5 poems from Judy Shepps Battle

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    Judy Shepps Battle began writing poems long before she became a psychotherapist and sociology professor at Rutgers University. Widely published both in the USA and abroad during the Sixties and Seventies, she deferred publishing to concentrate on career and family. Fortunately her muse was tenacious and she continued to write during the next three decades filling a file cabinet with scrawled and typewritten poems that are now being organized into chapbooks and individual submissions. The material submitted for publication represents her return to active participation in the writing community. She can’t think of a better way to spend her retirement. Her poems have been accepted in a variety of publications including Ascent Aspirations; Barnwood Press; Battered Suitcase; Caper Literary Journal; Epiphany Magazine; Joyful; Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine; Raleigh Review; Rusty Truck; Short, Fast and Deadly; and the Tishman Review.

     

     

    Reflections On A Mother’s Death

     

                                i

    I cannot think of a single time I said

    I love you to her face

     

    too many angular edges

    on two hardened hearts

     

    her troubled blue eyes never

    smiling to see me

     

    my hungry brown eyes always

    hoping for approval

     

    for a proud announcement that

    I was her daughter and

    she loved me.

     

    instead only acid words spewed

    from her Revlon Red lipstick mouth

     

    you weigh too much

    your clothes are too tight!

    clean your room!

     

    you are useless!

     

                        ii

     

    Some say her eyes and words

    were the same for everyone

     

    that inner demons haunted her

    and she loved me in her own way

     

    Not good enough!

    Why did you birth me?

    Why did you hate me?

     

    Why did you make fun of me?

    Why didn’t you try to do better?

     

    Were you really my mother?

               

    these are questions

    corpses can’t answer.

     

     

     

    Early Liberation Dreams

     

    Alone

    throwing ball

    against pitted stone wall

     

    gripping pink

    Spalding Hi-Bounce

    imagining a Dodger scout

     

    passing by, saying Wow!

    and immediately signing

    me to the majors

     

    even though I am

    only ten

    and a girl.

     

     

     

    Peter, Wendy And Me

     

    Seamstress Wendy where are you?

     

    You who sewed Peter Pan’s

    shadow so securely

     

    lend me needle and thread to

    stitch my self to myself

     

    each suture so strong I can’t

    dissociate or

     

    wrongly associate

    today with childhood choices

     

    orphan or

    captive?

     

    eviction or

    humiliation?

     

    no way to exit

    no way to die.

     

    Sometimes

    salvation is naked and

     

    betrayal the only suit

    on the rack.

     

     

     

    Just Wondering

     

    No one believes I can write poetry

    no one offers me a pen

    to record the reality of

     

    my Catholic-Protestant soul

    born into Jewish lineage and

    rejected by non-practicing Jews

    my hairless child body

    abused by predators seeing me

    as simply a hole to be penetrated

    my high-IQ mind

    ignored by family expecting male Ph.D.

    but no more than secretary for me

     

    Why not a poet? Why not a novelist?

    Why not a spinner of children’s tales?

     

    Hey mom and dad

    how did you miss my writer gift and

    fail to encourage its bloom?

    So I have to ask

     

    How different would my life be if someone

    believed I could write poetry and gave me

    a pen?

     

     

     

    My Practice

     

    I sit

     

    in-breath

    swaddles fear

     

    out-breath

    becomes compassion

     

    no longer American,

    no longer woman

    no longer mother,

    old, or even Judy

     

    at one with dying

    at one with birth

     

    I sit.

     

     

     

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