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

Tag Archives: Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Sing to Spring
(Fade in on open field, where members of the local Women’s Chorus are engaged in their annual ritual of welcoming the new season. Dressed like milkmaids; everyone thinks they are a little nutty.)

Amorous buxom choristers, dancing everywhere
Fearless, guileless, heaving inspirations, juggling knowledge and
lascivious, mature natures…
Pendulum quickens; rhythmic sashay turns vibrant windmill…

(Two hours later, at a coffee shop, the event concludes with these time-honored words…)
Yum!  Zabaglione!

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Yes, my mother told me that, one fine spring day, a group of her friends from a local women’s barbershop group got together and did indeed “Sing to the Spring.” Of course, it didn’t involve a coffee shop; methinks they were slightly hammered!

For Imaginary Garden With Read Toads, where “Play It Again, Toads” found me attracted to Marian’s ABC romp through the alphabet, along with Margaret’s post of “Spring – detail” (1890) by Thomas Wilmer Dewing.  Peace, Amy (and what a fun singer was my Mom, right?)


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.

Amy


Bedside Manners

Sometimes in the fever of my dreams
Mom is alive but dying…

Here she is, going again… an alternate version
conjured in my vulnerable, variable mind
DAD has come to pay his respects to his wife
who is laid up, Frida Kahlo style
Four-postered with guests

He enters to their collective gasp
because he’s brought his girlfriend along
(now I know it’s a dream because he
is asking permission)
She is a short one, tanned midsummer dark, brown hair
Big smile. Would be likeable
if not for the timing and her smarmy date (Dad,
who holds her hand while his
other paw is on her shoulder
like a pull on a bra strap)

Mama smiles, honest to God
She seems happy
Then Dad’s date begins to shrink
Below his shoulder, almost to his elbow, then
shorter still as Mom watches fondly/strangely

Same straight hair, same dark coloring, same
as me
Same brown eyes, same smile, same
as me
And then it hits me, I understand Mom’s smile
She wasn’t happy
She was relieved

Sometimes the best way to
get a bad man out of your bedroom

is to send him across the hall

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Open Link Night, the Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads! Love me some gardening, especially on such a beeeeeautiful day here in Wisconsin. Peace, Amy

#abuse #WithRealToads #poetry #freeverse #daughters #night #openlink #death&dying


Goldie Hawn in Huckabee’s… dreams

Dawgs, Nuns, Tits & Groooovy

Huckabee Hound for President?
We know cuz his book jest came out
Southern Dawg gonna show the
Yew Ess of A
what them values are all about
Specially all you wimmin

‘Nuns’ is the easy one, fer yer teens
Nun o’ this and nun o’ that
Cept is she goes to a frat party
Then it’s her fault fer bein a slut
(And you better keep that baby, girl)

‘Tits’ is even easier – the bigger they are
the more babies they kin feed
Not bad to look at neither

‘Groooovy?’ Mike wishes us girls’d
be like that little cutie Goldie Hawn
Not the Oscar-winning actress
Not the movie producer
The one with grafitti smeared on her
scanty-panty go-go dancin’ bod
Betty Boopin’ on Laugh-In

Swear to God, I saw it on that Kelly girl’s
FOX show, Huckabee said it on the air
Said all us wimmin shouldn’t swear and
his Southern- fried values include hootchie dancers
Mike’s Values = Deep Discounts for females

Seriously, I wonder if he knows he has a
teenage crush on a Jewish Buddhist
who has had several kids out of wedlock
and advocates for freedom of choice

Can’t you hear Goldie screaming,
“What the F***?”

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

I’m back and, as usual, I’m irritated at politics of the Far Right Extremists.  Megyn Kelly, the Great Blonde Hope of FOX News, slammed Mike Huckabee during an interview promoting his book/presidential bid, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy (I know, don’t get me started). She cut him off, saying that New York women not only swear but smoke, drink, and use contraceptives for their premarital sex. She had also previously “accidentally” referred to him as Mike F***abee” on the air (pretty obvious way to get the clip into cyberspace and boost her ratings.) That clip was run again, along with a clip of Hawn in the 60’s. Groooooan.

When you’re FOX, that’s edgy. When you are the rest of the world, you realize she’s not talking about casual hookups, smoking pot, lesbian or transgender women… or what the options are when the condom breaks or the Pill fails. And the women in question are undoubtedly white, probably tragically blonde, and definitely straight.

Huckabee is another buffoon, right up there with (my state’s governor) Scott Walker (AKA “Walkandchewgum,” thanks to the Solidarity Singers). Kind of Jerry Falwell without the Jaysus emphasis.

As for Goldie, she fought the Laugh-In stigma for years and has been open about the sexual harassment she endured in her early career. Sock it to him, Goldie.  And find this and many other diverse poems at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link!

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Ghost of Mama, Passed

Damnedest thing, this smell
Can’t get it out of hair
nor clothes nor bedding

Cigarette smoke
That shit cost me a career

Two weeks of stench
clinging like a needy ex
stalking me like that one guy who…

Here comes freakazoid strange:
Niece calls me, nervous, feels like
“Grandma is trying to say something
to me, it’s important”

Now, I was Charlotte’s listening daughter
But Kati was Grandma’s smoking buddy
They sat and puffed for hours
while I choked in the next room
(but grinning because, hey,
Charlotte smoking and hacking was
still better than Charlotte drinking)

Twentysome years Mom’s been dead
After so much time, you think?
Charlotte clouding me with smoke
and Kati still puffing, could it be?

Mama, we are listening
Tell us what to do

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, we’re playing, Play it Again, Toads! Going back to an old prompt. First came Ella, invoking Halloween; then, there was a site of lines from ghost poems, one of which we must incorporate into our poem.

One struck me, from Ghost by Paul Mariani: After so much time you think… although I rephrased it for effect.

The experience in my poem is real. It could be weaning off a psych med, although the side effect was not confirmed by my psychiatrist. Maybe some old secondhand smoke finally draining out of my sinuses, like old toxins? Possibly a denim jacket from St. Vincent de Paul that I didn’t launder enough before wearing a few days in a row? It could be something ‘brainiacal,’ and for that I will consult my physician Monday.

But I think it’s Mom, I really do! (Especially because I washed the bejeezus out of the jacket and used a Netipot on my sinuses…)  Guess I’m calling Kati tomorrow after church!  Peace, Amy (although now I freaked myself out and I probably won’t sleep much.  Such is the questionable wisdom of creating ghost stories before bedtime!)


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
Jumping
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
ROWDS
SWORD
WORDS
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


Sun Goes Down Bitter

Sunset is the saddest light there is
when it signals another night
for a blighted, blindfold family

Threats shouted, curses thrown
‘cross the supper table
flung like mashed off a ladle

Someone always slams palms down
Leaves in a huff, mumbling stuff
This time it’s Dad – which is really bad

Cause he’s mad at Mom, anxious
When he’s anxious he wants some
and he’ll take it from someone

who’s smaller than he is
Can’t talk back, can’t fight back
Can’t swallow her vitamin in the morning

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Susie at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, “Play it Again, Toads.” I chose a line (“Sunset is the saddest light there is…”) from Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, a book I read years ago and now must read again.

The thought of summer sunsets, very sad. Alcohol for Mom all afternoon… two martinis for Dad – after he had stopped for a drink with the guys. He was quick to anger, yet completely arbitrary… kept his buttons hidden from us, but if Mom knew he was “in the mood,” she’s spark a fight and later go to her room and lock the door.

So much for the safely of the suburbs and the oft-Tea-Partied “stability of two-parent families.” I’d have given anything to get them a divorce! Peace, Amy

PS I am not posting much, but I am in a cycle of artwork: acrylics, India Ink, pastels, courtesy of Cornucopia Arts Center of Madison, WI, a free center for neurodivergent people. I’ll try to sneak in some art next time. A


Crowning Glory

She dresses for the party tonight
simply
sweetly

She fusses with her Hello Kitty necklace
dreamily
purposefully

She lingers in a view of
herself
and her crown of glory

Her “all clear” party and
chestnut
hair jewelry

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Locks of Love allows people to donate 10” or more of their own hair to help create wigs for low-income girls who have allopecia or are fighting cancer. My favorite donor was a girl in our Attica church who had done it twice before her 16th birthday. Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Magaly asked us to write about hair jewelry. This sprang to mind as a survivor adornment, as one friend told me, “until the real thing comes along!”

Peace, Amy


To-Do List
Candle.JPG
Scour bathtub, walls, etc.
Set aside bubble bath
Find candles, matches
Freeze sundae glasses
Find Sinatra mix CD (Reprise cuts, Jobim bossas)
Run hot bath, extra bubbles
Kick off sneaks, rinse stinky feet, etc.
Brush teeth
Boot up sound system, insert mix CD
Call Lex, tell him come home ASAP
Pour Capital Amber into sundae glasses
Set beers, candles on table by tub
Put cat in closed room with treats
Hit “Play”
Greet Lex at door (red nightgown?)
Let nature take course

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
“Candle” by Christoph Michels – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Shay’s “Fireblossom Friday” at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads challenged us to make a list, any list that spoke to us. I’ll be away for two days and when I come home, I will have just missed Lex, who’s attending his family reunion this weekend, so…

…this was the only list worth making.    ;^)    Hope Y’ALL have a fun night!  Peace, Amy


Blinded by the Pattern

Front room blinds
Lines and ever more lines
Perfect symmetry, vertical, straight
Setting sun squeezes through, says it’s getting too late
Too late for punishing gym workout
Too late for art workshop
Pajamas

I don’t care
I’ll sit here in my chair
Imagining pushups and treadmill
Feign guilt at missing tonight’s yoga (I’m so ill)
Wish giddyap would trump inertia
Blinds help me stay blind to
this pattern

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of WikiCommons, thanks to photographer Petrolli, who graciously uploaded the file for all to use! License can be viewed HERE.

Victoria C. Slotto is the bartender at the dverse Poets Pub, and her prompt was ‘patterns.’  This poem is called, I believe, a triquain, relative of the cinquain.  My syllable scheme for each stanza was 3 – 6 – 9 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3.  Thanks to the Toads for turning me on to the form, even though I didn’t participate in their take on it!!

I spend many days watching various arrays of sunlight as they stream through the venetian blinds. By the time I’m done pondering their endless lack of diversity (!), I find it’s simply too late to go out.  My new therapist suggested replacing “should” in my mind (as in, “I should go to the gym”) with WANT TO (“I want to go to the gym”). It helps me, honestly! She also said (and I love this), “Stop ‘shoulding’ yourself.” Get it? Got it? Good.

Peace, Amy