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

Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

Heads or Tails

Symbiosis
Play or battle?

Neither realizing
both have scales
and cold blood
More things in common
than not

So it is with the game of war
played out across the globe
The US, the big fat crocodile

Everyone else worldwide
viewed by our military leaders as
slippery, needlekiller snakes

Croc’s jaws are mighty,
but venom has its own power

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Mama Zen’s Words Count prompt at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads gave us several gorgeous scientific images by Maria Sibylla Merian. I chose this because I could not ignore the balance of this drawing; and yet, there’s also an imbalance. So size “matters,” but the lithe serpent has fangs. This could go either way. The huge, well-fed croc (America) seems to have control over the snake (pick a country), but will that be the end? Or shall the snake morph into Medusa, exacting her own revenge… or quagmire?  As a tiny scale on that croc, I wish I had some sway, some say, over who the hell is grinding our military jaws in MY name.  Both let go, everybody wins.  Aren’t we above animal games?

NOTES ON ILLUSTRATOR: Ms. Merian was a woman ahead of her time. She traveled (with her daughter and – GASP! – no male guardian) in 1699 to South America to illustrate wildlife. Click on the “Toads” link to see more of her artwork, which is all public domain. The name of her insect collection, published in 1705, is Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium; however, this is obviously from another collection.

Also posted at my snake-free swamp (in the very best M*A*S*H sense of the word), Poets United.  Peace, Amy


Dark Voyage

Another dark alley
Why aren’t there ever any
light alleys? she quirks to herself

She waits for the next john to be sexed
Pawns her body for a fix
Used to be kicks
First the hash pipe

Upgraded to Opium 5.0
The real deal, the needle
Heroin

Looks like a smear of poop on foil but
once it’s lit, it’s hit and
she isn’t worth shit

Heroin, a nightmare cannibal picnic
sliding down the clever beanstalk
into the tar pits for a long slick sick soak

Heroin. She’s nodding, her mind
smolders with visions conjured from
the greasy plank decks of the U.S.S. Sheol

She forgets the mess under her dress and
presses her mind against a wall of sounds
When she wakes, her stomach will ache

She’ll john once more to score
to black it out
to empty the chasm
already scraped bare

The addict: A mind forever voyaging
through strange seas of thought, alone

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image: Wikipedia Commons

Kerry at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted us to write using a line from a William Wordsworth poem, since today would have been his 243rd birthday. The Wordsworth line I chose was, “A mind forever Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.” This is how I see many addicts: isolated, caught in a foreign place (even if it’s his/her home town), and always wondering. The “aloneness” of the line grabbed me by the ear and said, “Listen!” And so I did. And then I picked up my pencil. This is also for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United… proud to be a member! Peace, Amy


For Peggy Goetz’s prompt at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads , a poem about going outside (mind, body, spirit, your choice!).   I’ve been trying to hang with the Real Toads during NaPoWriMo, because it’s a small group of intensely focused poets who gracefully critique each other’s work).   This will also appear on the sidebar at my first and always poetic home, Poets United (proud to be a member!).

Inside, Out

It stirs within him
The call to get out
To explore the
yet to be, yet to see

He stretches,
not wanting
to leave home yet,
but knowing it’s time

The way to the door
is dark, narrow,
but he’ll squeeze
through the gate into…

Bright lights
Much noise
Something pushes him on
Then a woman’s cry –

sharp as a thumbtack and
bright as an Easter bonnet –
sings across the hall:
“It’s a boy!”

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Higher Math

Nickels and dimes
And twelve shiny quarters
Clinked, one at a time,
into their secret stash,
a souvenir metal box from
their trip to Hershey Park
Back when Dad was still home
And before Mom’s blues set in

Saving up to buy her
a present, to cheer her up
It’s our job, says sister to little brother
Little boy nods and digs deep into his
back pocket for another precious dime
Soon they’ll have enough for
that perfume she loves… loved

Loose change changes into loss
as Mom finds the cache of coins
Swipes smalldream savings
Asks Next Door Sally to watch
her sleeping ones while she makes a
midnight milk run. Sneaks off to
the casino, where nickels and dimes
become more shiny quarters and then
slot machine fodder. Then on to the ATM…

Three months later, waking the kids
in the back seat, she drives to Mickey D’s
for breakfast (won’t hurt them for a while,
she reckons). Combs their hair, checks
for lice as she softly inflicts blame on
their father for walking out. “Let’s get
moving or you’ll be late for class.”
The present for Mom, long forgotten,
but her betrayal festers within them

School teaches her kids
addition.
Mom teaches them
subtraction.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image from Wikimedia Commons, by photographer William Holtkamp

This mom may live just down the block. Right now, things are OK, but eventually, boredom and that damned little addictive gene could give way to drinking before lunch. Or a divorce leaves her broke, while the Trophy Wife is pregnant with “Dad’s New Family.” Perhaps she is simply depressed and, on a lark, tries meth at a friend’s house (the first hit’s always free).

There are a thousand ways women are blamed for these situations, and in some cases, it’s true. But no matter who leaves whom, or who takes what, the kids pay the price. And the kids in this poem were ready to give their all for their mom.

“Irony.” The prompt at dverse poets today. Also at my gambling-free hangout, Poets United.  Peace, Amy


Babes in Boyland

Modeling’s a groove
Tyra taught us to mooooove
and stretch and maybe
we’d get in a video on TV

Clothes fitted to each curve
The more verve you show
the more photogs you blow
The more rich guys you know
the more places you go

You fight the urge
to binge and purge
Pout you lips in a kiss
It all comes down to this:

I’m the seventh blonde-
wigged nurse in pure Bond-
girl form or maybe
a Robert Palmer baby

Justin’s lip-synching
when he’s not drinking
Oh, wait, he’s winking
AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEE

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

NaPoWriMo #4, for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, which asked us to write to a clip of Justin Timberlake mouthing the words to a Killers song. Watch the clip, see what I wrote, and then follow this LINK back to the Garden to read others’ work!

Riley turned me on to Top Model, and the more this little proto-Feminist watched, the more I was fascinated and repelled by the lengths to which women will debase themselves to become models, Barbies in search of their Dream House. It’s a fleeting career at best, and these girls undergo breast augmentation, booty augmentation, lip augmentation… everything except self-esteem augmentation. Riley could have been a child model, but I wouldn’t have it. Glad to say, Tyra has proved me right! Peace, Amy


An Existentialist Speaks

We’re all in it

apart

Alphabet pasta bits
swirling in chicken broth

A sand dune of human grains
awhirl, subject to
the wind’s whimsy

A night sky filled with wandering stars

Stasis in motion

We do what we must in our
earthly bodies without regard for
The Big Judgement fairy tale

Some argue that life without God
is meaningless
a void

They seem so sure and
squint hostilely at
my assertion that
all of that “redemption” crap
is pointless as a salt lick
on the I-90

Mom thinks I’m worse than
an atheist; she’s worried
I didn’t pay attention in
catechism class.

She’s right.

Here
Now
Lost in the stars
We’re all in it

apart

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

NaPoWriMo #3, for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where Kerry asked for poems about Existentialism. Also, Three Word Wednesday gave us Argue, Lick, and Squint. Kim at Verse First for Poets United wanted poems with a “body” theme, whether a group or a single body. I hope I gave her both!

Existentialism is far from my own path, but I can see how people become isolated, believing there is no God, no consequence in the end, no hereafter, and no particular reason to have faith in anything.  I can’t get my mind around it completely, but I gave it a try!


Come, Spring (a cinquain)

Sunlight
Pour through my pane
Melt ice around my heart
Transform my frozen mind gently
Frost free

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Image from Wikimedia Commons, by Mohylek:  “I, the copyright holder of this work,
release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.”

NaPoWriMo #2, for Sunday Scribblings (seasoned, although mine is more seasonal). Also at “It’s Always Sunny at Poets United,” my wintering snowbird delight and haven!

Can you believe it? An unprompted cinquain. Spring must be coming… Peace, Amy

Participating in National Poetry Writing Month “A poem a day keeps the blues at bay.”


April Fool (The Poet)

She can do it
She’s done it before
April calls for
a poem a day

She locks out
distractions, lets
herself get lost
in memories and moments

It could be a
song – she has
staff paper on hand,
after all, plenty

It won’t be
floral themes
Funeral scented as
petals fall to the carpet

No “moon June spoon”
songs; something
bluesy with peaks
of soulful wails

She has written
about stoners and
wastrels, powders
up nostrils, bad sex

Politics and pencils
Incense and incest
LGBTQs and rednecks
Allies and enemies

Today, she will
simply vow to
make it worthy,
come what may

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For the Sunday Whirl (see Wordle HERE), and on the sidebar at Poets United, my oasis in the desert; AND for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link Monday. n celebration of the first day of NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month (or Naturally Panicky Writhing Motions, depending on my level of desperation).

The game is afoot, Watson. Watson, the foot is a game. A game, Watson, the foot is. Yeah, I’m ready! Peace, Amy