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 		 [ “Yet another story” of a black woman “getting shafted by
white women” knocks the poet off her feet, literally, and she rises
to the continuing struggle.] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE CULTURE 

 FALLING   [https://portside.org/2019-06-28/falling] 

 

 Kathy Engel 
 June 28, 2019

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 _ “Yet another story” of a black woman “getting shafted by
white women” knocks the poet off her feet, literally, and she rises
to the continuing struggle. _ 

 , 

 

Falling

By Kathy Engel

over a box in my office

hard and awkward, bending

my arm, yelled at two sweet

students who came running in:

_I’m fine! I’m fine!_ (Get out!)

I fell perhaps because

I’m getting older, because 

I was rushing, not paying

attention, or empathy for

Jessie who fell the day before,

perhaps because I’m tired.

All my body knew after

falling was that I’d just

heard yet another story

from someone I call sister

who is a black woman in

America about doing big

work then getting shafted

by white women. I’ve 

witnessed these stories, no 

doubt somehow, sometime 

in some way have been

complicit, even if by not 

standing strong enough, 

speaking loud enough or 

not at all, not trusting what 

I deeply know. I thought

maybe I should retire early

to open a space for a black

woman; it's fact that in

universities more women

of color are teased with adjunct

or visiting carrot than offered

full course meal. Maybe I fell

because no part of me knows

what theory, art making or 

structure will adequately 

address the unforgiveable. 

So I fall. And get up. Not 

alone. Along with the stories

my body plants,

carries

and hoards. 

 

Kathy Engel is a poet and cultural worker whose books include _Banish
the Tentative_, _Ruth's Skirts_, and with artist German Perez_, The
Kitchen_. She co-edited _We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and
Lebanon_ with Kamal Boullata and was a co-founder of _POETS FOR
AYITI. _She has co-founded, directed and consulted for numerous
cultural and social justice projects including MADRE, Riptide
Communications, Stand With Sisters For Economic Dignity, East End
Women in Black, the Women in Prison Project, to name a few. Her new
book of poems, _The Lost Brother Alphabet_, will appear with Get
Fresh Books in March, 2020. She is currently Chair and Associate Arts
Professor in the Dept. of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the
Arts, NYU.

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