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

Tag Archives: Judy Garland


When first I heard Judy Garland
sing Arlen’s “Rainbow”
(once a year, on Easter, back then)
on our old black and white
I knew I wanted to sing.
I was five.

It took another singer to
show me singing vs. performing,
a girl on the Sullivan show.
We only had one channel
out in the boonies, CBS.
So Ed it was.

She came out dressed in
a plain raincoat. No gown,
no fancy hair; a string of pearls.
Her instinct must have been
to dress plainly so they’d
look at her face.

“When the sun….comes out,”
she was whispering, and at that
moment, Mom and I shushed
the rest of the family. Dad
made fun of her nose.
I was enchanted.

By the end of this Arlen tune,
she was tearing it up, full steam,
larger than life on our small screen.
She was possessed by angels,
delivered to us with the essence
of Queen Nefertiti.

I was five when I heard Judy Garland.
I was six when I heard Barbra Streisand
for the first time and I was hooked.
When I heard Judy, I knew I wanted to sing.
When I heard Barbra, I knew I had to perform.
And so I did.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Isn’t that video tremendous (if truncated by a verse)? Both songs cited were indeed by Harold Arlen. The first, “Over the Rainbow,” had lyrics by Yip Harburg (and was almost cut from the “Wizard of Oz” score – can you imagine? “When the Sun Comes Out” had music by Arlen and lyrics by the incredible Johnny Mercer. Arlen and Mercer teamed for many songs, and Streisand benefited from their partnership: “Anyplace I Hang My Hat Is Home,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “My Shining Hour,” and many more. My BFF John and I used to play Barbra in the background during long sessions of backgammon and Monopoly… and he gifted me with a boxed set of her TV specials one Christmas.

Sunday Scribblings had “instinct” for their prompt. In addition, my new friend Gretchen Leary co-hosted dverse Interactions with everybody’s fave, Brian Miller. I’m old enough to be her mom, but we have a lot in common. We both have much to say about busting stigmas regarding mental disorders. I was going to post for Gretchen’s prompt, to write about a song that had a big effect on me, but I was… only 22 hours late for Mr. Linky! Check Gretchen out HERE. And, of course, Brian Miller’s blog is HERE. And I probably will post this for dverse Open Mic Night on Tuesday! Peace, Amy

Two diverse poems; one brief, one a story that happened long ago. The first is for a prompt for Six Word Saturday, a challenge to my tendency to writeeverycompletemomentexactlyasithappenedinfullmissingnodetails. The second, for Poets United’s Poetry Pantry, a sweet memory of a sweet friend and me, a moment in time I will never forget. Peace, Amy

The End

Only get one death: Die trying.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Adapted from earlier poem in “Dance Groove Funhouse” for Six Word Saturday


Carnegie Hall, 1979

Star and her Satellite
emerge from a cab and
slip through the back door
of the hallowed hall

Tiptoeing past the massive set
being rolled into place by
Popeye-armed stagehands
who sweat for their wages

A page to be turned, this.
Billie bluesed here…
Her voice lingers,
embedded in the polished railings

Judy summoned songs
from the soles of ruby slippers
Her brilliance is burnished
into every column and niche

Now, no longer Star and Satellite,
for this brief moment, we are
simply giddy young singers
eager to trod the boards

Holding hands, the thrill
a vibrating current
running between us,
we pull back the curtain and

step onto the stage of
Carnegie’s great legacy,
the robber baron who bequeathed
this jewel to the masses

Looking up, a million stars
as lights twinkle dimly,
rimming balcony
after tiered balcony

“It’s like…” I struggle for words
to describe this moment.
“It’s like standing inside
a giant wedding cake.”

She grins. She’s headlining,
and I’m only singing backup
Yet, at this sublime moment,
we’re simply two starstruck girls

basking in a pinspot of destiny fulfilled

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For dverse (yes, I really do talk this way) and Poets United.