Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Long Lace Faces (an erasure poem)

We were asked, at We Write Poems (a Thursday poetry prompt) to use a snippet of Dorothy Miller's Richardson's "Pointed Roofs" and literally erase portions of text until we came up with our own, unique poem.

Ill write it out here, but seeing it in its original erasure form is also cool, and you can try the form for yourself. So here's my erasure intact:

And here's the poem. See other erasures at

an Erasure, from Dorothy Miller Richardson's "Pointed Roofs"

high, plentiful long
lace faces--
collected sense of misery
lessons were dreadful experiences of
a little running
her own part swollen
her fingers
so weak
suddenly stiffened
at the end trembling.
dreadful movements. She heard nothing
till the end and as she stood up
she pushed angry way from the
clear red-hot mass of fire
green Chartreuse blue and cream.
stupid people made her play. How angry she had been
the forgotten guest she knew
poked all the girls
her heart trembling and burning eyes
thumping stiff
feelings faint
soundlessly until the thumping began again.
evenings, hoping afresh to be alone. But
she could not discover getting rid of
miserable nervous Mr. Strood
she did him credit, once
in a way that had thrilled her...
The tournament.

2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore (Sharp Little Pencil)

Monday, June 7, 2010

UNTIL WE GET IT (humans and creepy crawlies)

From an April Poetic Asides prompt; we were asked to write to the title, "Until ____"
This was my take on humanity's tendency to make a big deal about petty differences on not focus on the bigger picture. Also an excuse to talk about slimy monsters from outer space. Kind of a tossup...!

There will come a day when aliens land
slimy creatures with tentacles and furry eyes
communicating telepathically
so we cannot tap into their transmissions
They’ll still making hideous screechy noises when they move
probably for simple intimidation
They will roam our streets endlessly
leaving behind trails of a greasy residue
reeking an odd combination of raw sewage,
Tigress cologne, and sausage stuffing

They will, of course, eat their young
from the inside out (because the choice bits
are always on the inside; Tony Bourdain says so)
and when they run out of young’uns, they’ll start eating us
We’ll be chased us into hills and finally have to admit
that those survivalist militia wackadoodles were onto something
(at least as far as stockpiling nonperishable foods was concerned)

And on that day, we may look at each other and say
“You have two eyes and a mouth just like I do
A nose for breathing, a hairy head
We all stand and walk when able
We all speak a language, we sleep when we’re tired
We don’t eat our young; we teach them, we raise them
We all have more in common than not

“Why are we always waging war on each other?
Why does the shade of brown on our skin matter?
Why does our place of worship keep us apart?
Why didn’t we get together every time there was
famine, disease, tragedy, hardship
Why didn’t we help one another while we still had time?”

I hope the hairy eyeball smelly slimy things never come
But until they do (and you know they will!)
Let’s remember what we have in common
and treat each other a little better

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Saturday, June 5, 2010

ONSTAGE (Writer's Island prompt)


Blistering hot spotlight captures you
setting boundaries you cannot cross, even with your eyes
Just beyond, people seated in rows shift impatiently
waiting to hear if you’re worth their time
and their ticket

Below, the stage surface reveals
every heel print of every actor whose feet touched it
(since its last cleaning)
Above, an aurora borealis of gelled hues
dancing on the black ceiling

You step up to the invisible line
It’s your moment to show them what you’re made of
Until you’ve been onstage
You can’t understand the peril, the rush, the beauty
the bliss
(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dance Groove Funhouse (Big Tent Prompt)

Big Tent Poetry invited us all to bust loose and do or be or say whatever you wanted, no strings, just outrageous fun. I am channeling my old friend Sidnie on this one, because she is one fantastic party on this earth!


If you’re ready to rock
Aching for a rollercoaster ride
Follow me

If you know there’s something more than this this this
And really want THAT THAT THAT
Step this way

Slip out of those comfortable shoes and
fling them so hard they fly away
Come on now

Instead of whining when the kid next door plays music too loud
DANCE – you know you wanna, barefoot on the sidewalk
Groove to it

If you feel rhythm coming out of nowhere
It’s the universe calling
Move to it

This world craves sheer delight and whirligigs
No faking if you have the heart of the child
We know you do

Scare up a little trouble, nothing harmful
Charmful, maybe… rhythm smiles free hugs to strangers
Let go today

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The Door to Deceitful Delights


The door to deceitful delights
she discovered within
Plied with that first fizzy fun punch
Pried open wider by a toke of particularly prime pot
Finally flung open with the abandon possessed by
twenty-something Immortals

This same door dwelled
in her mother and others long passed
Smothering, smoldering smoke and
various places to place opium
by hookah or
by whodathunkit

Twenty-something was wise
She grew tired of wasting time
Time to grow up
We can’t all be Peter Pan
or Tinkerbell, even
She shoved her full weight against the door
Forced it shut and with it all the shit, shove-stored

She knows she could open it again
on a whim or over a heartbreak
But she willingly tossed the key
into a pool of other bad memories
where she chooses not to swim
knowing she’d only sink like a stone

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Thursday, June 3, 2010

MOONING (An "Erasure" poem)

A new form, thanks to We Write Poems, my Thursday hangout for poetry prompts. Take a piece of literature, any piece, and "erase" text until you have a poem. This is based on a classical text, and I found the exercise quite fun. If you want to try, go to this link and you will have fun, too!

The whole text of Aristophenes' work can be found on the site, but here is my first "Erasure," although unfortunately this website will not allow me to show all the gaps... so again, try it yourself and you'll see!

An Erasure based on Aristophenes’ “Clouds”

ready set Moon
commanded the Athenians and
their allies and then declared
dreadful things openly. first
for torches;
“Boy, buy a torch, moonlight
is beautiful.” And confers benefits
on you, that observe
correctly, but confuse
constantly threatening when they
are defrauded , and depart home, not
having met the regular feast
. And you
observing fast,
mourn , pouring libations
and laughing. For which reason , having
the lot be
deprived by us ; for thus he
will know better that he ought to

Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Watched "Good Night and Good Luck" again, David Straithairn's virtuoso turn as Murrow and thought about how the evening news and the minds who brought us "Your Show of Shows" are gone with the corporate (stinky cheese) wind.


In the beginning was creativity
Watch This - brought to you by
Buy This

This pattern morphed over time in sinister ways
Buy This bought out the creators of
Watch This, thereby dictated the watching
Watch This was shuffled about according to Buy This trending

Our only anchor was the anchorman
the Network Evening News
Buy This pulled up that anchor and we were adrift

Then Buy This created
Watch This Happening Now, which became
Watch Only These Bits, then
Watch Only These Bits And Think This About Them
And Anyone Who Disagrees With Us Is A Socialist

Now we’re narcotically glued to the tube
Dancing With America’s Next Apprentice Survivor Idol
Plasma spasma extravaganza
Minds restless, but legs so lazy they got their own syndrome
and consequently their own drug
well-advertised, saturating the market like Crisco
and every bit as healthy

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil