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

Tag Archives: Portraits

I usually don’t revisit the same subject so soon, but Poetic Bloomings had a prompt with such specifics (a great-grandfather, a pocketwatch, a camera, getting film developed) to one I just wrote about my Great-grandpa Dunn that I though he deserved a special remembrance. I’m looking at the portrait as I write this… Mom looks so little, like a puppy standing next to Gary Cooper. So thanks, Marie Elena and Walt, for reading my mind! Peace, Amy

Portrait of Great-grandpa and Mom

Mom told me her Grandpa
died on the tracks
The storied train conductor
lay down to relax

and died as he’d lived
in his suit so fine
Forty-some years working
the Rock Island Line

They found him, right hand flung out
They opened his palm
His prized pocket-watch was
still perfect as a Psalm

They went to the shack
built around his prize
A massive telescope;
Mars seen with his own eyes

and papers lined in ink
detailed her Grandpa’s plan
that someday on the moon
a spaceship we would land

Mom spied a camera
sitting on a shelf
slipped it her in pocket;
this, she’d do herself

Three pictures on that film
One of his cherished Scope
One, her grandma making
homemade lavender soap

The last, my mom and grandpa
Great-grandfather Dunn
In full conductor-timepiece suit…
to his long leg she clung

That picture, now in sepia
hangs upon my wall
A testament to dreamers
no matter how they fall

In death, he chose his exit
In life, he held such hope
Great-grandma washed his broken body
in homemade lavender soap

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Poets United asked us to meditate on the word, “She.”

THREE IMAGES OF WOMEN GRACE MY WALL

A dog-eared poster hovers near my desk, rebellious wallpaper
Detailed manifesto of the Women’s Liberation Movement
“Because woman’s work is never done and is underpaid…”
Words from a bubbling wellspring of hope and burned lycra
Demand for an equal stake in this country, still unmet

A postcard: Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein
keep me honest in all pursuits, artful and activist
as they stare me down in a loving way, like sisters
heart of depression beside the mother of us all
reminding me that women are worthy of everything

Klimt portrait, foil-embroidered woman
She stands alone, in no man’s embrace
yet framed by flowers, wearing a come-hither robe
Full black hat, ebony halo, distant gaze
Essence of loveliness, an equal part of my soul

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil