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

Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

El Junque

Small island we called home
Puerto Rico, me encanta
Friends apologized for
the recent visit of Hugo
“El barstardo” tore down buildings,
but the saddest casualty was nature

El Junque, the rainforest
hidden inland, had paid dearly

Now there was but a bit of heaven:
Lush ferns, lantana underfoot
Palms, missing top feathers
but swayin what Mama Earth gave ’em
“Lo siento, Amelita,” said Fran
(I’m so sorry, Amy)

“El Junque is but a, how do you say,
una sombra de los dias pasados”
(A shadow of days gone by)

Yet, as I watched a paradise-painted parrot
linger on bird of paradise, gilding the lily,
I witnessed nature’s sense of humor

And as the juice of a fresh-picked mango
rolled down my chin, all I thought was,
¡Puerto Rico, mi alma! My soul!

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
(Amy de Barlow y Laughlin, la lápiz pequeño y perspicaz)

Hannah at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads wanted poems about the rain forest.  How about having one in your back yard… or at least a few miles down the road from you house?  That was the luckiest part of living in Puerto Rico – apart from friends I made and abuelitas (grandmothers) who cooed over pictures of mi nena (my little girl), Riley.  Gorgeous island, beautiful people.  Peace, Amy


At dverse, Hobgoblin asked us to attempt a poem in a foreign language. While I did spend years in Puerto Rico, my Spanish is a mite rusty; that’s why I buy bilingual volumes of Neruda, to strengthen that connection. Let’s see what you think (the English translation follows).

San Juan por la noche

Noches en la playa
de mi Borrinquen querido

Con mi amor, sin abarcas en la arena
y la aroma del mar

Besos dulces, cervezas frias
Manos entrelazarse

Estrellas bialando
por la cadencia de nos corazones

Muchos anos pasados,
yo recuerdo este amor… suave y eterno

TRANSLATION

San Juan at Night

Nights on the beach
of my beloved Puerto Rico

With my love, barefoot in the sand
and the scent of the sea

Sweet kisses, cold beer
Hands intertwined

The stars dancing
to the rhythm of our hearts

After so many years,
I remember that love… tender and eternal

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also at “la casa de poecia,” Poets United!


For the trifecta weekend challenge, to use the word for an animal as a verb, in exactly 33 words. Here are two offerings.

The first is about my mom; the second is an homage to mi viejo San Juan. Peace, Amy

THE ADDICT

Started at 14, in classic fashion, behind the barn. Later, her children badgered her: “Quit smoking, Mom!” It was the wanting to quit that was missing. She Cameled herself to an early grave.

ANGELITA AND CECI

Don’t know much Spanish, but the girls down the hall, they’re roommates, both Puerto Rican, clingy moms back home. Not a day goes by without one yelling to the other, “¡Llama tu madre!”

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


A New Day

Eyes closed, sensing first
the warm salt air of San Juan

The scent of jasmine potpourri
now fills my head pleasurably, sensually

A salamander dink, dinks her way
up the white plaster bedroom wall

I smile
Baby’s still asleep

Eyes open, I am reminded I had
the whole bed to myself last night
The room is lacquered that antiseptic white
that screams: RENTAL

A crystal hung in the window
catches a sunbeam and pitches it
from ceiling to mirror and onto my bare toes,
and I laugh out loud.

Then I burst into tears.

It’s been years since I woke up smiling,
even though mornings have always
done their best to cheer me up.

Through the tears, I manage a smile –
baby opens the door, climbs on the bed,
pats the vacant pillow and looks at me
like a curly-haired question mark.

“Daddy’s gone for a while, but
we’re gonna be fine, mi nena.”
I take her in my arms and we snuggle on the big bed.

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Sunday Scribblings (Pleasure), Poetic Bloomings (Begin in a new way), and, as always, Poets United.