Judy Washbush

Here's my poetic statement:

Poetry has brought together all the pieces of my life.
When I was busy being a mother, I wrote Mommy poems.
When I was infatuated with beautiful people, I wrote love poems.
When I was appalled by the injustice dealt to my brothers and sisters by the Department of Corrections, I published a book of inmates' poems.
It has become obvious to me that poetry is not meant to be something I pursue in a quiet corner away from the rest of my life – it's the glue that holds all the pieces together.

judy washbush



A man has lost his whole life here.

I don't know what to feel.
I'm here at his request,
the lone support in a hostile courtroom.
He always said it wasn't him, it was the other guy.

I don't know.
I've seen his poems,
short plaintive cries he writes at night
when other inmates sleep.
I've seen his scars.
I've seen his baby and his wife.
But I also saw the victim cry
when he turned in his chair to stare at her.

I go right to Kesha's house.
"You should have been there," I say.
"What'd he get?"
"Fifty-one years."
"Damn," Kesha says, "but that poor girl.
"What if Omar really did that?"

Kesha shakes her head.
"I'm not gonna take my baby to no prison, though.
What am I gonna tell him when he asks me
who his daddy is?"

© Judy Washbush



You have to enter the tunnel, son.
Find me inside, you will
find me outside too.
You will be held
by touching hands.

Am I a place?
You'll see my face has eyes like yours.
And you will see
that there are other colors.

Shut your eyes and
start your pirouette.
Mommy's everywhere.

Judy Washbush