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

Tag Archives: Night

Prelude to a Nightmare (a nocturne)

I remember bedtime prayers to Him
Resting in peace until
lifted on devil’s wings
by another Him and hidden
No cry in darkness,
only strangled fear
stifled invasion of trust

Today, I still pray
He rests in peace now
No longer do I fear
his dry hands, betrayal
Lifted on angel’s wings
Cry of forgiveness
in the blessed peace
of moonlit prayer

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image through Wikimedia Commons: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

PTSD isn’t just for veterans, people who survived 9/11, or Katrina and Oklahoma victims. Night terrors and phobias often plague adults who were sexually abused as children. Years of therapy led me to the path of forgiveness. Dad no longer controls me, and my prayers at night always include him, for all the good things he taught me, including a love of words and poetry.

The rest is out there in a bubble, outside my body and my psyche, yet available for inspection, now that I’m stronger.

This was written for Kim’s prompt at Poets United (I remember…) and also for Kerry’s “Nocturne” prompt at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.  Peace, Amy


Slowly, Slowly (an ekphrastic poem: inspired by an image)

image: Blondine and the Tortoise, Virginia Frances Sterrett: Old French Fairy Tale

Slowly, Slowly

Dim, the forest
Hushed is the breeze
Stars sing o’er us
Quiet, the leaves

Travel slowly
on her smooth back
through the midnight
rambling, the track

Dodge all fauna,
trees of the ages
Carry me home
in dreamlike stages

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Kerry O’Connor granted me welcome release from events of the past week by gaving us several works by the same artist, Virginia Frances Sterrett, an American artist who died of tuberculosis at 30.  The illustrations, so intricate and dreamy, were the antidote, for a while, anyway, to Boston and its nightmarish week.  Who can imagine what this wildly talented woman could have produced, had she been granted a fuller lifetime?

I saw this image of the woman riding the tortoise and was thrown into a dream all my own. Who could see her work and not be entranced?  To view more of her sumptuous illustrations, click here.  Peace and prayers for the same, Amy


MOON BEAMS

She called ‘round ’bout 10
Didn’t know that just then

the biggest moon ever
was blooming like never

before… so she stopped
her beater car and bopped

to the shoreline and it
shone as if butterkleig-lit

“Mom, it’s so beautiful!”
And I, the dutiful

mother, in her jammies
ran outside – Midwest clammies

sending shivers… but
how often are you put

in a position
to share this apparition

of synchronicity
nature’s creativity

with one you’ve loved so
from first glance, the glow

of her sweet newborn face
Now she’s in another place

Connected by a phone,
neither is alone

We seize this blessed time
this view, superb, sublime

We cry for happy, ‘cuz
we’re sharing The Night That Was

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For dverse Open Mic Night, and for Riley – the artistic, fabulous young woman I am proud to call my daughter.

Photo courtesy of The Times Union of Albany, NY.


Red Roses

She answered her front door
The bouquet, ceiling to floor
Roses, red and silky, fragrant

Behind them stood the Count
Whom she soon hoped to mount
(without seeming too flagrant)

But first, dinner at Le Grande
Champagne warming their bond
Holding her hand, caressing her wrist

Then back to her secluded place
Where, in their first embrace
The bond was sealed, her neck kissed

She transformed by the light of the moon
He called it the taste of maroon
He was a man of great resources

Their gory nights, filled with laughter
And they both lived forever, ever after
Until global war killed all their sources

Wooed
Chewed
Screwed

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For dverse, the prompt was, of course, vampires.


Poetic Bloomings (a newer prompt site – check it out!) asked for poems using the most irresistible prompt: “There’s a moon out tonight.” Aaaaaah. Amy

La Bella Luna

Grab a jacket and take my hand, darlin’.
Tonight, Monona’s lakeside is calling out to us.
La bella luna want to bathe all lovers
in beams of reflected light.

Here by the shore, slight chill of the autumn to come,
we’ll stroll, serenaded by so many crickets
and the soft paddle of ducks, looking for a late-night snack.

Though full-faced Old Man looms above, silverfoiled and shining,
the lightning bugs are not overwhelmed.
Blinking gold, ruby, emerald… just out of reach,
yet so near, teasing us, same as they did
when we were kids lying in field of wild grasses.

City lights are low, revealing buckets of stars
spilled in horoscope formations.
We needn’t prove our love beneath this panorama.
We are no longer teenagers, needing it now, now.
The silver moon lingers in streaks of our hair
as we walk and whisper, my hand in your jacket,
you arm slung around my shoulder as we make our way home.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

DISCLAIMER: Actually, we live near the shore of Lake Mendota; Monona is to the north of our skinny stretch of the East Side of Madison, WI. I felt the name “Monona” was a bit more poetic. Apologies to all Tenney Park neighbors!


For Poets United, Thursday Think Tank, we were asked to think about the beach. I’ve lived in Santa Monica, where many nights were spent on the beach (under various influences); Bermuda, where the sand really IS pink… but for my money, there was a romance in the salt air of Puerto Rico that remains unmatched. No offense to Bermuda or LA! Amy

 

THE BEACH AT SAN JUAN

San Juan beach at twilight
Strolling barefoot on cool sand
Sandals looped round my finger
Arm round the waist of a sweet soul
Head resting on his shoulder

We stop to regard the city from this place
The casinos at full tilt, the street filled with tourists
Then, as lovers do, we turn away and disregard
the frantic pace and rumble of night life
to discover and rediscover the essence of closeness

The sky holds a sliver of silver, stars shining all the more
for the moon’s modest reflection
Tide moving gently, water licking our toes

We sit in silence/not silence
Rhythm of a shared heart
Swish of Corona sipped from bottles
Breeze playing brushes on tall palms
air tinged with salt and
heavy with jasmine
filled with promise

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


From Brenda Warren’s blog, A Wordling Whirl of Sundays (a new favorite prompt of mine – check it out!).  Words from the Wordle form appear in bold within my poem.  Check Brenda’s blog to see what other poets came up with, and to view the actual Wordle block, which for some reason would not reproduce here.  Peace, Amy

 

Twilight Ablaze

Deep in this planet’s twilight,
a confidently striding soul has fallen.
His head came up against a heavy branch; both cracked.
Now he lies still.

His cigarette smolders,
its sparks set dry leaves afire.

A light breeze spreads flames as
the night wind tails toward the valley below,
turning a slight accident into
the full-throated cry of hundreds of neighbors
afraid their homes will not be spared.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This poem is also at Poets United, my poetic collective home.  Click on their link and discover a WORLD of amazing poets!


Off-prompt today… soothing thoughts from the sickbed of yours truly… and it’s written in one of the few forms I have been able to capture with any sense of satisfaction – the shadorma. Peace, Amy

Late At Night (a shadorma)

Late at night
A fine resting place
‘neath the stars
on soft grass
bathed in moonlight still spilling
silver on the field

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This is also published at my Poem A Day home, Writer’s Island, and at Poets United.


At Three Word Wednesday, the prompts were: Dainty, Haunting, and Tantalize. Took me days to get to this place… and not one I relish being in. But some things must be said. Amy

Desserts (3WW: Dainty, Haunting, Tantalize)

Petit fours, marzipan
Dainty cupcakes set
in a tantalizing row
each night for his consumption

Little girls on display
Sleeping delights to his watchful eye
This patisserie from Hell
is haunting me still

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


While I am editing several poems on the public protest over workers’ rights here in Madison, I need to take a break and answer a call to a prompt. Too much politics leads to personal unrest, and self-care is a huge part of successfully managing my manic depression… so meditation and writing are a big help!

At We Write Poems, we were asked to write about “safe places.” I was a rover in my twenties, and these are but a few of the places were I laid my head to rest…

Safe Havens

An unheated, leaky garage at an old rocker’s compound

A couch in a flophouse

The egg-crate pads laid on the floor of a nudist commune

Haystacks in a barn, as we helped with the harvest

Marcia and Jesse’s closet, the door unhinged (as was I),
the most comfortable vortex of all…

The beach in Venice, where I lay under an umbrella of starts
watching the slivered silver moon dance through my tripping eyes

An SRO, hot plate heating Chunky Beef Soup

Looking back at these havens, all were safe
Some were filled with love.
others with the scent of cow patties
and the sweat of an honest day’s work.

And still others bore the sweetness of smoke
from Mendocino County’s finest…

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil