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

Tag Archives: Food

Certain Seafood

I love me a fresh-caught fish
If it’s farmed, it’s not delish

Salmon! Salmon! Now you’re jammin’!
Halibut will stave off famine

Lobster steaming on the plate
Melted butter, that is great

But if it had a suction cup
Just the thought and I throw up

Octopus, call it calamari
But to me it’s “run-a very far-y”

Don’t even think to serve me squid
You will see me flip my lid

Please don’t serve me suction-cup seafood
Gives me willies. It’s not “me” food

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Just a little doggerel for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ “fish” prompt! And it’s true. Even looking at octopus, especially raw, gives me the sensation that my teeth are falling out of their gums. Somewhere between phobia and gross-out.  What’s your fish/seafood pet peeve?  Anything give you the willies?  Let me know in comments!   Peace (and melted butter for the lobster), Amy

This is also in the “right margin” at Poets United, my other poetic fish tank. Peace, Amy

Special thanks for Walt at Poetic Bloomings for choosing my recent poem, Thing 205, as his “beautiful bloom” of the week. I was sincerely flattered and honored. Here’s another for the Bloomers and the Scribblers as well!

Honest Thy Ploughs

Honest thy ploughs
for the coming of Spring
That fields mayst be planted
their bounty to bring

Honest thy wits for
the work to be done
From fertile ground’s goodness
thy foodstuffs be won

Honest thy soul for
the days yet ahead
For labours be grateful,
no prayer left unsaid

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil              (Photo courtesy of

Dedicated to independent organic farms and the farmers who strive to stay small and grow healthy food, while Monsanto, et al., seek to buy them out, blanket fields with chemicals, and cram Frankenfoods down our throats.

For Sunday Scribblings (honest – a bit of poetic license, arcane use of the imperative verb form for “hone”) and for Poetic Bloomings (poems about Spring).

Just found out about a new site, launched by Leigh (“Old Altonian”) and Kwee of “Akweelife.” “The Tale Tellers” has one rule: NO PROMPTS. They invite stories, flash fiction, poetry… and they encourage constructive criticism and grammatical suggestions. So this post will be my first for The Tale Tellers! Come join in the fun – follow the link above!


Feeling friendly,
phoned Fiona Fleshpot.
Faded fashion filly
facing failed flick – fetid flop.

FLASH! (flotsam for females)
fancied former, firmer,
flexible, “fine” Fiona.
Furnished factoids.

Fix festivities.

Fry fast foods…
fling fresh fare
(fodder for former fatties).

Flaming flambes,
frozen Frangipani,
fudgy fondues.

Fiona feels friction falter;
feeds fairly full…

Finally, farts.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also at my poetic oasis, Poets United.

Super Bowl in Wisconsin 2011

More cheese
Cheese on chips
Cheese in dips
Cube and tubed
Fried and dyed
Cheese on breads
Cheese on heads
Mixed up and fixed up
Grated and plated

Beer and Stoli
Harder booze
7-layer dips
smeared on lips

Kicker misses
Groans and hisses
Green and Gold
bright and bold
Shrieks and grins

Cheesehead’s dream
LOVE our team

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Honeymoon and Garlic (Writer’s Isle, Sun. Scribs)
Drove upstate after The Big Date…
Honeymooning in the most
romantic, exotic destination
his heart could conjure:
A state park near Ithaca, NY.
(I knew this was the beginning of the end.)

My idea of camping is:
Where do I plug in my hair dryer?
Dire situation: Pitching the tent
(bitching to myself about the
rocky terrain. And the park.
I had definite ideas about tent poles.
In general and in specific.
Now he was bossing me around
telling me how I had the doohickeys
upside down, here, let ME do it,
like it takes Einstein or a similar genius
(meaning him) to put the damned thing together.
My betrothed, until death do us part
(until I strangle him, I’m already thinking).

Stoking the fire with damp wood –
smoking grey and choking the cook (moi),
I began begetting dinner.
A large pot for boiling water.
A skillet, olive oil shimmered as
garlic and onion swam
in the hot, shallow pool.
Clams next; a pat of butter.

Folks at the next campsite stared.
Dad yelled, “What the hell ya cookin’?
Sure smells good!” But he was kinda snarky about it.
I chirped back, “Linguine with white clam sauce,”
shaking a bottle of homemade vinaigrette
to drizzle over crisp romaine.
Guffaws from the the old fart as he
shook his head. Then he whispered,
loud enough for me to hear,
“City folk,” burning his mystery meat wieners
on the disgusting camp grill.

His wife looked to me with longing,
grinning her approval at my audacity.
I shrugged back, as if to say, You pitched your tent,
now you have to eat his wieners.
(My husband had ridiculed my choice
of uppity food, no gratitude. He did like
the Corelle plates, environmentally correct.
But he didn’t help clean up, just meandered off
to commune with nature
or talk to some animal who understood him.)

Unzipping the “honeymoon suite”
for a 3 a.m. leak in the bushes,
I gazed at the pinspot-littered sky.
“Why?” I whispered to God.
“Why did I just sign up for a divorce?”

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

One last poem before they shut off the Net access and I welcome the movers. This meditation is one three days without my Lex smiling at me across the dinner table; it’s also a remembrance of days before his loving help in the kitchen.


Dinner for one
Single chicken breast pounded, powdered with
a bit of flour, salt, pepper
No flourishes here; no guest to impress

Olive oil flashes as poultry meets
onion-green pepper-garlic melange,
the Holy Trinity of kitchen worship
A lonely head of broccoli pipes up, steaming

I sip Pinot Noir from a jelly jar
Finer glasses sit on the shelf
waiting for someone who will one day join me
chatting over chopping of veggies
as he compliments my talent
for producing perfect brown rice

The table is set now
One placemat, one napkin in its ring
One cat mrrrowing that it’s his suppertime, too

Swirling a second helped of wine, I wonder
when the Fates will serve me up
someone for whom presentation is everything
and dessert doesn’t come from the oven, but
the slow cooking of romance

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Sunday Scribblings, the call was for the theme “manifesto.” This seems apropos as we approach the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am killer-diller of all manifesto proclamation days… you know what I’m talking about: NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!


No matter what the resolution
I always messed it up
I confess, I’m mistress of the
revolution against New Year’s promises
all broken by Valentine’s Day

That year of the grapefruit diet
I fainted in the street
Lack of protein, said the doctor
Thus began the evolution of my desire
to quash sad manifestos

Friends who “will quit smoking on January first”
Suck ‘em up Dec. 31
Like a junkie determined to
wrench the monkey from his back
but keeps the tourniquet as a memento

Gyms are packed that first week of the year
Then one by one, they peel off
petals of a fading rose
that shrivels for lack of water
or that packet of crap you’re supposed to dissolve in the vase

Let’s face it.
New Year’s resolutions are
useless self-sabotage
Setting yourself up for failure
before the hangover even kicks in

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The Writer’s Island prompt was “Wondrous,” and I knew exactly where this would lead… Amy


O, the wondrous healing balm
comforting consolation

Whether this wellspring of pain
came from a broken romance
a broken promise
or a broken nail

All is made whole and well
by the soothing touch
of chocolate upon one’s tongue

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Ahhh, thanks to Poetic Asides for today’s prompt: LOVE. We could write all day, about everything from romance to our dachshunds to spiritual fulfillment to coffee… Click on the P.A. link and you’ll see what I mean! Scroll down and read some fantastic poets writing about our favorite mutual subject!  As for me…


Words. Gestures. Eye contact
in flickering candlelight.
Easy conversation over dinner, no rush.
Hushed hints of the night to come.

Yes, the tell the waiter, we’ll share
a piece of red velvet cake,,
which they discreetly feed each other
as they sip Arabic coffee,
thick, ebony sweetness.

Helping her on with her coat,
he whispers something – she giggles,
“My place.”

What happens next is
best left to the imagination.
But they share a heartbeat, a love
that transcends the clock
tick-tocking the moments of this evening:

A long-married couple
playing “Date Night,”
haven’t lost their appreciation
of the sensual pleasures
and the long, blissful
doorstep kiss.

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

IN PRAISE OF SLOW COOKING (for De and Justin Jackson)

Lex minces garlic
and chops onion on a small cutting board
We love the sound of the knife
thunking the wood.

I brown the chicken in olive oil,
nudging the cutlets, easing in
a bit of broth after the first turn,
poaching with herbs from my potted garden,
a splurch of wine, a pinch of pepper.

Now we divvy veggie duty:
He, the mushroom expert,
peels, washes, slices thin
with a knife we wish was
up to the quality of our endeavor.

I’m the Carrot Queen, the
Broccoli Barlow Baby.
Rice is already on,
scented with saffron.

Whatever the meal, we cook
together. Slowly.
We need only the kitchen,
time, talk, and the bumping of butts
as we faux-fight over space.

Cooking is only half the fun.
Then comes enjoying
a slow-cooked meal
with family and friends.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil