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

Tag Archives: aging


One of those unexpected glances
A happenstance mirror
The old lady looking back at me

with curves in places
like her face
and craggly bits about the eyes

Who is this woman? She
looks off her feed, or depressed
No, I replied, it’s just you, ya old bag

Your fault for smiling so much
For choosing to live with your depression
rather than finding a way out

And so I settle into almost sixty years old
I let gravity, cruel mistress, have
her way with me

It used to be boobs and the
skin over my knees becoming
a canopy for bone beneath

Now it’s the more obvious sites
The ones one cannot hide under
clothing, beneath makeup

It’s the glorious blooming of
A New Amy, crone delighting
in the fact that she can still.

make new things, such as wrinkles

© 2016 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

It’s true. That little sag under my jaw, the crows’ feet that have morphed into Crow Valleys. It’s happening, and I can either get pissed at God (which seems quite useless, and I owe God so much) or dive in, feet first. I choose the dive.

This is for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, Play It Again, Toads. One of my poet buddies, Fireblossom, had a previous prompt called, “The Crack in Everything,” and we have written to that prompt. Thanks, Shay, for always being an inspiration! Love, Amy

Amy blur young


When we were angels
swimming in the stars,
we were but boy toys
hanging in the bars

When we were divas
dressed in les Diors,
we were with shlumps who
didn’t open doors

Looking glass, tell me
When did the view change
Why not forever young
Rather than cue change

When we were sirens
singing from the cliffs
we were a jumble of
“whens” and “whys” and “ifs”

Looking glass, tell me
When did the view change
Why not forever young
Rather than cue change

When we were young things
slinking down the street
we’d ne’er imagine
that ourselves we’d meet

Now we were older
greyer each season
Now we are bolder
We’ve found our reason

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

We were asked, at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, to write a song… a chanson, a lieder, anything that might be set to music. This is a slow waltz with a pause after the bridge (at “cue change”). Songwriting has long been my business, so I guess I’d better pen the tune now! Also “in the margins” at my poetic concert hall, Poets United.  Peace, Amy

Ally Web


springs up
livens hair
God’s free highlights
upon this crone’s crown
Silver threads, valued so,
weaving their way farther up
from hairline to thatched brown fields
Growing stronger, a widening way
Accentuates mature women’s beauty
Most women bend to social demands
Face the fact, youthfulness attracts
Yet intact my grey stays, quite
stubborn am I, one of
few women I know
who find value
climbing the

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads Open Link Monday, a double etheree about aging and being OK with it. I stopped coloring my hair years before I started my grey streak, which has also peppered my hair. I vowed to never be a “tragically blonde crone.” In a society where women “of a certain age” are not valued for their wisdom and experience, I don’t care if people see me as an old lady. Hey, I earned every grey hair – and that goes for my wrinkles, too! This picture was taken in honor of GLBTQ Pride Day, and our church played Lady Gaga today. Really! Peace, Amy

Diva Heart in Denial

Her heart was not one that accepts age as
progress toward wisdom a crown of silver
Hot flashes were mere preludes

In tinny wraps, her stylish tinted glints of
highlights, long tresses still brisking bare shoulders
in waves of tragic peroxide passion

The insidious flaps under arms, on her belly,
her lazy limbs and gut splitskinned and resewn
A Bonwit Teller Raggedy Ann

French tip the perfect nails; affix false lashes:
Color her vivid. Boy Toy Nick not allowed to drift far
He stands flexed, assurance of her youth, her comeliness

She will not go gentle into that good night
but brittle, breakable, frightened, but
always with a mirror at hand

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For the Sunday Whirl (Wordle belw; thanks, Brenda!) and Trifecta, which wanted a poem about heart as personality or disposition. Also at my poetic salon, where we’re all GORgeous, Poets United. I’ve known women of means who have had their faces lifted so many times, their noses begin to turn inside out, a slight ring around each nostril.

What can I say?  Three Word Wednesday asked for poems with the words Grin, Jumble, and Naked.  So first a little fun, and then… a little more fun.   Peace, Amy (Also posted at my fave poetic collective, Poets United.)

Rugby Gone Wrong

Post-rugby match, Stan, with a grin,
said, “Never mix scrumming with gin:
From deep in the jumble
We heard someone mumble,
‘Good Lord, I’m as naked as sin!’”

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Time Goes By

They mesh peacefully
‘neath sheets weathered
from years of laundering

He grins; her finger traces the deep lines
engraved from years of laughter and from struggle,
the hardscrabble jumble of their lives together

Her naked breasts sag off to the side
She doesn’t care; he thinks she’s as lovely a lass
as ever a man was blessed to wed.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Mirror Grows Up

Girl standing on tiptoe to see her reflection
in the grown-up glass

Teen crying over ravages of acne
on her nose, her neck, her back

Bride at home wedding, same mirror
as this morning, but suddenly she’s changed

Single mom, single crease forming
over her left eyebrow, souvenir of divorce

Second time’s the charm, as she eases back
greying bangs from her smiling face

And just this morning, taking stock
More circles than a box of Cheerios
More wrinkles than a pug puppy
More fire in her eyes than Mrs. O’Leary’s cow ever wrought
More twinkle than Tinkerbell
More love than she thought she’d ever have

All shining back as her husband slips his arm around her,
whispering, “Love how you look today, babe.”

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

From a prompt about mirrors at my poetic home, Poets United.

AGING DISGRACEFULLY (and proud of it)

Old age ain’t for sissies, said Bette Davis
and she was doggone right
Boobs hanging so low I have to
set ’em in rollers at night
and shoved into “woman-friendly” bras daily
The way they swing wouldn’t make Frank
sing “ring-a-ding-ding”

Took up yoga to get flexible
advice courtesy of my physician
(not “Physical,” thanks anyway, Olivia)
Noticed that, in the Down Dog position
my skin of my thighs draped off my legs
like a curtain valance, but at least
I kept my balance.

That is, until the Salutes to the Sun,
when I grandly and loudly fell on my face,
laughing so hard I snorted at my own contortions.
This got other 50+ women chortling and
soon we were all flat on our mats doing
what older girls do best: Sharing a laugh
about ourselves, on our own behalf.

We finished class and Betsy blurted:
“A latte! Who’s with me?”
Soon around a table filled with decadent desserts
(which we dutifully split, counting calories somewhat)
we decided: Stay with yoga class, stretch at night,
walk in pairs or groups, eat (almost) right.
But never skip dessert: Old age ain’t for sissies,
nor for grumps, nor frumps. Just real women,
having our say and doing it (cue Nelson Riddle):
“Oooooooour Waaaaaaaaaay!”

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Poetic Asides, the prompt was, “Maybe _______.”  (Fill in the blank.)  After realizing I’m 54 and there’s so much behind me, this poem spilled out like tequila.  I even ate the worm!   Amy  (P.S. I am officially posting all NaPoWriMo posts at Writer’s Island.)

Maybe Now

If not then
when time was fluid and forever
when ripe fruits were there for the picking
and flowers spilled out our window-boxes
as palms shuddered in the warm California breeze

If not then
when every day was an adventure yet to come
when we were fools
and innocence had run from us, scared
and jaded juices thumped in our veins

Maybe now
now that we have grown older
now that we have learned the meaning of “folly”
we will look back with the leisure of age
and see it all had meaning

And our worst mistakes are behind us
or not

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Carry On Tuesday, they got us started with a line from an ABBA song: “I saw it in the mirror/I saw it in my face…”

A different take, probably, but the up side of depression is that you see yourself in different ways on different days. This morning, my mirror offered me what follows. Tomorrow I’ll be 23 at heart again, I hope! Amy

In The Mirror

I saw it
In the mirror, I saw it
In my face, the lines
small nicks around my lips
the ditch between my brows
just south of silver streaks

I saw it
In the mirror, I saw it
In my face, the years I
have traveled struggled ached limped through
now etched and spray painted
in my face, on my head

I saw it
In the mirror, I saw it
On my body, the sags
the planes once firm
the skin once smooth
now giving way to time

I saw it
In the mirror, I saw it

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Re-posting, as the first version kept re-starting in the middle of the line. This was a prompt for a will from Poets United. Please click on their link and read some other poets’ thoughts as well! And don’t worry – rumors of my impending demise are (hopefully) simply rumors!! But that dark humor runs in the Irish side of my family, and I embrace it heartily.

Last Words

These are the last words you will hear from me
as I have recently ceased to be

To my sisters, I leave my rainbow flags
To my parents, I leave forgiveness in bags

To Jack, pour the bourbon – I’m headed your way
To Sarah Palin, read a paper at least once a day

To RJ, Sheila and Colette, three copies pristine
a pic of my bum on a xerox machine

To John, all the books full of music and lyrics
To Leslie, the “Dead Man’s Eyes” hysterics

To Christopher, HAH! You thought I’d outlive you
Now whom shall you the baby grand give to?

And know that I’ll be in great company
With Jeffery and Jimmy and Bill and Marcie

To Marcia and Jesse, my thanks for the light
To Greggie, close your eyes and I’ll be in your sight

To Sweeney, my rants and my ravings and Lex
Your best buddy – don’t take him to Mme. Orr’s for sex

To GW Bush my wish for long life
to witness his hubris, his headstrong-caused strife

To Barack, prayers for peace and a tougher demeanor
To FEMA, that they FINALLY clean up Katrina

To elected officials, no more of my protests
But FBI, I’ll rally, in spirit at best

To Lex, all my love and may you find another
To Riley, long life and my pride I’m your mother

My girl, find someone who deserves all you can give
To challenge and cherish as long as you live

And after the tears have finally been shed
Remember, I’m dancing… I’m just overhead

So raise up a toast to the girl with the brass
Recount all the ways I’m a pain in the ass

Sing out the songs, pass ’round a doobie
I’m headed to heaven in slippers of ruby

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil