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

Tag Archives: Poetry

Memo To Shrinking Churches

Hear the cries of today’s church:
“Where are the people?”
“We have a choir, we sing the hymns.”
“We have casserole suppers and Bingo.”
“We founded this church. They should come.”
“Your skirt is too short, young lady.”

Hear the whispers in the pews:
“Why is that gay flag still out in front like an ad?”
“Don’t talk to (so-and-so). You’ll get in trouble.”
“Because we’ve ALWAYS done it that way.”
“Is that a He or a She?” (muffled laughter)
“He smells bad. Is he homeless? Move over here.”
…and my personal favorite:
“Where did all these (insert minority) people come from?
We certainly didn’t invite them to worship here.”

The Greatest Generation has a problem adapting.
Yes, change is HARD. But so is sticking…
…to your ground
…to outmoded ideals
…in the mud

If you’re reading this, you are, at this moment:
on a computer
connected to the Internet
through a cable TV provider.
You may even print off copies to pass out
among “your people” in church on Sunday.

Just a reminder,
computers and printers
cable TV
and the Internet
were NOT around when “Father Knew Best,”

So are you really doing things “the way we always have?”

Or are you only comfortable updating
your acceptance and needs
when it’s conveeeeeenient?

With love from The Church Lady

Just a reminder to Christians who have forgotten we follow a man who was homeless by choice and preached unconditional love. This post may not seem loving, but I do mean it as a loving wake-up call to those who thing stale-bread-cube worship, within four walls of a church on Sundays, is the only way to follow Christ. Worship is great; I get a lot from it, but I grow weary of “cafeteria Christians.”  You can’t grow a church until you expand your hearts to include everyone – and quit bitching about change.

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link Monday and dverse Open Mic Night. ALSO, Roger Green is adding this link to ABC Wednesday, where the letter is J – for Jesus. Thanks for watching my back, Roger! Peace, Amy


For Riley on her 25th

Always with me
remnants of her

Reminders of
life-giving days,

of nurture and
fragile forgiveness

Front and center,
my fanny pack just

below the skin:
My pooch…

The pouch where
she spent her first

nine months on earth
Not a battle scar;

rather, a souvenir of
motherhood and miracles

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Yep, she’s halfway to antique, she’s talented as hell, and she’s her own dog. Riley is showing her art now, working with her Salon (a group of students from her art institute), and making friends as well as network connections.

In other words, she is her own woman, and we couldn’t be prouder! When I heard Peggy Goetz at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted poems about things we carry, I could not think of a better way of celebrating Riley’s birthday.

Peace, and thanks to all for sticking with me during my recent dry spell, caused by depression. My poetic community was so supportive, this is my way of saying “all’s well.” Amy


LEST WE ARE FOOLED INTO FORGETTING

The sheer weight of it
leadens my gait
Each breath less caught
then captured

Rooted to my roost
My throne of self-indictment
Too groggy to blog
Too depleted to give a damn
Too depressed to feel blessed

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where LaTonya Baldwin and I had our collaboration posted HERE, and where the challenge today was to write essentially, write with direct treatment of the subject, in the style of William Carlos Williams. I hope I have fulfilled that prompt, using a subject I know too well, one I would not wish on anyone.

I’ll get past this. I always do. But Lex is at the family reunion, (I opted not to go), with a sick cat, a sore molar, and now with the president rattling war sabres once again (probably the only thing Congress WILL push through this year), this time no doubt to drone the crap out of Syria… well, let’s say I’ve had better days.

Thank God for a call from an old friend and for little Diva, who lays on my stomach and rubs her face against mine. Even when she’s under the weather, she’s such good company. And SHE doesn’t drop bombs, except in the litter box. Amy


READY TEDDY

Minors with major
attitude, back when

Betty Page assurance met
Edwardian drag chic

Teddy Girls, they looked sharp
Teddy Girls, they were sharp

As they cut you down to size
with a casual look in their eyes

But underneath the lipstick façade,
faces full of grace

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads gave us a Teddy Girls prompt last week. These girls were the Brit spin on Teddy Boys, who looked like very early pix of John Lennon: greasy, front-flopped hair; leather jackets; and jeans. In the States, we called ’em “greasers.”

Teddy Girls were the sassy ones – some probably the lesbian ones as well – and they hung on until the next style came. Too bad this “British invasion” never caught on in the States, because I quite like the look! Missed the original ‘Toads’ prompt, but that’s what dverse Open Mic Night is for. Peace and blood-red lipstick, Amy


THE DRINKING YEARS

The drinking years poured on
in various degrees of fizzfriction

My dream manifested: 18 at last
My tribute, a friend bought
the first round and round we went

Soon, my lonely heart found itself
nestled in the arms of some shlump
I met the night before… score

I had envisioned losing IT
over Chateauneuf du Pape
Not snotlockered over boilermakers

Finally I was a space cadet in
launch mode: “If I am to…
stay here for a… p-period of time,
will someone pleeeeeease
persuade the floor to pleeeeease…
stop spinning?”

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

The Sunday Whirl gave us a Baker’s Dozen of words. Click the link to see what others have done with this unique prompt, and, as always, thanks to Brenda Warren for her sharing the list!

This is also “in the margins” at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads and Poets United.

Suffice it to say, after watching my mother die from a combination of 50 years of smoking and 40 of drinking (she was in recovery toward the end), I gave up partying. Besides, I’d much rather enjoy the occasional microbrew beer than depend on Gordon’s for a lifeline. Thanks, Mama, for showing me the better path. Peace, Amy


Letter to Blanche

Dear Grandma Blanche,

I know it’s been a long time
since I have written
I was only seven
when you met heaven

But I want you to know
in case you’re not watching
that as I grew
I was more like you

Sure, crossword puzzles and
acrostics and such we share,
but playing by ear?
Piano, my dear!

That gift of gab we were
both born/cursed with
Talking to all
Talking to walls…

Yes, I got that, too
Manic depression, haunting
Sometimes “crazy,”
sometimes “lazy”

in the eyes of others, that is,
bound as they are by convention
They don’t see through
like we do

Thanks for teaching me manners,
That conversation with your hostess is never
better than your words
with servers of hors d’oeuvres

Thank you for the music knack
the restless spirit, the lifelong struggle
And if I learn it
Let me earn it

Love, Amer

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

dverse Poetry Pub wanted us to harken back to the age of writing letters. I’ve been writing more letters lately, if only to help the struggling post office. But writing a letter to someone dear who’s dead is a challenge.

I write about Blanche, my maternal grandmother, a lot. Gone for some 50 years, I still feel her presence in my life. She had that knack of talking to people where they were, no matter what race, gender orientation… she spoke truth to power and often ending up in a cruel sanitarium for doing so. She is my HERO. God rest your soul, Blanche. Love, Amy

This is also “in the margins” at my poetic lily pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.


CUPPA

First
cup of
coffee is
curative brew
Excites my brain
Gets my train
back on
track

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

Kim Nelson, at Poets United’s Verse First, asked us to edit, edit, edit and create a poem about something ordinary… in a handful of words.  Unaccustomed as I am to brevity… !

This also appears in the left margin of my home pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.  Peace, Amy


salar-de-uyuni-salt-flat-mirror-8

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Trudger

Heavy burdens of life lived loudly
She would like to carry proudly

Truth is stamped soul-deep, and down
Under lines of chalky frown

Purse is German, dress is French
Shoes Italian, teeth are clenched

Shamed by family, maimed by men
Trudging toward new men again

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of Bored Panda, shared by permission with Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.

Thanks to Hannah at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, we learned about salt flats today. They are called “the world’s largest mirrors,” and you can read more about them, as well as see more examples of the Salt Flats, HERE. This woman, dressed up and traversing the salt flat, struck me as lonely and careworn.

The couplets came naturally, and when I read about the iambs and other rhythms at dverse poets, I realized that I had, indeed, come up with a poem that displayed the rhythm (I think) of the trochee, which is the mirror sister of the iamb. TA da TA da… anyway, I’m posting it and am very happy that I was able to fulfill a form prompt.

Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore (a name that, when pronounced correctly, also employs trochee!)


Hoo Dew

Grab the cumbersome cobalt bottle
No, the one with the floating bits
Syrup it into kettle
Stoke the smoke with oak
Scratch in cinnamon and
ground wormwood
Fresh dandelions

Stir to boiling
Simmer for days
Haze it will bring, just past
the sting of its reality,
will knock the clocks dead

We shall fast while it brews
This shit is better than booze
A ruse of peace, pleasing, but
when it wears off…

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Mama Zen at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted a voodoo poem in 73 words or less.

Not familiar with the occult arts, but I tell you, I’m gonna try this recipe just for kicks! Ha ha, Amy


Diva (little cat feet)
Diva pic
Cats change the landscape of plans.
When orphaned Diva poked her head
out of hiding, a loving thread
filtered from her heart to ours.

She sniffs shoes, jumps at
her own shadow, eats bread crumbs
off the kitchen floor. She defies
gravity, leaping from carpet
to couch back with ease at 11 years.

She salts us with the reality that
we are parents again.

Her soft breath, her purr,
sends me into blissout mode.
We all sense the sea change
and we love it.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For The Sunday Whirl (see Wordle HERE); also in the margins at Poets United and Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. We adopted Diva this week, and she’s a vocal little old girl whose “daddy” died suddenly… she’s grieving, plus she was scared by two of the man’s daughter’s more aggressive cats. Still a bit hand shy, she will climb up on my lap (when she’s ready) and purr… sounds of the heart. Peace, Amy