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

Tag Archives: Prompts

I’ve changed my blog settings so now, all comments are approved. The backlog was immense and guilt was clouding my creativity. (I’m Black Irish, so that kind of guilt is quite weighty!) I will attempt to figure out how to respond to your comments later… but right now, the burden of guilt lifted from my shoulders, I shall post. Peace, Amy

 

GUMM… AND GUMMER (A Suite in Two Movements)

I. Frances Gumm

Child stardom thrust upon her
by mother’s demand
Couldn’t navigate a ship
she didn’t command
Crinkles, cramps, crevices
of age came too soon
The voice we all loved:
Judy’s sad, silent tune

 

II. Mrs. Gummer

You know her
or you feel like you do
That crinkle in her smile
The creases framing her sparkling eyes

She’s a survivor
Bucking the demand that actresses be
plump only in the lips and
possess a Stepford-smooth forehead

She will continue to navigate
the Hollywood torrents with grace,
and if awards come too, that’s fine.

What matters to her is the work.
What matters to her more is family.

Marvelous Meryl Streep!

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Three Word Wednesday (Crinkle, Demand, Navigate) and ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “G.” Also at my poetic lair, Poets United.


Life is Good When…

Life is good when children smile, their bellies full.
Life is good when girls play rough-and-tumble
after their tea party.
When boys are allowed to cry without ridicule…

Life is good when all folks have a home, however humble,
with food on the table and friends to share it.
When community clinics offer free health care
to those who need it most: addicts, women facing choices
that men don’t think twice about, prenatal care for those
who choose motherhood, help for those who don’t…

Life is good when handguns are melted to forge plows.
When women can wear hijabs and not encounter
disapproving looks from unveiled Anglos.
When Mom can choose to stay home because Dad
makes enough and has Union protections, or when
Mom decides the kids are all in school and can work
at something that exercises her mind and passion…

Life is good when the Christmas tree has more ornaments
on the tree than overpriced Chinese- made toys under it.
When the family gave more to charity than to Wal-Mart…

Life is good when every couple can hold hands and love
their lives together without condemnation from straights.
Life is good when the National Guard is back on US soil
and enlisted troops are all home, receiving VA care and
using their GI benefits to get an education…

We’re waiting for the day when life is good.

Until then, this dream is brought to you by your sponsor,
the Creator, who reminds us all that life is a gift…
use it wisely and with love.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Sunday Scribblings, an alternate take on “Life is Good.” Also at my poetic heart and hearth, Poets United.


The Balancing Act of Life

Hovering before a feeder full of suet,
the hummingbird’s wings beat so fast,,
she appears motionless. Magic.

Nearby, a birdhouse swivels on its chain
in the autumn breeze, abandoned for
the rapidly approaching winter.

The bees are past “Last Call,” so drunk
they’ll sting anything. They dawdle near
the last bloom of a faded coral rose in
a pointless quest for long-gone nectar.

Geese overheard, perfectly aligned,
their kazoo music a comic horn section.
Yet, behold their strength in numbers,
their impeccable, strategic teamwork.
They know travail; they seek only survival.

The eloquent, full-throated conversation of
lark and sparrow, cuckoo and crow
owl and cricket, long since stifled by
the reality of the season. One misses
their conversation over morning coffee
or evening cabernet. Now we watch the mist
mask and reveal, mask and reveal the Moon,
pee-a-boo in the night sky.

We’ll take in the birdfeeders soon, our fingers
deftly cleaning all crevices before storage for Spring.
We will look for the few creatures of the deep freeze:
Deer, gratefully nibbling apples we left on the
low-hanging branches, rabbits scavenging
what they can, squirrels twirling in the trees.

This balancing act of life serves as show and
as life lesson: Hard work and beauty are equals
in Nature. Symmetry. The dance. The point.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For The Sunday Whirl, with thanks to Brenda for the Wordle: Bees, balance, cleaning, coral, point, strength, finger, motionless, eloquent, rapidly, swivel, safety. Also at my poetic home away from home, Poets United.


Lost Soul

He shuffled by, jeans grazing the sidewalk
I caught a whiff of
part bottle of cheap wine,
part bloody confrontation from
last night, carved on his cheek

As his garbage-bag suitcase thumped behind,
he spat in the gutter.
DTs setting in, he twitched
in a crooked gait, a gurgle
singing from deep in his gut.

Before I could stop him to offer a breakfast,
he vanished through a paint-shredded doorway.

My mom would’ve said,
“His porch light’s flickering.”

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For The Sunday Whirl (with thanks to Brenda Warren for assembling the Wordle and Mike Patrick for the words): Gutter, flickering, twitched, vanished, crooked, bottle, bloody, gurgle, sidewalk, thump, carved, caught. Also at my poetic touchstone, Poets United.


Boulevard Noir

I was a crumb, out of a job again,
feeling fallow, hanging out with the other writers at Schwab’s.
An obsolete automobile, titanic and shiny as a new penny,
pulled up; we were slack-jawed, admiring the grandeur.
In front, a bald chauffeur; his passenger, a forgotten icon, Silent era.

