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

Tag Archives: Speaking Truth to Power

Mom and Blanche

From Whence, and Why
(My Poetic Manifesto… because Gay asked for it!)

I write to give voice
to those without a choice
The homeless, incest survivors
Deep-water depression divers

I’ve been, at one time, all of these
I claim it, no third-person tease
Stated as fact, no truth untold
Some wish that I wouldn’t be quite so bold

Raised to speak raw truth to power
Toe to toe with guys who tower
far over my little Irish ass
(Pardon me, but I can be crass)

Give me paper, a sharp li’l pencil
and life’s underbelly I will stencil
Most people in sight of my spigots:
Racist, homophobic bigots

I’m not important, not myself
My poetry rarely graces a shelf
I drop truth bomb after drone
My words, the only weapon I own

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Poets Pub, our host Gay Reiser Cannon asked for “Manifestos.” Reasons why we write, our impulses and drives, where it all first came from. I dedicate this piece to my late mother and my grandmother Blanche. The maternal side of my family, shanty Irish, were always mindful of those who had less, whether people of color, LGBT folks, victims of war (especially troops who died and their families)… perhaps because they themselves had been in a position of being homeless and next to starving during the Depression of the 30s.

They also thought Ayn Rand was full of shit. We ARE our brother’s – and sister’s – keepers, and if you deny that, you supply the world with ZILCH. Hence my manifesto. Peace, Amy


Never one to hold back,
even at the ever-so-proper
Council of Churches.

An abnormal annual worship
of all churches and temples
joined in the fight against hunger.

See, it was “ecumenical,”
which in the interim director’s mind
meant “Don’t offend Jews and Muslims

by even mentioning Jesus.” So we
gather in a lavish Catholic church,
and there’s a big old Corpus at the altar.

Jesus, dangling from a ginormous cross,
bloody side and all, eyes downturned,
but the director deleted his name.

Two days later, at a staff meeting,
everyone was grumbling about how
Jesus wasn’t invited to the party,

when 22 churches, a synagogue, and
a Muslim temple sent reps. “Politically
correct” was the term of the day…

…until the Director entered the room.
Then a hush. Then she asked, “Does anyone
have any thoughts about the worship?”

I looked around the table. Twenty people
shifted in their chairs. I raised my hand.
“Barbara, it was lavish but awful. You didn’t mention

the name of the real director of the Council of
Churches once.” She blanched. Crickets chirped
and people looked at me but didn’t say jack.

As though educating me, she crowed, “This was
an ecumenical service. I don’t think you understand
what that means.” And OF COURSE I had to say:

“I’m not a moron. Ecumenism is embrace of ALL faiths,
meeting on common ground. So you should have
included Jesus, Moses, AND the Prophet Mohammed.

“There was a big bloody Jesus nailed on the cross.”
(The others waited, breath bated. I was going to quit anyway.)
“The service was crap, but nobody seems to want to tell you that.”

You’a thought the roof would fall in or
lightening would strike me as I left, box of personals in hand.
But no, it WAS the First Horse of the Apocalypse,

the Horse that, incidentally, took a large dump on
the Director as it raced by, headed for the White House
so George W. Bush could get the next load.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This is a true story, written for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads (roof caves in) and using words from Three Word Wednesday. Of course I was not medicated for my bipolar, so I probably would have used more proper language had it been today… but I still would have railed against her condescension and called her out on offending hundreds of Christian volunteers, as well as raising eyebrows with both the rabbi and the Imam! Speaking truth to power is never easy, but it can be a helluva lot of fun!! Peace, Amy