pantry.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at Men (for We Write Poems, with a nod to Wallace Stevens)
I. They’re different in certain ways, but what’s in common reigns.
II. Through the bottom of a shot glass, darkly.
III. Millions are fathers deserving of respect, when respect is due.
IV. Sometimes, they are bullies or abusive and deserving of no respect at all.
V. As leaders of our nation; therefore, we should elect more women to level the playing field.
VII. As warmongers and war profiteers… and troops who actually have to fight the battles.
VIII. While wearing rose-colored glasses (which you will eventually lose).
IX. As friends who are with you no matter what the circumstance, especially if they are gay and you are one of those straight girls who just loves them to death (like me).
X. As husbands or committed partners – in which case, keep your hands off them (straight OR gay!). Monogamy should be honored (and polygamy, well, eeeeeeeew).
XI. As co-founders of our country, along with the mostly forgotten Founding Mothers.
XII. As white/Anglo and born to privilege, never having to earn the money they now fight so hard to keep.
XIII. As people of color who are often overlooked, profiled, or assumed to be criminals, in the US illegally… or born in Indonesia, so he can’t REALLY be president.
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil