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

Tag Archives: Revenge

Night Bus, NYC

Pummeled by brutal fluorescent light
of the crosstown night bus
All sections crammed, and damn, that
fella giving her the FishEye
won’t give her his seat instead

She leans on a rail, awaiting her stop
on the West Side, where Cuban Chinese is
on the menu – her roomie sets a nice
take-out table with chilled Dos Equis

“Broadway at 86,” robots the loudspeaker
As she bunches her keys blade-out
(you never know on a sweatsullen
Manhattan evening), she feels a grasp
The hand of FishEye Guy clasping her ass

She steps back, grinds the tip of a 5” heel
into his sandal-clad foot ‘til it bleeds
“Oh!” she chirps, “I’m so clumsy”
Time wounds all heels, but
hot-rod pumps do the job in a pinch

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

First, Three Word Wednesday posted a call for these words: Brutal, Grope, and Transfer. Then (much to my delight), Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Isadora put this challenge up… “Create a list of three words or phrases specific to the worst job you ever had and craft a poem having nothing to do with work. List the words, write the poem, and take back the power! Make sure to include your list of words or phrases in your post…”

My words were from my hellacious years of waitressing at a Greek restaurant that was actually Greek, run by a guy named Dino who was a sweetie (he called me “Amy the Sing-ger,” with a hard “g”), and all the folks were wonderful, and this was back in my hometown of Binghamton, NY. But waitressing was not my calling. This was before my PTSD diagnosis, so every rush hour I’d break into a sweat, forget orders, and neglect to write down prices, resulting in my being docked. (Yeah, like the Hudsucker Proxy… “Ya forget a price, they DOCK YA!”) I was THE worst waitress in the world… and I really didn’t care!

My waitressing words: Take-out, sections, and bus (as in clear tables).  Actually, there was a fourth restaurant reference in there – did anyone catch it?   Izy, thanks a bunch. You were right about “taking back the power.” Simply transporting myself to The City, when I was actively singing as well as working at a very cool marketing research place (where I met folks who are still friends today), was the start of heaven.

And yes, this is a true story. I had a bad temper in those days… Peace – and Cuban Chinese on your menu soon, Amy


WARNING: NOT for the squeamish. (So if you read it, you have only yourself to thank or blame.)

For those who don’t know me well enough yet, this happened to me when I was a kid. Feel free to comment, ask questions, or engage me through email if you prefer to speak privately (ask and ye shall receive my address). I’m open about this (and my mental disorders) because I want survivors to shed their unearned shame and get the help they need to sweep the monster from under the bed and LIVE their lives not as victims, but as true survivors. Peace, Amy

Too Close, No Comfort

She feels the proximity of the monster
Hears his footsteps
Smells his acrid third-martini breath

She should call out, scream
But it’s useless, no one comes to
help the child until afterwards

It’s over. She wet the bed again
but he never noticed, too busy with
her small, slack-jawed mouth

Will she ever tell the secret everyone knows,
or will she block it all out to preserve
what little sense of self remains?

Little girls have a capacity, as do little boys
to save retribution for adulthood,
when they are able to handle the history

Tears witnessed by a therapist,
perhaps meds to ease the trauma as it is relived
again and again, until the haunting stops

My dad never did the perp walk
Mom never admitted she knew
but my sweet revenge was forgiveness:

After all, he was the sick one.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Three Word Wednesday: Immobile, Proximity, Retribution