She offered me a job, plus room and board.
(Around repo time, one swallows one’s pride and hides
one’s rambunctious side, replacing it with unctuous politeness.)
I approached a mansion at the address she gave me.  Rang the bell;
the stately old house echoed, hollow, eerie.

Her butler took my coat and placed my fedora on the hat-rack.
Who could know that, within one month, I’d be
avoiding her embrace in the palatial garden and
waltzing her around the grand ballroom at a party
“Just for the two of us, my darling…”

And who could predict I’d end up face down her in “cement pond,”
blood lacing the water around my bobbing, lifeless body?

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For The Sunday Whirl and at Poets United.


Still under the weather – and yet, there’s that dizzy, “you ain’t goin’ nowhere” feeling of the flu that still gives rise to interesting thoughts.

First off, you MUST check out this link if you interested in (and, like me, vociferously object to) the Nazi/Fascist/Far-Right phenomenon of banning and/or burning books.  Some might not like it (not because of subject, but because the title is something about “booksluts” and they use the “vee-jay-jay” word (yes, I have one, too.  What’s the big deal?).  There are some useful links.  I BOUGHT my daughter a copy of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair when she was a teen.  BANNED!  SOCIALIST LEANINGS! Click HERE.

Please do check it out, but NOT until you have read this poem, for ABC Wednesday, and, of course, my poetic heartbeat, Poets United.  Amy

I Never Lost Faith in Love

For all the sorry-ass excuses for men
who double-crossed my path,
through every mischievous menace who
left me drained and feeling inadequate,

I never lost faith in love.

Through many mistakes whose lips met mine
with divinely inspired kisses
(but the Devil’s own heart), plus
all the power of commitment God gave an ashtray,

I never lost faith in love.

For every hairy-dick tomcat
who yowled ‘til I let him in,
through every door that slammed in my face
once he got his share of the kitty,

I never lost faith in love.

On this earth, once I found the one
who is plush to my blush,
ever-after to my laughter,
I thank God every day,

I never lost faith in love.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Walk, Talk, Persevere

Our hands in our pockets, we walked.
‘Twas of Lila’s cancer we talked.
“Oh, sure, it was one fucking jolt!
One week, all is well, then this bolt

from Doctor X come a-roaring
in our ears, but then my adoring
Meg said, ‘Give us some options, Doc.’”
“In the past, it was urgent – tick-tock,

to cut off the woman’s whole breast.
But now it’s the simple way’s best.”
The importance of one single fact:
Lila’s dignity would be intact.

There’d be scraping and chemo, but then,
their future to build was the plan,
“Rebuild Lila’s health” was the rule.
They married; bold women:  They’re cool.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore

From Brenda Warren’s Sunday Whirl, and just in time!  Wordle words are in bold.  This is dedicated to all women and men who have survived breast cancer… and in memory of those who did not.  Peace, Amy


Catching the last breath of Sunday Scribblings, laid low with flu that comes and goes. If I hear, “it’s going around” one more time, I’ll… cough unproductively!

Sunday Scribblings
asked for a sensation (in this case, I borrowed that of another), and Three Word Wednesday used Backward, Ease, and Omission. Seemed to go together… Peace to all, Amy

Tightwire With Glass Shards and No Net

Her uncomplicated memories of growing up
The ease with which she blocks out
who dad was and what he did…

Insisting he hung the moon and stars
Not a sin, but a shame, this omission.
She remains his prisoner, unbalanced,
dreams filled with violence,

legs kicking away at something,
she can’t quite see its face…
Look backward, angel.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also at my poetic collective home, Poets United.


LAKESIDE CONVERSATION

An autumn breeze caressed my cheek.
A moment with no words to speak
aloud, but softly, with great care:
“The end of this; we know it’s there.”

The carefree days, each careful kiss;
I know that life holds more than this
for me,” I sighed, and waited for
response from him.  Then, this he swore:

“I’ll like you ‘til my dying day.
Please be my friend, although we’ll lay
apart, and in the arms of others.”
This is the love time never smothers:

The gift of letting passion go
because true friendship deems it so.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poetic Bloomings was the first to inspire me after my break, with a lovely photo by Walt of lovers lounging by the lake. Please click HERE to see it, as I am unable to download from the site. Thanks, Marie and Walt! Also at Poets United, the poetry collective that rocks! Peace to all, and I’m SO relieved to be back! Amy


Sunday Scribblings asked for thoughts about each poet’s muse. I believe I was one of the lucky ones; I also believe this may account for my poor grades in school! No blame at all, only gratitude for being so blessed. Peace, Amy
PS This is also at Poets United, the poetic collective.

I Met My Muse When I Was Two

Dancing, glittering over my playpen.
Sweet music singing when the record player was silent.

During school, whispering secrets to me
(so much more enticing than scribbles on the chalkboard).

Winding in a scenting breeze, gentle on my nose as I
walked the streets of a smelly, gritty city.

Capturing the intake of my every breath,
flowing through my body, creating peace within my harried soul.

Inspiring luscious, ludicrous, outlandish, lovely thoughts…
my Muse.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil