Sharp Little Pencil Addresses My Faux Pas and Makes Me Smile

I need to get something out of my system:

“Fizzling Fireboxes!”

“Well…  Flatten my funnel!”

“Oh! Trembly tracks!”


There, that’s better. I’ve been watching CPTV’s Thomas The Tank Engine with a 2 year old.

Thomas gets into mischief on that program. He’s called the “cheeky” engine for a reason. He’s also an example for children- of an age old saying-

Just because he ‘stumbles’ on his journey, doesn’t mean the whole trip’s over.

Or something like that.

It’s such a good lesson because the whole of life is a series of potholes, ruts, and burned out street lamps. You kind of figure out along the way, how to lay down hot patch tar, smooth things over and turn your high beams on. If you never learn this, well then you wallow in the ruts longer, right?

I have this lifelong friend who has had more than her share of health woes. Recently she’s struggled with a bad leg. She gets down about her health problems, I know she does. She just chooses not to share that part of herself with me. Her spirit, her tenacity, keeps everyone around her “up.” During a recent  trip to her orthopedic surgeon, her daughter compared her to the Knights in The Monty Python Movie. Remember that scene where the Knight gets most of his limbs chopped clean off, and he hops about on the ground, nothing more than a talking (but optimistic) torso? The Knight remarks, “It’s just a flesh wound!!!” Because he wants to keep on keeping on. My friend’s daughter compared her to that Knight. I have to agree!

Humor is healing.

For me, art is healing too.

I want to share art now by someone who makes something out of nothing, always a type of art I admire.


This is a beautiful trio of horses made from driftwood, by James Doran-Webb:



Another thing that heals is music, and also writing. Writing is my salve. In the 90s I wrote a poem called Talking To Everlearner. I suppose it was a way of dealing with the woes of the world. Here is the poem, which recently was published in Nicole Nicholson’s Barking Sycamores. You’ll see it’s renamed here:

by Kimberly Gerry Tucker

Everlearner call back
Perpetual Student the last number that called you
too much choice Scholar
often equals confusion; wireless everything

Plato Wanna-Be probe the huge arc of the Congo
Curious Cat dromedary manure
(if you want to) Sly
is dried and used for fuel

Kurds still fight with Turks oh-Noble Heart
amber-rich Belarus Wisenheimer
Brainiac still suffers from nuclear
radiation fall-out

retro is in – Aristotle and sirocco, chergui and
chili blow in the Sahara ya' know-oh Socrates
Pal whaddya' thinka these:
rose oil, hemp, currants, wine and Cádiz?

pineapple Know-It-All? shrimp? rice, lumber, tin?
cotton, coal, wool, cattle, palm oil, gems? Bonafide
Mensa Member its an artsy kinda
systematically organized world

use a colored pen Wise Guy 
to draw a broken line Einstein (no-brainer)
and always keep your cherished photos Everlearner
in an airtight fireproof container
Note the mention of Cadiz? The original poem used the 
word choice: GYPSIES. 
I didn't realize at the time I wrote the 
poem (the 90s) that the word gypsy would become a slur 
like the 'n' word, 
or the use of "Redskins." 
I understand now, after someone sent Nicole a complaint, 
that my word "gypsies" was in bad taste. 
Nicole substituted the word "Cadiz,"
 and it worked within the poem. At least I think it did.

Feeling pretty badly that I'd erred, I posted an apology. 
About a month later I received word that a reply was 
posted on Barking Sycamores. 
Here is that post, in its entirety 
and please note that the last 
paragraph refers to Candy, a non-verbal young lady 
whose joyous painting was paired with my 
poem on the site:

Raven, I come from a show-business family where the dancers in any musical, any troupe, are called “gypsies,” because they tended to wander the circuit or from show to show. Also, there is a jazz song called “Gypsy in my Soul,” that begins, “If I am fancy free, or prone to wander/It’s just the gypsy in my soul.” Like Harold Arlen’s “Like a Straw in the Wind,” it’s meant to convey that “free and easy” sense of the untethered life, usually artistic in nature.

I am keenly aware of the Roma people who suffered from derision and mean legends. They were among the “other” groups (including gays and lesbians, Catholics, neuro-divergents – the gang’s all here – Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so many others) who suffered and died alongside millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

So yes, it’s a slur, one I no longer use for that reason. It used to be a sweet nickname. It was also a death sentence. In our world, everything changes, so don’t kick yourself too hard, there.

About your crackerjack poem… WOW! Such an eclectic mix of images and names, and this part knocked me out:
Brainiac still suffers from nuclear
radiation fall-out

The Brainiac brought out the “black rain” image of the aftermath for me.

All the teasing implicit in this poem only enhances your triumph. And if that is a self-portrait of Candy, she must be quite the beautiful gem…her soul all flowers, her colors shining. Your poem was paired well! Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore, (also known as Sharp Little Pencil)


This made my day. Thank you Amy.

Well, Fizzling Fireboxes! Aren’t “baby swears” cool? I think it sums up my sentiments.

Till later…


For James Doran-Webb’s driftwood site click here, but like my blog first:

Neurodivergent Poetry and Its Craft at Barking Sycamores:

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