GATHER  by Alice Walker

GATHER by Alice Walker

A Poem by redzone

..sharing a poem written by Alice Walker (with permission)


Month of Resistance NYC 

©2014 by Alice Walker
for Carl Dix and Cornel West

It is still hard to believe
that millions of us saw Eric Garner die.
He died with what looked like a half dozen
heavily clad
standing on his body, twisting and crushing
especially his head
and neck.
He was a big man, too. They must have felt
like clumsy midgets
as they dragged him down.

Watching the video,
I was reminded of the first lynching
I, quite unintentionally, learned about:
it happened in my tiny lumber mill 
town before the cows were brought in
and young white girls
on ornate floats
became dairy queens.
A big man too,
whom my parents knew,
he was attacked also by a mob
of white men (in white robes and hoods)
and battered to death
by their two by fours.

I must have been a toddler
overhearing my parents talk
and mystified by pieces of something
called “two by fours.”
Later, building a house, 
i would encounter the weight,
the heaviness, of this varying length
of wood, and begin to understand.

What is the hatred
of the big black man
or the small black man
or the medium sized
black man
the brown man
or the red man
in all his sizes
that drives the white lynch mob

I always thought it was envy:
of the sheer courage to survive
and ceaselessly resist conformity
enough to sing and dance
or orate, or say in so many outlandish
You’re not the boss
of me!
Think how many black men
said that: “Cracker,* you’re not the boss
of me;” 
even enslaved. Think of how
the legal lynch mob 
so long ago
tore Nat Turner’s body
in quarters
skinned him
and made “money purses”
from his “hide.”

Who are these beings?

Now we are beginning to ask 
the crucial question.

If it is natural to be black
and red or brown
and if it is beautiful to resist
and if it is gorgeous to be of color
and walking around free,
then where does the problem

Who are these people
that kill our children in the night?
Murder our brothers in broad daylight?
Refuse to see themselves in us
as we have strained, over centuries, 
to see ourselves in them?
Perhaps we are more different
than we thought.
And does this scare us?
And what of, for instance,
those among us
who collude?

Come see what stillness
lies now
in the people’s broken

It is the quiet force of comprehension,
of realization
of the meaning
of our ancient
and perfect
of what must now be understood
and done to honor
and cherish
no matter who
today’s “bosses”
may be.

Our passion
and love for ourselves
that must at last
and free us. As we lay our sacrificed
beloveds to rest
in our profound
and ample caring:
broad, ever moving,
and holy,
as the sea.

* Cracker: from the crack of the whip wielded by slave drivers.
Reprinted with permission.

All Out for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation!  October 2014.

© 2014 redzone

Author's Note

Thanks for reading...
Chose "Strange Fruit" by Billy Holiday because these murders are todays "lynchings".
Nina Simone also did versions of this song.. and Kayne West a sampling of the Nina Simone version and added his style hip hop to it

My Review

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This is a powerful poem. Sad that people can hate their own kind just because of the color of their skin. Hope we can keep people fighting for equal rights

Posted 1 Year Ago

the only time i saw my Grandmother ashamed was at the gates of Silver Springs, Florida, where she and my mother had taken us little kids to ride on the famed (and often advertised) glass bottom boat.
At the entrance I looked up to see a sigh that read "Colored Side'/ then i noticed my grandmother, her teeth starting to gnash a bit,
but always a church-going-southern-lady. So on our ride home, she didn't speak at all....Not a single word.. Take a look at the streets of America today. They are filled with protesters from one end of the country to another. Trans rights, Gay rights, the freedom of the press, police brutality, Russian involvement in our election process, womens right to choose, the infringement on Indian sacred land etc......Where before the old among us gnashed their teeth but kept quiet about injustice.....Not anymore. Today protest is on the minds of all of us, young and old...and America is the better for it.

RIP brother Gardner......Who still speaks from the grave....Great poem...dana

Posted 1 Year Ago

A powerful piece of writing! Highly poignant and thought-provoking! Thanks for sharing.

Posted 1 Year Ago

there are none like Billie Holiday .. i confess i listened first ;) such passion and courage and tragedy in her life and death :(
perfect match of song and poem ..both insist that one looks opened eyed at the hate that deceives the haters ..such ugly manifestations of violence doesn't haunt us in our present time .. i think in this poem the comparisons to those lynchings of old is unbalanced very important fact is left out as the supervising officer at the arrest and resulting death was a black woman .. who was charged along with other officers in the incident .. i am not sure if she was convicted or not .. and that Eric did resist .. which one can never do without consequence by police ..Eric's death was a tragedy ..that could well have been avoided by decisions of the officers and of Eric .. however, Alice's passion for justice is evident and the poem is very emotive ... spoken in straight forward language that inspires one to read from one line to the next with interest and full attention start to finish ... there is need for calm and communication with respect and then healing actions taken by our communities ..many sections of our cities have become havens for decay and need an economic fix that provides real jobs and dignity for those willing to take them .. and much more ... i don't mean to make this a simple issue with an easy solution .. but i believe we have started and have much hope for the future

Posted 2 Years Ago

beautiful, thoughtful and moving bit of writing here. I feel like the subject matter should be screamed from the top of a building through a megaphone, but the soft reflective tone makes it so much more powerful

Posted 2 Years Ago

Self hate , but so destructive, fearing what. Humans don't progress learn ... Powerful write.

Posted 2 Years Ago

I have always been saddened by stories of hate. Such a small word that we give so much emotion and strength to. I believe it exists in every size, color, and shaped being...but I think it is more lack of understanding or disappointment in one's own soul that causes it to unleash out and attack.Ty, for sharing this with me today. It reminds me to love more!

Posted 2 Years Ago

It seems to be, whose life is the cheapest.
Will i get away with killing this guy.
It seems they will.
So it has to come from the top.

Posted 2 Years Ago


Big sigh...powerful, moving, disturbing. I wonder how much peace they have with such ingnorance and hate in their hearts. Thank you for sharing. R xo

Posted 2 Years Ago

Hello, Redzone! :)
Thanks for sharing this writing. Its message is disturbing. It implies a malevolent white race that oppresses the others. It's not real. "the man" is not real. We are all individuals. The police aren't "crackers". They must be respected. At the same time, they must respect the community and account for their actions. Today, there are police being prosecuted.
My country doesn't need black and brown unity. That's racist and divisive. We need respect and accountability. Kindness should be cool.

Posted 2 Years Ago

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14 Reviews
Added on September 26, 2014
Last Updated on September 26, 2014



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