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

Tag Archives: Fantasy

Music in Mind… Thanks to My Fan

Flip on a fan
and in its breeze
vague Beach Boys harmonies
No lyrics, simply voices
floating through my mind

Open a window
and birdsong reigns
with backup vocals
from faraway sirens
in my stream of consciousness

Is it the meds?
No worries here; they are
benevolent offspring of
my inner sanctum of melody

Don’t switch off that fan, honey
It’s singing my song…

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “F” – and as always, at my harmonic hangout, Poets United. Peace, Amy

Remember When

There you are again,
curled up, pretzel-thin.

Still wondering why
he won’t say goodbye.

Daily you’re a doubt.
Half laughter, half pout…

Therapist listens.
Talent glistens,

but for whom?
Since the womb

you’ve been easing
into people pleasing.

Why not relax?
Reconsider Xanax?

You think it’s almost over?
Baby, run for cover.

Hate to burst your bubble,
but you’ll be causing trouble

long after you’ve gone grey,
long after this dark day.

Looking at your through
this mirror of new,

I see you back then,
knowing you’ll remember when.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Poetic Bloomings: Let your future self advise you in the NOW.

Also for Sunday Scribblings: Suspended reality or fantasy.

Still following National Poetry Writing Month at Writer’s Island. Stumbled upon a prompt at Sunday Scribblings, “Design.” You can find this one at Poets United as well, along with many other poets.

Please feel free to comment with critiques if you wish – I really appreciate feedback.  Thanks! Amy


Delicate veins of climbing ivy
Creeping clematis and morning glory shaping
a heavenly, fenced-in fortress turned playground
“Come inside,” they whisper, voices of children.
“Linger awhile. You’re safe here.”
Yes, she thinks. I’ll stay in this haven
until I can make sense of things.

Safe from prying parents who
“only want to help you, honey…”
Yes, I’ll make myself scarce for a brief time-out.
Life is too confusing and no one understands.

Sounds easy, tempting, perhaps, to
hide in a high, wide, heather-rowed hedge
while hedging your bets.

Tracing paths within, flowers begin to
drop from their vines and rot
on the well-trodden, muddy path beneath.
The whispers have turned from beckoning sprites
to taunting, shrill fishwives.
She panics. Where am I now? And why are the voices
now vexing me with matters that do not concern them?
They speak of my secrets and shame and…

Soon time and the complexity of the maze
have overrun thoughts of escape, as isolation
becomes complete… an utter lack of options.
Vines twist around her neck, muting cries for help;
thorns pierce her flesh as morbid curiosity
secures another victim for The Labyrinth.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Someone mentioned a challenge to write a weird poem. Now’s your chance to see what free-form thoughts ping-pong about in my mind, directly onto the keyboard. Yeah, I know, don’t forget your meds, Amy!

You Said It

If I had to choose a pickle
I’d take one from the right.

The left one too squidgy
The other one so tight.

And for my pleasure, whistle
the tune from “Auld Lang Syne.”

It’s sad lugubrious and nice
for crying in your brine.

A walk to watch the fat cats
crony at private points

as lizards crawl up pantlegs
and weasels gnaw their joints.

My hair is tightly binding
my scalp onto my head.

My thoughts are finely scattered
but my pencil’s out of lead.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Well, a poet named honey haiku started a new (not exclusively haiku) prompt, The Eyelet Review, so I decided to try it out. It seems to be “any forms, anything” for now, at least, but I used the lovely portrait she employed for her poem, “Dalliance,” and tried a different twist. Hope honey likes it!

It's all about role-playing!



Here we are again
Frolicking with no end in sight
This week, we decided to go Bodice-Ripper
and recline here in the woodland
posing as for a portrait

I’ll bet no one would guess
my wicker basket is filled with
chocolates and brandy
crackers and cheese
and several edible condoms!

© 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

I couldn’t resist this prompt from We Write Poems. Then I’m definitely stopping until February! The prompt was to revise an old poem, and this one was reworked for my chapbook, Dance Groove Funhouse (shameless plug: See right column to order a copy. I could use the encouragement! There’s nothing in there your grandma couldn’t read.)

I had to rework it because it had the “F” word in it (as well as “shit”) and I decided the first was too harsh and the second could be replaced with the infinitely funnier word, “crap” – even though I’m a salty dame, I was considering my readers and felt that this slight bowdlerism was apropos. Also, I kept the line about the airgun even though I’m a pacifist, because this is about feelings, not what you’d really do. Finally, I broke up the days more clearly.

What came out was, to me and to many readers, a better poem altogether. Let me know what you think! Amy



Lazing after lush, lazy sleep I am
awakened by a lark
perched beneath my bedroom window
serenading me of the day to come
Thank you, God, for this blessing
the wakeup call from heaven
Birdsong on a Saturday morning


Working 9-5
Long into the night, I tossed and turned 3 a.m.
The alarm will grant me 6:45
Then it starts
That stinking bird
Sackful of crap that will undoubtedly be dispensed
on my windshield
If only I had
an airgun

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Previously published in the chapbook, Dance Groove Funhouse

Another take on the Writer’s Island prompt, Embark. The journey many of us would love to undertake.


O, to travel through time…

To the Harlem of Langston Hughes
To feel jazz wash over me and see
faces reflecting the culture of America

To the never-was Wessex of Hardy
To view broad expanses of countryside
and drink warm ale wearing home-sewn clothing

To trace the footsteps of Jesus, follow his sandals
to the lake share, witness the dropping of nets,
the spark of belief in a widow’s face

To occupy even the worst seat at a concert
featuring Jacqueline du Pre or Glenn Gould
To see Billie at Carnegie; Judy at the Palace

To hear firsthand Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”
echoing through every hidden corner of
streets in the Beats’ Greenwich Village

O, to travel through time!

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Jingle asked us to write about pastimes this week for Poetry Potluck. I love going through this box of treasures, so much that I put it in the chapbook (shameless plug, see right column!).

Hope it gives you a smile! Amy


My mother’s “precious box” held sentimental doodads
The box was left to me when she died
Inside were Grandma’s fake diamond screw-back earrings
(“Real ladies” didn’t pierce their ears in those days)

Grandpa’s ring, raw turquoise set in carved silver
Girl Scout leader pins, Dad’s cuff links
A clip-on bow tie from Mom’s singing days
And a skeleton key, antique silver, dim patina

For years I’ve pondered what lock would respond; where the “open sesame” lay
A room in a past apartment? The front door to a secret house?
A desk filled with dusty volumes of Kipling and Whitman
Perhaps a cache of cash?

Somewhere there is a house, a door, a drawer
Whose treasures will remain hidden
Because I hold in my palm
The answer to a question

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This one was inspired, in a way, by the Kafka Metamorphosis, but… well…  GAFBers, this one’s for you!


I started off so fat
carefully dressed in white
that clung to my body
like Travolta’s ice cream suit.

OW! That burns,
but I am comforted by kisses
lips caressing me,
I am passed from friend to friend.

I’m the life of the party.
Glowing like the star of the show,
as the lava lamp flows,
bloop… bloop… bloop…

Minutes later, spent.
They’ve used me until I’m
a scrap of my former self
Now, indignity. Out comes the roach clip.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil