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

Tag Archives: Soul

Let Your Heart Take the Reins

In Biblical times, the “heart”
was actually one’s gut.
To “know in one’s heart”
was to feel in the region
of the solar plexus the nexus
of thought and emotion,
an ocean of intuitive knowledge.

If you get that pain
in the pit of your stomach,
stop. Listen to your
better angels; let your heart
guide you, provide you with peace.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Kim Nelson at Poets United’s Verse First wanted a poem, in fewer than 13 lines, about our passions. Mine do not include brevity, so this was a good challenge for me!

Interpreting the Bible to relate to modern-day times is a passion of mine. So many folks use the Bible, as my friend Ben recently wrote, as a weapon… slandering gay folks, denying poor women health care. All the things Jesus decried when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself…” Loving God brings me closer to doing the right thing. It’s hard, having manic depression and PTSD, to find that quiet place, but the ache in the pit of my gut I always pay attention to! Peace, Amy

Or Not To Be

To be
picked apart
as carrion
plucks at

To be
as specimen
as subject
as experiment
as something less

Jaw ripped from
Voice prized from
Thoughts from


© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Trifecta, photo by Meghan McCabe

Three Word Wednesday gave us these words:  Cherish, Guarantee… and Nausea.  Hmmmm.   Amy


And after the sumptuous Creole meal, our host
revealed the piece de resistance.
Carefully inserting a skeleton key
into an antique burlwood cabinet,
he extracted a cherished treasure:

His smuggled bottle of Absinthe.

“Plan to stay awhile,” he murmured.
“This is guaranteed to take you
directly to the Source.”

A row of glasses topped with slotted spoons;
a cube of sugar atop each spoon.
He poured through the sugar cubes
slowly, lovingly – as one would bring forth
nectar from the gods.

Green liquid swirled; we held it up to the firelight,
our personal tickets to the Emerald City.
Conversation slowed.
Speech slurred,
then stopped.
In our mutual stupor, we awaited the Divine.
And waited.  Then waited some more.
Still, no inspiration, no introspection,
no insights.  We stared at one another, then at our host.

Vague notions of Interview With The Vampire flickered,
then faded.

My one and only encounter with Absinthe ended a bust.
And in the morning, a touch of nausea.
Perhaps in the future, I mused, I’ll stick to ‘shrooms.

©  2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also at my poetic oasis, Poets United!

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

Escape Can Be Forever

Authentic, unapologetic
Manic-depressive, chose Meth over meds
Yowling cat-scratch vocals

Wound-up top
Inviting us for a spin
Next to none, under your skin
Energetic, enigmatic
House-high beehive
Outrageous, bawdy “bad girl”
Undulating at the mic
Soul singer to the end
Everlasting, never built to last… Amy Winehouse

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

NOTE:  For ABC Wednesday, took longer to complete than I imagined, but wanted to get it right.  Amy Winehouse’s legacy is not just her incredible music.  She serves as a symbol of the confusion between addiction and mental illness.  It’s true that many times, as with my own mother, people who need other help self-medicate… the difference is, Amy was DIAGNOSED as manic-depressive (bipolar) and refused to take prescribed medicine or stick with therapists.

To say she was an addict and post “Just say no” on FaceBook does a great disservice to many people who might see themselves in Amy’s downward spiral and possibly seek medical help.  As a person living with manic depression and PTSD, I wanted this message to go out to as many folks as possible. 

Also posted at Poets United. RIP, Amy Winehouse, and peace to her family and fans, Amy Barlow Liberatore

This came out of two conversations:  One with Nimue, and another with Leif.  Both are “outside the box” poets, each with a dark and a light side. I want to acknowledge them both for conversations we have had that resulted in this poem. Please check out their sites!   Also at Poets United, naturally!  Amy

Tree Of My Soul
for Nimue and Leif

Half oak
Half willow
Bark soft as leather
or tough as truth

Fruit hangs from its branches
Mangoes, apples, peaches
but no olives
nor any fruit that requires
pickling or processing

Only fruits that are
picked from the twigs
devoured warm in the sun
juice running down my chin
like good sex

Watch for the spring sprout
see it birthed into a bud
wait, wait until
the time is right
the fruit is ripe

Only then is my soul

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil