Sunday, February 7, 2010

Until you do right by me...

He laugh. Who you think you is? He say. You can’t curse nobody. Look at you. You black, you poor, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam, he say, you nothing at all.

Until you do right by me, I say, everything you even dream about will fail. I give it to him straight, just like it come to me. And it seem to come to me from the trees.

Whoever heard of such a thing, say Mr.___. I probably didn’t whup your ass enough.

Every lick you hit me you will suffer twice, I say. Then I say, You better stop talking because all I’m telling you ain’t coming just from me. Look like when I open my mouth the air rush in and shape words.

Shit, he say. I should have lock you up. Just let you out to work.

The jail you plan for me is the one in which you will rot, I say.

Shug come over to where us talking. She take one look at my face and say Celie! Then she turn to Mr.___. Stop Albert, she say. Don’t say no more. You just going to make it harder on yourself.

I’ll fix her wagon! Say Mr.____, and spring toward me.

A dust devil flew up on the porch between us, fill my mouth with dirt. The dirt say, Anything you do to me, already done to you.

Then I feel Shug shake me. Celie, she say. And I come to myself.

I’m poor, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here.

-Alice Walker, The Color Purple (p.176)


  1. It's an amazing book - perhaps time for me to re-read it.