She dresses for the party tonight
She fusses with her Hello Kitty necklace
She lingers in a view of
and her crown of glory
Her “all clear” party and
© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Locks of Love allows people to donate 10” or more of their own hair to help create wigs for low-income girls who have allopecia or are fighting cancer. My favorite donor was a girl in our Attica church who had done it twice before her 16th birthday. Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Magaly asked us to write about hair jewelry. This sprang to mind as a survivor adornment, as one friend told me, “until the real thing comes along!”
LION-HEARTED MAN (R.I.P. Marques Bovre)
From a distance
(when first I spied him
setting up his gear in church)
I thought he was an old man
He walked with a cane
Could barely negotiate
setting up his guitar
but his daughter helped
The closer I got to Marques
the clearer the view and
I knew this was a man
not only young, but vital
His face shined, his eyes
danced, and when he sang
it was coming from an old soul
with a kid’s sense of fun
The band played many of
his songs, the heart of
the ministry, seeds
sown for the Gospel
But it wasn’t a cult of
was too humble for that
He said he was a servant
Then came the diagnosis
Rumors of tumors, he
even gave them names:
Hobgoblin and The Creep
Hoped to see spring flowers
He loved Dandelions and
made me love them too
He struggled but always smiled
We lost him this week
A lion-hearted man who
knew who he was, whose he was
and where he was going
We had many months to prepare
for this day, this awful news
The truth is: You can prepare
for someone to be dying
but you can’t prepare for
when they are actually dead
Marques, brother, father, friend
We’ll sing your songs to the end
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Marques Bovre, singer, guitarist, composer, artist-in-residence at Lake Edge United Church of Christ’s “Worship at the Edge,” died this week at the age of 50.
There have been numerous fundraisers to help pay for his cancer treatments over the past year or so, which brings me back to the fundamental question: Why should ANYONE have to have fundraisers to pay for CEOs to have private planes and yacht trips to Bermuda? Health care is a right. Now, Marques would be the first to say he was no better than anyone else in this world (in fact, on his last CD, “Nashville Dandelion,” there was one song called, “On The Body Of Christ, I Am The A**hole.” That’s his wry sense of humor, and we loved him for it).
Please visit Marques’ site HERE. There are his songs, his story. He never proselytized, and yet a more fervent believer I never knew. If you like what you hear, BUY SOME MUSIC. Tracy still has medical bills to cover, in the midst of her grief. It will mean a lot to the whole family, and to me.
Rest in peace, brother. This poem will be at dverse Open Mic Night and at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads (man, Marques would have dug that title), where the garden is open for any and all new poems. Love, Amy
For the trifecta weekend challenge, to use the word for an animal as a verb, in exactly 33 words. Here are two offerings.
The first is about my mom; the second is an homage to mi viejo San Juan. Peace, Amy
Started at 14, in classic fashion, behind the barn. Later, her children badgered her: “Quit smoking, Mom!” It was the wanting to quit that was missing. She Cameled herself to an early grave.
ANGELITA AND CECI
Don’t know much Spanish, but the girls down the hall, they’re roommates, both Puerto Rican, clingy moms back home. Not a day goes by without one yelling to the other, “¡Llama tu madre!”
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Walk, Talk, Persevere
Our hands in our pockets, we walked.
‘Twas of Lila’s cancer we talked.
“Oh, sure, it was one fucking jolt!
One week, all is well, then this bolt
from Doctor X come a-roaring
in our ears, but then my adoring
Meg said, ‘Give us some options, Doc.’”
“In the past, it was urgent – tick-tock,
to cut off the woman’s whole breast.
But now it’s the simple way’s best.”
The importance of one single fact:
Lila’s dignity would be intact.
There’d be scraping and chemo, but then,
their future to build was the plan,
“Rebuild Lila’s health” was the rule.
They married; bold women: They’re cool.
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore
From Brenda Warren’s Sunday Whirl, and just in time! Wordle words are in bold. This is dedicated to all women and men who have survived breast cancer… and in memory of those who did not. Peace, Amy
Whose Side Are They on Now?
When things go right…
when her friend’s surgery is successful;
when his kid scores a goal;
when the baby is born with ten and ten
and Mom’s epidural was spot-on;
when a football player executes a game-saving touchdown,
when an old guy, down to his last buck at the bar,
hits the TV gambling jackpot,
it’s “Praise Jesus!”
They crow, “Thank God!”
When war rips a relentless dagger with
no healing in store,
and “smart bombs” hit the
“actionable intelligence” targets
(and only kill a few kids and other civilians),
when a dictator who was funded by the US but
falls out of favor ends up on the wrong side of a noose,
it’s, “God is on our side!”
When Katrina hit New Orleans,
when earthquakes hit Los Angeles,
Bible Belters shouted, “It’s because of all the sin
that is tolerated there! It was God’s will!”
(Sure, there’s that racist tinge to the condemnation…
never mind that the majority of Katrina victims
were people of color who worked hard to maintain
their neighborhoods, while the vast majority of “sinners”
are white college girls who get stinking drunk and
flash their boobs to get Mardi Gras beads…)
“Praise Jesus, who looks after the righteous,”
says the preacher, passing the collection plate.
(It’s all in the timing.)
But when a neighbor is laid off or gets
screwed out of a pension,
when someone on your block develops cancer and
it’s already Stage Four,
or it’s your kid who’s hit by a drunk driver
or knocked up by her own uncle…
Whose side is God on now?
Does Jesus hate your neighbor? Is that why he’s
slumping his shoulders in the unemployment line?
Does God think it was the 13-year-old girl’s fault
for “tempting” her pedophile uncle?
Do God and Jesus sit on high and zap people
with cancer when they are bored?
Think about these things
the next time you presume
to speak for God.
And feel free to give a copy of this to your pastor.
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil