Wisconsin Tragedy (Slenderman)
Where does real begin?
At a mother’s breast
First dip in a pool
First lick from a puppy
Where did unreal begin?
The shotgun off-screen but
your parents were there
to hold your hand and
dry your tears and
talk about how movies aren’t real
Where does the new unreal begin?
Parents turn on the TV
and tune out their kids
The video games seductive
Playing pimp or dealer with
a steady aim and BLAM
And all the women are whores
Where does real begin now?
The Internet, shady Slenderman
A sick fantasy with lots of fans,
lots of kids, is calling the shots
Real is unreal
Fantasy is reality
Parents are clueless
Kids rule their own worlds
Worlds of pain and loneliness
Worlds their parents don’t
care to think about
Boomers, we were lonely too
But we had trees to climb
and time and time
© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, the letter “W.” I wish this was not a true story. I wish it did not involve 12-year-old girls trying to kill their friend because some sick person told them to do it and they believed in Slenderman more than God. For those who aren’t in the States, two girls were convinced by a fictitious character (whose stories are all over the Internet, written by hundreds of people) that to enter his “club,” they had to kill someone. Whoever created Slenderman in the first place is sick enough, but whoever dangled this bloody carrot should rot in jail. The girl survived. Her friends (being tried as adults) left her for dead but she crawled to a roadside. She is home now, but psychologically, who knows what is in store for this poor kid?
This was in the suburbs. Waukesha is in the heart of the Christian Right, Paul Ryan’s land. I pray for the soul of my state, even as I reside in the “hippie district.”
He shuffled by, jeans grazing the sidewalk
I caught a whiff of
part bottle of cheap wine,
part bloody confrontation from
last night, carved on his cheek
As his garbage-bag suitcase thumped behind,
he spat in the gutter.
DTs setting in, he twitched
in a crooked gait, a gurgle
singing from deep in his gut.
Before I could stop him to offer a breakfast,
he vanished through a paint-shredded doorway.
My mom would’ve said,
“His porch light’s flickering.”
© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For The Sunday Whirl (with thanks to Brenda Warren for assembling the Wordle and Mike Patrick for the words): Gutter, flickering, twitched, vanished, crooked, bottle, bloody, gurgle, sidewalk, thump, carved, caught. Also at my poetic touchstone, Poets United.
As the New Year approaches, I felt the time was right to post this, based on a person (whose name has been changed) who hung around Court Street in Binghamton, NY, back in the 70s. I didn’t know her personally… but she was different. And she was persecuted for it. This year, let’s be kind to everyone – especially “The Others,” those whom we may not understand, but who are just as worthy of respect as the next person. Let’s make this the year we put an end to homophobia and prejudice against all who buck the stereotypes.
Here’s the story of a fighter. Peace, Amy
FRANCES BY NIGHT
Frances took a lot of shit
back when cross-dressing was even more misunderstood
On Saturday nights, she’d dress to the nines
Scarves, handbag, nails done, bejeweled pumps
The Pink Cadillac was the only bar in town that would serve her
Sometimes she’d get bounced early for
flouncing around the married guys too much
(They were undercover, like the CIA)
This was back in the day of “those bars”
When you came in the back door and showed ID
Humiliating for closet cases, but worse for Frances
who had to show her license with her real name, Frank
It set her on edge every time, and she had a mouth on her
A few cocktails would set her right
She’d be fine ‘til closing time
If no prime escort took the bait
she’d wait as long as she could
before leaving for good (or for worse)
Fag bashers staked out the back door, on their beat
Ready to beat the crap out of “the little whore”
Yelling, “Frankie! Frankie!”
No cops were ever around that part of town
despite the shouts of the frantic rumble
She put up a good fight, that little queen
for all the mascara and cashmere, she was a scrapper
Her Georgette Klinger lipstick smeared on the knuckles
of some macho boy who really only wanted to touch her
but couldn’t admit it in front of his buddies
“Frankie,” they’d shout, “we’re coming for you”
“Boys,” she’d retort, “do come!
You need it more than I do”
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also at my poetic hearth and home, Poets United, for their Poetry Pantry.
Three Word Wednesday gave us Gag, Maintain, and Omit. Also at Poets United, my poetic community of friends. Peace, Amy
Who’s Crying Now?
The only way he could shut her up
was to gag her with a bandana.
The only way he could maintain control
was to try tying her to a chair
The only mistake he made was to omit
searching her pockets for pepper spray.
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil