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

Tag Archives: Writer’s Island

Sad to hear the Writer’s Island is sailing into the sunset soon, but grateful to Rob for his dedication and hard work over these years.  He deserves not only a break, but HUZZAHS from all poets who have met each other online through his blog.  Love you, Rob, and HAD to respond to one of the final prompts, “Incomparable,” with a pun.   Peace, Amy

Income Parable

Two sisters, two misters
Two divergent types of wife
One Wall Street, one small street
Each to their own way of life

One greedy, e’er needy
Income never quite enough
So fancy, perchance she
might have done well with less “stuff”

Other sister and her mister
always seemed to have their share
Faith and love held above
the stocks and bonds, the truth or dare

First Recession, soon Depression
Sister One weeps over loss
Sister Two has no boo-hoo
when faith is strong, the World’s not boss

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also seen at my poetry home-away-from-home, Poets United


Silly to be scared of a number
But there it was

She was scared to celebrate
her first official “teen” birthday,
thought the house
would go up in flames
because one of the candles
would flare and
that would be that.

She could not move into a flat
on the 14th floor
because she knew
the numbers skipped
from 12 to 14.

Karma was bound to catch up
in the form of
falling out the window
being squashed by a toppled ladder
(even though she hadn’t walked under it)
or being slowly gnawed to bits
by a black cat.

© Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also at Writer’s Island in answer to their prompt, “Superstition,” and my poetic home, Poets United.

And now for something completely different, song lyrics. You can hear the song at my music link below (sorry, can’t upload it here.)
Hope you like it! Amy

Tioga Moon (free listen at – my music site)

Tioga moon starts her song around eight
High above the maple, the color of marmalade
Spills on the rooftops and dances on the dewdrops
And drenches all the sumac in the glade…

Tioga moon, shining clear and bright
Tioga moon, shining on you tonight
When Cape Cod gets colder
and chills your shoulder,
that old Tioga moon will keep you in her sight

Oh, say…
when the gardenin’s done today
let’s escape the sun, and
run off to a place I know
where there’s shade
a little glade where the jack-in-the-pulpit grows

And then…
we’ll linger on ‘til after ten(derly you’ll call my name)
And then we’ll start to whisperin’ low
While the owls’ eyes and the fireflies
put on their show

Tioga moon, like a big brass bowl
Tioga moon shines like a prophet’s soul
When Buffalo winds blow
snow through your window
that old Tioga moon will make your insides glow
(repeat last chorus)

So stay well, sleep warm;
when the cold starts to bite,
that old Tioga moon will be your blanket tonight.

(Words and Music © 2009 Amy Barlow Liberatore)

Springing to Life Again

‘Tis the season of Winter’s evaporation
as Spring supersedes chill,
tugs at our trowels,
breathes into us tiny moments of joy.

Water, as mist, rising in the fields
as fodder for mudslides in the canyons,
as morning nymph, awakening seaweed
beneath the shoreline.

Water, released from stasis;
then, in Nature’s tightly embroidered womb
disappearing in the evaporation
that will bring the earth full cycle; back to balance.

World awakening.  Welcome!

(c) 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore

For A Whirl of Wordling Sundays, Writer’s Island, and as always, Poets United.

Wordle words:   tugs, seaweed, mist, tiny, released, breathes, slides, evaporation, embroidered, water, river, supersedes

OK, I had a HUGE blast of energy after the sun came out, my cough abated, my lungs cleared, and I rode a bike for the first time in 7 years! THREE, count ’em, THREE poems today, so scroll all the way down. One haiku, one thumping Trump (hey, who doesn’t wanna do that?), and a final meditation to bring it all to a proper close. Peace to all who visit this blog, and remember, the Mayans didn’t predict Cortez, so quit sweating 2012!   Amy

First, for ABC Wednesday and that pesky letter, “O,” as well as Sensational Haiku Wednesday:

“O” is for Obama

Birthers, just admit
since proof of birth has been shown:
You hate his black skin.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Now, this is for ABC Wednesday and any blog that included prompts about idiots, f***wits, greedy rich straight white men, and egotists in general:

Obnoxious and Overbearing

Reporters live for this crap
(as Murrow turns slowly in his grave).

The brave blond/redheaded billionaire,
multiple times bankrupt
(and that’s just financially speaking)
arrives in his airbus.

Airbrushed hair sculpted to his scalp
(paging Mr. Softee!).
Face like a sphincter
mind like a gumball machine
mouth like a garbage disposal
spewing mindless accusations about
Place Of Birth and how Proud He Is Of Himself
that He forced the airing of Proof,
the truth that our president is…
well, our president.

TV reality show host,
scion of the sleaziest game in town:
Casinos (the house always wins,
but he still manages to go belly-up again and again).
Three wives (so far), but he’s rich again;
there may be more.

Anderson Cooper’s,
Jon Stewart’s, and
Stephen Colbert’s
collective wet dream:

Trump/Palin 2012!

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Finally, for Three Word Wednesday, using the words, Foolish, Mercy, and Relish. It’s Threefer Friday. Freaky Friday. A good Friday. Peace, Amy

Dry Bones

Bones weathered, dry, sun-bleached
Souls weary, drained, damaged

Who will raise them?
What will give them life, the power
to give and to receive love?
How will they rise from death?

