I Will Not
(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
from Liberty's Vigil: The Occupy Anthology
(Foot Hills Publishing, 2012)
Used by permission.
Kathy Engel is the author, most recently, of Ruth's Skirts (IKON) and co-editor, with Kamal Boullata, of We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon (Interlink Books). She is an adjunct professor at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She co-founded MADRE, Riptide Communications, East End Women in Black, Hayground School and Kickass Artists. She teaches at NYU's Tisch School for the Performing Arts and works as a consultant for social change organizations.
Engel will be reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 22-25, 2012. Join us!
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