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

Tag Archives: Prompts

The Thirteen Floor

Oh, my mind resides
on the Thirteenth Floor
at the Riverside
back behind a door

made of oak and spruce
in Victorian style
and I keep it loose
here behind my smile

All my friends are here
cyber-found and true;
others will appear
when the moon is new

We’re expecting you

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poets United wanted poems about the number 13, in poems of exactly 13 lines.

I counted them twice.

Peace, Amy

Wish Upon a Star

Remember being a kid and
wishing on a star?

I wish I can get a kitten.
I wish my sister wasn’t so mean.

I wish Mike in 7th period English liked me.
I wish my parents would stop fighting.

When I was a child
I wished as a child…

Now I wish for Fukushima
to be cooled, calmed, and collected

I wish for the Middle East to be at peace.
(Hey, I dream big)

I wish Rush Limbaugh would fade
into the obscurity he so richly deserves

I wish young girls would focus on their brains
and that Jon-Benetathons would vanish

I wish racists would grow
hearts… and minds

I wish on the wind for power
and for fracking to cease

I wish for women to be accorded
the rights and respect we deserve

I wish for justice for all, especially kids
For the world to be fed, clothed

This year, Jupiter is larger and
more visible than we’ll ever see it again.

So I focus on Jupiter,
shining bright in the night sky

If you want to heal a planet,
might as well wish on another planet

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For the Thursday Think Tank at my poetic space station, Poets United, where the prompt was “Wish.”

The Pinkie

The pinkie has a purpose.
Pointing outward at high tea.
Stand proud alongside taller siblings.

Rich people adorn it with rings.
When chopping veggies, it
rarely falls victim to the blade.

No longer than a thumb, yet
pushed to the end of the line, for
Thumb basks in glory of its opposition.

Oh, lowly pinkie, you are my little hero
holding fast at the end of the digits,
keeping the others in line.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “P.” Once in a while, whimsy catches me by the heel, and this is the result! Also at my poetic pinkie ring, Poets United.


The point at which I knew Taffy was
the perfect bet was not because of a trick,
nor a whisper (a la Cesar Milan).

For a spaniel, her shape was odd.
She could pack on pounds begging for cookies,
going from one family member at a time.

Once, she ate string, and she sat still
as I eased it back out of her mouth,
her breath not what one would wish for in a dog.

Her coat didn’t shine, and she had
a lifelong taste for running in the back forty
to roll in dead things, then eat them.

But one night, Taffy laid down
on my lap when I was feeling quite sad.
She gently put one paw on my hand.

And I melted into a puddle of mush.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
PAD #2!
For The Sunday Whirl: Trick, Pack, Point, Whisper, Smell, Shape, Shine, Taste, Wish, String, Pet, Paw.
Also with my Poetic Peeps, Poets United.


She was good looking.
He whistled in appreciation.
Rednecks approached: “Black boy,
gonna teach you a lesson.”

Pistol whipped, drowned, 14.  Emmett Till.
Open casket: Mama’s wishes.
That cruel reality slapped us awake.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Trifecta Friday: Write a horror poem or story in exactly 33 words, without employing the following words: blood, scream, died, death, knife, gun, or kill. I chose this true story because for me, there is nothing more frightening than to put oneself in the shoes of a victim of hate crime, and Emmett Till’s death and public funeral were key to the outrage that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, a cause my mother believed in deeply and outspokenly.

This poem will also appear at Poets United, my poetic peeps.

California Dreamer

I’m here
Made it clear out to the
West Coast
Hair sticky with salt,
sand in my sandals

Beach air so fine
This town is mine for the takin
I’ll break in
Shakin what my mama gave me

No car yet, but I got two wheels
I pedal with my red metal
or skate the eight blocks to work
That’ll pay rent for now

til I find my niche
in the LA club scene
And then, Bub, watch out
No doubt

As sure as this
rock wall will stand
My talent will meet their demand
Singers as common as sand… but I’m here

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For dverse Patterns, Pictures, and Poems, writing to a photo from their tasty selection.  Photo courtesy of James Rainsford; used with permission via the dverse site.
Also at my poetic cairn, Poets United!

Hell-Bent Trail

“I’m in a hurry,
don’t worry.

“I’ve had a libation (or five),
but I can handle the drive.”

Behind the wheel, no trrrrrouble
Rolled a fattie, toked it double

Charged straight through the toll
Confused, but on a roll

Doing 70, gazing at stars,
his eyes settled on Mars.

Meanwhile, a mom needed grahams for s’mores
Asked her Mindy to walk to the store.

The hit-and-run, no surprise…
Chased and charged with her demise.

She was two months short of twenty,
future that was filled with plenty.

That girl was all spit and spunk…
sacrificed to a hell-bent drunk.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Trifecta (“trail”) and The Sunday Whirl: Accident, Toll, Libation, Handle, Trouble, Mars, Ask, Charged, Settle, Confused, Sacrificed, Plenty. Also at Poets United.
THINK BEFORE YOU TURN THAT IGNITION KEY. ACCEPT THE RIDE HOME, Y’ALL. And yes, buzzed driving IS impaired driving. Peace, Amy

If you are a true Tea Party member, you might want to skip this one, since it defies the Gospel According to St. Viagra.

Prove It

If corporations are people,
why don’t they have
lungs and
Female corporations
are denied contraception.
Rush is a straight corporation?
He should do something procreative
with “beard” Wife #4 and prove it!

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Trifecta: Poem in 33 words that justifies having an exclamation point. Title not included in the word count.
Also at my poetic cafe, Poets United.

Photo courtesy of

Tapestry in Black

Now I lay.
Me, down…
to sleep
the startled, interrupted unrest
of the depressed.

Were it simply tears by day,
then hitting pillow come the light of the moon;
this, people would “get.”

The complicated tapestry
woven in shades of black.
The schedules I lack.
The discipline gone slack.
The coat left on the rack.
The never going back.

The pills I must ingest
to calm the manic distressed
and keep myself on track

My folly is my trolley:
What track?
Was I s’posed to stop there?

Now I lay.
Me, down.
To sleep?
I gaze at the inconstant moon,
wishing I were of silver hewn.

Morpheus, come, please claim
this shattered, fragile frame.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Poets United Think Tank Thursday, Moon

Photo courtesy of

The Call

Dinner with Sis and Rollie
He retired early – stomach ache

My hug couldn’t reach around his girth.

The phone rang at 4am
Mom: “Wake up, Rollie’s at Lourdes.”
Flying down the highway…

Too late. Gone at 36.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Rest in peace, Rollie. Brother-in-law, Father, Prankster, Friend
For Trifecta: Poem in 33 words plus the phrase: “The phone rang at 4am”
Also at my kindred spirits’ lair, Poets United.