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

Tag Archives: Fantasy

Our prompt at Three Word Wednesday was to create a poem using these three words:   fragile, rampart, tremor


She seems invulnerable, so this was inevitable
The strongest fortress cannot hold its ramparts forever;
so the toughest girl on the block
cannot hold back the torrential reign of love

For beneath her crunchy exterior
lies a fragile veneer
covering a heart of molten chocolate

And now comes a presence
A murmur
A whisper of change breezing through her being
A tremble, a tremor, then
a collapse of her carefully maintained façade

She’s hopelessly heartfelt
More than a smidgen smitten
Finally fallen

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Our word at Sunday Scribblings this week was CURIOUS.


She trudged through our high school halls, lost
Aimless, claiming no one as her love,
let alone as her friend.
Defenselessness, defensiveness, born of low self-esteem…
Her mirror reflected no redeeming qualities – only questions.

She never knew we admired her aloofness.
It seemed like proof that you could survive high school
without a claque to back your every utterance

Graduation for Georgette was a slam of her parents’ back door
and a bus to the Left Coast.
The most she could score was a waitress gig,
but the tips were sometimes rolled in papers
or powdered, in neatly folded, palmable packets.

This was bliss. The otherworldly state, what was missing.
Communal living, easy giving
A belonging, a sense of family at last.
She offered her body to many men and
contracted various venereal diseases.
Still, she was pleased that she was wanted (though warted).

Dabbling in acid: Placid conversations with river frogs.
She produced artwork – optical delusions infused with
confused contortions of her new reality.

The hissing kiss of hashish in a hookah led to opiates of a wide variety,
side-winding her to limited life choices.
Not heeding her inner voice
(with its annoying mantra: “CAUTION!”),
she finally gave way to the needle.
Super Georgette, the heroin of her own life story.

Curiouser and curiouser.
Down the hold, harasses by nasty queens (and other tarts)
who wanted their money, honey.
Mad slatterns offered a spot in their stables,
and she complied… lied to her parents when she’d call for money
“I’m behind in my rent”
(I make rent using my behind)

smaller and smaller georgette shrank
until one day, shanked and shriveled,
she ceased to be at twenty-three.

Curiosity killed the kitten.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This week at Writer’s Island, we were asked to think about masquerades. First one was heavy, so I decided it was time for a little more fun. Easy, my Tea Party friends, it’s just a poem! Amy


This year, Halloween’s too easy
Red suit, sharp and stiff, not sleazy
Hair up in a shiny bun
Posture of a warring Hun

Sensible dark-rimmed wire glasses
Worn especially for the masses
“Shopped around, I’m really smart
Picked them up at our WalMart”

Smile until my lips vibrate
Platitudes at rapid rate
Kids, I’ll drag along behind
tied up to my butt with twine

Red high heels from Macy’s, dear
(“WalMart”? Not with my career!)
Vacant stare and “Yeah, you betcha”
Look out! Sarah’s gonna getcha!

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore, Sharp Little Pencil

At Writer’s Island, we were asked to write about masquerades. My main masquerade is in life… or it was, until I sorted out some details.


Confident of every move
My stylus firmly in the groove
A smile that says I’ll take the dare
This is the mask I sometimes wear

My wit, a whetstone-sharped knife
I’m lit by fire, devouring life
Yet no one can detect the tear
that rends the mask I sometimes wear

Late to parties, the first to leave
I’m shiny slick with joie de vive
But if you look with special care
You’ll see right through the mask I wear

That’s my candle, both ends burning
Dripping molten, careless yearning
My frozen face, makeup and hair
Mask the wear and tear of le guerre

But once I’m home and all alone
There’s no façade, no great unknown
My crippling doubt I never share
In public, I’ve a mask to wear

They’ll never see the stripped-down me
used by him when I was three
That little girl can only bear
to live behind the mask I wear

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore, Sharp Little Pencil


Should the shipwreck come
and I and my truck be washed ashore
Here’s what remain to call my own
sustaining me in my bamboo hut:

Tangerine candles and wooden matchsticks
A jar of honey
A box of African Red Bush Tea
My favorite honeybee mug
A volume of Neruda and one of Hardy
Paper and pencils
Pictures of my family and friends
A few sports bras and tramparound clothes
One little black dress, unusable in these circumstances
Hopefully, my bifocals would survive the swim

But most important of all:
My wit
My faith
My ingenuity, soon to be tested
My name
…even if I am the only one left alive to say it

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore

Written for the “Envision” prompt at Writer’s Island, my Saturday hangout. Peace, Amy


Unthinkably vast
Earthly limitations banished
Swirling channels of gold
Soft, dry, enveloping
The comforting experience of a universe
you never recognized, yet never left

The essence of your spirit
breaks through an eggshell membrane
Penetrating a place that is not a place
but a pool, ocean, sea, sky
constellation of love and nothing more

Picture love’s embrace
in a place called Eternity

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This was written awhile back for Writer’s Island, and we had a request for a re-post from Jingle Poetry! Dream on, kids… Amy


Wandering into the enchanted field
petting daisies, grazing the tips of
grasses grown wild and tall
She centers herself
gripping damp ground with her toes
Eyes close and her face turns skyward

Arms rise from her sides and she
wills her body to follow
Heels peel off the earth, then her toes
Opening her eyes, she is just off the ground
hovering, delighted, a featherweight being
Now comes the real work

She launches into a vertical breaststroke
slowly, loving the feel of her fingers moving through
humid air as though along a pond
The field is far below her now; her house is
a Lego-sized block. She levels off her ascent
and pushes farther into the atmosphere

Over hills, touching the tops of Douglas firs
Swooping down over the river, she waves to
kids swimming on the lakeshore
Look, they whisper, Why don’t our parents
believe us? She doesn’t wait for night
She takes flight when we can watch her

But the grownups are too busy, away from the
places in nature where she can be spied
so only children are inspired to try and fly
Someday, she muses, I will have a daughter
and we will take a night flight, hand in hand, close to
the harvest moon, as fireflies light the way

And when we’ve had enough of airborne travel
we’ll come to rest on our own roof
feet dangling over the eaves. Wondering, laughing
How many are blessed with the power of flight?
She doesn’t know, but thinks it must be very few
for she’s never seen another in all her travels

Her mother taught her the secret: Let go of the world
let the air fill you up past your lungs, so deeply
that you are the air. Let go and be free

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore, Sharp Little Pencil

We were asked to put ourselves in someone else’s place and write about the experience. Here is one of three I wrote today. Enjoy!


Safe here and comforted
by a rhythm so steady
Nourished effortlessly
All I need, I have

Voices muffled but familiar
Hearing them more clearly
as the days pass
Hoping to meet them soon

Upside down now, I think
Ready to tackle the tunnel
and emerge gasping
into the light

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


And she said, “Let there be no more war.”

She challenged leaders who had disagreements
to meet at round tables, with mediators

In the event of violence
the leaders themselves were escorted to a boxing ring
where they could keep their fight personal
and not send the young to die over what was essentially
hubris and hurt feelings

She was a wise leader who set the stage
for a new age of peace

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Sad Lisa was a hard-headed woman
She was miles from nowhere
on the road to find out
where the father and son had gone

Had they boarded longer boats
Sailed into the night fog, into white
She brews tea for the tillerman and whispers
But I might die tonight

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore
From Cat Stevens’ “Tea For The Tillerman”