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

Tag Archives: Marie Dressler

Well, before I Blue Screen of Death again and haul this thing to the shop, I have to get in two more poems. One for Sunday Scribblings, the other for the Sunday Whirl; both are also at my poetic screen that’s never blue, Poets United.  I will log on at coffee shops to see what y’all have written and comment there… “Quick, before it melts (down)!” Amy

SUNDAY SCRIBBLINGS:
Pages of Stone

Fabricated from actual mineral
My favorite journal
Pencil circles, meanders
Glides with ease, with grace

Number Two lead, sharply honed
sings as it moves along the surface
Needle of an old phonograph
Playing Ellington from a shiny vinyl

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Sunday Scribblings asked for poems around the word “ease.” This was the first thing that came to mind… I found a journal with pages actually fabricated from STONE! How different, how environmentally intriguing. Then, when I ran my pencil over the surface, it was like writing on a whiteboard… it almost squeaked! Find some and tell me what you think.

SUNDAY WHIRL:
The Ballad of Marie Dressler (1962-1977)

At the dealer, climbed into a Volvo sedan
Paid cash; remained in the driver’s seat for years
My first car, a ’62, back when Swedish mechanics
crowded into one room, hovered in corners
and built them by hand, bolts to bumpers

My singing mother said, in her husky whisky tenor,
“Always bring mascara in your gig bag. If something
happens on the way to make you cry, you won’t show up
looking like a damned raccoon.” Good advice:
That night, my eyes were dampened in this way…

Stopped at a red light, rearview mirror shows a large car
barreling behind me; instinct pulled foot off brake and
left heel jammed in the clutch. Trapped. Impact. Moment.
Bundles flew, slow-motion; shocks shook with sounds of
metal bending. The anger and the floodgates opened together.

Dazed, I pried open the door, stormed back to give
that son-of-a-bitch the old what-for. Window rolls down,
old lady (sure!) says, “I’m Sister Elizabeth. I think I’m all right
but my Mama seems to have cut her lip.” Suddenly, I
got it: God’s dope-slap for sleeping with a priest.

I opened Mama’s door, her face was ash. “S-s-stay here,
ladies… sister… Mama…” Closed the door – on the nun’s
mother’s rosary beads. Clinkclickclink, all over the pavement.
(This, the coup de grace, surely sealing my ticket to Hell.)
Car was totaled, but I insisted squad car take me to my gig

where I played for eight hours straight with one potty break.
Songs I’d never known. “Piano Man” heard once in the dentist’s
waiting room. “Havah Negilah.” I was a shock savant.
Made $200 in tips, turned out that was down-pay for a one-way to LA.
Nun didn’t get a ticket (she was doing 75). Catholic cop.

Always name your cars. “Marie Dressler,” for the 30’s again actress:
Big, old, white, and beat up, but she still had a lot of class.
Her rear end was wide enough to absorb the impact. (Bless all in
Sweden!) Cop said, “You’d be DOA in a Chevrolet.”
Marie Dressler, faithful old gal, rest in pieces. Fondly, Amer

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The Sunday Whirl (click to see the Wordle) gave us a dozen words, and this true story is the result. The Church gave me $600 for my car, and that with the tip money was enough for the plane ticket and an efficiency apt. in Venice Beach in 1977 (this is back before Venice looked like Starbucks threw up all over it). Thanks, Greggie, for urging me to go West. You SAVED my life and helped change my destiny.

NOTE: “Amer” was my family nickname, and all my East Coast friends call me that. LA friends call me “Amers.” But the praise band’s director, Ben, calls me “Amypants,” because I’m so opinionated. Now they just call me “Pants.” Go figure! Peace, Amy