Blood and Bone, We Are the Same

Written over a year ago, this poem is so fitting for where we are right now in our nation. "Blood and Bone, We are the Same," featured in my upcoming book, Forever, Like the Moon: Songs of Awakening, emerged out of very real and raw personal participation in racial and civil rights issues since college. It came from living with and listening to people of all backgrounds and races.

Blood and Bone, We are the Same

My skin is shredded by lashes on my back

Blood oozes under shackles at my feet

Sweat sears my eyes, cutting words still wrack

Stabbing pain of loss makes Death seem sweet

Blood and bone, we are the same

Yet all you know of me is shame

Burning torches surround the lynch mob’s rope

Dignity stripped bare, naked and demeaned

Slavery is gone, yet Jim Crow steals our hope

From the sour milk of prejudice never weaned

Blood and bone, we are the same

Yet you think of me without my name

Harlem Renaissance, black people on the rise

Now the inner city replaces our plantation field

We work twice as strong to prove that we are wise

To pierce the daunting power that white men wield

Blood and bone, we are the same

You do not want to know my name

We walked with Dr. King for civil rights

Showed we could rally and speak our mind

We fought a just and peaceful fight

What we gained was not justice-in-kind

We walk the streets, we’re raisins in the sun

Grasping at sports or street gangs to win

Yet as enlightened and educated as you become

In soul and mind, racism lurks beneath your skin

Blood and bone, we are the same

You hold me into poverty and shame

Yes, progress has come in a measure

Individuals rose to honor, might and fame

Secretly assigned lesser value and treasure

Allowed to blacks, still not quite the same

Blood and bone, we are the same

Yet you think me weaker, somehow lame

It is time to own the travesty of our hate

As whites we break! Let the Truth invade

Inner sanctums where we have refused to relate

See the real hell of hate we have made

Blood and bone, we are the same

Can you break the cycle of oppression and pain?

Racism is learned, culture institutionalized

Spread in the heart-soil of hatred and greed

Only One authority guarantees complete demise

Shatters our hate, shows us our need

Blood and bone, we are the same

Under the surface, we shatter the shame!

We all deserve those lashes on our backs

The ropes and chains digging into our skin

We have let hate grow, and failed to act

Become perpetrators of this heinous sin

Can we break our hearts and lay down pride?

Allow each person equal dignity and breath,

Throw off the chains of hatred deep inside,

Conquer the real source of living death?

Blood and bone, we are the same

Give me a chance, now speak my name!

The spirit of racism kills our souls

It is a spirit, driven to ravage and divide

To keep our nation from becoming whole

Or healing our hearts from deep inside

Turn to the Father, His infinite power

Authority that sees each one as pure gold

Let him wreck hatred’s ivory towers

Overflow His Love that makes us bold

Broken hearts lead to liberated minds

Truth by His spirit will slay

Nothing less than the power of God

Cuts to blood and bone and makes a way!

Blood and bone, we are the same

In acts of true compassion, we find our names!

Chere Berman, 2019

“Hate cannot drive out hate: only Love can do that”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Site photo by Jason Hild

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