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

Tag Archives: Jingle Poetry

At Jingle Poetry, we were asked to write about AMBITIONS. Having just moved to a new city and state (state of mind as well as geographical), I’m ALL ambition this week! Enjoy, Amy (PS What a month to move to Madison, WI! Super Bowl champs, but most importantly – no one was seriously injured. Amen.)

Making it Home

Boxes unpacked
Stuff sorta stored
Cat comfortably curled in
his new niche

Even the throw rugs and
coffee paraphernalia
have found their place

Pictures yet to hang,
but that takes
thoughtful placement
and permission from the wall
to be pierced by a nail

But until tonight,
as we snuggled in the delicious intimacy
of true lovers,
jigsaw pieces in a perfect fit,
this apartment was not Home.

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At Writer’s Island, we were encouraged to write about celebrations of any form.  This poem is pretty much true, as are a lot of my pieces.  Peace, Amy


It was graduation and we worked SO frickin hard
to get to that platform, even if it meant the ceremony and
a gown and a hat with the woosy little tassel on it

Our night to howl, we ditched the parents pretty quick
after the cake and punch and Aunt Cora pinching my cheek
Gotta catch up with the guys, I told Mom

Dad put his hand on her shoulder, like, it’s okay
Our kid’s a man today, and soon he’ll be in uniform, so
let him have fun with his friends, that’s how it goes

My sister begged me to take her along and I was like, no way
We got a party hidden away at Hilary’s house cause
her folks are away and she said she’s got a surprise

We get there, it’s all beer and sweat and thumpin music
“ATTENTION GRADUATES!” shrieks Hil over the noise
“We got some Farmville goin on for you tonight”

I’m lookin around for a computer and the Facebook screen
If that’s the big surprise, we’re bookin and findin a real party
She’s got a big bowl and some straws and stuff

“Take your pick.” Oh. PHARMville. You know the deal
Everybody raids their parents’ meds and their kid sister’s Ritalin
and Gram’s Oxy she takes for the arthritis in her knees

It all goes in a bowl and you pick out a few and down it
with a beer, or choose Door Number Two, which I did, and Ben
Pills crushed up to make a high/low heroin rush when you snort em

Last party wasn’t so good, I swallowed some caps and threw up a lot
And this is our big night, so Ben and I grab the straws
It burns, then a second later we’re soooooo mellooooow

All I remember is Ben falling asleep on the couch smilin like a dork
I passed out in this state of I don’t know what you call it, but
it felt damn good, like when they put me under for my tonsils

Just woke up and I’m at a funeral, oh shit, did Ben try to drive?
Everybody’s cryin, and I’m in the church balcony lookin down
I’m in my best suit, in the casket. Shit.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Another take on the Sunday Scribblings “December” prompt, but also for Jingle, Poets United, and other friends. This, in memory of houses and people facing neglect. Amy


Chipped clapboard snags bits of falling snow
The sagging porch, bulwarked by drifts
Cats wander in and out from underneath
through the hole in the latticework
ripped back in 82 by Greg’s whisky-fueled Ford sedan

The eaves troughs droop under weight of icicles
A sure sign of neglect
Bad insulation breeds stalactites
The poorer the family, the longer the crystals

Fernbeds of frost, delightful even on broken panes
Nature’s articulation of frozen beauty
Footprints a sign of life within these walls,
clomp clomp up the stairs, bristled Welcome mat
tracked by carefully brushed boots

Inside, the old man reads every word of the Pennysaver
It was their Sunday pastime years back; now it’s his alone
He clips coupons for items he will never buy
and gazes out, waiting for the gas company
to turn off his heat, the bastards.
He could do without the cable, even the electric…

Tonight he will sleep in their four-poster and let go.
The house senses this; from the crumbling chimney
comes the mournful whisper of a sigh

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Sunday Scribblings wanted to hear thoughts about December. Long ago and far away, I was a Manhattanite…


Central Park in December
At dusk the sun has dipped below
the stark skyline
casting reflections of blue
on the new-fallen snow

