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

Tag Archives: Depression

If She Were

If she were a cuticle
she’d be bleeding

If she were road kill, she’d be
half in a crow’s belly

This country
These headlines
The prospects, so bleak

She’s dog tired
Bone weary

Dog bone busted

© 2016 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

ABC Wednesday is on the letter “I” and seems to be pointing toward writing one’s own life. Strange to write these thoughts in the third person; yet, to claim all this as mine feels like defeat.

I am hopeful, but this reality is taking its toll…

Peace, Amy

Erasure of Self
Amy Erasure 001
Like goosebumped skin
erasure sets in

Eyes closed to sun
Energy, none

The me people know,
the warm glow,

cedes to the smear
of what is now here

Go, thou dread curse
Take with you your hearse

Better days will come
If I (     )

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Artistic Expressions’ Margaret asked us to write to a sketch. This one I completed at the onset of my last depression. As always, I crawled out, just in time for Riley’s triumphant graduation! Peace, Amy


Once more from the breach-
birth out of the depths
Held my breath for hours
for days, weeks

Leaking only a bubble-
burst of word/words
Confined to my throne
on the ocean floor

Or was it a cocoon?
Yes, perhaps, and I
trapped after worms
encased me as I slept

Awaking blind, absorbed
only in the way through
Squirmsliding out of
the fetid chrysalis


© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Open Mic and Imaginary Garden with Real Toads’ Open Link Monday. This explains my long absences, and I’m sorry to all who expect more from me. Cannot fight the anti-muse, even in sunny summertime. Peace, Amy


“Don’t bother with that now,” says he,
that little devil in me, and with a smile.
“The pills aren’t good for you – you, who are
too special to be tamed by doctors’ doses.”

I gaze through cobalt blue glass. It’s all over
our house, in unexpected places and all the
windows. Blue soothes. Blue cools my brow.
She, color of cornflowers and lobelia.

“Don’t look there. And remember,” says he,
“there is so much more fun in dancing without
benefit of discretion, in writing on the walls
before the thought skitterclatters down the hall.”

I do not listen to that voice. Not a voice, really,
that would be schizyfreaky… it’s the pull of
the World, of Things To Be Bought, of Drinks
To Be Drunk (Too Many and Too Often).

He stops, knows he’s been recognized. “Girl,
I’m only trying to help. The meds keep you under
a scripted thrall of ennui. Remember the old days?
You were the good time that was had by all.”

Had and had again, says I, searching for the
new blue top, periwinkle. Blue cobalt strand in
one ear, a blue bejeweled post in the other. I’ll sing loud
the blues. Sing over him. Sing past him and out the door.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

A continuation of writings probing the “many-splintered thing,” my depression! Sunday Scribblings asked for “you and me” poems. This poem takes an abstract turn because, as I continue to fight a deep depression, I’ve had an internal dialog of sorts: the relationship between the “devil” of my chemical imbalance (and temptations to go off meds) are tempered by my relationship to the color blue, a healing shade for my blues, and isn’t that ironic? For some reason, it has always brought me solace; hence, the many blue bottles and jars all over our apartment.

Anything that works. And it WILL get better, even though I was born without bootstraps by which to pull myself up… that’s where meds and therapy take over to breach the gap.

This is also posted at my calm blue writing room, Poets United. Peace to all, Amy


Inside the grey balloon
on its slippery floor
Empty in here
save the very air, and
it’s not even helium

someone else’s
exhalations of CO2
Crushing my lungs
Hard to breath
to think

I view life though
this opaque barrier
My hands press
against one side
upsetting my
delicate balance

Gerbil in a wheel
reeling around the room
above the carpet
below the moon
Without a pin to pierce
these pale graphite walls.

So I will sit here
wait for the
half/air to seep out
Then I’ll wriggle
through the knot
to rejoin the living

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Poets United’s Wonder Wednesday, the prompt was simply, “grey.” Depression is my grey, and yet, coming out of it is simply another shade. There are no blacks and whites (save ink and sheets of paper). A grey world is what you make of it. And then there is the burgeoning silver in my hair, AKA “God’s free highlights.” Peace, Amy

After a weekend of seeing our brilliant youth and their adult mentors in the church’s summer musical, then ministering on Sunday morning with the Edge Band, you’d think I’d be all tuckered out. In truth, it’s those busy weekends that sometimes set me behind the 8-ball of posting to last week’s prompts! Ye,t last night, I was up until 3 writing to a prompt from Joseph Harker (see last post, an ekphrastic poem), bitten by that late-night manic muse.

Here are two poems written for three sites. Enjoy, as I bask in cool air here in Wisconsin, an increasing rarity these days.


Depression Hates Sunlight

Cloistered in my corner
Life passes by bay windows
Fresh air beckons

Big sis is on her horse today
Rides her farm, inspects the hives
Middle sis building a new home in the woods

I should be peeking at a wedding at the Gardens
Instead, birds taunt from the broad tree out back
now aglow in the burnt orange hues of sunset

Frozen in place, in space, I remain
tethered to an uneasy chair
Hiding from rays of healing

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday. This, written for the letter D, is about my Big D, Depression. Also for The poem’s imagery comes from Teresa of Razzamadazzle, hosting the prompt at Imaginary Garden With Read Toads. If you’d like to see the images from which this poem arises, please click HERE, as I didn’t have time to write Teresa for permission to reproduce them on my blog… believe me, they are stunning photos. If you’d like to read more of Teresa’s work, try here: Razzamadazzle.


Empty Nest

A mother nurses her newborn
Emotion wells within me; my aging womb falters

I long to touch the face of my only child
even as she is grown, gone to graze in new pastures

Later, in the night sky
even stars mock me as they glimmerglow,
each seems a crystalline soul out of reach

None will glow within my empty nest.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Image from I strongly support moms who nurse their babies in public. We have enough “Wardrobe Malfunctions” on TV; why are folks repulsed by what Mary did for her baby, a ritual as old as time, and always practiced tastefully, lightly covered. I also know some women aren’t lucky enough to experience this bonding, and my heart goes out to them.

For Three Word Wednesday (yeah, I’m running behind on this Monday morning!), giving us the words Emotion, Falter, and Touch. Thanks to Thom at 3WW for hosting this wonderful weekly challenge!

Peace be with you all. Amy

monday’s forecast

thick, ornery clouds gather
on my mental horizon
chasing my fanciful birds into trees
sending all manner of wild wildlife
into hiding, seeking sanctuary
even the chipmunk on the edge plays
“duck and cover” under the back stoop

it’s coming, the lack of light
of life as I like it
a tunnel, an abyss where
bliss is forbidden
and bright eyes dim to
an absent stare
a slackened jaw, a slacker me

i turn to my bible hoping for answers
“even though i walk in the
valley of the shadow of death
i will fear no… no…”
no words for this condition
no balm in this gilead
no spirit to comfort me

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Sunday Scribblings, the prompt was “Storm.” This poem started out as a real, physical storm and ended up, as with many of my offerings, with the onset of a bout of depression. Not so much a storm as a sea change, I suppose, but the warning clouds feel the same – and once the faucets open, it might as well be raining.  Buckets.