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

Tag Archives: Change

Folks, I’m amazed I’m even posting, but PAD means exactly that – a poem a day for the month of April. I KNOW I HAVE NEGLECTED RESPONDING TO YOUR COMMENTS FOR THE PAST FEW DAYS. I humbly ask for your patience: It’s Holy Week. Tonight, I am coordinating the ritual portion of a Seder at Lake Edge UCC. Soon I’ll respond, I promise.

Today is a special day for a very special friend. This is her story…


She’s moving again
Unsettling – like the trap door
fell out from under
her well-worn sandals

How many times has she
Called Two Men & A Truck?
They know her by name
But this time is different

New, her own sweet space
New keys, placed in her palm
by friends who love her
Feels like coming home

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads… too late to post there, but the prompt was: Find four words and create a poem out of them. My words were Home, Keys, Feels, and New. Also posted with my buds at Poets United, as always. Peace, and happy moving, Monica! Amy

Day Four of National Poetry Month’s “Poem a Day.” Feeling my oats, thanks to Poetic Blooms (see below for process notes and sites). Peace, Amy


Woe to you, lobbyist and profiteer
Avenue K will be set on its ear

Begone, day traders sipping hot
as your fingers scurry over the laptop keyboard,
some letters and most numbers worn off,
scars of fiscal battle

Gird your loins, o members of Congress,
for your days of feasting shall draw to a close
as I focus my wrath on your graft

Whosoever can be bought will be for naught
Sweeping streets and slaving in call centers
(for a living wage, of course)

The payola shall be purged
Elections no longer auctioned to the highest bidder
(or Brother), nor Diebold election machines
glean false numbers from pro-Machine hackers

Even the Supremes will feel my ire for
conspiring to convince us corporations possess
ears, eyes, tongues… and souls

For I, Mrs. Clean, now hold the power:
Contained in the Golden Rule,
affirmed by the Great Commandment of Love

I am trusted by even the crustiest atheist
(because I’ll drink coffee and shoot the shit
with people of every belief or non-belief)

Mrs. Clean will change the scene and proclaim
the mighty truth: Democrats and Republicans
stink of graft equally, and in good measure

President Obama should bring our troops home NOW
And when that is set right, the real work begins:

Mitt Romney will wash windows at women’s clinics
Newt Gingrich will scrub toilets in public restrooms

Hillary Clinton will bake free cookies on 12-hour shifts without
breaks, just like Chinese children work on her watch

Ron Paul will oversee Area 51 but make no more money
than the baristas at the low-cost local cafes

Rush Limbaugh will be bombasting “Would you
like fries with that?” in a little paper hat

Michelle Bachmann will be sent back to middle school
to learn history and how to recognize gay boyfriends

And Sarah Palin? Field-dress THIS

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Poetic Bloomings – a second take on their prompt, Superheros, which I had answered earlier with “Reflector Babe.” Also at my site of sites, Poets United and that dynamite poets’ cafe, dverse.

It’s Twofer… Thursday! Three prompts in two poems. Each prompt is listed under the appropriate work. It’s a sunny day, and things are looking up in Amyville! If you want your day to be even better, click on the links for the various poetry sites and look at the astounding work out there in cyberbeautyland! Peace, Amy

Just One Wish

If I could have just one wish…

I’d melt all weapons, from
handguns to tanks

Forge farm tools for land to be tilled by
hands that formerly pushbuttonlaunched drones
Hands that flew off wrists as Hummer hit IED.

Honest work for real pay,
homes for all, bellies full.
The sick tended,
violence ended,
people defended
by reason, not rockets.

By wisdom, not war.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Carry On Tuesday, prompt: Finish this poem, “If I had just one wish…”

And now… sidetracking into true ignorance!


“Deviant” is a concept
born of miniscule minds
and religious cherry-pickers
who have bad translations of the Bible.

They dwell on the trivial
while ignoring real problems
which require substantial effort…
and that are apparently not their concern.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Three Word Wednesday (Deviant, Miniscule, Trivial) and ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “H.”

Both are also at my poetic hangout, Poets United.

The Big Change

How to explain the changes ahead of me.
First, Mom needed gin, just a snort
to abort the mortification of
the dreaded subject at hand: Sex.

On a page in her steno notebook,
she drew crude diagrams:
Ovaries, tubes, uterus – utilitarian scrawls,
later to be thrown away in disgust.

“The egg starts in here,” pen on ovary,
“travels down through here,”
tracing Fallopian Lane,
“and ends up here. Once a month.”

Another jigger of gin for courage.
“If the egg gets fertilized, it stays here
and becomes a baby. If not,”
siiiiiiigh, “you bleed and need some equipment.”

She pulled out the mysterious
blue box, used heretofore only by
Mom and my big sisters. Removing
napkin and belt, she trussed me up.

That was the extent of Sex Ed with Mom:
There were eggs (aren’t eggs big?).
There were tubes and a place
you might make a baby (is fertilization about peat moss?)

Later I found out the good stuff…
recalling Mae West’s immortal wisdom:
“No man ever loved me
the way I love myself!”

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Poetic Bloomings, a new site – check it out! Theirbeing Change. Also at Poets United, the poetry collective.

The Greatest Aim of Humankind (an acrostic)

Pursue the beating of swords into ploughshares
Etch onto windowpanes, “The time has come”
Aiming to embrace all peoples as one family
Chanting, not dogma, but “Love,” in many tongues
Everyone will cry out, “Enough of war, time to live!”

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For a new site, Poetic Bloomings, to the prompt “a goal-oriented poem.” Please check out Marie and Walt’s new prompt site – I think you’ll love their pace, their vibe. This is also, as always, posted to my oasis from all chaos, Poets United.

Peace, Amy

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

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

At Carry On Tuesday, they gave us this prompt…

“This week, the opening line from Home Thoughts From Abroad. Not by Robert Browning but Clifford T Ward: I could be a millionaire if I had the money.”

Now, you know me.  The first phrase that caught my pun-addled brain was “Thoughts From a Broad,” but that is so Bette Midler… Carry on!  Amy

If I Had the Money

If I decided to waste a buck
I could buy a lottery ticket
I could be a millionaire…

If I had the money,
I would give it all away.
I would drop it on rainforest recovery
and houses for Katrina victims
and public education grants
(and recalling the governor of Wisconsin).

Buy canned goods, give them to pantries;
clothe the homeless, give them shelter;
feed the hungry, give them hope;
help immigrants learn English if they wanted to
so they could see beyond cleaning rich people’s bathrooms.

I would spend it so fast,
old friends couldn’t catch up to me for loans,
because the money would already be gone.

I could be a millionaire if I had the money.
But if I had a million bucks, I wouldn’t have it long!

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

THREE!  This poem answers three prompts:  We Write Poems (Against the Grain), Writer’s Island (Tribute), and Sunday Scribblings (Big).

Larger than life, yet in her own mind, just doing her part. One of my all-times heroes, and right now, we need all the heroes we can get. Amy

Big Little Woman

To a woman who lost it all
Widowed, her children dead from dread disease, the flu pandemic.
After her kids perished, she nursed neighbors.

To a woman who rose from grief and chose
to take up the burden of others:
Mothers, fathers, children, all laboring side by side
in factories, in fields, on farms, long hours for pennies,
as their cruel, crafty masters garnered a tidy profit.

Fat cats whose fortunes were secure.
Rich men whose better angels whispered, “Show love, compassion.”
But Greed and Hubris shout down angels.
They blot out God in a frenzied cloud
of green ink and gold coins numbering 30 and more.

Still, this widow woman knew nothing and cared less
about her own comfort. Others’ welfare trumped wealth
in her sensibilities, as she saw the rich exploit the masses.

She trod into the mines and the mills.
She talked in the fields, where the hopeless
worked long hours under punishing conditions.

She spoke of dignity (if she’d stopped there,
she would never have seen a jail cell).
She spoke of fairness (watch it, lady).
She shouted about rights (ah, the gloves were off now).

She stirred the pot, this big little woman,
pistol under her petticoat, taking on police
sent by their rich masters.

She was the voice of unions, the midwife of labor.
Let’s raise a toast in tribute to this hero,
who warned us that labor leaders should never
wear fancy suits or become rich off their organizations
(a fact that speaks volumes today)
and who taught us that, no matter what
the rank and file must be protected:

Raise your glasses high to Mother Jones.

Simply a meditation on power and overcoming its shackles. Amy

More Than This

She burned with the anger of the powerless.
That incendiary pissed-off-edness:
Light the fuse, fueled by years
wriggling under the thumb of
a cruel, oppressive man…

There must be more than this.

Seething through silent beatings
which left no marks, bruising only her ego,
mangling her tangled inner weavings,
thread by thread he delighted in pulling apart
the uniqueness she had once treasured.

There should be more than this.

When at last the reaching occurred
(God to her? Her hand outstretched to the Divine?),
the tinderbox of regret, hatred, guilt
burst forth in flame, melting away
tarred resins of the past.

There can be more than this.

Emerging from the fire,
refined to her pure self,
she took her little girl’s hand and smiled.
His pursuit was futile,
for she finally possessed an unbreakable truth:

There will be more than this.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil