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

Tag Archives: Work of the Poet

The first is for Sensational Haiku Wednesday (yeah, it’s Saturday, I know!), and the second was written for my friend Kelly’s blog but never posted. This is also posted at my poetic hearth, Poets United.

Peace be with you all. Amy


Red leaf shivering
ready to drop to fertile ground
Life cycle complete


FOR EVERYONE, so they may understand what some call “crazy.”


I am one of the “other-minded”
We filter truth through a lens tinted by our mood
or lit by the fullest moon
to create art, to fulfill our promise

Who else will capture the infinite loneliness
of the slab mattress in the suicide ward?

The blurred visions of panic in a grocery store,
surrounded by cardboard people
blithely stuffing their carts with Cocoa Puffs?

Who else will bear witness to
the undulation of one’s naked self in a mirror,
mesmerized by the sheer loveliness reflected?

Who but we have days we celebrate
for their sheer boredom
Walking the fields of home
while ceiling-gazing in midcity?

We endure darkness, yet we bathe in
the glorious light that follows

We stumble, then venture down a path
the “sane” would never dare.

Our words, our artwork,
our songs and poems
breathe both bleakness and dizzying victories;
improbable stories of
real people they’ll think we made up
(if only it were so…)

We are labeled misfit toys
but we dance on the edge
of a rolling coin
that never comes to rest

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The Poets United prompt was Loneliness. This was my take on it. Peace, Amy

In My Solitude

He’s gone out the door for yet another
long, dour weekend with his mother

I am left to my own devices
TV never quite suffices

Hating the quiet, the isolation
I head out for café consolation

Alone in a crowd, it’s win, win again
Just me and my journal, my mind and my pen

Could call up some friends and do a flick
Then toast and get toasted until I’m sick

But I decide not to pick up the phone
The comfort: Control is mine alone

I hear music vaguely beguiling my mind
See dancing figures upon the blind

Phrases now pop up from deep recesses
These help assuage any “home alone” stresses

And with synesthesia, quick movement of eyes
Creates haunting noises that always surprise

I pray, I eat takeout, and sure, I do miss him
But sometimes a girl needs a break on a whim

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

(Synesthesia affects me this way: When I move my eyes side to side, there follows a tracking, sort of metallic noise, not unlike the Six Million Dollar Man jumping sound. Sorry, it’s a US TV reference, my out of country friends!

For the Sunday Whirl, a Wordle that gave us:  World, poem, thought, logic, whim, river, resist, twisted, buzz, instinct, galloping, and fluttered.  Thanks, Brenda, for another great challenge. This, as with all my poems, is present at Poets United.  Peace, Amy


…where I found a poem

On a whim, bereft of logic,
in a world of twisted thought,
a poem fluttered by.

I could not resist its bee-buzz:
Following my twisted instinct,
I went galloping after, alongside that
river of rhythm and bliss and memories

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Sunday Scribblings asked for poems about “opportunity.”  This is actually destined to be a country=tinged song when I finish it, but the beginning seems made for the prompt.  Also, Three Word Wednesday used the words Grip, Thread, and Prefer; this is my second poem for that prompt! Click on the poetry site links to read many more poets.

Also found at my poetic home, Poets United.  Peace to you all, Amy

That’s How it Goes

Here’s how it goes, once in a while
The boy takes a shine to the girl with the smile
They waltz ’round the dance floor, and he takes a dare:
Says the sun was created to shine on her hair…
And her eyes seem to say what her heart already knows,
and that’s how it goes.

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Open Mic (haiku)

Caught in the grip of
uncertainty’s clenched fist
Sweat pearls on her brow

At the podium,
words threaded into poems…
Fight or flight? She thinks:

“I’d prefer to flee
but I’m already up here.”
Breathe. Exhale. Give out.

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Well, two days of being unable to post on WordPress. Let’s see if this one takes!   A Three Word Weds. prompt:  Fond, Alter, and Tranquil. Also posted at my poetic home-away-from-home, Poets United.

Thanks to all for having patience with this blog bug.  Peace, Amy

Prompt Etiquette

Fond as she was of fulfilling prompts,
she never altered a poem
to “use” the required words.

Tranquility found in
honest expression;
cheating the muse being
sloppy mortar,
bound to be found
lacking in quality.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Words haunted her, hounded her
Phrases dogged her footsteps,
nipped at her heels.

Thoughts butterflied about her head,
no shoving them away.

Fanciful images and rhyme
began to work they way
into the margins of her mind.

At work, she inked them on her arm
(transcribing them before nightly oblations).

When at last she found her voice,
the words rejoiced, flutterflapping, then
settling on her desk or clinging to the walls
like hastily taped reminders.

Carefully, she pasted them into a book
in a certain order
(like a ransom note)
and the captive was set free.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore

For ABC Wednesday (brought to you by the letter “Q”) and my poetic home, Poets United.

Anyone who’s thought of writing poetry should check out Three Word Wednesday. That’s the heart of it – you get three words to play with, once a week. If you have a blog, link your poem to the site and get visits from other poets, then visit them back… if you don’t have a blog, click on the names listed, and you’ll see what they have done! It’s a nice way to get started in poetry. Also: Leave a pad and paper in three places: In the bathroom (!), by your bed, and next to where you usually waste time watching reality TV! You just might come up with something! Peace, Amy


We the hardscrabbles
etched our names on our forearms
lest we be found in a ditch
with no one to utter our names

The nights in dim pubs
speaking easily of all we intended to do
dabbling in art, thinking youth and inspiration
would always be on tap, like Guinness

Those were the leaner times
Now most sit in cubicles or
stand in unemployment lines
remembering the joy of possessing nothing

…save inspiration

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Well, I did manage to sneak on Poetic Asides (click on today’s prompt to see others’ work), as well as Jingle and Sunday Scribblings this week. So in the midst of my move, here is my take on Robert’s prompt: RECEIPT. Apropos, no? Peace, Amy


TO: Poetic Asides and my blogging buddies
RE: Receipt of my intent to change locales

To Poetic Asides, to all I have befriended
No matter where I am, my journey with you
has not ended, nor will it

But God has called my Pastor Lex to a new place
To do a “new thing,” as is his calling
From cold, snowy Attica
To colder, blistering Madison, WI
Moving in Mid-January:

This shows that God possesses not only a
great sense of humor
But a well-developed sense of irony as well
(Jews knew that already)

While I shall remain scarce until
the move is completed, I will check in
from time to time. PA is my “fix” when
life mixes turmoil with tinsel
and thunder with a lightening of spirit

May you all have a blessed Christmas
A peaceful Hanukkah (where the heck is my dreidel?)
…and a happy Festuvus (for the rest of us)
No matter what your reason for celebrating this season
pray for peace above all

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Thoughts on censorship from a free speech advocate.


And when they had gathered all the books
Works of Jewish and other subversive writers
Thoughts of Einstein
Dark musings of playwright Bertoldt Brecht
(every time you hum “Mack the Knife,” remember him)
Lenin, Trotsky, Zola (politics)
From Sigmund Freud to Ernest Hemingway
Ironically, Jack London’s Arctic went into the pyre

And then the flames – everyone pulled out matches to participate in
a funeral worthy of a ship-bound Viking
The death of thousands of words
too dangerous to read
Thoughts polluting the minds of
pure-blooded, ‘real’ Germans

The chill pored over intellectuals
Jews and Christians alike
Frozen in time, these works
Alive elsewhere, but here during the Nazi regime
forbidden fruit
Icewater veins of torch-wielding youth
who, had they read the books
might have understood what was going wrong

Here, in America
that same icy atmosphere prevails
over “Harry Potter”
over “Huck Finn”
over “Catcher in the Rye”
We don’t burn ’em; we ban ’em
And the North wind keeps on blowing

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Reaction to a spirited debate regarding politics and poetry.


Whatever you think about me
I am human
I have feelings
Feelings that have been stomped on
or caressed
depending on the person and circumstance

I am an American from Europe
whose white skin
and heterosexuality
and youth in the suburbs
gave me advantages
over those who weren’t dealt the same cards
or even given cards from the same deck

I am a woman who still doesn’t have
the same Constitutional rights as males
but who can vote and speak her mind
who doesn’t have to wear a burqa
who doesn’t risk being stoned to death
because she dared leave the house without her husband

I am not threatened by TV personalities
who admit they don’t believe half their hate speech
(they are just doing what their sponsors tell them)
who have no degrees in journalism
(one a college dropout, the other a deejay)
They don’t speak from their hearts
but from their wallets
and they freely admit it
Sure, it’s mercenary and incites violence
But it’s a living

Powers of such as these are limited
only by the willingness of their listeners
to be sheep, to blame the least in our society
for their current woes
(this time it’s Mexicans and gays; last time it was Jews;
before that, Armenians, before that…)

When Jesus was surrounded by “unclean” street urchins
he told the disciples not to chase them away
but to let them come closer
He didn’t want them deported to another town
He didn’t call them unclean or unworthy
He didn’t charge copays when healing the poor
He acted out of love

He also raised a ruckus
that resonates to this very day
for to love one’s enemies is an almost impossible task
and to love one’s neighbor,
harder still when he brags he ran them over,
but they were “just Mexicans”

Jesus was hung because of words
and all his words were loving
If our poetic world was only Whitman, Dickenson, Dickens
bereft of Ginsburg, Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks
how poor this world would be

Provocation is healthy
What makes one’s blood coarse faster
makes one’s mind more nimble
Sure, I get provoked
But I stand by my right as an artist
to call out powerful hatemongers

Plato banned poets because
he claimed they drew their inspiration
from imaginary worlds

Those of us who draw from the real world
do so in the name of justice
of compassion for the Other
regardless of religion or color
regardless of the consequences
in spite of whatever comes

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil