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

Tag Archives: Advice

Keepin It Real

You’re keepin it real
ly? You sure a
bout this? A sin
gle night of his
tory and a life
time of raisin
g it

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Recently, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads had us looking at the work of e.e. cummings, asking us to play with poetic form in whimsical ways, unusual forms. Although I did not get the inspiration in time for the prompt, thank my lucky stars Real Toads has a Open Link Monday! It’s like winning… Amy

Whoops! forgot to credit image from Wikimedia Commons, and isn’t it a great portrait?  Gyula Basch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Susie Clevenger at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, my April Poem-a-Day hangout, asked simply for poems of encouragement. Who deserves more encouragement than a brilliant, beautiful daughter as she prepares to graduate college? This is also at Poets United, a source of endless encouragement for me.  Peace, Amy

For My Daughter As She Enters The Real World

Laura pensive
Sure, there will be chaotic days,
storms, trials, and simple
misunderstandings.
In the wider world, you’ll see
fights, flights, frights.
(Some people are best at being their worst.)

All these will be moments in
your timeline; some will leave
scars – but those heal with time.
Others will transcend reality with
luminous grandeur, majesty.
Some moments will simply be.

Hold onto patience. Be kind
to fools, for they know not.
Most of all, be patient with yourself.

Be mindful in all you do.
Remember that, no matter what,
there is love even in
crevices of broken bones or
wedged in the cracks of
distortion’s thin places.

There is peace in silence.
There is beauty waiting for
you to bring it into being.
There is God in everything,
especially you.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


To my friends,

Just so you’ll understand my absence, my computer has been giving me the Blue Screen of Death (followed by The “Blue” Screams of Amy) and it’s going to have a Time Out at the repair shop.

Thanks to all for their prayers during yesterday’s second, third, fourth, and fifth mammograms, which reveal NOTHING!  “Old Leftie” is clean as the proverbial whistle.  Amen.  Thanks also to Carolyn for her wonderful advice (as expressed in “You’re EEEEK!  uh…”) and thank God I didn’t need most of it… this time.

Please say a prayer tonight for all the uninsured, who are unable to breeze into the clinic knowing they have insurance coverage like ours.  Pray for a national health plan that covers everyone… and if you have to give up your cosmetic surgery so that some kid doesn’t have to die from whooping cough, think about it… isn’t it worth that much?  Health care is a RIGHT, not a privilege.  We spend a thousand times more on bombing Afghanistan (and yes, Iran is next) into the Stone Age than we spend on health care.  Tea Party, please research, thanks.

See you in a few, and again, thanks for your support.  I love you all madly, as The Duke would say.  Peace, Amy


I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (click on link to hear the song)
Amy Barlow (vocals) and Stuart Watarz (piano)
Music by Duke Ellington; lyrics by Ned Washington (used by permission of their estates)

SINGING STANDARDS

Those well-known, well-worn songs
of Ellington, Gershwin, Mercer
My primer, my guide from childhood

I wanted to make them my own so
I read the lyrics poetically first
before I sang them; I grew them inside

myself, within the deep chambers
of mystery, of smoky romance
and infectious delight

I never sang a song
the same way twice, but
I tried to get it right

Not trite, this advice to
younger singers: Read the song
first, listen to the lyricist

Don’t imitate, it grates
and you will sound over-rehearsed
and you will be dismissed as a poser

Don’t listen to Ella. Ever.
She embeds in your head and
will be artist-in-residence

Sing it. From the sole of your shoes,
from the fire in your heart,
from the orgasmic desire

Though the song was written
before you were born,
know in your heart that

there’s your version waiting
to be sung from your POV
Blow your horn, baby

and give out like there’s
no turning back,
no way out

cuz there isn’t. Once you’re
lost yourself in a classic…
you’re where you need to be

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Open Mic Night. “Standards” are the jazz tunes every good musician and singer knows before accepting a gig. As Time Goes By, Fly Me To The Moon, Embraceable You, … then there is the second, special tier of songs not on “the list” but that earn a singer points with the band members for knowing them… Lush Life, I Cover the Waterfront, Cottage for Sale.

The song on the media player is a standard; however, this is the complete version with both full verses, so it straddles the two tiers above. This version makes more sense, because it deals with the weekend, THEN “when the weekend’s over.” I cut my teeth on these songs, and I hope you like this version, from my CD, “Jazz Baby Hits Her Stride,” available for download HERE.


Remember When

There you are again,
curled up, pretzel-thin.

Still wondering why
he won’t say goodbye.

Daily you’re a doubt.
Half laughter, half pout…

Therapist listens.
Talent glistens,

but for whom?
Since the womb

you’ve been easing
into people pleasing.

Why not relax?
Reconsider Xanax?

You think it’s almost over?
Baby, run for cover.

Hate to burst your bubble,
but you’ll be causing trouble

long after you’ve gone grey,
long after this dark day.

Looking at your through
this mirror of new,

I see you back then,
knowing you’ll remember when.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Poetic Bloomings: Let your future self advise you in the NOW.

Also for Sunday Scribblings: Suspended reality or fantasy.