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

Tag Archives: Colors

Dig In

Dig in, both hands, deep, deeper
Packed clay soil meets tenacious space
and gloved pincers, break it all down
to accept gentle roots of Gerbers
Pink, Orange… a splattergasm of color

Heat beats down; the race is on
Toiling Angla in 3-digit sunscreen vs.
ungodly hot-air soup

Inside, peeling the layers of me
Step into cold shower
Ice fire, tingling triumph
Good work; better remedy

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poets United: Kim Nelson asked us to “tap the water table,” literally or metaphorically. Believe me when I say this garden, planted in the middle of July, was hard-won labor but worth every drop of sweat! Also at my literal garden, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, in the margins (near the fence!).  Peace, Amy

Crowd protesters

True Colors of Madison

Now this was in months past, mind you
Whodathunk that this move would find you

midst masses of rowdy-sprout color
from the bloodred truth to the duller

Not one box yet unpacked, you hightailed
to the Capitol, there you right-railed

‘gainst the governor, Koch Brothers feaster
(though we failed to toss him on his keester)

For the sake of each other’s opinions
They had gathered, the Left and Right minions

And there, near the downtown Radisson,
you found the true colors of Madison.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Hannah, promptress extraordinaire at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, offered us rows and patchwork valleys of tulips for a colorful prompt. I do love flowers, but I found the best colors of my life at the 2012 Madison Pro-Union Protests… red, white, blue, and then some!  For me, color has a voice, and the more “colorful,” the more effective.  I did love the golden glow my camera managed to catch; even the slight blur belies action.

This pic shows an array of color – lots of “Badger Red,” as we are the Badger State and red is the color of our home teams. Then green for peace and any color each person could throw on as we ran out our doors downtown, to wage battle for union rights against a truly clueless, mouth-breathing governor. He prevailed for the time… but we will not be broken. Next election, he’s out on his precious Teapot, if the elections are not once again paid for by billionaires.

Leave it to me to take a peaceful, flower-y prompt and go all political on you. But hey, what did you expect? Black-Eyed Susans? This is me. Peace, Amy

Night-Scented Stock, by Kate Bush; purchased online
Listen while you read the poem

Free Peace Silence

Eyes close
in cozy bed

Mantra repeated
heightened view

Swirls of
green and blue

with the One

Freedom from
confines of body

I am by myself
I am not alone

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Poets United, Kim Nelson wanted poems about freedom. Then she asked us to pare them down to the essentials. A wonderful exercise in excising the extras, Kim, so thanks! Also at my poetic lily pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace, Amy


Clotted mottles of burnt ember
anchor spindled legs: beige, green, bearbrown

From these spring tangled weaves in shades of
olive, speckled moss, faun tendrils
dodging one another, cat and mouse

Then triffidian horror movie monsters
crowned by iridescent tangerine, muted lavender,
or snow white as biblical innocence

First rains dribble weaker petals back to clay soil

Garden in bloom

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For We Write Poems (unexpected descriptions, with thanks to the inimitable Joseph Harker for leading the way!) and ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “C.” Also at my poetic garden (the one without the toads), Poets United.

NOTE: The adjective “triffidian” is made up in honor of one of my favorite sci-fi movies, “Day of the Triffids,” original story by British writer John Wyndham, about root-bound plants that suddenly become mobile after a meteor shower. The story is every bit as good as the movie, which starred Howard Keel as an American in London, one of his few non-musical roles. Read more about the story HERE. Peace and firmly rooted plants, Amy

Polly at Journal Read asked us to create an alternative reality. Since most of my reality is alternative already, this didn’t seem much of a stretch, and yet…

Sky Green

As I loll beneath a laughing willow
reading The Wit of Virginia Woolf,
sipping lemon juice from a
ceramic to-go cup…

I am struck by passersby who,
in the cool breeze of mid-August,
saunter to urgent meetings
when they should be hustling fast as sloths.

My blue hair is showing traces of
youth these days, bits of gold that
catch the noonday moonlight,
reflecting a crown-like glory.

Shall I stay on the lush red grass
or wander off past the former Starbucks
(now a café for overground art)
to catch the stagecoach back home?

Green sky at morning,
sailors take warning.
Grey sky at night,
sailors delight.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also posted at my trusty REAL reality, Poets United.

(For Riley)

She was a quiet, hidden way about her.
She may seem strident to some
but her shell protects her from
the piercing lens of the world.

Girl. Canvas. In the perfect light of a
beachside studio, her energy
is reignited. Perhaps warm, salty
air emits creative power.

She pitches in: Cerulean and Sand,
Viridian, a hint of Ivory, a
swish of vivid Magenta, a few
Ebony-dappled accents. No one can

imagine the sublime delirium,
this torrid tango of perfect partners.
Part duel, part puzzling rendezvous.
Her brow furrowing into a pleat

as she is lost in the swirl of brushstrokes.
She’s found a new way to express
what she feels, her profound nature.
Longing becomes art.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For the Sunday Whirl and my poetic touchstone, Poets United.
The Wordle included: Reignite, emit, delirium, air, piercing, swish, dappled, pleat, seem, strident, pitch, shell.

Third Eye of the Sightless Woman

Deprived of what doctors call normal vision,
she still envisioned worlds beyond worlds;
seeing each person beneath their form or color,
she possessed the gift of sight in her ears.

She heard beauty, shame, promise of each person
and saw their auras while listening to their stories.
Behind the vague stare was a screen of inner vision,
and here ran a constant stream of color and shape,
as all things passed her acute field of hearing.

Dogs barking in sharp blacks and whites.
Birds whirling in dissipating pinks and ochres.
Breezes green with promise of pale cyan rain.

But music – ah! music held the entire palette.
Symphonic orchestras, brilliant watercolor fields.
Strings pulling rakes to mingle azures and apricots,
brass spotting canvas with dots and long sturdy lines
of coral and dust, the silverfoil tingle of cymbals.

Jazz was denser; oils, perhaps, a thicker base.
Saxes hacking crimson into piano’s sepia lines.
drums ticking tapping low, inking ebony onto the canvas.
The singer could be violet, Ivy Anderson; sapphire,
Ethel Waters; or Julie London’s burgundy midnight.
And Billie: Dry-brushed for texture, always blue.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
dverse poetry asked for poems about opening one’s third eye. My best vision has always been heard (synesthesia adds to this; because of my condition, I often hear sight patterns). And so I gifted my subject with a different kind of sight. This is also posted at my poetic heart, Poets United. Peace, Amy