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

Tag Archives: birthdays

Birthday Bash

Let’s get the party started!
Food paradise on the table
Platter of hummus and
fresh, warm pita bread
Little cakes with jelly
And for the sweet tooth,
rows of rich truffles

All to celebrate Kelly
who leaves behind her
twelfth year and gears up
for the teenage rage
(a stage for a different page)

Enter candle-lit cake
Death by Chocolate, mmmm
Kelly’s belly will be full
and the gravity of a cavity
looms large in her future
Dad always presents cake

He trips on a rug
Mom tries to catch it
A clean miss and the
mess is in my lap, a
motley mash of icing
and one still-lit candle

I don’t usually cotton
to such antics, but
don’t blame Auntie Ame –
the birthday girl started it:


© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The Sunday Whirl gave us a fun Wordle. The first eleven words were contributed by Barbara Yates Young. The final word, motley, was contributed by Catherine MacGregor, to make it an even dozen.

I went with the premise of the birthday (celebrate, platter, jelly, bake) and simply let it ride from there. Honestly didn’t know this would end up the way it did. Pesky characters are running around in my cranium today! Thanks to Brenda Warren for keeping our Sundays “awhirl”! You can see the Wordle HERE. Peace, Amy

For Riley on her 25th

Always with me
remnants of her

Reminders of
life-giving days,

of nurture and
fragile forgiveness

Front and center,
my fanny pack just

below the skin:
My pooch…

The pouch where
she spent her first

nine months on earth
Not a battle scar;

rather, a souvenir of
motherhood and miracles

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Yep, she’s halfway to antique, she’s talented as hell, and she’s her own dog. Riley is showing her art now, working with her Salon (a group of students from her art institute), and making friends as well as network connections.

In other words, she is her own woman, and we couldn’t be prouder! When I heard Peggy Goetz at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted poems about things we carry, I could not think of a better way of celebrating Riley’s birthday.

Peace, and thanks to all for sticking with me during my recent dry spell, caused by depression. My poetic community was so supportive, this is my way of saying “all’s well.” Amy

Brian, Abbreviated

He walked into the party like… yacht. Abbreviated man, missing pants, unembarrassed, but bare assed. Cake, PUNCHy punch, kids screaming H.B.D!

Serenaded by open mic readers, feted by muses, celebrated by blogosphere. A party to be remembered; a personality destined to move mountains, if only by click click click on the keyboard and constant commenting.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At dverse, Brian Miller wanted 55-word stories to celebrate his birthday. I even borrowed one of his deVICEs to pay tribute. My comments about his sense of humor and his dedication would be longer than the story so I’ll stop. Happy Birthday, my friend! Peace, Amy


Sixteen, never been sexed
Sipping pilsner pilfered from the basement fridge
Sssssh, out the back door
Stripping down to go skinny-dipping with… Johhhhhn

Time, place, the most potent of opportunities
We slip into steaming midnight summer water
His member more sumptuous than tight jeans ever hinted
My breasts afloat, begging to be bobbed for like juicy ripe apples

My ache, my throb – will he sense it,
and act on this rhythmically pulsing moonlit mystery

I always craved what was not mine for the taking
Swimming naked
with gay boys

© 2009 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Margo Roby’s Wordgathering: Summer Tryouts and my little swimming pool, Poets United!

Today is the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement in New York City. Gay men had finally had enough of being beaten and sodomized by police; one man picked up a cobblestone in from of the Stonewall Bar and threw it, and calamity and justice began with that one brick. (I know some say that riots were technically in the wee hours of June 28, as the bars closed… but get real. Do you wake up from a hangover on a Sunday and say, “Wow, I really drank too much at 2 this morning?” It was very, very late the night before.)

So why this poem today? Because my very proud and OUT Best Friend Forever, John Bickle, with whom I share many skinny dips and much mischief in our early days, also celebrates his birthday today. He said, when he saw the TV reports of the Stonewall Riots, he thought to himself, “It’s an omen.”

No, Stonewall didn’t make him gay. God did.

But anyway, happy birthday to my BFF, and may you continue to play piano bar and wow Philadelphia for many years to come! (His usual gig is at Knock, so you Philly friends, get you butts over to their Piano Room and hear a phenomenal tenor – and great pianist!) Love, Amer

All of us who know Joseph Harker and read his work are impressed. Floored. Gobsmacked. Delighted. Pick a positive adjective and it fits, including “horny”! His pen name fascinates me; I believe “Harker” must come from Mary Shelley, which pleases me no end. I love her work. Much of Joseph’s work could translate into other times, and so my poem reflects how I imagine him, having never seen him.

I had promised J. a poem for his birthday BUT then that manhole cover was put on top of my head and gravity, oy, gravity… in other words, depression set in and I was unable to write. I wrote this BEFORE the depression. THAT’S how depressed I was; I didn’t even post it.

This form might be a snowball or an etheree, except I believe those are based on syllables, not words.  So this may be an Amyball or an etherbarlow, I’m not sure.  (Viv will tell me!)  So, without further adieu, may I present the inimitable…

Joseph Harker (belated birthday present)


Mister Harker

No other wordsmith

can cast his spell

Weaving phrases like spun glass

Each syllable carefully and lovingly considered

Attention to form, his style, so graceful

It takes a kind heart to create art

I can see him, slouched at his rolltop desk

Quill, inkwell, and parchment in place; he conjures a sonnet

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

(Also on my poetic hearthstone, Poets United)