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

Tag Archives: Beauty

The first is for Sensational Haiku Wednesday (yeah, it’s Saturday, I know!), and the second was written for my friend Kelly’s blog but never posted. This is also posted at my poetic hearth, Poets United.

Peace be with you all. Amy


Red leaf shivering
ready to drop to fertile ground
Life cycle complete


FOR EVERYONE, so they may understand what some call “crazy.”


I am one of the “other-minded”
We filter truth through a lens tinted by our mood
or lit by the fullest moon
to create art, to fulfill our promise

Who else will capture the infinite loneliness
of the slab mattress in the suicide ward?

The blurred visions of panic in a grocery store,
surrounded by cardboard people
blithely stuffing their carts with Cocoa Puffs?

Who else will bear witness to
the undulation of one’s naked self in a mirror,
mesmerized by the sheer loveliness reflected?

Who but we have days we celebrate
for their sheer boredom
Walking the fields of home
while ceiling-gazing in midcity?

We endure darkness, yet we bathe in
the glorious light that follows

We stumble, then venture down a path
the “sane” would never dare.

Our words, our artwork,
our songs and poems
breathe both bleakness and dizzying victories;
improbable stories of
real people they’ll think we made up
(if only it were so…)

We are labeled misfit toys
but we dance on the edge
of a rolling coin
that never comes to rest

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Third Eye of the Sightless Woman

Deprived of what doctors call normal vision,
she still envisioned worlds beyond worlds;
seeing each person beneath their form or color,
she possessed the gift of sight in her ears.

She heard beauty, shame, promise of each person
and saw their auras while listening to their stories.
Behind the vague stare was a screen of inner vision,
and here ran a constant stream of color and shape,
as all things passed her acute field of hearing.

Dogs barking in sharp blacks and whites.
Birds whirling in dissipating pinks and ochres.
Breezes green with promise of pale cyan rain.

But music – ah! music held the entire palette.
Symphonic orchestras, brilliant watercolor fields.
Strings pulling rakes to mingle azures and apricots,
brass spotting canvas with dots and long sturdy lines
of coral and dust, the silverfoil tingle of cymbals.

Jazz was denser; oils, perhaps, a thicker base.
Saxes hacking crimson into piano’s sepia lines.
drums ticking tapping low, inking ebony onto the canvas.
The singer could be violet, Ivy Anderson; sapphire,
Ethel Waters; or Julie London’s burgundy midnight.
And Billie: Dry-brushed for texture, always blue.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
dverse poetry asked for poems about opening one’s third eye. My best vision has always been heard (synesthesia adds to this; because of my condition, I often hear sight patterns). And so I gifted my subject with a different kind of sight. This is also posted at my poetic heart, Poets United. Peace, Amy

Poets United asked us to meditate on the word, “She.”


A dog-eared poster hovers near my desk, rebellious wallpaper
Detailed manifesto of the Women’s Liberation Movement
“Because woman’s work is never done and is underpaid…”
Words from a bubbling wellspring of hope and burned lycra
Demand for an equal stake in this country, still unmet

A postcard: Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein
keep me honest in all pursuits, artful and activist
as they stare me down in a loving way, like sisters
heart of depression beside the mother of us all
reminding me that women are worthy of everything

Klimt portrait, foil-embroidered woman
She stands alone, in no man’s embrace
yet framed by flowers, wearing a come-hither robe
Full black hat, ebony halo, distant gaze
Essence of loveliness, an equal part of my soul

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

A New Day

Eyes closed, sensing first
the warm salt air of San Juan

The scent of jasmine potpourri
now fills my head pleasurably, sensually

A salamander dink, dinks her way
up the white plaster bedroom wall

I smile
Baby’s still asleep

Eyes open, I am reminded I had
the whole bed to myself last night
The room is lacquered that antiseptic white
that screams: RENTAL

A crystal hung in the window
catches a sunbeam and pitches it
from ceiling to mirror and onto my bare toes,
and I laugh out loud.

Then I burst into tears.

It’s been years since I woke up smiling,
even though mornings have always
done their best to cheer me up.

Through the tears, I manage a smile –
baby opens the door, climbs on the bed,
pats the vacant pillow and looks at me
like a curly-haired question mark.

“Daddy’s gone for a while, but
we’re gonna be fine, mi nena.”
I take her in my arms and we snuggle on the big bed.

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Sunday Scribblings (Pleasure), Poetic Bloomings (Begin in a new way), and, as always, Poets United.

Dedicated to all women who have lost their hair fighting cancer and other illness.  It’s a hard thing to endure, as we tend to look at ourselves in the mirror with a certain defining viewpoint…


Panic set in when radiation exacted its toll
Nauseous moments, endless drives to the hospital
All this she could endure; her faith was strong

But she called me in the dead of night
pleading, “Come downstairs, I can’t find my scissors!”
Was she going to hurt herself? End it after all?

Padding down back steps in PJs and slippers
I found her weeping on a kitchen chair
surrounded by long strands of hair, a nest of fallen beauty

“Quick! Braid what’s left and cut it off!”
Tea-rstained plea of a women for whom
her waist-length tresses were a source of pride

Gently weaving, endeavoring to leave undisturbed
the bounty still holding fast to roots,
carefully rubber banding both ends.

“Are you sure you want me to cut it?”
She grabbed my scissors, handed them off
like a scalpel: handle first

“They’ve poisoned and burned me.
If all I have left is this, it’s enough.”

Twenty years of lovingly tended hair
lay in her hands in a braid. She cried, mourning,
“And he never even noticed, I kept it long for him…”