End of Year Poems
End of Year Poems: 2021
They are falling all around us…(Song)
©2022 by Alice Walker
they are going home
to the only heaven
they truly desired:
that can only
if it is recognized
for all of us
(Dedicated to the sufferers!)
©2022 by Alice Walker
There is no charge.
The love of your life
You thought would
Be a heart throb
Poke your heart
As you will
The thrill is gone
And so is everything
And no regrets.
© 2021 by Alice Walker
I will say goodbye
To my mind.
It will float
Like a balloon.
I will be
After a storm.
I Could Eat Collard Greens Indefinitely
©2021 by Alice Walker
I could eat collard greens
I think this
As I place a few
Flat, home grown
In my pan.
Pan, not pot.
For we have graduated
To speed, to rapt
To a stirring
My sense of passion;
& I want them
Like the lover
Of my body
Their green goodness
This Year I Had A Bumper Crop
© by Alice Walker
This year I had a bumper
Plenty of peppers
& onions too.
I made spaghetti sauce
For the first time
& found my connection
Mostly we see
The rich & well to do
But the ones
I am feeling close to
Are the peasants,
The famers, the ones who make
The same sauce
I am making;
If left to us,
Peasants and Farmers,
In the Old Days They Might Have Burned Her As a Witch
©2021 by Alice Walker
There was a woman
Who planted trees
In the desert.
There she was
On her tiny island
Lowering the temperature
With her great
In the shroud
Of black cloth
She must wear
Of her life
All you can see
She is doing
What women &
Do so well –
Teaching her people
How to survive.
Beyond her trees
Walk at night.
A few scientists
Agree with this
As they listen
Through her chador.
But will the people
Turning their minds
Be able to hear
Like them, like the whole world
Of black cloth.
Today, Walking, I Blew Kisses
© by Alice Walker
Today, walking, I blew
At the fallen leaves
Brownish, yellow, green-grey
Along the trail
We blow kisses at
In this life
Is what we
In another lifetime
My dog was happy
Beside this insight
To Work For Peace
©2020 by Alice Walker
To work for peace
First of all
Not to be
Without a Lantern
©2020 by Alice Walker
You are afraid
Of what we have gained
From our pain.
You had it once
In the Old Country;
It is buried
And gleeful escape
Into the world
You have lost the part
That could connect
Or have you?
Learn to walk yourself
Or with ancestors
bell hooks, presente!
©2021 by Alice Walker
I told Jesus, it would be all right, if I changed my name. -Spiritual
Beloved bell, though distant we are not apart. We belong to the same tribe that questions everything. That changes everything, with words, or as much of everything as we can.
Thank you for loving my daughter, Rebecca, your student in so many ways and areas of life. You represented something precious our people lost to integration in the South: the teacher’s face, just like her own, beaming its love of her. It’s deep desire, its passion, that she do well! Not just in class, but in the huge university of Life.
May your journey be one of wonder through all realms of as yet unknown Creation. We live continuously, as you, I am sure, intuited; also unstoppable (apparently) is the mystery of our journey.
If there is a St. Peter guarding a gate you must pass through, I chuckle thinking how deeply he is in for it.~aw
January 30,1956 – December 9, 2021
©2021 by Alice Walker
Between us there was instant recognition
and understanding. That continues:
why this must be the photo of you gracing
this home page. Nothing else would stick. Not announcement
of your leave taking; your heading back to Dano,
not your nifty outfit in which you look so cheerful.
Maybe it has to be this photo that captures
my delight at first listen
to your recorded wisdom. So true, unusual,
so profound. I slept with the music
of ancestral ways and thoughts
completely unknown to me. And in your voice.
A sound I had assumed the centuries
Rest then in well done. Our brave and persistent
soldier: of compassion, wonder, mystery, amazement.
We are so grateful that though as a country
we are a scary lot
Still, you dressed yourself beautifully
as if for celebration, or sacrifice,
and came to us. ~aw
The Blue Door in Lavender Light Photo by Alice Walker ©2021
LOVE IS AN EXPRESSION OF POWER
If humanity expresses this love, however it might strain us, for every being on Earth, in every moment it is possible to do so, humanity has a chance. The devil* is tricky: So tricky it will even try to steal our main tool,* Love, and turn it against humans. It will find, however, that true love is sticky. A good thing. But also lethal when misused by its alleged master.
May this eve of Day of the Dead bring out of prison alive and well our brave beloved brother, Julian Assange. May he step through all doors of destruction and delusion and join those who realize we are One expression of the planetary struggle to be joyful and free.~AW
*The force that hates Nature. *The “tool” of love is caring.
Also read: RADICAL COMMITMENTS: THE REVOLUTIONARY VOW OF ERICKA HUGGINS, Interview By Jaimee A. Swift
Please Join Alice Walker, Crayola and Tra Publishing as
Alice reads from her new children’s book, “Sweet People are Everywhere”
OCTOBER 12, 2021 AT 11 ha AM PDT and Other Events Oct 21, 27th
Read Along, Draw Along with Alice Walker: Sweet People Are Everywhere
Read more about the Google and Amazon billion dollar contract with Israeli Military
‘I Play Flute’
A celebration of life for SNCC veteran
In the Sixties no Movement people inspired me as much as those of SNCC: The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. They seemed to me, as a Southern black teen-ager about to enter the scary apartheid wider world, very thoughtful, very brave, very pure. I loved them. Among them were poets. Especially Jane Stembridge, whom I never met.
She has left us, as has Bob Moses, whom I also did not meet. Our spirits met. And it was her poem about the flute, the sound of it, missing during the final turbulent years of pain and distrust, that lived in my thoughts as so many of our good dreams for our people and our country crashed around us.~aw
Jane Stembrige, sister Southerner from Georgia, Presente.’ `aw
The Destruction of Children in Palestine: Follow Our Money
From Your Personal Angel
For The Next Few Decades
@2021 by Alice Walker
I am going to try something
That maybe has not
Been tried before: I am offering
Myself as your angel
Before you grow up
And I die.
What does this mean?
You are not to despair.
You are not to give up.
Someone, me, your personal
Is forever, or at least until
You are thirty or so,
Walking beside you.
This life can be hard
But it is also
A kind of heaven
Complete with hellish
Getting through it
With a free heart
A light spirit
Takes all we have.
But getting through
The fog of pain
In the light
If only momentarily
Is the human task
That finally frees us
It has seemed to me:
A human who has also
Suffered and still loves Life.
All of its faces
-Smiling or Grim-
Beloved: And dear:
Imagine: Whenever you think of me, for years and years, I will be there. Holding your hands. For though they were taken by Israeli soldiers and American taxpayers and politicians who must live with the obligation to carry them too, they are safer with me. For this magic too, is how Life works. ~aw
The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois
by Honoree Fannone Jeffers
©2021 by Alice Walker
It was at the Drugstore rack in Eatonton (Georgia) that I first encountered The Brontes and Thomas Hardy. I would not have been permitted to sit at the counter to order a coke but no one minded that I bought, with money earned from selling eggs, paperback novels by English writers. How could I know at thirteen or fourteen or fifteen that the novels were English because the white settlers of Georgia had ancestry from Great Britain: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and that they understood they did?
No people of color were in these novels, but chitterlings, something we ate with gusto, appeared, and maybe even jumping the broom, which was a custom of country English people that black people enslaved by English-speaking settler/occupiers adopted.
Looking back, what I was most struck by was that characters in the novels I read: WUTHERING HEIGHTS, JANE EYRE, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES, JUDE THE OBSCURE, ETC., seemed to know the specific locations of where they were. They knew places in the countryside intimately; they knew towns, they knew cities. They were familiar with city and country landmarks. Tess, we recall, falls asleep among the gigantic columns of Stonehenge. Later, reading Virginia Woolf, I marveled at her intimate knowledge of just which park was nearer Charing Cross Road, etc. They had a sense of place.
Something in me has longed for this: to know a specific place, landscape, town, as it was years, even centuries before I was born. To know not only that I am from a place but that there was a place before I encountered it.
Honoree Fannone Jeffer’s astonishing novel THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DuBOIS has given me this gift I always wanted, without knowing exactly that I wanted it. She has given me, all of us really, but specifically Georgians, and black Americans, a definite landscape on which to ponder, admire and explore: the area, as it happens, within which I was born, Putnam County, Georgia.
I lived in this novel for three weeks. It is long. It is a journey. It is something so remarkable I’m not sure we collectively ever even dreamed it. And yet, how necessary it is for our grounding in this land, so “foreign” we often are made to feel; whose work here, not to mention our Indigenous ancestry, makes us the most intimate of residents.
Thank you, Daughter, Granddaughter, Great Granddaughter, beloved witness for our people and our land. Your great work is infused with love and honesty. Truth. Our best, and most reliable medicine for whatever has ailed us, from the beginning.
It is hard to believe I might have missed this great teacher, who lived to be almost a hundred and only recently died. Hard to believe there have been, and exist, humans of such wisdom, intelligence and compassion. I thought I had devoured everything available of his teachings but that was silly. He taught so much. This clip simply appeared on my computer as I was researching something else. Because that is the world we live in, if we erect no barriers. ~aw
To the Feminine leadership in us all. Contact Women for Women International. Thank you Zainab and Marianne. ~aw
Journalists. John Pilger and Dennis Bernstein. Reprint. The Bloody US Withdrawal From Afghanistan and the Persecution of Julian Assange: an Interview With John Pilger – CounterPunch.org – En Español
Mainstream. Reprint Newsweek Article Why-biden-prosecuting-assange-telling-truth-about-afghanistan-opinion-1627963 – En Español
Cancel This. Life Force.
Photo by d.m. Morning Garden.
Amna Khalid of Booksmart Studios
BANISHED – Episode 2: Alice Walker Has Been Cancelled
Source website Booksmart Studios: https://www.booksmartstudios.org/p/episode-2-alice-walker-has-been-cancelled
Happy Birthday, Fidel! August 13, 1926
Bob Moses 1932-2021
©2021 by Alice Walker
Painting credit: Tiffany Hamelin Cabrera of PeaceOfMyArt Studio
Dear Bob Moses,
Before I went
I had heard
You were there
But soon you left.
Your name was Moses
And the people became
Too used to following you.
You were wise enough
Not to want to be followed;
But to want the people
To create their own path
By walking it.
As you knew
Is the only way
To finally get somewhere.
But oh. Bob Moses.
What teachings you were kind
And stubborn enough
To leave behind,
And so I learned to
What I learned from you:
Leave the fray before
The people begin
To argue over you.
The world is filled
With many vineyards
In which to labor.
Look deeply in the valley
In which your talent and spirit
Have found rest
Flow with that as your offering.
Oh our Moses
How you taught us
A freedom of being
The chaos and sadness
You blessed us by being
By being yourself.
The eternal mystery
That all true pioneers
Rest in our gratitude.
CONCRETE COWBOY (Google for details)
©2021 by Alice Walker
We had no word for the strange animal we got from the white man-the horse. So we called it sunka waken, “holy dog.” For bringing us the horse we could almost forgive you for bringing us whiskey. Horses make a landscape look more beautiful.
~ Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions
I had no idea when yet another visiting niece (I have many!) suggested we watch CONCRETE COWBOY that it would affect me so deeply. Here it is: the huge gap that opens between fathers and sons when fathers see no way out of poverty, racism, fatherlessness (often) and a deep anger at the injustices endemic to a segregated and racist environment. I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the people – or of the horses!
When I published my book of poems HORSES MAKE A LANDSCAPE LOOK MORE BEAUTIFUL I was thinking of Black Elk, whom I adore for his deep understanding of the connectedness of Life. For instance, his saying (one of my favorites) that “ if I am to die today let me do so with some “poi” (a favorite traditional dish) in my mouth.” This is wisdom. I substitute corn, ham, chitlings, melon, etc. depending on the day) and carry this always in my medicine bundle for my moment of transition.
This film demonstrates why the original (black) cowboys were so good at their job of tending the white settlers’ cows. (They were good houseboys too, I’m sure). It is because they, like the Indians/Native Americans, loved the horses, and recognized them as fellow/sister enslaved beings.
My own connection to horse love occurred when I was a child, no more than six or seven. My horse, Nan, was provoked by one of my brothers and threw me against a tree. After that, we were separated. Someone has written a beautiful line about “the losses that mature us.” This was one. First this loss, then that of a cat, Phoebe. This forced separation from the animal world even to “protect” us!
How do we bear it?
Much emotion and memory was evoked by CONCRETE COWBOY, a beautiful film, a work created obviously by free people. How do we know this? For one thing we see us, black people, with a lot of our craziness showing, not as entertainment or shock therapy but simply as reality. Our attachment to “nigger” for instance, which is used often in black culture as a reminder of the debasement our enslavers intended. But also what they envied: Our innate intelligence, will, adaptability, impersonal kindness. Moral and physical strength. Ability to demonstrate compassion, often for people who did nothing to deserve it. Enslaving black people must often have felt like capturing the part of themselves that had, over centuries of European oppression and serfdom in the Old Country, somehow eroded away. Here it was! In these “savages,” who could and did fall in love with horses that grew to love them back! And might have loved white people too (and did sometimes) if there was left in those who enslaved them enough compassion to decline the role of master.
Like this film, I affirm the tendency of black people to make community out of odds and ends of folks passing through. We must continue to do this. It is a great and beautiful strength. Unanticipated gifts come from “claiming” of “outside” children, animals, and relatives. For instance, I have adopted one of a sister poet’s wonderful sons who sends me inspiration by way of his own thoughtfulness. And so I close with a quote he sent today.
“All those who prefer peace to power, and happiness to glory should thank the colonized people for their civilizing mission. By liberating themselves, they made Europeans more modest, less racist, and more human. Let us hope that the process continues and that the Americans are obliged to follow the same course. When one’s own cause is unjust, defeat can be liberating.” – Jean Bricmont
Let the church, that we can and must continue to liberate, say “Amen.”
What’s behind the Cuba protests? The cruel Trump sanctions & U.S. blockade! Tell President Biden to lift them now!
From sanctions against Iran and Venezuela to the blockades of Gaza and Yemen, we know well how devastating economic warfare can be. This is why we care about what’s happening in Cuba where, thanks to a 60+ year-long U.S. embargo, economic conditions are dire. There are rising food prices, rolling blackouts, and medicine shortages.
Last Sunday the U.S.-caused crisis resulted in anti-government protests on Cuba’s streets and now far-right regime-change proponents are clamoring to make things even worse. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is suggesting airstrikes. Republican Congressman Anthony Sabatini says the Cuban government should be overthrown and its leaders executed. Senator Rick Scott wants even more sanctions on the Cuban people! Those calling for war or sanctions claim that they want to help the Cuban people, but we know that the best way to help the Cuban people is to lift the embargo now.
The embargo, put in place over 60 years ago, was specifically designed to bring about hunger, desperation, and “overthrow” of the Cuban government. President Trump made the embargo even worse by hitting Cuba’s energy, tourism and banking sectors, among others, as part of his “maximum pressure campaign” against the Cuban government. He even limited the amount of remittances U.S. citizens can send to Cuba, as well as limiting travel to the island. Trump then imposed even more sanctions during the pandemic! The combination of the embargo, the Trump sanctions, and the pandemic make life incredibly difficult for ordinary Cubans.
Biden made a campaign promise to reverse the Trump sanctions. Unfortunately, his lack of leadership has opened the door for right-wingers to use the protests to take control of the narrative. Just yesterday he broke his pledge and said the limits on remittances would remain. It’s crucial that we provide a strong counterweight by calling for an end to the Cuban embargo!
The good news is that we’re not alone in this. Some politicians are pushing back — Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for an end to the embargo and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Greg Meeks, among others, is asking the Biden administration to lift the Trump sanctions!
The embargo is cruel and illegal, and it affects every single person in Cuba. The best way to help Cubans is to lift it now. To learn more, read this article Leonardo and I wrote about the protests and the embargo. Also, make sure to watch this TikTok by Emily, where she questions why a few days of protests in Cuba of thousands drew more media attention than years of protests by hundreds of thousands of Haitians.
In radical solidarity,
Medea, Leonardo, Michelle, Teri, Carley, Ariel, Ally, Alida, Ann, Ciara, Cody, Danaka, Emily, Farida, Jodie, Kelly, Leila, Madison, Mary, Marcy, Moses, Nancy, Paki, RJ and Sana
These three men are cause to wonder: Where is that spark of truthfulness in every human soul that will see us through this hardest of human times on the earth? May we recognize its absence for the death trap that it is and learn from teachers like Chris Hedges and Miko Peled and Norman Finkelstein that true liberation begins within. Now, and not tomorrow. ~aw
There is an Ancient
And all they want
And then there’s David. His slingshot full of words and books. Having absorbed the fascinating and horrifying worst, and still believing in us.~aw
“I’ve seen the future, brother: It is murder. Things are going to slide, slide in all directions. Won’t be nothing. Nothing you can measure anymore. The blizzard, the blizzard of the world. Has crossed the threshold. And it has overturned. The order of the soul.” ~Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen The Future Live in London (song)
There is the truth of this. The grief. The sorrow. The feeling that we, humans, have lost. This is a place, too. I thank the Dalai Lama and company for being available in this terrible moment, offering an ancient chant from Tibetans, another nearly obliterated people. May it help us continue to be grateful for life, that has such soulfulness in it, such generosity of feeling, even as we weep. ~aw
21 May 2021 | Article reprint source webpage Africa4Palestine.com:
“PRESS STATEMENT: #Africa4Palestine welcome ceasefire, calls for Israel to be held accountable at ICC
20 May 2021
The human rights organization #Africa4Palestine cautiously welcomes the announcement that Israel has been forced to cease its attacks on the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
After 11 days Israel has killed over 230 Palestinians including more than 60 children and 3 pregnant women. More than 1900 Palestinians have been injured. Over 1800 homes have been destroyed. 6 high rise buildings have been destroyed.
These killings and destruction by Israel are unacceptable. Israel must be held accountable for the its recent and its ongoing violations of international law and human rights abuses.
We as an organization have been supporting the Palestinian call for Israel to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. In this vain, we welcome the statement by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, in Parliament today, where she said:
“The cruel bombings and killing of the innocent we witnessed in the past two weeks are a sad testimony of the cruel impunity the world has granted to Israel. The international community must stop this impunity. South Africa should support the International Criminal Court in the planned investigation of the abuse of human rights by the Israeli Government…we hope sanctions and other measures to show the world’s offence at this brutality will soon be evident.”
We recommit ourselves to the Palestinians and progressive Jewish Israelis to do all in our power in contributing to bringing an end to Israel’s apartheid policies. For only then will Palestinians, and indeed Israelis, truly be free. Ours is to create a world where a Palestinian child can be that, a child. A world where all children are safe, safe from violence and death – safe to play, to laugh, to love and be loved. Ours is to create a more loving world.
#Africa4Palestine will be with community members and various organisations including the ANC, SACP, COSATU throughout this weekend at Palestine solidarity events in the Western Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape.
ISSUED BY AFRICA 4 PALESTINE
Executive Director, Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988 Spokesperson, Tisetso Magama: +27 (0) 61 414 6348
AFRICA 4 PALESTINE (FORMERLY BDS SOUTH AFRICA) Suite 3 | Park Center | 75 12th Street | Parkhurst | Johannesburg PO Box 2318 | Houghton | 2041 | Johannesburg T: +27 (0) 11 403 2097 | F: +27 (0) 86 650 4836 W: www.africa4palestine.com | E: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.facebook.com/africa4palestine | www.twitter.com/africa4pal | www.instagram.com/africa4palestine | youtube.com/africa4palestine
Africa4Palestine is a registered Non-Profit Company. Registration Number: 2020/549404/08 Africa4Palestine is a registered Section 18 Public Benefit Organization. Registration Number: 930071587″
Tell Members of Congress to
Block the Newest Arms Sale/Gift to Israel!
Israel receives $3.8 billion every year from the US in military “aid” to oppress and massacre Palestinians. In just 10 days in May 2021, Israel has massacred over 220 Palestinians in Gaza, almost one-third of them children. In the West Bank, they have been shooting protestors with live ammunition. So why has President Biden just approved the “sale” — it isn’t really a sale as Israel will be purchasing the weapons with the money the US gave them — of $735 million more in precision-guided weapons?
Israel is using US “precision-guided weapons” to bomb the roads to hospitals right now. They are using them to bomb media offices, residential buildings, medical centers, journalists, and doctors.
It is unconscionable that the United States should sell more weapons to a nation that is dropping bombs on civilians. Palestinians have no defenses or freedom of movement. Israel is actively bombing a population that cannot move or flee.It is a war crime.
In 2014, the Obama administration suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid that massacre in Gaza. In 1981, the Reagan administration suspended F-15&F-16 jets to Israel. Congress must now suspend the delivery of $735 million in precision-guided missiles.
The death toll of Palestinians is rising in Gaza as Israel escalates its horrific attacks and refuses ceasefire deals. Just yesterday, Israel refused to allow a Jordanian aid envoy, including a field hospital, access to Gaza. But the discursive tide is shifting in the United States and around the world as zionists lose their grip on the narrative. More people are calling the issue what it is: settler colonialism and apartheid. More people are speaking out than ever, and if we correctly harness this momentum, we can really affect change here. The first step is to stop arming the apartheid regime of Israel.
As Palestinians resist in Gaza, the West Bank and 1948 Palestine, people around the globe are standing in solidarity with them. In the words of Lula da Silva, “Those in power can kill one, two, or three roses, but they will never be able to stop the coming of spring”. The world is a better place when more people stand for justice. Join us!
Ariel, Danaka, Carley, Ally, Ann, Carley, Ciara, Cody, Emily, Farida, Grace, Jodie, Kelly, Leila, Leonardo, Madison, Mary, Marcy, Michelle, Moses, Nancy, Paki, Sana, and Teri
P.S. Join CODEPINK’s webinar with Asmaa Tayeh and Aziz Abuzayed who will be reporting live from Gaza in a few hours, today, May 19 at 8AM PT/11AM ET! RSVP here.
Source links: CODEPINK Israel Arms Sale Campaign to STOP!
What Are Human Beings? ©2021 by Alice Walker
What are human beings? Whatever we are, it will be hard to let us go!
Robots won’t be nearly as unpredictable and crazy and absurd and brave.
I think of this having chuckled my way through a distressingly sad book, The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen. What helped was that I had immersed myself before reading it in the work of Chester Himes – not the detective fiction he became famous for, but the fascinating biography, Chester B. Himes, by Lawrence P. Jackson, followed by volume two of his autobiography: My Life of Absurdity. Much of his early work is out of print; I was unable to obtain volume one, The Quality of Hurt. Himes is not always admirable or likeable which is reality for most humans, and he admitted, happily, once he’d made some, that he wrote for money. Humans can be honest! And so, walking about in my solitude with Himes’ life demonstrating that the absurd is where many black and people of color live in a world that was unmade for us, I was I thought ready for The Committed, having admired Nguyen’s earlier book The Sympathizer, which I shared excitedly with my Jungian therapist (not currently) but which left her unmoved, and actually rather chilled. So unpredictable, humans! A trait I also admire.
At this point in my life I can only point to the medicine. It is too complex usually to attempt to describe exactly what is in it. The Committed let us say is the often quite puzzling book you might write if you could begin to imagine what life has been like for Vietnamese people over the last two hundred years. And for communists and anti-communists in Viet Nam over the past eighty-five. It is a book written moreover in the voice of a man whose young mother was Vietnamese, and starving, and whose father was the French priest who, comprehending this, offered her a bowl of rice. Though his father acknowledged neither mother nor son as long as he lived, the narrator’s “quality of hurt” gives him a double vision, a two-headedness, not unlike DuBois’s description of our own black, people of color, double consciousness. A split consciousness much on display, also, in Himes’ life.
In fact, though the “heroes” in this novel are unapologetic gangsters, criminals, drug dealers, murderers and thieves, it is exactly the double- consciousness of the narrator/protagonist that offers a glimmer of light – perhaps in time for the global community to meditate on its deadly delusion in a world where Henry Kissinger, architect of so much destruction, in Viet Nam and elsewhere, could be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
And then there is The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. One of my favorite films of all time. It begins to appear that all wars are fought over land on which to grow narcotics of one kind or another. The Committed makes a well documented case for how control of drug territory fueled much of the intensive fighting to keep Vietnamese people virtual slaves to a colonial France and its greedy colonial side-kick, America. Did we really believe it was only about Ideology? And who would have intuited this perfectly, though she probably never knew Viet Nam existed: Lady Day.
This Lee Daniels film explores a level of conscious pain few are brave enough to bring to screen. It explores as well the necessity of blotting it out when the misery of what we know, what we are forced to endure, becomes unbearable. Andra Day, who plays Billie Holiday as well as Billie might have played herself, breaks our heart as she makes plain: the Daughters will take care of it. Embodying, as she does, the mother, the grandmother, the aunt, the ancestor who could not, was not allowed, to speak, to act, to dream in full glory. Those who died chained to their deathbeds, as Mumia Abu Jamal, this very month in 2021, the month of his birth, was ordered shackled to an operating table during heart surgery, as Billie was chained to her hospital bed as she died.
We have lived, and continue to live, among monsters. Who would commit the lynchings, the “roasting” of human beings, who would cut off human ears and toes and feet and save them for souvenirs or place them in a window of a butcher shop? Who would cut open a pregnant woman, while she is being lynched, and stomp the fetus that falls to the ground? Who would kneel on the neck of a human being for nearly ten minutes as he, dying, begged for breath?
And so. Robots. There is a strong rumor they are coming. What do we say in our defense?
We say: Artists. Rebels and artists. Lee Daniels, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Andra Day, Chester “bad boy” Himes, DuBois, Fanon, Viet Trahn Nguyen. Mumia Abu Jamal. The list is long. Our showing is not so bad. And, being us, we’ve no plan to stop our praise.
Art and Resistance: our Gratitude for having Human Souls.
Photo: Dennis Banks, Fidel Castro, Alice Walker, Ramsey Clark, in Havana, April 1993. Credit: Gloria La Riva
Liberation News Audio Program & Article Reprint 2021-04
This article is also by Gloria La Riva. Thank you.*
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General and renowned international human-rights attorney who stood against U.S. military aggression worldwide, died peacefully April 9 at his home in New York City, surrounded by close family. He was 93 years old.
As a pre-teen growing up in Albuquerque, I certainly knew his name and that he was attorney general. I could not imagine then that we would become friends, that I would have the honor of working with him and learning what a great humanitarian Ramsey Clark was.
As Assistant and later U.S. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark helped draft the two historic U.S. Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and was key enforcer of federal desegregation orders. Personally accompanying Martin Luther King Jr. and James Meredith in the face of racist terror from Alabama to Mississippi, Ramsey was a fervent opponent of racism. In the Justice Department, he frequently confronted repressive policies within the government itself, from Congress to the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover…
…Continue to Read the Complete Article:
A Letter To My Grandson
©2020 by Alice Walker, vase by my neighbor, artist Sue Hoya Sellars 1936-2014
December 22, 2020
To harm anyone deliberately
Is to risk being
You are sixteen today, and this is truly a milestone, a marker that you have succeeded to the achievement of a new plateau in life. I was thinking of what to give you and I spent many a conundrum on this! Because of the Virus we are all sitting tight in our own nests, and, though I miss seeing you ambling about Temple Jook, and Wild Trees, I know this is best.
However, I did think of a story I will share with you, from a time I was your age. I was in Jr. High, or the eleventh grade, probably, and at last enrolled in a class, other than English Lit., that meant something special to me. It was Biology. I have always adored the natural world; to see and study it close-up, would be heaven, I thought. The teacher too was very cute. Mr. Roberson. He looked a bit like Obama; thin like that, and boyish even though he was probably in his Forties. We would lose him later to tuberculosis, but that isn’t part of the story here. What is a part of it is that because of Apartheid/Segregation in the South where I lived, schools were rigidly, thoroughly, completely segregated. If that had been all, it would not have mattered. My friends and I, all of color, all black, loved being together. We had so much fun we never wanted to part at the end of the day. Outside of school we were always finding ways to get our parents to let us spend the night, or the week-end, at each other’s houses. Some of my classmates were kin, and in fact, I exchange emails with one of them, D, a cousin, several times a year. She has cancer and has lost everything she says but her sense of humor.
When the white high school, located in a prominent place in town, received funding for a Biology lab, our school, located so far from town most folks passing through had no idea it existed, received what was being replaced. My Biology class received one broken microscope. Some small part of it functioned – I recall marveling at the beauty of a leaf, up close – but for a class of thirty it was of little use.
This system of segregation, kept in place through political chicanery and violence, was designed to keep black people ignorant and stuck in uneducated labor. And very poor. What did “poor” mean? Never having enough of anything you didn’t grow or raise yourself, and never or rarely seeing a doctor. A dental appointment wasn’t even imagined.
Why am I telling you this? Because of the virus. Covid-19.
Your grandmother was always serious. I see that now. That, even as a child, I wanted to help, to assist, what I thought of as “Creation.” If my school had received a Biology lab I’m sure I would have had my eye glued to the microscope, my mind obsessed with how what I was learning might be of benefit to humans and other creatures. But I was denied this opportunity.
And so today, as arguments abound regarding what the virus is, what its presence means, how many people are likely to sicken and die – people we know and love, included – I feel the harm Segregation, American apartheid – has done to me directly, and by extension to the whole planet.
And that is why, today, on your sixteenth birthday, this story is my gift. Buddha also teaches beautifully about non-harming. Harming others, whether plant, human, other animal, the air, the earth, is always a boomer-rang. You can harm nothing without at the same time harming yourself. It may take years, even generations, to find out where you have shot or stabbed your own self, but the wound is there, forever waiting.
I love you more than you can even imagine. Probably. And thanks to your mother, you are being prepared both to offer a gift to the world, and to be a gift to yourself. Non-harming is also a very personal intention; to save one’s gift in its most full and original flowering as an expression, among other reasons, of one’s gratitude. Gratitude for being helped, and allowed, in this lifetime, to be useful.
If you are young and you have wondered why exactly so many of your elders love this teacher, here is an opportunity to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. at his best. I still marvel at his courage, his love of us, his wisdom. Truth is the light. Love is the shield. We need not remain, without love, in darkness. ~aw
Trevor says most of it. We know what this is.~aw
All attacks on Asian Americans- or on Asians (for being Asian) of any country- are cowardly and disgraceful. For Black people who engage in this racism be aware that it is an insult to Ancestors who recognize only too well what is being attempted: the dehumanization of a people. How can they imagine, given what they lived during enslavement and segregation, such cruel ignorance is possible? Black racism against anyone, like participating in wars of aggression and slaughter against people we do not even know, undermines every teaching of how to be Human our Ancestors labored to leave behind. This descent into the unthinkable is a moral dilemma and crisis for us, as Black people. May we treat it as such.~aw
Meghan and Harry Talking to Oprah
©2021 by Alice Walker
How can you not love this world
Where miracles are happening
all the time.
Indian farmers -thrown off their course by centuries
of British rule – refusing to kill themselves
and rising instead against
by the greed of their head of state;
And Oprah and Diana
rising to the task
that all true mothers
who witnessed her struggle
have longed for;
that of helping to liberate
Diana’s precious son.
The tabloids of England
have harmed and crushed
so many brave and needed (by the world)
Bless Meghan for staying alive;
for standing up to them
by not harming a hair on the head
of her natural self.
Celebrate both melanin and curl!
May we all begin to see
and resolve to recognize
even if it looks like
our own house;
and dare to look through
whatever window appears
and walk through
the open, if sometimes terrifying,
Break My Heart Again
©2017 by Alice Walker
for Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya People
We travelled far
To stand before your door
A door we could not see
Our taxi driver
And all of Myanmar
To whisper your name.
My companion* brought
And though he did not dare
Endanger our driver
By blowing it
Where are you now?
You must be.
Are you now lost
As the world sneers
At your failures?
Where does the “sure heart’s release”
They have unlocked
That was your home
Only to lock you
In the other prison
They have long prepared
The prison of illusory power.
How many have been lost there!
Who locked you away
With whom you would be “friends”
Hold the key.
As so many of our people
are being slaughtered- and are not all
Of them “our people”?-
You are oddly silent, or,
When you speak, you appear
With uncharacteristic subterfuge
To beat around the bush.
What awful thing do they have on you? That you have lost the light?…
(…To Read My Full Poem Break My Heart Again)
Beware of anyone
Who tells you
Not to love.
Deformity of soul
In bad advice. ~aw
Sending “Metta” to Julian Assange
Who faces the possibility of over a hundred years in prison.
@2021 by Alice Walker
Thanks to the teachings of the Buddha, we send “metta” or “loving kindness” to four types of people: someone toward whom we feel neutral, someone we deeply care about, someone who is very difficult for us to bear, and someone we consider a benefactor.
Julian Assange – for alerting us to the nefarious deeds of our government, especially in its wars against women, children, men, animals, water, and Nature – is a benefactor to humanity and I wish to send “metta,” loving kindness, to him today.
Julian Assange, for what you have risked, by your courage and love of us, and for the sake of our planet and all humanity, I offer our collective gratitude and our energetic blessing of you:
May you be happy
May you be at peace
May your soul be at rest
May your body be seen as sacred
By all who imprison you.
May you know we are grateful
For your courage
Rooted obviously in love of us,
And sorrow for our ignorance.
As a brother and as a journalist
We respect, honor, and love you.
The persecution of one truthful person depresses and endangers the world. ~aw
To harm anyone deliberately
Is to risk being
Their help. ~aw
If you kill the messenger
you will never get
the news. ~aw
Ward’s Chapel AME church in rural Georgia
Ward’s Chapel AME church in rural Georgia, where I was baptized in a stream. I was seven. There were frogs! So amazing. And it is true that frogs and I, and everything, are in this Life together. How good to learn this, in sacred community.
New roof and art. And tree! Thank you, hometown Beloveds.~aw
Interviewer: Estela Bravo, for her documentary FIDEL 2001.
Those we starve will be unable to feed us. ~aw
Entrevistadora: Estela Bravo para su documental FIDEL, 2001
Aquellos a quienes matamos de hambre no podrán alimentarnos. AW
Why has President Biden taken so long to act on Cuba? Write to Congress to urge the administration to reverse Trump’s disastrous policy toward our neighbors.
President Biden has been in office for almost a month and yet we’ve seen no tangible improvement in U.S. relations with Cuba. On Day 1, he should have reversed Trump’s disastrous “maximum pressure” campaign against our neighbors, the Cuban people. One executive order could have ended the limit on remittances, the restrictions on travel, and the dozens of other illegal sanctions imposed on Cuba over the past four years.
We’re not alone in noticing his inaction: Congress is about to send a letter to President Biden urging him to “reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel policies against the Cuban people and renew mutually productive dialogue with the Cuban government.”
To show people how beautiful they are, you have to show them how ugly they’ve been acting.~aw
The sound is a whisper.
What the world needs now: collard greens in abundance: common, humble, and powerful, like us. Above bouquet from my garden, photo by Rebecca Walker, with the assistance of Laura Balandran.
Happy Birthday tomorrow, February 1, Langston Hughes. Beloved. Greens remind me you liked to write in green ink.~aw
Victory to the Farmers of India
and throughout the world. ~aw
The Answer Is Yes. Joe Biden and a Different Weather?
© 2021 by Alice Walker
When I was a child my parents were determined not to raise racists. The whole of black southern culture was with them. Racism was recognized as a deformity of spirit and soul, as well as a passion that roused in whoever was afflicted the most hideous ugliness. Foaming at the mouth was one of the descriptions of white racists who were sometimes witnessed in this demented state.
We were taught to live in the midst of racists as if they were weather. And then, during the Civil Rights Movement and later, as if we deserved strong houses and good umbrellas.
The child above, so precious, so us, is one we do not wish to lose to racist beliefs, racist thoughts, racist actions. And so we say to him: Yes, beloved little one, the big bad racist white man is gone from the White House – which we must paint rainbow colors someday -; starving children to death in Yemen and keeping some in cages in the US, and attempting to grind Cuban dignity into the dirt as he leaves, but hope has arrived on the horizon. We, just hours ago, have witnessed a changing of the guard in our country, and another white man, Joe Biden, has spoken well of his intentions and his heart. That he has a heart. That he has rainbow friends who respect and love him. That he married someone who trained to be of positive use. That he has suffered and gained the equanimity suffering can sometimes bring. That he believes we can do better in all ways. That he can see us. That we can work together in a time when fear, more than anything else, divides us. That Kamala Harris backs him up and also has her own vision. It is effort we will hope for, determination and resolve. What perfection we achieve will be in the seriousness with which we honor our vows of commitment to those who will follow us.
Above all, beloved little one, we must remove the fear from your eyes, even as the truth of you -after centuries of bad weather – makes us smile.
Six months later: Trump has vacated the White House, but the weather of cruelty to others in the US and especially around the world appears about the same. What seems safest for the unborn children of the world at this time? Not to visit. You are far too precious to be subjected to the abuse of adults who have lost, if they ever had it, the ability to feel the suffering of others and to whom terrorized and starving children cause no discomfort. ~aw
*** January 20, 2021 ***
There Are Meat People ©2021 by Alice Walker
There are meat people, who seem to be only exactly what you see: a body; and there are others who inhabit a body but that is not nearly the end of it. These beings are often noticeably different and we look on them in wonder. As in: I wonder what made this being do so and so. Usually something that strikes us as weird or impossible. Malcolm X was such a being. Driven by a spirit, ancient, even mythological, that would permit him no rest as he struggled toward its evolution, endlessly occurring.
The Dead Are Arising by Les Payne and his daughter, Tamara Payne, is an essential study into the life of a man who was a puzzle to many during his lifetime, and even more of one after his assassination in 1965. The year I graduated from college. My own involvement in the struggle to free black people at that time was taking place primarily under the auspices of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. (I dedicated my novel of that period, Meridian, partly to John Lewis). A battle so intense and heart rending that I was confused and hurt by Malcolm’s disparagement of our suffering. His actual mockery of it. Nor did I understand how he refused to comprehend why some of us would date and later marry interracially. It was against the law, just as eating in a “white” restaurant was or enrolling in a “white” medical school. How absurd it felt that he and many black people managed to miss that. Or to totally ignore, or disparage, what it took to face the consequences.
Ironically, Malcolm himself dated white girls almost exclusively as a young man in Michigan, and later, Boston, and chose his black wife, Betty Shabazz, she of great character, beauty, and integrity, in a decidedly uninspired way. Showing photos to a friend of two possible black women he might marry, he chose Betty.
This book is a deep study into someone we, black people for the most part, but not only black, admire and love. We love Malcolm’s fierceness as a warrior for black liberation, his determined moral sense of right and wrong, once he ceased being a criminal. Finally, we love the lessons of his journey; one of which is to double down on educating our children to think critically about all doctrines of uplift that depend on one leader to do all the thinking while the followers pay all the bills.
There are endless surprises in this book. Writing it was clearly a labor of love. That Les Payne died shortly before his and his daughter’s offering was presented to us is extremely meaningful to me. This is another example of some of our people’s dogged insistence on comprehending the rules, especially the hidden and hobbling ones, and still giving everything, to the last breath – in service to our children’s future – to finish the race: the race to achieve ultimate fulfillment of the spirit that lives beyond the meat.
For an example of “meat people” see Robert De Niro’s Netflix film The Irishman.
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Kindred Spirit. January 15th, 1929
Listen to Michael. Long distance Elder, or perhaps in training. ~aw
Morning Poem for Lovers
©2021 by Alice Walker
You are so dark
I can see the inside
Of your night.
I give thanks
For the nappiness
There is a truth
But no truth
Is the very end
Of our journey
in this land
If not a more balanced
Into our sorrows.
What will we know
Inhabiting this love?
We are only us.
The radical beauty of your spirit leaves me wordless. But that won’t stop my witness of your so black and determined resistance, literally unto death. How grand you are; how inspiring. How truly our sister, mother, grandmother, beloved, elder and friend. May the glory that awaits all soldiers of truth, of witness, of never giving up on our right to be loved, surround you in the next phase of your gallant mystery. ~aw
La belleza radical de tu espíritu me deja sin palabras. Pero eso no detendrá mi testimonio de tu resistencia tan negra y decidida, literalmente hasta la muerte. Qué grandioso eres; que inspirador. Cuán verdaderamente nuestra hermana, madre, abuela, amada, anciana y amiga. Que la gloria que aguarda a todos los soldados de la verdad, del testimonio, de no renunciar nunca a nuestro derecho a ser amados, os rodee en la próxima fase de vuestro valiente misterio. ~ aw
Medicine for the doctor and nurse who wronged you: “In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience – our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror. It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chodron
Medicina para el médico y la enfermera que le hicieron daño: “Al cultivar la compasión, nos basamos en la totalidad de nuestra experiencia: nuestro sufrimiento, nuestra empatía, así como nuestra crueldad y terror. Tiene que ser así. La compasión no es una relación entre el sanador y el herido. Es una relación entre iguales. Solo cuando conocemos nuestra propia oscuridad podemos estar presentes con la oscuridad de los demás. La compasión se vuelve real cuando reconocemos nuestra humanidad compartida ”. ~ Pema Chodron
Medicine for the rest of us: When we hear that more black and red and brown people are dying from Covid-19 we may think, instinctively, about their poverty, poor diet, or substandard medical care; of their general and for hundreds of years, lack of decent housing. The crushing of their spirit. We might think of their current, media influenced, lifestyle, or whatever stereotype of it we have been taught. Rarely would we think our people are dying “disproportionately” as news casters like to say, because they have been ignored, often insulted, in hospitals, or sent home in the middle of the night improperly diagnosed, given the wrong medicine, and with no one on hand to look after them. This is what our sister, a physician to the end, wants us to know. Our question to answer: If hospitals are not safe for us, what is?
Medicina para el resto de nosotros: Cuando escuchamos que más personas negras, rojas y morenas están muriendo por Covid-19, podemos pensar, instintivamente, en su pobreza, mala alimentación o atención médica deficiente; de su general y durante cientos de años, falta de vivienda digna. El aplastamiento de su espíritu. Podríamos pensar en su estilo de vida actual, influenciado por los medios, o cualquier estereotipo que nos hayan enseñado. Rara vez pensamos que nuestra gente está muriendo “desproporcionadamente” como les gusta decir a los presentadores de noticias, porque han sido ignorados, a menudo insultados, en hospitales o enviados a casa en medio de la noche diagnosticados incorrectamente, administrados con la medicina equivocada y sin uno a la mano para cuidarlos. Esto es lo que nuestra hermana, médica hasta el final, quiere que sepamos. Nuestra pregunta a responder: si los hospitales no son seguros para nosotros, ¿qué lo son?
Thought for the New Year that sees greed as a primary root of our disaster:
You cannot be richer than happiness. ~aw
No puedes ser más rico que la felicidad. ~ aw