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

Tag Archives: Kim Nelson


cup of
coffee is
curative brew
Excites my brain
Gets my train
back on

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons

Kim Nelson, at Poets United’s Verse First, asked us to edit, edit, edit and create a poem about something ordinary… in a handful of words.  Unaccustomed as I am to brevity… !

This also appears in the left margin of my home pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.  Peace, Amy

Hellish Mind Music

Exquisite pain
Migraine music

Satan’s symphony
starts slowly

Building, blinding
to crescendo

Muted applause
at its end

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, all permissions given by Searobin, creator

At Poets United, Kim introduced us to William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow,” a simply gorgeous poem of only eight lines and no punctuation. Read it HERE. She asked us to build in the same form a poem in which every word matters. I woke up with said migraine, so it became my subject! Ah yes, art is pain… pain is art…

This also appears near the hedges bordering the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace, Amy

Attention!  I did an OOPS!  Forgot to mention that this poem also appeared on the venerable blog, ABC Wednesday.  Thanks to Roger Green for pointing it out, and do follow the link over there to read dozens of posts – poetry, photography, family histories… anything about the letter “B.”  Thanks, Amy
What do you say we take a day off from political rhetoric, especially from cracker Jacks packin’ their pistols in compensation (read yesterday’s comments if you doubt me!). Kim Nelson at Poets United said today, “A good poem feels vivid and visceral and close to the source.” She then challenged us to get close to the source, using flourishes of color and other details to help the poem bloom.

She also suggests we offer one another constructive ideas about how to dig even deeper for that detail, so I look forward to your comments! This is also on the borders of Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace, Amy

Garden Bloomers and Bloopers

Hand in grimy glove, the garden game
Where woman meets Underground and
spies Resistance at every turn

On high, Frying Pan in the Sky flew off
(vacationing in Bermuda, warming
pink coral-shell sand, toasting tourists)

My sandals, cool blue cruisers, propel me
out the screen door (Squeak! It begs,
“Oil me, tend to me, love me too!”)

Horticultural not my forte; rather, my
pianissimo, yet with practice and practical advice,
I’m pure shovel, old wooden rake… and hoe.

A little brown Slimy slithers out to greet me,
kneads dense soil with time-honored intentions,
necessary cog in the nature machine of green

Rousting Brown-Eyed Susans, wilted into
Bruised-Eyed Brown Twigs; they’re sentenced
to the pile “where the worm never dies”

New, preening yellow slim thingamajigs
move into Susan’s former digs. I dig ’em.
Sprinkle ‘em. The rest sinks beneath my control

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

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

First off, I had the pleasure of chatting with Isadora Gruye (AKA Izy) for a featured interview at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where I am now an Official, Honest-To-Goodness Real Toad! Izy, our resident correspondent, asked some candid questions, and I did not hold back. Hope you like the interview – CLICK HERE TO READ.

Meanwhile, at my other poetic home, Kim Nelson at Poets United wanted offerings about the universe. Here is mine. Peace, Amy

The Universe Within

Deep inside our outer skin
Underneath that layer, within

Past the muscle, stretching leather
and our arteries’ coursing tether

Deep within our very bones
a universe that cries and groans

Waters of our bodies’ form
Chemicals upset the norm

Feel the balance quiver, shake
Know that inner, dark earthquake

Hormones, drugs in all our meat
Stay within us, to compete

Weak, our natural defenses
Only diet recompenses

Choosing the organic way
Balance will once more hold sway

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The effect of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, also known as Factory Farms), where animals are captive and packed tightly together, means not only growth hormones but antibiotics in grocery store meats are partly stored and partly excreted into sewage. Meanwhile, Monsanto continues its stranglehold on the produce farms, expanding to a point where their air-sprayed delivery of (sometimes human waste) fertilizer is threatening to migrate onto organic farms. Your best bet? Buy local, organically grown produce – and support small, family-run farms.

Peace and health to all, Amy

What Color Am I?

In the burbs growing up
I was browner than the other kids,
Black Irish, but still “white.”

In NYC walking about
I was one of many shades of brown,
but lighter than most.

In Bermuda, I tanned and
matched the other workers;
they called me their Little American Onion.

After Riley popped out, she
compared our “skins” and asked,
“Why am I darker than you, Mommy?”

I told her she was descended
from desert people, the Jews, who
were used to more sunlight than the Irish.

She went to high school and
her favorite teacher was Mr. Fuller, AKA
FullDogg; his dreds up in a knot, proud Black man

She only called him Mr. Fuller, and
I was pleased that, before I met him, she
hadn’t said, “He’s Black” or anything at all.

I don’t think the world is ready for “color-blind,”
but we are ready for “palms up,” for viewing
commonality and remember the truth:

We are all from Africa, and I am not “white,”
I am Euro-American, born of a race who dwelt
in colder climes… I am beige and melanin-deprived.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Image from (Minnesota State University, Diversity Office, used by permission)

“Colored” was the prompt from the fabulous Kim Nelson at Poets United, and I decided to take it head-on.
Try this: Line up all your friends,or your kids’ friends, all ethnicities, and have then put their palms up.
Without exception, unless they’ve been playing in the mud, the palms are white,
as are the soles of the feet. Then, for a beautiful array of browns, hands down! Peace, Amy