Kathy Engel is a lifelong poet/activist/teacher. She has co founded numerous political/cultural/educational organizations including MADRE, The Hayground School, East End Women in Black, Riptide Communications, and most recently, with Alexis De Veaux, Lyrical Democracies. She is Chair and Associate Arts Professor of the Tisch School of the Arts Department of Art & Public Policy. Recent poems appear in Poet Lore, Poetry, and Women's Voices for Change. Engel was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2012.
I Will Not
By Kathy EngelAdded: Thursday, July 3, 2014 / From "Liberty's Vigil: The Occupy Anthology" (Foot Hills Publishing, 2012). Used with permission.
(after June Jordan and Suheir Hammad)
write about the killing of Troy Davis or
the years he claimed innocence so many times
the words fell from his mouth like drops of honey.
Not about the last minutes when he said
may God have mercy on those who do this thing, or
the penultimate breath as he claimed
innocence. I will not talk about the
executioner or the cheering crowds,
the family he left behind, breakfast
unfinished at the table, the excavation of their
daily yearning, each bite of bread a reminder. I
will not speak about innocence or the sound
of his voice through incarceration, the look in his eye,
the shirt he wore the day he was hauled in or the one
he was instructed to wear on any given court day - was
it prison-ironed, plaid, blue? I will not write about
innocence. I want to look back and write about the day
the killing stopped, how we as animals rose