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

Tag Archives: Children

O the Dreams for blog 001

I wrote this straight to art paper before I went to sleep the other night. Iraq, US-backed Israel vs. “we already bombed the hell out of the Arab world already” Palestine. Children deserve better. All of us deserve better.

(800) 456-1111, toll-free number for the White House.

Linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry, free write and who knows what hijinks any one of us will be up to at any given moment?  Give it a try!  Also, although I missed the dverse deadline by TWO DAYS (!), I still want to give you the link for this dverse “small world” PROMPT. There are great things happening at many prompt sites around the WWW (Wonderful World of Words); this is one of my favorite places. That it is called a “poets’ pub” can only enhance! Peace, Amy

Clueless Crux of the Klan

Bound by
blood-spilled ties
Lies lingering
on forked tongues

Generations of

Toddlers in Klan hoods
pointy as their parents’ heads
Gleaming white dunce caps
Halloween meets HollowHead

Legacy of spittle-drop
shouts and
conspiratorial whispers
“…president is a n*****”

Dude once told me blacks are
‘taking our women’
responded/resounded I

Got to
Got to
Got to
keep that bloodline pure

(Just like Hitler, soooo original)

Nazi Yahtzee
Roll the dice
We lose twice

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; view the original image HERE.   “Klan-sheet-music” by Original uploader was Bcrowell at en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

You can’t spell FASCIST without the letters F-A-C-T-S.

The more we learn through calm engagement of racists, the more we understand the root causes. Self-hatred, parental abuse, moms who were subjugated servants, the crass collage; the bleachbright hoods of ultimate cowardice: “I will declare myself the ultimate arbiter of God’s justice, but I’ll do it in disguise.”

Yeah, you so macho.

Thanks to Roger and Mrs. Nesbitt at ABC Wednesday for getting my righteous indignation flowing over the letter “C.” Just remember, I could have picked a worse word!! Peace, Amy

Wisconsin Tragedy (Slenderman)

Where does real begin?
At a mother’s breast
First dip in a pool
First lick from a puppy

Where did unreal begin?
Remember Bambi
The shotgun off-screen but
your parents were there
to hold your hand and
dry your tears and
talk about how movies aren’t real

Where does the new unreal begin?
Parents turn on the TV
and tune out their kids
The video games seductive
Playing pimp or dealer with
a steady aim and BLAM
And all the women are whores

Where does real begin now?
The Internet, shady Slenderman
A sick fantasy with lots of fans,
lots of kids, is calling the shots
The stabs

Real is unreal
Fantasy is reality
Parents are clueless
Kids rule their own worlds
Worlds of pain and loneliness
Worlds their parents don’t
care to think about

Boomers, we were lonely too
But we had trees to climb
and time and time
…and time

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, the letter “W.” I wish this was not a true story. I wish it did not involve 12-year-old girls trying to kill their friend because some sick person told them to do it and they believed in Slenderman more than God.  For those who aren’t in the States, two girls were convinced by a fictitious character (whose stories are all over the Internet, written by hundreds of people) that to enter his “club,” they had to kill someone.  Whoever created Slenderman in the first place is sick enough, but whoever dangled this bloody carrot should rot in jail.  The girl survived.  Her friends (being tried as adults) left her for dead but she crawled to a roadside.  She is home now, but psychologically, who knows what is in store for this poor kid?

This was in the suburbs. Waukesha is in the heart of the Christian Right, Paul Ryan’s land. I pray for the soul of my state, even as I reside in the “hippie district.”

Peace, Amy

How To “Recruit” Straight People

Pink is for girls
Blue is for boys
Girls should be passive
Boys make the noise
Straight Children 001
Girls given dolls
Boys given trucks
Girls are called “pretty”
Boys are young bucks

Betsy gets yelled at
if she steals Bill’s stuff
Billy, a whoopin’ if he
sneaks powder puff

If Billy weeps
while getting the switch
He’s told “boys don’t cry”
and there is the hitch

Billy’s a sweet soul
who dresses in pink
Betty plays hockey
at the local ice rink

Much to chagrin of their
parents who shudder
Their kids are not from
the right cookie cutter

Forward to adults
Billy married, by force
Goes ‘out’ at night
His wife ponders divorce

Bett moved to SoCal
She broke her folks’ charge
On the beach playing volleyball
Smiles – livin’ large

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Illustration also by Amy; please feel free to use it for stereotyping examples.

I hear all about “homosexual recruiting” all the time from “Christians” and FOXophiles; nothing I say can convince them. Societal convention steers kids the “right way.” We are conditioned from birth, which is why so many LGBTQs suffer years of guilt and shame in silence. Some children of the “very Christian” commit suicide.

Support kids when they have the courage to come out of the closet – we did, and our reward is an incredible relationship with Riley. Peace, Amy

Amy first kiss 001

Eyes Wide Open

Sweet little Amer’s very first kiss
Quick, get a camera to document this!

Davey Bargetzi was awfully cute
Brown eyes and almost a birthday suit

How many girls can say their first action
Was a photo op for Mom’s satisfaction?

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Completely true story. Like most of my life, staged in front of a live audience!   8^)

Posted at Open Link Monday at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, and, if I remember, I’ll also link it to dverse on Tuesday.  IF I remember, and that’s a crapshoot these days…  Peace, Amy

Last day of Poem a Day, or National Poetry Writing Month. It’s only fitting that I should “pass the torch,” in the form of a poem about our girl Riley, the artist. I’ve included one of her recent works, so PLEASE respect her copyright on this. For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, an “A to Z” write.  Enjoy! Proud Mom Amy, who also took the picture years ago, when she was three.

Riley Little Artist

Portrait of the Artist as a Little Girl
Artist, budding
Crayons, drawings,
echo from goodgone hours

I just kindled logical moppets’s
newfound outlet
(preference, quietude)

Riley, shading timber umber
Visioning whales,
xysts, yurts… zebras

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Girl Chases Soldier

Painting by L.R. Weinberger © 2013, all rights reserved.
Used by permission of artist.

Higher Math

Nickels and dimes
And twelve shiny quarters
Clinked, one at a time,
into their secret stash,
a souvenir metal box from
their trip to Hershey Park
Back when Dad was still home
And before Mom’s blues set in

Saving up to buy her
a present, to cheer her up
It’s our job, says sister to little brother
Little boy nods and digs deep into his
back pocket for another precious dime
Soon they’ll have enough for
that perfume she loves… loved

Loose change changes into loss
as Mom finds the cache of coins
Swipes smalldream savings
Asks Next Door Sally to watch
her sleeping ones while she makes a
midnight milk run. Sneaks off to
the casino, where nickels and dimes
become more shiny quarters and then
slot machine fodder. Then on to the ATM…

Three months later, waking the kids
in the back seat, she drives to Mickey D’s
for breakfast (won’t hurt them for a while,
she reckons). Combs their hair, checks
for lice as she softly inflicts blame on
their father for walking out. “Let’s get
moving or you’ll be late for class.”
The present for Mom, long forgotten,
but her betrayal festers within them

School teaches her kids
Mom teaches them

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image from Wikimedia Commons, by photographer William Holtkamp

This mom may live just down the block. Right now, things are OK, but eventually, boredom and that damned little addictive gene could give way to drinking before lunch. Or a divorce leaves her broke, while the Trophy Wife is pregnant with “Dad’s New Family.” Perhaps she is simply depressed and, on a lark, tries meth at a friend’s house (the first hit’s always free).

There are a thousand ways women are blamed for these situations, and in some cases, it’s true. But no matter who leaves whom, or who takes what, the kids pay the price. And the kids in this poem were ready to give their all for their mom.

“Irony.” The prompt at dverse poets today. Also at my gambling-free hangout, Poets United.  Peace, Amy

Photo © Kim Nelson

The One That Got Away

Gentle droplet
Humanity begins
Viewed at doctor’s, yet that same night

Seemingly, “Nevermore”
Her womb emptied by dark forces
Grief reigns
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This poem, a cinquain (yes, I wrote a form that was not specifically requested!), for Poets United, is based on my first impression of the fabulous artwork of Kim Nelson (Poet, Artist, Blogger, and FRIEND – check out her work by clicking on her name).

Even though it’s in shades of red, my take was an ultrasound screen, with the fetal head at the top. I did have a miscarriage years ago, which probably explains the red connection, and it haunted me for so long, until I got pregnant with Riley and knew she was ‘in with Velcro.’ Peace, Amy (Proud Member, Poets United)

Five Years Old, First Circus

Loud, it was and smelled like
popcorn, cotton candy, candy, cigars, and
poop, but amazing all at the same time.

When you’re five, you like everything, almost.
Two men, the daredevil flying trapeze artists.
Two glittery women, dangling from ropes with their teeth.

Clowns, slipspilling silly – but scary:
Chalk faces; crayoned, exaggerated expressions.
I hid my face when they came near.

Boss in fancy suit and spotlight and mic.
Dogs jumping hoop after hoops like
they were hopping on and off a skillet.

Treats were trash, but I stashed an apple.
Kid next to me threw up on her mom, red, white, and blue.
Cherry soda, vanilla ice cream, and Lik-M-Aid.

After the show, Dad showed he had clout. Round back,
behind the tent, an amazing surprise:
A baby elephant, sporting a small seat.

Dad lifted me up and
I and only I was allowed to ride Burma,
the pride of the Lions Club Circus.

To feel her soft, upturned ears, lay my head down
upon her warm neck. I sang as she swayed beneath
my skinned-knee skinny legs.

That was the first time I ever connected
with someone who’d traveled so far,
halfway across the world, just for me.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

True story.

I’m sure other children got rides later, but I was so enthralled and focused that I didn’t notice. I thought Dad was king of the world that day.

OK, you all know I have a major phobia about clowns, with the notable exception being my friend Monica, whose character Imagin is simply pure and sweet. Maybe it’s because she is a woman – as much as I knew what “drag queens” were when I was quite small, men who paste it on for little kids scare the poop out of me. If anyone out there is a clown, let me know – you may well help me past my phobia!

Imaginary Garden with Real Toads’ “Kay in Alberta” presented us with a challenge that, thank the Lord, has NOTHING to do with St. Paddy’s Day… I also laid this on the shelf at the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. I’m probably more Irish than most of my neighbors, so I say, let the German-American and Polish-American and African-American and other Hyphenated-Americans drink green beer and barf in the street. Most of my Irish-American friends reserve that behavior for the other 364 dasy a year – and they are always prepared in the event of hangovers of nausea! Happy Kermit Day, Amy

VIOLENCE (a barlette)

Kids on playgrounds
play cops and robbers
(“Bang! You’re dead!”)

“Children’s programming”
mandated by FCC, any cartoon
(Lots of ‘heroes’ in bloody battles.)

Coaches in high school
Sometimes violence = cash
(A Benjamin if you take out the QB)

Gay teens shoved in lockers
for daring to be themselves
(“My pastor says they’re evil.”)

At home, children try to ignore
drunk mom and dad going at it again
(“Time to play Grand Theft Auto.”)

A Connecticut mom has five guns, all
registered, all legal, all for use
(Why give a troubled kid access?)

Unbalanced, alienated son
walks into school for reasons unknown
(First he killed his mom and took her guns.)

NRA: “Guns don’t kill people.
People kill people.”
(Morons. People with guns kill people.)

How many presents have been bought
for kids who are not coming home?
(And what will we do about the weapons?)

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

NOTES: A barlette is my own form. Two or three lines, followed by a commentary in parentheses. ABC Wednesday is on the letter “V,” and I was stuck… until today. Also on the rolling sidebar at Poets United.

I am a firm supporter of the Second Amendment, because many Americans (especially Wisconsinites) hunt and use the animals they kill fully, wisely. My brother-in-law, now deceased, used to shoot one deer and turn all the venison into marinated meats for the freezer.

All the same, “assault rifles” MUST GO. By “assault rifle,” I mean any gun or rifle that shoots more than one bullet with one pull of the trigger. It’s that simple. Banning certain models simply means manufacturers will modify that model a bit and skirt the law.

Ted Nugent is embraced by the Right (who seem to forget he dodged the draft in Nam by smearing himself with his feces and not bathing and acting like he was mentally ill). Now he’s a “good patriot” by opening his ranch to vets in wheelchairs and giving them assault rifles to shoot imported game. Probably the last thing a traumatized vet needs is a gun in his hands.

If I hear, “Obama’s gonna take my guns and then he’s gonna make this a police state” one more time, I’ll vomit. My old friend Leslie moved to  Newtown when we were in the fifth grade.  I visited her often when we were growing up; her heart is broken. She was the one who gave me the last line; as she said, “How many parents already have presents wrapped and hidden in the closet for children who aren’t coming home?”

I pray for the families who lost loved ones, especially parents whose small child was killed today. I pray that the president will take this incident and push for gun control that really works. And I pray that the fear that has gripped our nation since 9/11 (collective PTSD) will give way to dialog, to common goals, and to peace.  Amy