Miracles happen.
The Bible says Ezekiel witnessed
the stop-action resurrection
of a thousand Jack Skellingtons.

Miracles happen
when we see ourselves
in the eyes of the homeless, the starving, the addicted.

Miracles happen
when we see past
our plasma screens, Starbucks, Mastercards
the restaurants we relish,
the foolish ways we overextend ourselves…
and show mercy to those who have nothing.

Miracles happen
when we listen to
our better angels.

Look past things of this world,
take on the burden.
Walk that mile.
Reach out to those who need your touch,
and your sorry, dry bones will be renewed.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also posted at my NaPoWriMo home, Writer’s Island, and at Poets United. Thanks to Rob at Writer’s Island for giving us all a prompt-free space for posting. Allows all of us to use prompts and ideas from different sites, as well as free writes from our own musings. A real blessing to me this year! Kudos, Rob.

The prompt at NaPoWriMo was to write a poem using words you hate. This covers a wide spectrum from one part of my life. I miss you, Jeff. Love, Amer

Panel from the Memory Project

Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP)

Prone on the steel-back chair.
Probed straight down the gullet.
Cysts and rancid breath emerge
as he lay stupefied.
He will awaken and count the hours.
Tick, tock, curse the clock.

Swabs grabbed cultures.
Petrie dishes cook up the fetid truth:
He has it.
He has full-blown AIDS.
It is 1985.
He is 32.
Tick. tock, curse the clock.

Skeletal soon enough, too soon.
Patches of scabs peel off his scalp.
Bactrin on every sink so that
if he barfs, bleeds, or brays
we can wash it off.
Tick, tock, curse the clock.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also posted at Writer’s Island (Day 28) and Poets United.

Poetic Asides had an interesting challenge: “A World Without ____________.” Yeah, go figure how this one came to mind (wink)! Amy

A World Without Gay Men (what a bore)

No Dr. Kildare
Nor “Night and Day”
No “Pillow Talk”
‘cause Rock was gay

No Sistine Chapel
Virtruvian Man
No Mona Lisa
No inventions grand

No Karloff’s Monster
(James Whale’s work of art)
No Benjamin Britten
Johnny Mathis, my heart

Gershwin, Sweet
Embraceable You,
the Man I Love
is a classic, it’s true

Greg Louganis’
diving perfection
Leonard Bernstein’s
symphonic direction

The list could go on
til night turns to day
but what a dull world
without men born that way

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also posted at my NaPoWriMo home, Writer’s Island, and at Poets United.

Absolutely true story, and managed to write it in Poetic Asides’ 10×10 form as well. My cousin Gregg and I are a lot alike: Complete unimpressed by celebrity, and able to get off a one-liner without cracking up (until later). You go, cuzzy!

Carradine vs. Laughlin (0-1)

You’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead
But this one’s too funny to go untold

David Carradine, in his “Kung Fu” days
Came to a rest’rant my cousin Gregg ran

Carradine went barefoot a lot back then
and Gregg said, “Sorry, no shoes, no service”

All puffed up, the star went on to protest
“Don’t you know who I am? Any bistro
would be glad to serve me, barefoot or not!”

Gregg deadpanned, “I suggest you go find one.”

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also posted at Writer’s Island, my NaPoWriMo home, and at Poetic Asides, plus, as always, Poets United.

AGING DISGRACEFULLY (and proud of it)

Old age ain’t for sissies, said Bette Davis
and she was doggone right
Boobs hanging so low I have to
set ’em in rollers at night
and shoved into “woman-friendly” bras daily
The way they swing wouldn’t make Frank
sing “ring-a-ding-ding”

Took up yoga to get flexible
advice courtesy of my physician
(not “Physical,” thanks anyway, Olivia)
Noticed that, in the Down Dog position
my skin of my thighs draped off my legs
like a curtain valance, but at least
I kept my balance.

That is, until the Salutes to the Sun,
when I grandly and loudly fell on my face,
laughing so hard I snorted at my own contortions.
This got other 50+ women chortling and
soon we were all flat on our mats doing
what older girls do best: Sharing a laugh
about ourselves, on our own behalf.

We finished class and Betsy blurted:
“A latte! Who’s with me?”
Soon around a table filled with decadent desserts
(which we dutifully split, counting calories somewhat)
we decided: Stay with yoga class, stretch at night,
walk in pairs or groups, eat (almost) right.
But never skip dessert: Old age ain’t for sissies,
nor for grumps, nor frumps. Just real women,
having our say and doing it (cue Nelson Riddle):
“Oooooooour Waaaaaaaaaay!”

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Went to visit my new psychiatrist today for the first time. Good session, but I think he had more fun than I did, since hearing my story… locales, incidents, and stories of my mom’s family, all make for quite the first impression, clinically speaking! Thanks for all your prayers and good thoughts over the past week. I am indeed well again! Amy


Under the big top streaked with gray
They dance and perform; they’re at constant play

One is careening across center ring
in a clown car with spears – a most treacherous thing

The acrobats tumble across beds of nails
Trapeze artists regularly slip amid wails

There’s no net to catch them, so when they have fallen
for sweepers with hoses the master comes callin’

The freak show’s so real even grownups grow faint
There’s one star: it’s me, off my meds – fun, it ain’t

A banshee, a dervish, and funhouse in one
My bipolar circus has merely begun

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil