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

Tag Archives: Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Handling the Truth
(for Euro-Americans)

Bought and sold at auction
Everyday transactions
Fractionally human, they said, if that

In those “golden olden days,”
African lives were cheap
From deep in jungles, sold
by bribed tribal chiefs or
simply rounded up like
fleet and feisty animals

This nation brutalized
an entire civilization
If Anglos never feel
the slash of the lash…
If whites will not dare
to share the shame of slavery

After all these years
the pain of the past endures
and we won’t even watch the film

How can we dare say we care
about rancid, ruthless racism
still rampant in America?

Buy the ticket, damn it
(You already saw “Hunger Games”)
Or was Jack Nicholson right?
“You can’t HANDLE the truth”

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

I have seen “12 Years a Slave” TWICE. Second time, to hold a friend’s hand and discuss the movie. Lex and I were breathless, angry, ashamed… especially that this film, the most important film ever made about the enslavement and unimaginable treatment of African peoples at the hands of “white” slavers, is tanking at the box office. People have said, “It’s too heavy,” or even, “I go to movies to be entertained, not educated.” Really?! What the hell do they mean? If people went through this shit, we owe it to them to at least watch a dramatization of the true story.

I know it’s tough. Especially when everyone is engorging themselves like tics on Thanksgiving turkey and bloating their credit card debt on Black Friday. But I implore you, GO SEE THIS FILM. We all need to face the facts.

This is for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads (protest poem) and Poets United’s Poetry Pantry. Peace, Amy


Fall Depression Full 001

Fall Moves In (a lament)

A hearty breeze brings
a shower of shattered shedlings
scattered on the lawn

At dawn, slippery, slothful
lying low; sunup warms and
wakes them to crunchcrackle delight

Within the crowd, can you see?
Lost souls… no tree to shelter them
Fodder for the loathsome length

of punishing, pewter-sky winter

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Artwork © Amy Barlow Liberatore (open image in new window for closer view)

More artwork from me, drawn this time for the theme of the poem.

I already have a head start on the winter blues.
Lots of you know what I mean, and I’ll take on the subject of “holly jolly consumerism” later on.
The thought gave birth to verse and art, so I guess something good came out of it!
For Poets United’s Poetry Pantry and Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.
Peace and light, Amy


Mama Needs New Ones

Teeth trashed, vacancies galore, by years of
barely-there dental care; many are
little more than amalgam fillings
One side had no molars, no
balance in chewing my food
Migraines and TMJ the result

Still, the news hit me like a brick:
UPPER PLATE. Trash the few
remaining enamel pieces on the
sorry chess board known as
my mouth. Like the man said,
You can’t cheat breath.

In the office, equipment fences
me in, a gravelly voice says,
“Here we go” (WE?!) And me,
stranded in a loop-de-loop of
tentacled dental equipment –
over, around, inside – yikes

Everything was done in a snap
A temporary plate was shoved in
and it’s so thick it makes me
lithp, but I’ll get a final one soon.
Everyone notices I’m smiling once more…
Encore!

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Yes, it’s true. Years of second-hand smoke from playing in jazz clubs apparently didn’t help the enamel on my teeth, either. THANK YOU Philip Morris and co. But at least I can smile as widely as Julia Roberts, and somehow, I had come to miss that smile, as I tried in vain all those months to half-grin to hide the missing teeth.

This used the “baker’s dozen” words at the Sunday Whirl. Hop over and check out some great poetry from all over the world! Also in the sidebars at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads and the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Peace – and don’t forget to floss, Amy


Moongazing

Moon
Silver
sliver of
fascination
Her slow turn tango
across a black dance floor
No partner, save the sun’s light
No audience, save one wistful
woman gazing heavenward, wishing
this divine song would play on forever

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; permissions granted by photographer, Dori

Hedgewitch at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads offered up a form challenge: the etheree. It’s a form I can handle… one syllable, two syllables… on up to ten. You can even take ten, go back to nine, and down to one to for a reverse or double etheree (ethefour?!).

The extra challenge was to make it ethereal as well. To me, there is nothing as ethereal as the moon in all her phases, whether obscured by wisps of clouds or viewed on a stark, clear night. Hope you enjoyed mine! For others, click HERE. Also linked to Poets’ United’s Poetry Pantry, where we all come out to play with words and thoughts. Peace, Amy


Imaginary Garden With Real Toads presented me with a real challenge – a new form! Not my strong suit, but once I got going, I was on FIRE, baby! I’ve also placed this on the shelf of the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Process notes below.

I.
She sings
for the lonely
whose martini glasses
teeter their moods to sighs of “then”
Choosing songs with good bones, timeless, misty
Watching hookups destined to fail
Witness to a rapt drunk
who cries; to whom
she sings

II.
The blur
of is/is not
falls upon her lightly
winds around her soul so tightly
She seeks solace in the bitter bottle
Battles blues with burn of bourbon
Diff’rent bottle, the script
would help her beat
the blur

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

PROCESS NOTES:
First, thematic: She Sings is from my days in piano bars, where I was the only performer. Some nights I found that the sights and emotions of my customers were more interesting than my music. The reference to “good bones” is, of course, from old houses in terms of reconstruction.

The Blur can be any sort of mental disorder, when the person chooses to self-medicate rather than follow the doctor’s plan. In this case, she has received her diagnosis, gotten her meds, and won’t “play along.” Most heavy drinkers I know don’t gave the insurance or don’t realize they need a psychiatrist; I’ve seen this lead to the worst ends possible, including several suicides… and my mother’s lifelong battle with booze.

AS TO THE FORM: A Rictameter is a “form with a shape.”  The syllable count is 2-4-6-8-10-8-6-4-2.

A bit of history from the Real Toads site: Created in the early 1990s by two cousins, Jason D. Wilkins and Richard W. Lunsford, Jr., for a poetry contest that was held as a weekly practice of their self-invented order, The Brotherhood of the Amarantos Mystery. The order was inspired by the Robin Williams movie Dead Poets Society.


Yes, it’s Mother’s Day on MY planet, too! Riley is deep into finals, doing so well in art school. If it were not for her going to full term, I might see this day as just a Sunday to miss Charlotte, my own mother, and mourn the two babies lost before Riley. Today, it’s a TWOFER!

So first up, Poets United’s Poetry Pantry wanted posts for moms. Second, Poetic Bloomings called for computer-generated lists of anagrams of our own name – and a poem written with ONLY those words that appeared on the list. Well, “Liberatore” just about blue-screened my computer, so it’s my birth name I used.

FOR POETS UNITED

Mama, Mommy, Mom
Amy and Laura, one day old web
Mama,
tell me story ’bout
going to Sleepytown
and then we gonna
say prayers.
I love you, Mama.

Mommy,
can I join the Brownies?
Really?
Mommy,
can we go over my
spelling words?
Cool!
Mommy,
they want me to play
softball – maybe pitch.
Can you –
You’re gonna be an
assistant coach?
Wow, Mommy,
you are so busy
but you always have
time for me.
You rock!

Mom,
just a text for now,
I’m in the middle of finals,
but I’ll call you tomorrow.
Happy Mother’s Day,
dear mother, I love you
more than chocolate!

Now matter what name Riley called me,
I was always there for her.
And I always will be.
That’s the blessing of being a mother.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image from Amy’s collection, “Riley, one day old”

———————————–

FOR POETIC BLOOMINGS  (anagram poem)

All in My Name
(Amy Louise Barlow)

I’m a bluesy limbo mouse
Alias, lousy bellow yowl

Bosomy ruby allure, yum
My morals: slim, wily, muley

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil