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

Tag Archives: Free Verse

Pink Champagne

Was that the name of
the chalky rose that graced
my 20-year-old lips

Was it a drag queen or
my girlfriend Rickie who gave me
that stick/mystical tube

Cylinder of cotton candy
and chemical confection
that no doubt helped my pout

Yes, it was Rickie after all who
slipped Georgette Klinger into my purse
and said, “Work it, girl”

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

When Imaginary Garden With Real Toads mentioned the color pink, this little memory emerged from the silver tube of my synapses! I will always be grateful that Rickie Lee Jones is my friend… we are almost the same age, but she was always the big sister, more worldly, a bit wiser. And yes, she still has the BEST makeup, hee hee.

She has her first album of all originals coming out in June, so stay tuned. I will write to one of those pieces.


Muse-ical Demands

Starts off humbuzzing
nuzzling, within and without
her brain stirring to life

“Wait awhile,” says a muse-ical voice
“Hang out here – words are
on their way.”

Then her mind’s forest glade
is overtaken by a storming swarm
of mystical creatures
Scurrying round her chair
Mumbling jimmystewartlike
Shaped in curves and lines
The stuff of scribbled margins

“Hear us!” they demand
“No idyllic comforts for you today!”

Passion’s blessed curse
She knows but one way:
She and the skittersliding
can coexist

And she fumbles for a pencil

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads asked us to consider the work of Eugenio Montale, an Italian man of words who was a Nobel Laureate. He wrote prose poems, and I have adapted his mostly nature-themed works into my own “human nature-themed” work!

Have been drawn to art (acrylics and the like) lately, so have not been around my blog much. Apologies, and many thanks for all who stick with me, even when I don’t stick with myself. To myself. Oh, you know what I mean…

Peace, Amy

The Book of Nina
(for her parents and Team Nina)

Her last chapter finished too soon
Take a look at her book
Pages of stories, of friendships

Several paintings: Cerulean, Manganese
All shades of blue
White for the waves capping
The sea, the surf, her board,
and suddenly our own feet bare,
warmed by sunned sand

Turn the page and bubbles stream out
When they rise and pop,
her laughter rings out again and again

More and more art…

One page, a pool table
Look closely as the balls roll around
and pocket themselves at the hand of
the pool shark

Sad to see the book’s author
lost so young
with such promise
with so much talent

And yet, we will hold Nina’s book close
Take it out often
Leaf through a life well-lived
Not a moment wasted

And we will scribble our memories
in the margins

We miss you

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The subject of my last, hopeful poem, Nina Fitzpatrick, has passed over to the other side. She was – and is – a formidable presence in the lives of many students at Laguna Beach Institute of Art and Design. Check out her FaceBook page and see her in her glory. She was awake at the time of the accident and even posted a message complaining about all the CT scans…then there came an irreversible swelling of the brain and she ceased connection with the physical realm. although they talked to her and were sure she could hear… her soul suspended between the bed and the beyond.

Nina, like Riley, decided early on that she would never want to be held in a vegetative state and that she wanted her organs donated. Her parents, surrounded by “Team Nina” (Riley and other close friends), were there 24/7, a testament to love and hope – and finally to the heartbreaking act of saying goodbye.

Nina will graduate from LCAD. Students are now pushing harder for an overpass to avoid that unbelievably dangerous crosswalk. Let’s hope the city is shamed into finally taking action. It’s too late for Nina, but she will be watching, I know. BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR if you’re not already.

This will go in as a Memorium to ABC Wednesday, Letter M.  Thanks for reading this. Amy

The Autopsy

Fluids drained systematically
First cut delicate
Then deeper, probing for
what’s needed to harvest

Skin ravaged
Insides filled to the gills with pills
Pharmaceutical to the cuticle

The heart unusable, broken
The rest is flotsam
yet spoken of reverently

After all, this was once
our planet

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Free write after contemplating how Wisconsin helps the fracking industry by mining and selling off the ‘perfect’ sand for piercing our earth… and collecting shale farts. Between that practice and the damned Pipeline, how do lowly wind/solar advocates stand a chance? We are muted by Big Money. Peace, Amy

Pink, Above and Below

above and below
She knows this tavern
is a cavern of
half-truths and full-blown lies

Icarus and ice

Yet, this morning
la colorosa* bathes
the barstools and bodies
laid waste by last night

Sunrise brings the glow
of a knowing
that this day
there will be change

Her heart will melt
inthe pink glow of sundown

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image by Oxag at Wikipedian Commons:
Sunrise at Angkor Wat (Worldwide Usage Permission)

* la colorosa means “pink” in Spanish – at least, in Puerto Rico.

Hannah at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted color, a cave (and what better cave than a bar!), a hunger, adventure, and ice. Pull up a barstool and tell me yours. Also on the margins at Poets United.  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

Portrait by Edward Lear, poet and artist

I Made a Bu-Bo (and other nonsensical blather)

Snickering up on the biggest owl
on the entire Gaia Marble,
the Eagle Owl
(some are longer than,
some are heavier than,
but the Eagle Owl is
generally considered, by those
ornithologically inclined,
to be biggest, so who am I
to argue with expertations
of the nth degree; their
degrees on their walls and
in their halls of edification

So I am snickering up,
that is, asneak, all the better
to pop the vroom lens on my
Kodak Not A Brownie But
Something Of Great Cost,
the camera, my only friend
since my husbandonment
left me too for spending
so much money on this
gadgetary nonsense

As I said (for I digress,
even upon egress), I am
snickering up sneaky as pie
to take a rotogravurical image
of the Great (if not largest or
heaviest, per said experts)
Eagle Owl, as rendered
(in ink, not in olive oil,
for this bird has little meat,
and the plucking’s torture,
especially if the owl is still
alive and quite ornith… ornery)
I say, as rendered by the Even
Greater Edward Lear, I thus
with my gravuracospity at its
heightedness, do snarkily step on a
bygone Snickers wrapper and oops

The Bubo-Bubo, as it’s called
in Eurasia, yes, boob that I am,
it flies off before I can get a shot
(with said camera, and not with
assault riflage of any repudiation)
My questation, a lost causation…
The owl, gone the way of
other fowl, and growlsome, I
retreat fleet back to my bungaloo,
buggered again by Naturama.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, a tribute to May birthday boy, poet and artist Edward Lear/ I thought he was known only for his doggerel (including The Owl and the Pussycat) but now I know (thanks to the site) that he produced fine artwork, especially his collection of bird portraits. I decided to try the fun doggerel style of Lear as well as writing about one of his portraits. Hope I succeeded! This is also on the rolling right column of my poetic nest, Poets United (proud to be a member!).

The Eagle Owl is arguably (as poem says) the largest owl, found in Europe and Asia. It’s about halfway up the Endangered Scale. I like its expression because it looks like my late black kitty Missy when she put on her “mean face”! Amy

Dark Voyage

Another dark alley
Why aren’t there ever any
light alleys? she quirks to herself

She waits for the next john to be sexed
Pawns her body for a fix
Used to be kicks
First the hash pipe

Upgraded to Opium 5.0
The real deal, the needle

Looks like a smear of poop on foil but
once it’s lit, it’s hit and
she isn’t worth shit

Heroin, a nightmare cannibal picnic
sliding down the clever beanstalk
into the tar pits for a long slick sick soak

Heroin. She’s nodding, her mind
smolders with visions conjured from
the greasy plank decks of the U.S.S. Sheol

She forgets the mess under her dress and
presses her mind against a wall of sounds
When she wakes, her stomach will ache

She’ll john once more to score
to black it out
to empty the chasm
already scraped bare

The addict: A mind forever voyaging
through strange seas of thought, alone

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image: Wikipedia Commons

Kerry at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted us to write using a line from a William Wordsworth poem, since today would have been his 243rd birthday. The Wordsworth line I chose was, “A mind forever Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.” This is how I see many addicts: isolated, caught in a foreign place (even if it’s his/her home town), and always wondering. The “aloneness” of the line grabbed me by the ear and said, “Listen!” And so I did. And then I picked up my pencil. This is also for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United… proud to be a member! Peace, Amy

Thanks to all who sent notes of support during my recent “computer Blue Screen Of Death” crisis. Took a day or so to read the work of others before starting to post again.

To followers of this blog, THANK YOU for your patience. If Sadie doesn’t Blue Screen again, I’ll be happy and she won’t be carted back to the shop sniffling. (OK, I was the one sniffling…)

Sunday Scribblings asked for poems about creativity. Seems like a good starting point for getting my groove back, also to post at dverse Open Mic Night, as well as the site that never BSODs me, Poets United (become a member, y’all!) and the whimsical Imaginary Garden with Read Toads for Open Link Monday. The seed for this poem was in a note to my dear friend Sidnie, with whom I share certain parts of the bozosphere.

Creative Juices

In the game of Poetry*
there are no winners, nor losers

Our creative juices flow
sometimes in rhythm and rhyme
or perhaps in chaotic streams of

One man’s Keats
is another women’s drivel

So please accept
these dribblings
from the
howling bloodhound slobberjaws
of my
creatively juicy life

(or not)

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

*Shout-out to Buddah Moskowitz, who disdains “Capital P” poetry!! You’re my bruddah from anudda mudda! Ameleh

MY MAN (the texture of his soul)

Jagged thorny corners where
nuns did a number on him

Nearby, a fountain that weeps salt
for this father, gone too soon

On one side, blown glass
Cool to the touch, warming now…

Burlap covers newly planted notions
He will wait for blooms

Devotions in denim, closed eyes
weary after work of worship

A patch of stubble – not 5:00 Draper
but his biting, familiar sarcasm

A kazoo juts out of one side
waiting to play “Bridge On The River Kwai”

Settling in to meditate will be hard
what with all the racket, but he’ll get there

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “M.”  Also for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

This seemed to be the week to write about Lex, who pastored during a Seder on Thursday, spent quiet time on Good Friday, went to the vigil with me on Saturday, and rocked the church with an amazing sermon on Easter Sunday. Love of my life; man of God; sweetheart of a guy. Trust me, you’d love him.