It’s as if even the snow knows
it’s part of an urban landscape
the color of steel and
the crunchy crust it so readily forms
As if to say,
“Hey, there’s nothing fluffy to see here
Move along, now”

Making my way across 72nd Street
the heat of the subway has already risen
and melted this fresh blessing
into muddy pools of rusted slush

It’s City snow, all right
It won’t last the night

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Well, I did manage to sneak on Poetic Asides (click on today’s prompt to see others’ work), as well as Jingle and Sunday Scribblings this week. So in the midst of my move, here is my take on Robert’s prompt: RECEIPT. Apropos, no? Peace, Amy


TO: Poetic Asides and my blogging buddies
RE: Receipt of my intent to change locales

To Poetic Asides, to all I have befriended
No matter where I am, my journey with you
has not ended, nor will it

But God has called my Pastor Lex to a new place
To do a “new thing,” as is his calling
From cold, snowy Attica
To colder, blistering Madison, WI
Moving in Mid-January:

This shows that God possesses not only a
great sense of humor
But a well-developed sense of irony as well
(Jews knew that already)

While I shall remain scarce until
the move is completed, I will check in
from time to time. PA is my “fix” when
life mixes turmoil with tinsel
and thunder with a lightening of spirit

May you all have a blessed Christmas
A peaceful Hanukkah (where the heck is my dreidel?)
…and a happy Festuvus (for the rest of us)
No matter what your reason for celebrating this season
pray for peace above all

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Meaning no disrespect to The Reason For The Season; simply pointing out that most folks have all but forgotten why they celebrate Christmas in the first place. My one cynical Christmas poem, dedicated to the true memory of that feisty, loving, prophetic man who started out a babe in rags.


Have yourself a merry little American Christmas
where mall-bound mauling marauding shoppers claw for
the latest imported Chinese toys
lead-laced crap for girls and boys

O little town of Bethlehem
creeping with hordes of consumers
No visions of Visa bills dancing in their heads
They’re masters of their MasterCards

Mary, did you know your baby boy
has turned into an excuse for excess
for booming business, parental stress
the backbone of a spineless economy

Joy to the world! The Lord & Taylor window
has a “holiday display” with Santa and reindeer
Deck the hall with Hallmarks from family and friends
and other folks we forget about the rest of the year

A day to plow through a thousand presents
overturn overstuffed stockings
stuff ourselves til we crash in front of
the new 52-inch plasma TV we bought on credit
It’s a wonderful life

Crosby Christmas never ceases
but for God’s sake
please don’t mention Jesus

© 2010 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

Jingle Poetry asked for a love and romance poem. Here’s the best I have to give you – a take on love found, lost, found, lost… yet permanent. Amy


You recall that fall
the two of us, soul to soul
Wholly ourselves
if only for that moment

Now you’re safe
in your comfort zone
She thinks she is the only one
And that you yourself hung the moon
While I hang around here awaiting what where how when, pondering then

I whisper in your heart, stroking your memory
tenderly drawing you back to me
Our love happened
because nothing else could

Flesh upon flesh
the heart of the matter
smattering of promises we knew were loving lies

And now here’s your life: organized, precise, clockwork
Mine the jumble of a funny, frantic existence
Yet there remains the magnetic, eclectic tug
pulling you back to me
across miles of untouchable roadblocks

Our lives forever tangled, intertwined
Even apart, forever you’re mine

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Another “Seven Sins” theme for Jingle Poetry – this one, acrostic.

S.E.V.E.N. S.I.N.S.

Volcanic temper

Nodding off in church

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

We were asked by Jingle at Jingle Poetry to create around the theme, Seven Deadly Sins. Here’s my take, and you can view other great poets by clicking on her link! Peace, Amy

SEVEN SINS I HAVE COMMITTED (in no particular order)

Wanting more
Staying too long at the party
Clinging to possessions I don’t need
Looking right past nature’s everyday beauty
Chocolate (need I elaborate?)
Giving too much to men who wanted more
Ignoring God (until the Spirit smacked me upside the head)

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil