TO ALL MY FRIENDS: This is the reason I’ve been absent the past couple of days. Thanks for your patience. Amy
Candles For Nina
Nina, who is far away
I know you hear my prayer
My heart and soul (my daughter)
is right there, been there
since it happened,
the Horrible Thing
Wrong place, wrong time
The pavement, no springing
up from this blow, it seems
As your friends stared
the ambulance came
Carried you with care
Now Nina, you’re in limbo
Twixt here and no one knows
Through my girl, in spirit,
I’m there, I feel so close
Your friends, angry, crying
and Nina, that’s for you
Sad, praying, lighting candles
And God is right there, too
© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
Nina Fitzpatrick is a student at Laguna Beach Institute of Arts and Design. One moment Nina is a vibrant, artistic, cool woman…the next, it’s moment to moment. It happened in a crosswalk at the school – a crosswalk students have complained about repeatedly,
WHAT FOLLOWED WAS WRONG INFO AND I HAVE APOLOGIZED TO SCHOOL AND TRIED TO EMAIL. WRITER WAS ANONYMOUS BY EMAIL AS WELL:
…but about which the school did nothing, citing budget concerns. Seriously? (END OF MISTAKE, what follows is redaction)
Real story: LCAD (Laguna College of Arts and Design – I wrote wrong name) was indeed the recipient of numerous complaints, including near misses – BUT the road is apparently privately owned, and the OWNERS would not do anything, even when the SCHOOL offered to help pay. The only good news is that LCAD went public and it looks like their demand for stop lights at the crosswalk is being heard; it made the paper, etc. I logged into my edits to write the person who said I was “kicking them while they were down” (see comments, lower portions) but they did not leave a valid email. This sort of sucked, but I get it.
So I am mailing a hard copy of the original plus the redaction to the school and hoping they distribute it widely. In the meantime, my complaint is valid; however, my blaming the school was TOTALLY based on numerous instances of hearsay. So much for that. Nothing can bring Nina back, and I am so sorry I hurt folks who may have read this comment. LCAD is a marvelous school and has done wonderful things for all its students. Amen.
Got two gears
Speedy and Gonzonked
Today feels orange, time to
Mind did a hit and run
Curse, put ‘er in reverse
Survey the carnage
which looks like me
Time to drive
to the station
and on my knees
confess, I guess
But then this lass
Runs out of gas and
smack into my barcalounger
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads pays homage to the poet Billy Collins (for more on him, click HERE). He often uses humor to mask the deeper meaning. Can you guess my vehicle in the poem above? Also for NaPrWriMo (two #13s today), and appearing in the side margin of my favorite rumble seat, Poets United – proud to be a member!
Well, before I Blue Screen of Death again and haul this thing to the shop, I have to get in two more poems. One for Sunday Scribblings, the other for the Sunday Whirl; both are also at my poetic screen that’s never blue, Poets United. I will log on at coffee shops to see what y’all have written and comment there… “Quick, before it melts (down)!” Amy
Pages of Stone
Fabricated from actual mineral
My favorite journal
Pencil circles, meanders
Glides with ease, with grace
Number Two lead, sharply honed
sings as it moves along the surface
Needle of an old phonograph
Playing Ellington from a shiny vinyl
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Sunday Scribblings asked for poems around the word “ease.” This was the first thing that came to mind… I found a journal with pages actually fabricated from STONE! How different, how environmentally intriguing. Then, when I ran my pencil over the surface, it was like writing on a whiteboard… it almost squeaked! Find some and tell me what you think.
The Ballad of Marie Dressler (1962-1977)
At the dealer, climbed into a Volvo sedan
Paid cash; remained in the driver’s seat for years
My first car, a ’62, back when Swedish mechanics
crowded into one room, hovered in corners
and built them by hand, bolts to bumpers
My singing mother said, in her husky whisky tenor,
“Always bring mascara in your gig bag. If something
happens on the way to make you cry, you won’t show up
looking like a damned raccoon.” Good advice:
That night, my eyes were dampened in this way…
Stopped at a red light, rearview mirror shows a large car
barreling behind me; instinct pulled foot off brake and
left heel jammed in the clutch. Trapped. Impact. Moment.
Bundles flew, slow-motion; shocks shook with sounds of
metal bending. The anger and the floodgates opened together.
Dazed, I pried open the door, stormed back to give
that son-of-a-bitch the old what-for. Window rolls down,
old lady (sure!) says, “I’m Sister Elizabeth. I think I’m all right
but my Mama seems to have cut her lip.” Suddenly, I
got it: God’s dope-slap for sleeping with a priest.
I opened Mama’s door, her face was ash. “S-s-stay here,
ladies… sister… Mama…” Closed the door – on the nun’s
mother’s rosary beads. Clinkclickclink, all over the pavement.
(This, the coup de grace, surely sealing my ticket to Hell.)
Car was totaled, but I insisted squad car take me to my gig
where I played for eight hours straight with one potty break.
Songs I’d never known. “Piano Man” heard once in the dentist’s
waiting room. “Havah Negilah.” I was a shock savant.
Made $200 in tips, turned out that was down-pay for a one-way to LA.
Nun didn’t get a ticket (she was doing 75). Catholic cop.
Always name your cars. “Marie Dressler,” for the 30’s again actress:
Big, old, white, and beat up, but she still had a lot of class.
Her rear end was wide enough to absorb the impact. (Bless all in
Sweden!) Cop said, “You’d be DOA in a Chevrolet.”
Marie Dressler, faithful old gal, rest in pieces. Fondly, Amer
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
The Sunday Whirl (click to see the Wordle) gave us a dozen words, and this true story is the result. The Church gave me $600 for my car, and that with the tip money was enough for the plane ticket and an efficiency apt. in Venice Beach in 1977 (this is back before Venice looked like Starbucks threw up all over it). Thanks, Greggie, for urging me to go West. You SAVED my life and helped change my destiny.
NOTE: “Amer” was my family nickname, and all my East Coast friends call me that. LA friends call me “Amers.” But the praise band’s director, Ben, calls me “Amypants,” because I’m so opinionated. Now they just call me “Pants.” Go figure! Peace, Amy
Growing up, we had a pool.
This guaranteed us friends
during dog days, kids diving
for pennies, singing along to
my sister’s transistor radio.
I learned to be graceful there.
Normally prone to clumsiness,
I glided like a siren on her way to
a gig tempting sailors who’d crash
their crafts on the rocks below.
Underwater, the mermaid learned
how to swim a full lap in one breath,
then two laps. But the best part was
dinner hour, when the kids got called
home and I had the pool to myself.
Dad worked hard and drank late,
so we’d eat whenever he drove in.
One afternoon, I lay face-down
on a long raft, hands grazing water
as one bothers timothy grass in the field.
No one called me in for supper.
Result? Even Black Irish, brown-eyed
girls get the occasional sunburn, but
this was a blistering, “degree” burn,
with ointments and aloe and sympathy.
As the burn dried and began to peel,
my sister Jo used her nails to scratch
a perfect heart on my back. This artwork
grossed out the kids, which was, of course,
© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Karin Gustafson, hosting dverse today, wanted memories of summer. This one stuck with me for two reasons; first, my sisters took after my English father, blonde hair and blue eyes, and they burned easily, so my mother’s brown-eyed Irish heritage usually saved me from that fate. Second, the fact that my sister Jo would take so much time creating on my back made me feel special.
Also at my poetic kiddie pool, Poets United. Peace, Amy