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

Tag Archives: Trifecta 33 words

Stone Cold

In the Psych Annex
My new Rx
Diagnosis, Bipolar
Prescription, Lithium

Hideously heavy
Slogging through my bloodstream
Soupy, sluggish, songless

Stone didn’t skip on water
It simply sank

Muses’ broom
Artist’s doom


© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For Trifecta, 33 words, including the word “stone.” The prompt showed a Periodic Table of the Elements and mentioned that the element lithium is from the Greek word, lithos, or stone. It was not lost on me that the drug Lithium made me LIKE a stone!

True story: While “in the Bin” years ago, I was finally diagnosed manic depressive. The doctor was extremely old-school; she prescribed Lithium, claiming it was the only drug that really worked on bipolar disorder. For me, Lithium became cement for the soul. Fortunately, after discharge, I found a wonderful psychiatrist, Dr. Rao. He weaned me off what I called “Mister Sluggo” and began a careful balance of anti-depressants and anxiety meds. “Whoever says psychiatry is not drug experimentation is full of it,”Dr. Rao said. “The idea is tweaking until you get it right, and every person’s chemistry is different.” I have a new doctor here in Madison. He’s great, but Dr. Rao had wry humor and a calm, reassuring way… plus he didn’t accept samples from drug peddlers, and I admire that.

I know some folks don’t believe in psych meds, and I understand why. Whatever floats your boat; however, in cases like mine, where the chemistry is complicated and the dips and peaks extreme, my little boat would SINK without meds. I’ve lived life both ways, and I know what keeps my pencil sharp. Peace, Amy

Formula for a Lasting Marriage

Uncle Tommy told me
that successful couples should
each try to give 70 percent.

“That way, when one partner
isn’t up to giving their full share,
the other person compensates.”

Works for me.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Trifecta wanted a “formula” poem, in 33 words. My Uncle Tom and Aunt Clare were married many, many years before Tommy’s death. Tom was my mom’s brother, but Clare always called my mother “sister” instead of “sister-in-law.” They were so close… I’ll write more about them at another time.

Years later, Clare was lucky enough to find love again with a widower named Bob. They both kept pictures of their first loves in the house and talked about them all the time. That kind of selfless devotion, while still in a wonderful new relationship, speaks to their happiness. Bob died a few years back, and now Aunt Clare (whom we visited in California) is still shiny as a new penny, a truly lovely woman. When I think of Clare, I think of class, patience, and gracefulness. Her son, Gregg, is the cousin who got me to move out to California and work at the Great American Food & Beverage Company, a true adventure and one of the best moves I ever made.  Greggie is still too cool for school, after all these years!

A little more family history from your friend in poetry, Amy.