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

Tag Archives: Church


Never one to hold back,
even at the ever-so-proper
Council of Churches.

An abnormal annual worship
of all churches and temples
joined in the fight against hunger.

See, it was “ecumenical,”
which in the interim director’s mind
meant “Don’t offend Jews and Muslims

by even mentioning Jesus.” So we
gather in a lavish Catholic church,
and there’s a big old Corpus at the altar.

Jesus, dangling from a ginormous cross,
bloody side and all, eyes downturned,
but the director deleted his name.

Two days later, at a staff meeting,
everyone was grumbling about how
Jesus wasn’t invited to the party,

when 22 churches, a synagogue, and
a Muslim temple sent reps. “Politically
correct” was the term of the day…

…until the Director entered the room.
Then a hush. Then she asked, “Does anyone
have any thoughts about the worship?”

I looked around the table. Twenty people
shifted in their chairs. I raised my hand.
“Barbara, it was lavish but awful. You didn’t mention

the name of the real director of the Council of
Churches once.” She blanched. Crickets chirped
and people looked at me but didn’t say jack.

As though educating me, she crowed, “This was
an ecumenical service. I don’t think you understand
what that means.” And OF COURSE I had to say:

“I’m not a moron. Ecumenism is embrace of ALL faiths,
meeting on common ground. So you should have
included Jesus, Moses, AND the Prophet Mohammed.

“There was a big bloody Jesus nailed on the cross.”
(The others waited, breath bated. I was going to quit anyway.)
“The service was crap, but nobody seems to want to tell you that.”

You’a thought the roof would fall in or
lightening would strike me as I left, box of personals in hand.
But no, it WAS the First Horse of the Apocalypse,

the Horse that, incidentally, took a large dump on
the Director as it raced by, headed for the White House
so George W. Bush could get the next load.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This is a true story, written for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads (roof caves in) and using words from Three Word Wednesday. Of course I was not medicated for my bipolar, so I probably would have used more proper language had it been today… but I still would have railed against her condescension and called her out on offending hundreds of Christian volunteers, as well as raising eyebrows with both the rabbi and the Imam! Speaking truth to power is never easy, but it can be a helluva lot of fun!! Peace, Amy

ROOTED (dedicated to Miss Forward)

Mama never got over being on the road with bands.
“Keep your roots shallow,” she said,
“so you can pull up and move on when it’s time.”

Yet, after wandering for many years,
I find myself grounded, firmly rooted.
Maybe it’s the friendships we’ve forged.

My innate knack for blooming in any new
place I was transplanted (quite often) from coast
to coast, and sometimes in the ocean, small isles.

Relentless in my search for home, the
perfect church… a city with a full spectrum
of cultures, history, creativity (plus a few vultures)

Some artists of delicate mien, others rampant,
unrepentant rowdies, all with eyes and voices meant
to rejuvenate others, if only for art’s own sake.

Madison. Never bland; blooming flowers or snow banks,
it’s all good, as long as the local microbrew beer
and the silk long johns hold out.

Grounded, circles of friends interconnect, grapevines
forming beneath the surface of simple kinship.
Home isn’t where I hang my hat.

It’s where I have planted my soul, patting down soil
in this haven of lefties, young and old, rippin’ good worship, and
a golden lady on the capital dome, wearing a badger helmet.*

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

My first posting since hearing my brain MRI was negative… I mean, I still have a brain, but it’s tumor, clot, and stroke-free. This poem, for Sunday Scribblings (Grounded) and The Sunday Whirl (see Wordle HERE), is a celebration of sorts, as well as a love song for our adopted home, Madison, WI.  This is also posted at my poetic home, Poets United.

*The “golden lady” is called Miss Forward, and she shines at the peak of the dome. She can be seen from a mile away. She does indeed wear a helmet with the shape of a badger, our state mammal, on top. Everything here is Badger: basketball, local football, everyone wears red. BADGER red. Me? I’m more of a ‘honeybadger.’ (wink) Peace, Amy

Taxed to the Max

After rising on Sunday morning
at the hour of stupid o’clock
to ensure The Pastor gets
to the church on time…

After sifting through music for
two services – one traditional and
sedate, like my childhood church,
the second rowdy and electrified…

After chatting with seniors who
ply me with homemade treats
and holding babies who always
want to play with my glasses…

After worship, when everyone has left,
save the pastor and spouse, I’m
perched by the back door as he
fumbles for keys and outens lights…

After trading our holy attire for
holey jeans and brewing tea, we
collapse on the couch, spent as
post-coital lovers, limp as lox.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Sunday’s Poetic Bloomings, with thanks to Marie and Walt for an interesting prompt. Also at my poetic lifeline, Poets United.