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

Tag Archives: Nagasaki

BITTER HOPES (The Tsunami, Sendai)

When ground beneath her desk rolled like
a carpet shaken of its dust, a terrifying
rollercoaster, Yuki screamed at
something unnamed and horrible

She thought, “This is IT…
The final moment, or the beginning of many
final moments”

Crawling out of her cubicle,
scenes burned their way into her memory
Ten minutes before, she and Hayashi had shared a cigarette
and a kiss in the stairwell
Now, he was pinned under a desk, eyes glazed;
a picture of their trip to Kanagawa
where they regarded the roses
had settling on his chest
Was this the last thing he saw? His last good memory?
She prayed it was so

Then came a blur of
walking nightmare people
bottled water
pictures posted with notes
questions without answers
Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster

And of course, government downplayed the severity of radiation

She and Kenji commuted inland daily from their home in Sendai;
Father enjoyed the view of surf.
Why had Kenji taken the day off?
She knew now her brother was gone, as well as their parents,
swept from earth as waves wiped the chalkboard clean

Alone Safe Not safe Scared
A butterfly chose her at random to grace her
with a dizzying dance of color and life

“If only I had the mind of an insect,” she thought,
as bile rose in her throat
“At least butterflies hold the key to hope:
Live free for a season, surrender peacefully to death”

Her only hope was that the world see, and learn, what her grandmother
had told her, as she revealed flowered tattoos of her Nagasaki childhood:
Men’s greed and technology will never defeat the ferocity of nature

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

Fireblossom at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted stories of loss. I took the loss of others and, in so doing, resurrected an old poem, because the last line haunts me. This was originally written (and much wordier) in 2011, before Fukushima. Turns out technology doles out terror in equal quantities… that also includes the effects of global warming. And humankind’s terror is reversible, but that is not in sight right now…

Peace, Amy


Peace and War and Pieces of Human Beings on the Ground

Hiroshima met Fat Man
or rather, Fat Man
sat on Hiroshima,
then swallowed it whole,
including civilians.

Japanese neighborhoods
did not understand the
death knell of “the flash.”
they only saw seared bodies
bobbing on river’s surface.

Ancient remedies could not
damage the damage done to
frail Japanese bodies,
some tattooed with the
pattern of a dress or shirt.

Scientists in America had
mixed opinions; some were
happy with their new-found status
as innovators, adventurers
in the heretofore unknown.

Most others signed a petition,
pleading with the government
to not inflict their dragonbaby
on innocents. They wished
they hadn’t been so clever.

Japan was losing the war;
America claimed the bombing
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
saved the lives of 100,000 troops –
men who knew the score.

Every life is precious, has
potential to create. There is
no such thing as a just war,
and no war ever creates peace.
It simply withdraws armaments.

Until the next time.

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse, where host Mary asked for poems about peace. This may be the odd approach, but I stand by it as a pacifist.

Saw the movie “Black Rain.” Very tough and so moving, it makes a case for the end of nuclear weapons, which America still stockpiles. The movie is must for students of WWII… or for anyone who believes that the US had to drop hydrogen bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The indelible effects of our awful weapons destroyed entire cities and put countless civilians through hell.

We wept when the Towers went down. But imagine all of NYC leveled, from the Battery to the Bronx. Or even your own town. Leveled by foreigners who had a new toy and wanted to show their supremacy.

I, too, wept when the Towers collapsed – because I knew that war was imminent, despite Bush’s assurances of diplomacy first. And the cost of the current war to Iraqi and Afghani civilians is higher than our own troops. War is an evil act. Why not try peace? Let the war machine bitch all they want. They could be building housing for the homeless instead. Peace, Amy