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

Tag Archives: Writer’s Island

Written this morning. I was so bummed about being confined to bed and missing Easter services, and this was my spiritual exercise for the day… Big day for Christians, but every day should be a day to celebrate each other, hand in hand, faith joining faith to seek peace in this troubled world. This will also be at Poetic Asides, where Robert asked for prayer poems. Amy

New To This Church

He hangs out near the front door,
unsure about entering, what with
seeing men in suits and ties and
women dressed up, hats and all.

And here he is in raggedy jeans
and a tie-dye shirt his buddy gave him.
The VOA fixed him up with an army jacket
and boots broken in so much, they’re almost broke as he is.

He considers his options: Lingering on another park bench
like the one he slept on last night…
Or maybe he’ll leave to find Gus and Sandy
near that cheap coffee shop again.

An old lady sniffs as she passes.
He must smell a little ripe.
“Well, it’s Sunday, I’ll give it a try.”
And as he slips inside, Jesus takes a seat in the back pew.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Also published at Writer’s Island (My April Poem a Day home) and Poets United. Please click these links to discover a lot of talented poets!

Off-prompt today… soothing thoughts from the sickbed of yours truly… and it’s written in one of the few forms I have been able to capture with any sense of satisfaction – the shadorma. Peace, Amy

Late At Night (a shadorma)

Late at night
A fine resting place
‘neath the stars
on soft grass
bathed in moonlight still spilling
silver on the field

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

This is also published at my Poem A Day home, Writer’s Island, and at Poets United.

Two in a row for We Write Poems: “I do my laundry when…” One fun, one serious.

These are also at Writer’s Island and Poets United. Peace, Amy

Laundry (haiku)

I do my laundry
when I damned well feel like it.
I am self-employed.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


I Do

“I do.” My laundry:  When he needs his lucky shirt
for Dart Night with the guys.
And despite my long hours at work,
I end up cooking every meal.

He reclines his spine on the sofa
without a “thank you” for the chips and dip and beers I
serve his buddies while they sit and swear at the ref’s bad calls
and don’t call it a day until after 10 p.m.

“I do” sealed my fate until the swearing
was no longer aimed at the refs, but at me and
the bowl of dip just missed my head
falling in clinks and plops to the just-mopped floor.

Darts no long reserved for the board:
He’d found a new target.

It wasn’t always like this. In our early days,
kisses and promises of blissful years ahead.

Words I believed until my lips met
with his fist; until sunglasses became basic makeup.

“I do” sounds lovely at the altar, but so hollow when
promises melt and mingle with the salt and blood at my feet

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Brenda’s Wordle at Beyond The Bozone including silver, phrase, forever, scars, crescendo, crude, recount, perfume, message, and bottle; also, this works with Poetic Asides’ “Message in a Bottle.”

Cobalt Blue Bottle

Auntie Ruth’s perfume in a cobalt blue bottle
embossed with the phrase, “April in Paris.”
Twirling open the fluted silver cap,
I’d sneak a sniff.

Stronger than a crescendo of crude
on a Texas Tuesday,
the scent still held a message
of forbidden romance (one that might leave scars).

Recounting those afternoons
I used to while away
in Ruthie’s room…
Memories I’ll treasure forever.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

You can also see this poem at my NaPoWriMo site, Writer’s Island, and, as always, at Poets United.  Check out these poets!

So sick yesterday I didn’t post. Now THAT’S illness at its worst!

Today, I pay tribute to that nesting place of computer-surfing, caffeine-addicted folks everywhere. Me, I prefer local bean, but lots of people love the taste of burnt coffee… perhaps the laptops distract them from the taste? (Ok, if you are a confirmed Starbucker, I won’t go all WalMart on your ass, I promise!!) Amy

Laptopia (Ode to Starbuck’s, haiku)

Baristas, big lungs:

Ladies who lunch ne’er
linger long here; they prefer
linen and light fare

Day trading greedy
lucre lizards, looking for
elusive landslides

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Answered the call at We Write Poems (although we won’t post there until Wednesday) to write a poem that begins, “I’m willing to eat ____.”  Tried to avoid the most obvious noun (ha ha), because, although I have consumed a fair amount of shit in my life, rarely was it willingly!

Also posted at my NaPoWriMo home, We Write Poems, and at Poets United. Peace, Amy

Willing to Eat Worms

I’m willing to eat worms
or walk through fire for you
Shield you from harm
Comfort you when thunder
steamrolls over your sleep

Hold you when you weep after
someone calls you a name
Why? Because I’m your mother.
I’m willing to swallow all pride
…except my pride in you, kiddo

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Still following National Poetry Writing Month at Writer’s Island. Stumbled upon a prompt at Sunday Scribblings, “Design.” You can find this one at Poets United as well, along with many other poets.

Please feel free to comment with critiques if you wish – I really appreciate feedback.  Thanks! Amy


Delicate veins of climbing ivy
Creeping clematis and morning glory shaping
a heavenly, fenced-in fortress turned playground
“Come inside,” they whisper, voices of children.
“Linger awhile. You’re safe here.”
Yes, she thinks. I’ll stay in this haven
until I can make sense of things.

Safe from prying parents who
“only want to help you, honey…”
Yes, I’ll make myself scarce for a brief time-out.
Life is too confusing and no one understands.

Sounds easy, tempting, perhaps, to
hide in a high, wide, heather-rowed hedge
while hedging your bets.

Tracing paths within, flowers begin to
drop from their vines and rot
on the well-trodden, muddy path beneath.
The whispers have turned from beckoning sprites
to taunting, shrill fishwives.
She panics. Where am I now? And why are the voices
now vexing me with matters that do not concern them?
They speak of my secrets and shame and…

Soon time and the complexity of the maze
have overrun thoughts of escape, as isolation
becomes complete… an utter lack of options.
Vines twist around her neck, muting cries for help;
thorns pierce her flesh as morbid curiosity
secures another victim for The Labyrinth.

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At ABC Wednesday, we’re still on the letter “M.” Also, as always, posting to Writer’s Island, so bop over to both sites and see what other poets are doing! Peace during this holy week, Amy


Snuggling as we watch the sunset together from the patio

Hoisting a Wisconsin ale with new friends

The crumbly crunch of fresh shortbread

A quick call to my best friend that turns in to two hours of
trying to right the wrongs of the world (while taking time to
trash Joan Rivers’ new show)

Occupying small space in a roomy chair,
scribbling poetry as I ponder life oozing by on State Street

My first bite of Barb’s Angel Cake

How the wick crackles when first I touch match to candle and
knowing the sweet mysteries that will unfold when he
sneaks into the room

So many moments that make me say,
“Mmmmmm, life is good”

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

At We Write Poems, a prompt went out: Write a poem about writing a poem. You never know when or where the inspiration will strike. I’ve long since given up on sitting down and deciding to produce something… and yet, the more I write, the more I want to write!

This poem is also posted at Writer’s Island, where I’m posting daily for National Poetry Writing Month. Amy

Prelude to a Poem

Teapot screams meeeeeEEEEEEEE
demanding attention
Drip of the French Press into the mug
Pressing grounds through as
ground falls from under my feet
taking me back to that cafe in the Village where…

Drifting with the breeze down State Street
Lots of UW students hang and hacky-sack here
Whole lives ahead of them
One potent whiff of a fattie gives me
a contact high and suddenly I’m on Venice Beach…

We march in solidarity with unions at
Madison’s Capitol Dome
The golden statue atop is called Miss Forward
The governor inside is called Mister Backward
My anger at injustice boils inside my gut
I plop down on the pavement and start to
scribble on the back of my sign…

Startled awake, sweating, full-body tremble
recalling those nights when
a little girl was tucked in tight until
HE decided it was her turn
I switch on the light – it’s NOW, dammit, not THEN!
I pick up a pen…

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Johann Ink and I were comparing notes on psychiatry today; much of this poem is derived directly from our three-hour conversation. Johann is a budding poet; we are both what is genially called in our society, “mental health consumers” (in other words, we’re both nuckin’ futs!). If you’ve never had the joy, the incredible honor, of being granted a meeting with a real live board-certified psychiatrist… consider yourself fortunate! Amy
(PS This poem also appears at Writer’s Island for NaPoWriMo 12.)

New Shrink Rap
(from a conversation with Johann Ink)

I’m checking in with my new shrink
society having granted me leave
from my sleeve-silky cubicle (AKA “acting normal”)
Now I sit in a leather chair so large
my feet dangle like Edith Ann

Doc is regally ensconced behind
an impressive antique desk
Drawers full of free pens from drug reps
Myriad diplomas staring me down
and sneering, “We’re smarter than you”

He’s new, at least to me, and eager
to change what my last psychiatrist did
He’s ready to rearrange my brain plane
because he has sample of a new drug
(They tested it on lab rats, so, hey, it must of OK for me)

I state flatly, “I want to maintain my current regimen”
He stiffens, doesn’t care to listen even thoug
I’ve been to the brink and back
(while he’s just read about it a whole lot)
Experience vs. experiments: The Great Battle of Which

“Man,” I itch to say,
“if you want to pimp for Big Pharma,
why not go all the way? Get yourself a solid gold chain
and maybe a diamond in your front tooth…
or don’t monster tires and hydraulics work on a Corvette?”

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil