Alice Walkers Garden Home page 2018

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December 2018

Effort: Helping to Heal the World By Making It More Visible to Each Other:

A Letter From Nurit Peled- Elhanan, activist, educator, and friend from Israel

and a Poem

Dear Alice,

I read your poem and the criticism of it and I must react.

The people who torture and kill Palestinians have never studied the Talmud. It is not studied in Israeli state schools. And no one can read it on their own. The ones who study it are the ultra-orthodox Jews such as the pro-Palestinian Neturei Karta in NY.

The quotes (whether true or false) are surely partial and do not characterize this 12 volume work (thousand pages in every volume) whose writing ended thousands of years ago.

The Talmud is not a prescriptive book. It is an endless interpretation of the Torah, always adapting the Torah to present times so that people can live by it. Ethiopian Jews never studied it and lived by the Torah as is.

In these volumes you read discussion and polemics between different sages about every tiny aspect of human life. And the discussions are brought as they happened, more or less because it was all discussed orally.

But the main thing is that each such discussion ends with: “and so they disagreed” and people would choose the interpretation they wanted. Every argument that is brought is immediately countered by an opposite argument and the discussion that ensued. It is always open ended.

In my time we learned a bit of it and I loved it, because it is Logic, like reading Plato. Today schools don’t teach it anymore.

So in order to know what is in the Talmud – which none of the non-orthodox Israelis or Jews know – you have to read at least a whole chapter, pros and cons etc.

One of the most discussed subjects in the Talmud as in the Torah is the treatment of foreigners, workers, slaves etc. Extremely human and enlightening.

I don’t want you to be trapped in superficial propaganda of ignorant people. And again: the reason for the ruthlessness and violence towards Palestinians is not to be found in ancient writings but in Modern ones. It is Modernity and European Enlightenment that brought slavery, colonialism, Fascism and Totalitarianism, national movements such as Zionism and the way to treat people as superfluous. Auschwitz was not prescribed in any ancient scripture, neither is Israeli colonialism.

Much love


Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan


Dear Nurit,

Thank you, Sister Nurit, for not letting go of my hand, while informing me of your views, which I welcome and respect. Though we may have areas still to discuss, and perhaps always will, given the differences in our backgrounds and cultures, my own grip is as strong.

Can you get my website: where you are?  If so, please read the entire poem.  “It Is Our (Frightful) Duty To Study The Talmud.”  Also read a later poem, below, “Conscious Earthlings.” About the necessity of separating “Jews” from Zionist Nazis. I am including it here.

Also, would you mind if I published your letter to help with the discussion, which seems to be, from what I hear, more about shouting. I am open to continuing our dialogue, if you are.





Al post, Un Esfuerzo: Ayudar a Curarse Al Mundo Haciéndolo Más Visible Unos a Otros


Conscious Earthlings

©2018 by Alice Walker

Jews have always been involved

In my awakening.
Long before I knew
Or cared
What they were.
It is this I will remember
Whatever worsening plans
The Zionist Nazis make.
To tell the truth
It has always calmed me
To have them near.
Carrying on, being smart-ass,
Getting into everybody’s business
Sitting up reading poetry
Dissecting the Good Book
With me;
The only book allowed
In jail.

I will not lose this,

Too much time has passed.
I cannot be fooled.
Zionist Nazis are not the Jews
I know; terrorists who would
and do
Kill anyone and anything
To get what they want:

Control over everyone.                                                                                                      I will never be divided from my friends

No matter how bad Zionist Nazis are making
Jews look.
I like especially to see
Jews standing firm
With the same
Realization I also have:
That the dream of one humanity,
Of one race of humankind
Is being born each day
In every one of us
Who leave race and culture and religion
Handed to us at birth behind
And hold ourselves accountable today
This minute
To the standard of eternal
For the one United Tribe
Of Conscious Earthlings.



I believe it can only help us evolve, if we examine our basic religious programming, whatever it is.

Though students may no longer read the ancient texts: the Koran, the Bible, the Torah or Talmud, the Buddhist texts carved in stone in what used to be Burma, these teachings continue to inform human activity. I have experienced some of their effects in my own life. Ancestors surely have:  “Slaves/servants obey your master,” etc.  “Women obey your husbands, etc.”

In any case, as someone ignorant (yes, this is true) of what is in the ancient texts in their totality, I am, millions of us are, still wounded by the parts that have been inherited by word of mouth, over generations, and millennia, and are recognized as active in human behavior today.  I don’t see how we will ever have peace without examining the deep past, and letting go of those parts that mean endless contention and war and suffering.

For instance: here are places we have already, to some degree, brought negative Biblical teachings up to date: Blackness is not a curse but a blessing! Homosexuality is not an “abomination,” but a way love and attraction may be expressed! Woman must not keep silent in the churches, she must speak!

I believe we are ready, and must accomplish our next step in spiritual evolution together.

Perhaps being misunderstood, or risking harm to ourselves, as well as infuriating others as we go. This is a crucial part of women’s work for our own future as free beings, but also for a planet that is safe for children and other inhabitants; those helpless, for thousands of years, before the might of male menace, indoctrination, and domination. Because, as it was no doubt said to innumerable victims, often by enforcers who were themselves illiterate: we do whatever awful thing we’re doing to you because… it is written.


Today is the last day of 2018, a year the Japanese have designated, along with much of the world, “The Year of Disaster.” We have been hit, it seems, from every direction.  I wish to affirm that I am not anti-anyone. Not even the “mad” and “crazy.” I have lived a long life in service to the Good of Life, which is perhaps what “God” in a religious sense, would mean to me. I am also free enough to realize that to attempt to damage such a life would not be helpful and would in fact be a backward move.  There is far more important work to be done.

May we all enter the New Year peacefully, and in peace continue our journey. –AW



21st December

Happy Solstice!

The Light is Returning to a Darkened World. If there are indeed as many universes as there are grains of sand, let us resolve in the New Year to work on diminishing our narcissism and be content to realize it isn’t all about us.



¡Feliz solsticio!



To the Also Curious

Copyright 2018

By Alice Walker


I was asked, in writing, by the NYTs BY THE BOOK “What is on your nightstand?”  I replied with the titles of the pile of books that were currently on mine; all of them in some state of read, to read, or unread. David Icke’s book, And the Truth Shall Set You Free was among them. I find Icke’s work to be very important to humanity’s conversation, especially at this time.  I do not believe he is anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish.  I do believe he is brave enough to ask the questions others fear to ask, and to speak his own understanding of the truth wherever it might lead.  Many attempts have been made to censor and silence him.  As a woman, and a person of color, as a writer who has been criticized and banned myself, I support his right to share his own thoughts.  It is too late in the day of our planet not to consider everyone’s opinion on where we’ve gone wrong, and how we might survive, if we are to survive, in the years ahead.

It is a sad day for freedom of inquiry, thought, and speech, when an attempt is made to frighten people into lying about what is on their nightstand.  This, of course, will be the effect of this misguided and cowardly backlash. I say cowardly because I believe the attempt to smear David Icke, and by association, me, is really an effort to dampen the effect of our speaking out in support of the people of Palestine.

I don’t know about Icke, but I am also a supporter of BDS (Boycotts, Divestment, Sanctions, now heavily under attack) as a just and justified means of ending Israeli occupation of Palestine, and ending the slaughter of Palestinians, especially children, which Israeli soldiers do with alarming frequency.  I also come from a tradition of struggle in the Apartheid American South that demands my stepping up to my responsibility to wage “war” without violence.  Pacifists have no option, really, but to make our resistance felt through non-compliance with injustice and brutality.  By not supporting a system that endorses the slaughter of children, or the destroying of  families and homes. The razing of crops.  The taking of land.  The imprisonment of poets.  Etc.

I read everything.  I even tried once to read Mein Kampf but found it too steeped in German history to make sense. It also seemed pedantic and boring. But after hearing so much about it, I wanted to know what it said for myself.  I’ve also taken a crack at the Koran.  I’m not equating these two, simply noting that many people encounter them both with dread. Suppose these books had been in the pile of books on my nightstand? Was I to be so fearful of what people thought that I would deny I was attempting to read them?  The same is true of reading the Talmud, or the Bible, for that matter.  Some parts of both are extremely problematic, and contain programming – about how to live, think, behave – that has caused us more grief than we, poor beaten down humans, for the most part, deserve.

What do I believe might save us, as humans, yet?   It may sound absurd.  Study.  The ignorance of many humans, especially in our country, is abysmal. As a writer, a teacher, a mother, a lover of humans and animals, and trees, it is distressing beyond words to see how incensed humans can become over a sound bite, headline, or snappy tweet, that they don’t, even vaguely, understand.

Everything you see, read, or hear, has a backstory.  A history. A reason.  And Icke, among many others, digs around in the past to try to find out what it is. Awareness is key and we are lucky that there are people, intelligent ones, who care enough to raise it. I say read everybody, read everything! Being mocked, called ridiculous names, and disinvited from events by people whose backbones turn to jelly the moment they realize they might be criticized for having you appear, is a small price to pay for continuing in solidarity with Ancestors who would not have you be any other way.

And with all my love,

Alice Walker

An Earlier Entry On My Blog:

Recently I’ve taken a few knocks for my liking of David Icke. Well, I can’t help liking him, he’s got cojones for days. Seen many of those lately not backed up by missiles and tanks? Actually and happily, yes, as more silenced people speak and folks on their knees rise, but he’s still special. Anyway, last night it occurred to me what it is I like and I wanted to put it in one sentence: David Icke’s work is a feast for the imagination. That’s it. Take it or leave it, he is offering something extremely timely and useful. A completely new and different way to understand the world. And if you love mythology, as I do, you will have a fine time seeing how a new myth, with us in it (!) might be made. Though Icke isn’t talking about myth, but reality. Still, for some this will seem very far out, and way beyond the safety net of Joseph Campbell. Or even beyond the wild tales and fables of Greek and Hindu storytellers, my favorites for many years.

On the reptile issue, which seems to freak most people out, and while pondering the deep-rooted causes of the suffering of our people and our planet, I think: this paradise certainly didn’t get ruined by people who acted like the angels various religions have imposed on our thoughts: who else could those “angels” have been, but winged, highly technologically advanced, shape-shifting Reptilians from another galaxy!  Ah, madness. Yes. Wonderful stuff.

The only way we will change the outcome of our global predicament is to change our understanding of what we have considered “reality.” Change the tall tales of yesteryear that have always stymied and confused us. I am beyond weary, and most of the planet is, of the old explanations for our wretched plight as humans and the “wisdom” hidden in enforced doctrines that are supposed to “enlighten” us. You know: virgin births, life after death in the same body, the making of the planet and maybe the whole universe in a week by someone who looks surprisingly like the white man oppressing you, the blackness of humans being a curse, the required obedience of slaves to their masters, the making of woman out of a rib, the silence required of this same rib-fashioned woman in any gathering of the Holy (all male by definition) and so on.

In the video below* I really like the attitude of the young interviewer (Luke Rudkowski of WEARECHANGE) with his cap turned backwards. That’s it. Keep an open mind. Change the habits, the hats, the mind-set, the conversation, by any means necessary. We now are being alerted, some of us, (more noticias from cojones- rich Edward Snowden) to the probability of solar flares on the sun sending us all up, fairly soon, in the prophesied “fire next time.” I don’t know about you, but I want to face this denouement, if it comes in my lifetime, having considered all the possibilities of how such a lovely (but apparently not unlimited) time on earth, as we have had (many of us, despite various deceptions, sufferings, and struggles) came to be. David Icke’s work can be very helpful here.  

(Checking this out on YouTube in 2018 I find Snowden’s voice replaced by a “feminine” robot’s.  And since five years have passed and the giant solar flare hasn’t carried us off, I can only say, as someone who loves studying the teacher as well as the teaching: it would be great to have some new classes by Snowden on what is currently happening to our beautiful, powerful, and graceful, Sun! The God/Goddess who, most of the time, loves us back.)

 *To see the video I’m referring to go to my website.  Select David Icke: The People’s Voice.

And, especially for my global students who are wondering how my connection to the much maligned Brother Icke came to be:  I deeply respect teachers. Whoever they are.  The introduction to Credo Mutwa, an African shaman from South Africa, whose book Ndaaba My Children should be required reading, was my  first, rather startling, gift from David Icke. There is or was, on YouTube, an incredible interview  that Icke conducted with this very old man, who, if still alive, must be nearly a hundred, in which Mutwa introduces us to an ancient African historical narrative I had never heard. Whether one reads the narrative as history or myth I believe it is a part of  human history that has been missing, to our detriment.  Imagine the Greeks with none of their mythological history to succor, guide, and sometimes horrify them into consciousness.

Here is a post from some years ago. 

March 2, 2014

One of the most remarkable persons to have graced our planet is the South African Zulu Shaman Credo Mutwa.  His teachings about so many things are immensely valuable.  Indeed, I have been envisioning how an entire course of study might be constructed around his wisdom.  I am perhaps not the person to attempt such a course, but it is obvious to me it would benefit the planet and human and animal kind if someone did.  There is a world of information this great teacher and healer offers us: from the (perhaps) thousands of years Africans have interacted with Space beings to this revelatory look below at the African way with ancient and contemporary Crop Circles.

A gardener, I loved crop circles from the moment I was shown pictures of them.  I was also moved by the spirit of the beings who made them.  To create so beautifully, so mysteriously, how cool they must be!   I also resonate deeply with the traditional African sense of reciprocity and reverence with these unanticipated guests.

Credo Mutwa is now 92 years old.  He is in great pain, suffering from the knowledge that, as he says, his continent, Africa, is being murdered.  What can we do to stop the depopulation of Africa, of Earth?  Let us begin by knowing who we have been; what has already been taken from humanity.  Let us honor and love ourselves, and each other, before we go.

See also:  Crop Circles and The Music of Archie Roach:


The great historian Howard Zinn said that one thing we might do, when one of us is unjustly attacked, and we feel there is little we can do,  is to step up to defend or to join the person who is being abused. This behavior, he said, sometimes saves lives.  When attackers see they must eliminate many instead of one, sometimes (not always unfortunately) they think twice.

My own feeling is that when one is attacked what matters is that at least one other  person will stand and say they see us as we see ourselves. We are affirmed in our humanity which is actually defined by the work we do, and have done, in the world. This is also the way we create and maintain a different world system, one in which each of us knows we will be seen and affirmed by others who have the courage and self-respect to do so.  I have defended many great souls in my life, and hope to do so many times more before I leave this reality.

I have not written before  about Susan Abulhawa’s support of me in a recent attack charging me with anti-Semitism; it is a trying adventure to attempt to defend one’s self against a charge that seems, based on one’s life, friends, family and values to be absurd.  But I have appreciated it very much, as I see such solidarity as being what the struggle for an improved humanity is about.  To rise and speak the truth of not only our own lives, but what we have observed of the lives of sisters,  brothers, and friends. Or even neighbors and parents.

Here below is her piece, which appeared in Al Jazeera some months ago.

Once again, thank you Susan Albulhawa. I believe with all my heart that the better world of which we dream and for which we work so hard will be accomplished by each of us showing the courage to rise to a higher, more intense, and perhaps more dangerous level of solidarity than we had presumed the struggle required.  As one of our great songs,  sung by Ray Charles, proclaimed:

The world is in an uproar. The danger zone is everywhere.  And I would add, with gratitude:  So are we.



“We heal each other all the time, and don’t even realize that we’re doing it.  Healing comes out of a very simple human relationship – knowing your life matters to another person, and connecting to something larger and unseen.”

-Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal


 Leer A Los Tambien Curiosos – – – – – – y Mas

Alice Walker - New Friend Berkeley CA Dec 2018

Born to be free.  Alice Walker and a new, just met, friend, Rudra, from India; Actor, Musician

and Hat Salesman!

Berkeley, California 2018

Photo by Alice Walker and Laura Balandran



“Writer Alice Walker has been thinking about how anger co-exists with peace. She spoke with Shannon Henry Kleiber about her new book of poems, “Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart,” and how she works on healing herself when she’s been hurt by others.”

From: The Best of Our Knowledge Podcast

Posted: December 1, 2018

Audio Length: 14:10

 What To Do With An Arrow In Your Heart

with Alice Walker

The episode, What To Do With An Arrow In Your Heart, is a part of a larger podcast series entitled, “Is Anger Useful?” Listen to the full podcast series post, Is Anger Useful?


NYT By The Book AliceWalkersGarden.comBook Review New York Times entitled, Alice Walker: By the Book

What books are on your nightstand?, Who is your favorite novelist of all time?, What’s the last great book you read? and many more questions answered!

Excerpt from NYT article:

“The author, most recently, of the poetry collection “Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart” feels a duty to read about countries devastated by war: “The suffering, usually for the most vulnerable, never ends.”

What books are on your nightstand?

“The Road of Lost Innocence,” by Somaly Mam, about child-selling, enslavement and sadistic “sex” trafficking in Cambodia. Bombed-out, psychologically traumatized Cambodia has become a place where even children are seen as commodities and treated worse than never terrorized or subjugated humans can imagine. Mam, a modern heroine who was once a captive herself, rises …”

Article reprinted December 15, 2018 , read full article, Alice Walker: By the Book

Haga clic para leer: ALICE WALKER: Junto Al Libro



 Her Day:  The Virgen de Guadalupe

Photo above by: Yolanda Padilla. Photo below by: Alice Walker

A  family in Zapata, Mexico, after Procession: Dec. 12, 2018

“The Feminine is not dead, nor is she sleeping…” A.W.



October/November 2018

Alice Walker and Desert Rose

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart…. In Community.

World Peace Day, Oakland, California 2018

Audio of Alice reading from

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart

The Mother of Trees


Audio Book purchase links:    Audible   |   Google Play   |   iTunes



September 2018

Actual Confederate Boy Soldier War Photo Surrounded by Flowers Alice Walker 2018-08-24

Raising A Memorial To The Confederate Soldier Who Did Not Want To Go To War

for Larry.

Copyright 2018 by Alice Walker

I have been so impressed by the black women who are at the forefront of the effort to remove the statues of Confederate soldiers from public squares and college campuses that I could be hugging on them right this minute. Instead, while clearing my summer garden of autumn trash, and checking my late corn to see if it is ripe (yes, Southern black girl training: understanding that training comes before magic) Spirit gave me an idea that I think we Southern black women, together, might work on.

As we know from experience, it is imperative that we remain faithful to Soul, unless we want our music to be ruined forever.  That’s us, yes, Keepers of the Music.  In case you didn’t know.

(Aretha, and so many others, thank you!)

Anyway, as a Southern black woman (not, incidentally, a Southern “black” which destroys identity, using language as weapon) I think a solution to the Confederate statue/memorial issue might be this:

We might raise our own memorial to the Confederate Soldier:  the Confederate soldier who did not want to go to war.

The one who was a young man, sometimes only a boy, happy on his farm and fishing in his creek, who had no idea really that war existed, or what it was.  Of course nobody in the South (and the North as well) other than the men whose aggrandizement of property and power depends on wars, knew what war really was.  A big war, that would murder hundreds of thousands, and leave stacks of amputated arms and legs and other parts in heaps wherever it tarried.

I was born in Middle Georgia.  Our Confederate soldier has stood in the middle of town, facing North, for as long as I can remember.  He always looked forsaken and lonely to me, and nobody, not even the ones who gloated over the fact that they had such a statue, ever,  to my knowledge, gave him flowers.  That told us a lot.

Anyway, I have mostly avoided my town itself for a long time; going directly to visit family homestead, church, cemetery and first grade teacher’s slowly disintegrating house, and then leaving.

Recently, a friend who lives there, mentioned in passing that our county refused, as long as it could, to join the Confederacy.  Why?  Because people were happy enough as they were and saw no point.  A refusenik myself of anything illogical and boring, this made me incredibly proud.  Though we’re talking about white people, who were still racists, and  had been raised to be that way, even the best of them.

Apparently very few folks in my town were interested in going off to fight for any reason.

I passed by the Confederate soldier on my way to visit my parents’ and grandparents and great grandparents’ graves (which, I noted, chagrined, are badly in need of repair!). There he stood, basically ignored.  Suppose he was one of those who had said –well, Southerners, possibly “rednecks” you know- “Screw war, I’m staying home with my family, my hounds, and my fishing.”  But they came and got him anyway.  Suppose he was thirteen? Sixteen, Seventeen? Suppose he had just fallen in love? Suppose he was really poor, as so many poor white folks were.  Suppose there was nobody to look after his family once he was gone.  (It would probably have been some poor white and black folks, elders probably, who refused to let them starve, or have babies without company and assistance).

It is time to take back our history.

Those horrid monuments to slaughter of the innocents must be placed where everyone can really look at them.   On a battlefield, is a great idea, as has been suggested.  Black and white must write the truth, in stone, on the base of each one.

There should be a nice, wide driveway right up to them.

And the ones in Richmond, Virginia, for instance, so large they tower over everything, should be right in the center.

Visitors should be invited to truly comprehend all the moving parts of a war that scarred the hearts of all our people, as deeply as it scarred the beautiful Southern countryside, and to shed their blind insistence on defending a history that did not exist.


As black women, we love ceremony and ritual , and do it well.

We might decide we don’t want to use these statues that are already made! That would be so like us. Contrary, you know.  We might instead choose something modest, a beautiful stone, a large flat, or tall,  rock from a river, perhaps, and inscribe it with whatever sentiment lies truly in our comprehension and in our hearts.

Generally the space that slavery and segregation has left us in peace is our cemeteries.  We might place our stone there.  In its modesty – something we can afford, collectively, without a lot of stress – it can blend with the earth, which does not relish the destruction of war, either.

Here lies (or stands) a memorial, erected by members of the black Community, especially its women, to the soldiers of the Confederate army who did not wish to fight in a war they did not understand.  Many years of happiness, whole lifetimes, were stolen from you; we know how this feels. May our descendants not waste their time and their lives on wars that are planned to enrich the coffers of strangers, but instead stand together against all wars and spend their time on this beautiful planet smiling, bowing to its beauty, and dancing.

Music: On entering sacred space I AM LIGHT by India Arie.  Leaving sacred space, with joy, EN MANA KUOYO by Ayub Ogada.

I AM LIGHT India Arie



See Democracy Now for black women’s involvement in this issue.

Por favor lea 

Erigiendo Un Monumento Al Soldado Confederado Que No Quiso Ir A La Guerra



August 2018


End SLAVERY in America -AW


ESCLAVITUD del final en América – AW




Oir Omarosa.


When the President of the United States

Calls a Black Woman a Dog

Copyright 2018 by Alice Walker

When the President of the United States
Calls a black woman a dog
We understand he lacks the courage
To say what he means: bitch.
But this is where we are
As a nation of cowards,
As we follow a person,
Who, as Omarosa warns us,
Is falling over a cliff;
His thumb near a button
That might annihilate us all.
His anger certain to be taken out
On the children and their parents,
Grandparents, housing and food stores,
In Korea and Iran.
Syria, and other places too.
As well as on black people everywhere
Whose feelings he consistently ignores
And hurts.
Lucky for dogs
They do not feel this pain.
They go about their business
Same as always:
An eternity of kindness
In their expressive eyes;
Aeons of concern and helpfulness;
Offerings of joy
In every Age.
Dogs are the winners here
On Earth I think.
They know what is
Apparently impossible
For many humans to learn:
That there exists
A kind of free Goodness
In the soul that gives up
All pretense
Of being more of or better than:
A kind of free happiness
In being creatures
With nothing to hide.

Written in defense of dogs everywhere.  And of women, everywhere.

See: Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House

By Omarosa Manigault Newman

En español: Cuando El Presidente De Los Estados Unido Llama Perra A Una Mujer Negra



Of Course He Said Nigger

Copyright 2018 by Alice Walker


Of course he said nigger;
You would too
If you hung out with the niggers
He surrounds himself with
When you’re not looking,
In all their gold chains
And teeth. That’s how
they talk.
Grow up.
Stop talking
About “the N word”
As if it is more important
Than the countries
He bombs
Or the children
He starves.
Nigger has a meaning
You would have to live
To comprehend.
It would never submit
To the phony “N word”;
So current among those who
Wish to “do the right thing”
By covering up America:
An effort that makes you
Culpable and dishonest
Every time you do it.
We might as well call a Spade
A Spade or should we say
“the ‘S’ word”?
Didn’t know about that one,
Did you?
Niggers have at least one
Honorable tradition,
No matter how many
Gold nooses, chains, and shackles
They wear.
They have never endangered a planet
Or even destroyed part of one.
Most still respect children.
Why not simper as you say:
“The N.N. (Non Nigger) word”
And go off in that fruitful direction
Of who not to offend:
Then we might all
Sleep better
At night.


A poem in solidarity with Dareen Tatour, Poet in Palestine;

Prisoner in Israel. Our double-speak is as bad.


Howard Zinn's Southern Diary Forward Alice Walker - Book Cover

Spelman College students studying for classes while in jail in Atlanta. Early Sixties.  Marian Wright (later Edelman), not reading, displays the look and posture of so many young protesters of the time: there is courage, determination, and vulnerability.  Beautiful. -AW


Foreword by Alice Walker What Nurtured My Outrage, Really? (Download pdf 466kb)


Estudiantes de la Facultad Spellman estudiando para sus clases mientras permanecen en la cárcel en Atlanta. Principios de los 60. Marian Wright (luego Edelman), sin leer, muestra la mirada y postura de tantos jóvenes protestantes de esos tiempos: hay valor, determinación y vulnerabilidad. Hermoso.  -A.W.


Prólogo por Alice Walker ¿Qué Alimentó Mi Ira Realmente? 

(Descargar pdf  273kb)

Alice Walker and Howard Zinn January 26, 1991

Alice Walker and Howard Zinn

January 26, 1991

Photo credit: by Jean Weisinger 



July 2018

One thing you can count on:

Wonders Never Ceasing.

Queen Sugar


The Star of the Sea.

Copyright©2018 by Alice Walker

Queen Sugar which my friends and I watch with gratitude and joy, stirs those latent places, almost asleep or drifting, of memory, of community, of tribe, that have felt almost forgotten in what the Brahma Kumaris term our present era, The Age of Sorrow, The Age of Iron.  Ah, we say to each other: there is that wisdom, that tenderness, that togetherness, that love, that kept us going for so long.  This is what it can look like today, and is, today, apparently, for some people; though infrequently exhibited on television, where a gun or a car is so often exploding.

If only my parents could have watched Queen Sugar.  Farmers, they would at last have seen something they and their grandparents, and their parents and grandparents before them, would have understood.  Love of Earth, love of the land, along with the understanding that humans who inhabit it are responsible for its care.  And that The Land has character, as people do, and must be encountered with the proper respect; though, because it is willful, as humans are, and free, as humans feel we must be, it may decide to invite hurricane or pestilence, to destroy one’s crops.  It would definitely resent being referred to as “brown money” as one black latter day carpet bagger type opines.

Almost all our ancestors who were lovers of Nature would have enjoyed Queen Sugar, and all of the show’s “spin-offs” in the form of human affairs of the heart that have their rootedness in the great romance with the land. They would have seen themselves, vividly depicted, in their daily, monthly, yearly, dramas. Passionate and principled people – once some of them outgrew despair and gave up drinking – they would have relished seeing themselves as whole and capable, standing together as one stalk, though spread into infinity –and with so much variety! – across the Earth-field.

It is a powerful gift, Queen Sugar.  A wonder.  And proves again that where the heart and brain are united in offering the very best that can be conceived, there too an art that encourages the people, and loves us into healthful growth, will be born.

Ireland Votes to Boycott Israeli Goods July 2018

What History can be for: Knowing when something now happening to others has also happened to you. -AW


The Star of The Sea, by Joseph O’Connor.

A friend, in passing, mentioned he was reading this book.  He was struck by the similarity of the suffering of poor people all over the world.  I had not heard of it, but when he said it made him better understand the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s I realized I had wanted to understand this period better since the time, in college probably, I first learned of it. What exactly happened? And how did this catastrophe, in which over a million poor farmers starved to death, and, while in the process of starving, were evicted from their land and homes, connect with the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who immigrated to the United States? How did their passage differ from that of other white emigrants? And how did they deal with the fact that while they were starving and dying and forced to leave Ireland because their potatoes -the primary diet -were diseased and inedible, the landowners whose potatoes were unaffected by the blight, shipped them abroad for a profit.

What did they learn from their physical, psychic, and emotional journey? Had it profoundly changed them? What was my neighbor (as a child in Georgia) Flannery O’Connor’s connection to Irish emigration? Was the way she wrote –brilliantly “crazy” in a different way than other Southern white writers – part of her Irishness?  And what of the Irish O’Haras of Gone With the Wind, and the sociopath and racist Scarlet O’Hara, who in a book read around the world and that clocks in at over a thousand pages has not one positive word to say about a black person; though most of the black people she knows have taken care of her since birth; and have served her family for generations. What was Margaret Mitchell really showing us in this saga set in the deep South during the American Civil War, a mere twenty years after the Irish Potato famine. What about Robert Kennedy who learned by being shown, in the 1960s, that black children were starving in Mississippi, in America? And wept. Why was he able to feel what Scarlet  O’Hara could not?

And so on….

The Star of the Sea is the name of the ship on which the emigrants sailed. It (as book) contains some of the most beautiful, intricate, deep, funny and sorrowful writing I have ever read. One photograph of the author shows someone otherworldly, as if this book (though he has written many others) was his assignment on being sent here.  It is one of those connective books we need so desperately, now that we know we’ve never been told anything official that was true: a book that helps the reader make sense of history in a way that matters.  I learned more about the history of England and Ireland –and the cruelty and greed of both their upper classes -from reading this book (truly amazing on Audio) than I had despaired of ever knowing.

I won’t attempt to describe the plot.  You might choose to think of the story as a meditation on the lack of nobility inherent in being hungry, humiliated, and desperately poor; the possibility that one’s being may become consumed to the point of destruction with thoughts of revenge, self-loathing, and hatred. Or as a teaching on the concealed miseries of the Upper Classes who get all the toys and little of the soul. It is quite true, one realizes anew, reading this book, that the world is not divided into countries as much as into classes. A lot of energy goes into keeping this fact concealed. There are workers, in vast numbers, all over the earth, and there is the One Percent; who all seem to know each other. Didn’t someone say Arise!

I listened to it twice, for the pleasure of the writing, and grasped most threads, I hope. Good luck.

Be forewarned: The reader, Peter Marinker, is excellent.  His voice is perfect for the story.  Also for napping. This too seemed perfect. After all, we can only bear learning so much of the struggle and suffering of our planetary kin, before we are protected by our inner sentinel who says “enough for now, sweet curious one who wants to know so much, rest.”

I recently ran across an earlier review I wrote of another book from Ireland that moved me deeply. Read together some questions from Star of the Sea are answered.

Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes,by Margaret Long, is without question the most harrowing tale I have ever read.  Even Charles Dickens, whom we appreciate for being the voice of so many abused children, is left in the dust.  Why?  Because Dickens was writing about abused children, while Margaret Long was herself abused, horribly, unbelievably, by her mother’s “man” and by her own mother. Managing to stay alive, only just, by her own wits, in a world determined to erase her life and to make her believe, in her very soul, that she is nothing.  It is a hair-raising read.

That it is a best seller in Ireland and England gives me hope. Margaret Long is not being abandoned again.  Still, it is so difficult a read one might ask: Why should we bother?  We must bother because it begins to show us the deeper, perhaps most elemental source of our world’s despair: the chronic, horrific, sustained, abuse of children. Especially those children who, unwittingly, inherit the brutalities of colonialism, whether in Ireland, where this story is set, or the rest of the globe.  I was amazed to feel some of the English, Irish, Scottish ancestors of both enslaved Africans and indentured Europeans (in the Americas) showing up in the characters of the Dubliners Margaret Long depicts.  There they are, in a Dublin slum in the 1950s, yes, (Margaret Long’s childhood city), but recognizable as the same twisted beings who made life hell on earth for millions of people over the course of numerous centuries. And who, some of them, unfortunately, still walk among us.

As I read this book I thought: This is exactly why they’ve kept women ignorant for so long; why they haven’t wanted us to learn to read and write.  “They” (you can fill this in) knew we would tell our stories from our point of view and that all the terrible things done to us against our will would be exposed, and that we would free ourselves from controlling pretensions, half-truths, and lies.

The destruction of our common humanity through the manipulation of imposed poverty, misogyny, alcoholism and drug abuse, is a major source of our misery, world-wide; and has been for a long time.  Reading this startling testament to one child’s valiant attempts to live until the age of sixteen (four years to go!) is a worthy reminder that we can do better as adults if we turn to embrace the children who are suffering, anywhere on earth, who are coming toward us, their numbers increasing daily, for help.


Algo de lo que puedes estar seguro: Las Maravillas No Cesan en español



June 2018


You Ask Me Where Can We Go

©2018 by Alice Walker

You ask me where can we go

And I can say only one place
With certainty:
We can go into our love.

Into our love for ourselves

And for our brown and black sons
Who are so under attack.
They are killing themselves
And let us not forget
That from Palestine to Los Angeles
They are being killed
By other youth and grownups,
Who are themselves, in essence,
Already murdered.
Instantly also the white sons
Of my white friends
Come to mind: also hanging
And burning their own houses
(in the “better neighborhoods”)
Down upon their heads.

Only love will save us.

But we are distracted.
Where did we put it,
This love?

We ask in our daze

Of being so connected
To everything in the Universe
Except the murdered,
The suicides;
How long has it been gone?




May 2018


Support Avaaz on this issue!


From: “Ricken Patel – Avaaz” <>

Date: May 15, 2018 at 6:58:16 AM PDT

Subject: It’s time for sanctions on Israelsign now

Israeli troops massacred 59 unarmed protesters yesterday in Gaza, and shot 1300 more. It was a massacre!! Israel turned into one of the most brutally racist regimes on the planet, and it’s high time the world rallies behind sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians!


Dear Avaaz,

The stinking hypocrisy knows no bounds, and no shame.Israeli troops massacred 59 unarmed protesters yesterday, and shot 1300 more. 1300. They do it *gleefully* — you can watch videos here and here. Yet Israeli spokesmen and their US allies constantly play the victim of “dangerous Palestinians”. CNN reports “deaths in clashes”. What clashes?? It was a massacre!! It IS a massacre. It’s going on today. Another installment of 40 years of Israeli racist brutality and military repression. Avaaz battles racism everywhere. We’ve fought Arab dictatorships for years and it’s time to fight the Israeli one. Israel today is an ethnic dictatorship — one of the most brutally racist regimes on the planet. It has become unhinged, and it deserves to be a pariah state. Other states have faced sanctions for far less. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its black people, it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free the Palestinians. It’s time for the world to rally behind sanctions on Israel.

Take action to help save Palestinian lives!

Israel has marched steadily away from reason and peace and towards the far right. Members of Parliament called for the beating of Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian girl who slapped a soldier after her young cousin was shot in the face — and the Defence Minister himself ordered to punish her entire family. Israel’s many enablers will knee-jerk accuse Avaaz and our many Jewish staff and leadership of hating Jews. But we love Jews, as we love all people. The holocaust was real, Jews were brutally oppressed and still face anti semitism worldwide. Many of those who founded Israel wanted it to be a beacon of a better way. But their vision has been betrayed, and Israel has become a brutally racist and repressive regime — it deserves the world’s condemnation. Not just in words, but action.

Take action to help save Palestinian lives!

Two of the most dishonest and dangerous leaders in the world today are Donald Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Like extremists everywhere, they dream of a world where sensible people lose their judgment and are pulled into two warring camps, one of which is led by them. Let’s show them it won’t work — that ordinary people won’t be sucked into their hate and propaganda, and that we can still see racism and brutality for what it is, and respond. That they can’t take our humanity from us, and we won’t let them succeed in taking freedom and dignity from the Palestinian people.With hope and determination, Ricken, Christoph, Alice, Pascal, Antonia, Fatima, Martyna and the entire Avaaz team.


The Guardian view on Gaza shootings: stop killing unarmed civilians (The Guardian)  –

South Africa recalls envoy to Israel over ‘violent aggression’ on Gaza border (Times of Israel)  –

Source: Avaaz Email Campaign 



Conscious Earthlings

©2018 by Alice Walker


Jews have always been involved

In my awakening.
Long before I knew
Or cared
What they were.
It is this I will remember
Whatever worsening plans
The Zionist Nazis make.

To tell the truth

It has always calmed me
To have them near.
Carrying on, being smart-ass,
Getting into everybody’s business
Sitting up reading poetry
Dissecting the Good Book
With me;
The only book allowed
In jail.
I will not lose this,
Too much time has passed.
I cannot be fooled.
Zionist Nazis are not the Jews
I know; terrorists who would
and do
Kill anyone and anything
To get what they want:
Control over everyone.
I will never be divided from my friends
No matter how bad Zionist Nazis are making
Jews look.
I like especially to see
Jews standing firm
With the same
Realization I also have:
That the dream of one humanity,
Of one race of humankind
Is being born each day
In every one of us
Who leave race and culture and religion
Handed to us at birth behind
And hold ourselves accountable today
This minute
To the standard of eternal
For the one United Tribe
Of Conscious Earthlings.






Happy Mother’s Day

Alice Walker and Rebecca Walker

Mexico City, 2018


Alice Walker Mother and Father, Minnie Tallulah, Grant Walker

Happy Mother’s Day Mother and Grandmother,
and Father and Grandfather!
Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker
Willie Lee Walker
Georgia, the Thirties

(Same cheekbones and attitude!)



Julie Otsuka’s Novels

©2018 by Alice Walker


Julie Otsuka’s novels The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine were given to me by a Japanese-American friend who knew of my interest in Japanese history and culture.  I had been intrigued years earlier by her account of her family’s forced “internment” in an American concentration camp, during World War II.

What happened to Japanese -Americans during that war, uprooted and forced to relocate in barren deserts, and other such desolate places, is an unknown among most Americans. Partly this is because the Japanese- Americans, ashamed to have been treated so badly by white, European- Americans, rarely, if ever, wanted members of their communities to talk about it.  But also, there was, there must have been, the belief that the suffering and humiliation they endured would eventually be forgotten.

There is a suffering – especially when coupled with humiliation – that goes so deeply into the soul that it can never be forgotten.  It must be faced. And, a place must be found for it.  That is what Julie Otsuka does in these two extraordinary books.  She shows us what happened, the horrible treatment of the Japanese -American cooks and nannies and houseboys and gardeners, as well as the teachers, doctors, lawyers, and mothers and fathers and girls and boys, when the United States government decided that all yellow people were spies for the emperor of Japan. These overnight “enemy aliens” were perceived to represent a danger to their new country, and were deprived of goods and livelihoods and shipped off to parts of the country most of them had never known or even imagined. For years.

In their slender elegance – matched by a restrained, if tough and invincible pride of heritage -– these books represent a literary monument to all who were abused, all who suffered physical and spiritual wounds, all who managed to rise again, and all who fell.  

Every word, chosen by Otsuka as carefully as if it were a flower, is laid on an altar of literary beauty, so that those who endured and those who could not, might know, if only through their descendants, that they have been remembered in just the right way, and may rest.

There are times one feels so grateful to be part of one’s profession; in this case, that of writer; that this world, for all its heartache, seems the right place to cast one’s lot.


Ley, Las novelas de Julie Otsuka



 April 2018


May God Bless the People of Gaza, April 9, 2018




Gaza Children are blessed beings 2018-04-23 Alice Walker Letter

photo source: video May God Bless the People of Gaza

En español, Queridos Niños de Gaza

April 10th, 2018

Dear Children of Gaza,

My letter of support for your march will reach you too late to support your brave efforts of April 9th, to confront and somehow humanize your oppressors, the women and men, many of whom are only a few years older than you, of the Israeli military. I am deeply sorry for this because I think you are amazing human beings who demonstrate as much courage and resilience as any children the world has ever seen. You have of course paid dearly for this and no words that I or anyone else can say will take away the pain that lies leaden in your hearts.

You were commemorating, yesterday, someone that I loved very much when I was young: Martin Luther king. I met him briefly while I was a student; a blessing I hold dearer the older I get. He sacrificed so much for the people of America, my country; people whose beautiful humanity was often lost to them because they were led by vicious, greedy people who used race – the color of a person’s skin – to separate and stunt us. Even as a child I saw this was as idiotic as separating people by the color of their hair. We were all, in my country, made smaller and meaner by an arbitrary system of separation that has led today to a country where no one trusts “leadership” and no one feels safe.

What the world will eventually understand, and by then it will be too late, is: As Gaza goes, so goes the world. All human activity teaches something to the human race. What is happening in Gaza, and has been happening in Gaza, the brutality of the theft of the lives and livelihoods of a people, will be seared so deeply into common consciousness across the globe that it will become acceptable, even in areas where people assume they are safe.

It is as if humans all have separate heads, but only one brain. In fact, I have written a poem about that. But never mind!

I send you my love, my caring, my understanding of as much of your culture and history as I have been able to absorb. I have considered this the duty of a conscious adult whose taxes are used, against my will, to finance much of the disaster befalling you.

All adults owe you the respect of making the attempt to understand what you are up against; what you have been up against for decades. The world will continue to suffer from its neglect of you. And what oppresses you today may well become what oppresses everyone in the not so distant future.

As we pray for you, young ones, so dedicated to learning and growth, pray also for us. You have probably heard how the violence that you have faced for generations, as children and as adults, has now lodged in our own cities and schools in America. It is the same violence; it’s only commitment is to itself and to its own unending growth. In its aftermath the “victors” suck up the oil and dig out the precious minerals, metals, and stones. In the case of Palestine, they demolish your homes and even drain away your drinking water. They think they will be happy, these “winners,” as rich conquerors dancing on your graves. But true happiness comes from doing what is right, a rightness based on inner peace. It is this that both you, and Martin Luther King, demonstrate to the world. It is an offering that has cost you more suffering than most humans can even bear to learn about. It is nonetheless, because humans can be beautiful, and earth is in essence a paradise that we must protect, the only work at this moment that truly matters.

In solidarity and caring,

Alice Walker

En español, Queridos Niños de Gaza


As Long As There Are Children

(Grownups Must Behave!)

NO! to War March

Oakland, California

April 15, 2018



Oakland CA US Syria War Protest 2018-04-15

As Long As There Are Children

(Grownups Must Behave!)

NO! to War March

Oakland, California

April 15, 2018

© 2018 Alice Walker


As long as there are children

Grownups must behave
And stop acting like
They are the only ones
Around the place.

This place is earth

And it is overwhelmingly
Peopled by children –
Those who are born
And those still to come
Though potentially present already
In their mothers’ eggs.

As long as there are children

Children must realize
They are a global tribe:
They must let no
So called grownup
Tell them they have nothing in common
With their tribal kin
In Gaza, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, China, Russia,
Or Ethiopia.

As long as there are children

Grownups must behave!

As long as there are children

They must study
With suspicion
Every word grownups say.
Those same grownups
Who are responsible
For the combustible predicament
We are in all over the Earth.

Those same grownups who pretend they know

The secrets of the Universe
Yet don’t even know one thing
About Facebook.

That they know much of anything

Is a fiction.
For what, on the evidence,
Do they know?
How to put the lives
Of children
-Who belong to everyone-
In gravest danger!

How to maim and kill

Children at will
In every war
Whether soft or hard;
Whether with bullets
Or vaccines
Or the withholding
Of bread.

As long as there are children;

Grownups must behave!

As long as there are children

They must be protected
From their devices.
The micro-wave radiation in them is increasing
And the  brains of the young
Are still forming.
In our daughters’ bodies,
The eggs of our future
Ancestors and Descendants
Are being fried.

As long as there are children

Remember the child in you.
Protect her.
Protect him.
Protect them.
Protect all the babies
Of planet earth:
Whether the fox
Chased and torn apart by mad men (and women)
Or the rhino shot and killed
By mad men (and women)
Or the elephant shot and killed
By mad men (and women).

Protect the child

Mighty Mother Earth Herself
Has become
In the hands of creatures
Who never learned respect;
And whose feelings of compassion were deleted,
Assuming they ever existed,
A very long time ago.

As long as there are children,

Grownups must behave!

War attacks all air, all forests, all animals,

All water, all humans.

As long as there are young ones

Of any kind:  Whether baboon, human, or bluejay:
Say no to war.

How do grownups

Truly say No
To War?
By not paying for it.

Some so-called grownups will harass you when

You attempt to do this: Not Pay For War.  But do not be discouraged.
As your elder, it is my job to help you think
Your way around this obstacle of taxes
That have the blood of the children
Of the world on them.

It is fairly simple, though discipline rarely is:

Knowing they will find a way to penalize us for boycotting

As a form of protest
I propose a simpler form of direct action:
The #I DON’T NEED IT movement.
What does this mean?  You may well ask.
It means that because money
is all these so-called Grownups
Appear to understand
That we stop buying whatever new gadget
They are selling.
We can withdraw the energy of our dollars
Without saying a word.
Or by saying or thinking or believing, 
With only our soul as witness:


I don’t need the endless distraction

Of having to buy every bauble dangled
Before my eyes
As thousands of children and their parents
Are traumatized and killed.

I don’t need the river of junk

I am required to buy to make me
Forget I’ve been forced to be
An accomplice in mass slaughter.

I will wear my old coat, my old shoes,

Drive my old car,
Thank you very much.

Whatever you’re selling me to make me forget:


We can begin to stop War

By withdrawing financial

Energy from anything
That depresses us
And sends us searching
For painkillers
Crack, alcohol, and opioids.

We can begin to stop war

By practicing non-compliance
With whatever in the society
Supports it.  Especially an economy
That endorses and promotes other criminal offenses, like private prisons
For its mostly poor
And of color populations.

We can become Grownups who know how to behave,


By studying the connection between

Our mindless shopping behavior
And the deaths of children
Just like our own.

We can stop war

By not shopping our way through the bad news of it;
As it creeps ever closer to our door.

We can stop war

By not funding it.


### En español, Mientras Haya Niños Los Adultos Deben Comportarse ###




Winnie Mandela We Love you

Winnie Mandela te amamos

See Search for poem




Book Jacket - With Our Grief: Reading Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”

Those Who Love Us

Never Leave Us Alone

With Our Grief:  Reading Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo

©2018 by Alice Walker

Those who love us never leave us alone with our grief.  At the moment they show us our wound, they reveal they have the medicine.  Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” is a perfect example of this.

I’m not sure there was ever a harder read than this, for those of us duty bound to carry the ancestors, to work for them, as we engage in daily life in different parts of the world where they were brought in chains. And where they, as slaves to cruel, or curious, or indifferent white persons (with few exceptions) existed in precarious suspension, disconnected from their real life, and where we also have had to struggle to protect our humanity, to experience joy of life, in spite of everything evil we have witnessed or to which we have been subjected.

Reading Barracoon one understands immediately the problem many black people, years ago, especially black intellectuals and political leaders, had with it.  It resolutely records the atrocities African peoples inflicted on each other, long before shackled Africans, traumatized, ill, disoriented, starved, arrived on ships as “black cargo” in the hellish West.  Who could face this vision of the violently cruel behavior of the “brethren” and the “sistren” who first captured our ancestors?  Who would want to know, via a blow by blow account, how African chiefs deliberately set out to capture Africans from neighboring tribes, to provoke wars of conquest in order to capture for the slave trade, people – men, women, children – who belonged to Africa?  And to do this in so hideous a fashion that reading about it two hundred years later brings waves of horror and distress.  This is, make no mistake, a harrowing read.

We are being shown the wound.

However, Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.  What is a Maestrapiece?  It is the feminine perspective or part of the structure, whether in stone or fancy, without which the entire edifice is a lie.  And we have suffered so much from this one:  that Africans were only victims of the slave trade, not participants.  Poor Zora.  An anthropologist, no less!  A daughter of Eatonville, Florida where truth, what was real, what actually happened to somebody, mattered.  And so, she sits with Cudjo Lewis.  She shares peaches and watermelon.  ( Imagine how many generations of black people would never admit to eating watermelon!)* She gets the grisly story from one of the last people able to tell it.  How black people came to America, how we were treated by black and white.  How black Americans, enslaved themselves, ridiculed the Africans; making their lives so much harder. How the whites simply treated their “slaves” like pieces of machinery.  But machinery that could be whipped if it didn’t produce enough.  Fast enough.  Machinery that could be mutilated, raped, killed, if the desire arose.  Machinery that could be cheated, cheerfully, without a trace of guilt.

And then, the story of Cudjo Lewis’s life after Emancipation.  His happiness with “freedom,” helping to create a community, a church, building his own house. His tender love for his wife, Seely, and their children.  The horrible deaths that follow.  We see a man so lonely for Africa, so lonely for his family, we are struck with the realization that he is naming something we ourselves work hard to avoid: how lonely we are too in this still foreign land: lonely for our true culture, our people, our singular connection to a specific understanding of the Universe. And that what we long for, as in Cudjo Lewis’ case, is gone forever. But we see something else: the nobility of a soul that has suffered to the point almost of erasure, and still it struggles to be whole, present, giving.  Growing in love, deepening in understanding.  Cudjo’s wisdom becomes so apparent, toward the end of his life, that neighbors ask him to speak to them in parables. Which he does.  Offering peace.

Here is the medicine:

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also.  And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going. It may be true, and often is, that every person we hold dear is taken from us. Still.  From moment to moment, we watch our beans and our watermelons grow.  We plant. We hoe.  We harvest. We share with neighbors.  If a young anthropologist appears with two hams and gives us one, we look forward to enjoying it.

Life, inexhaustible, goes on.  And we do too.  Carrying our wounds and our medicines as we go.

Ours is an amazing, a spectacular, journey in the Americas.  It is so remarkable one can only be thankful for it, bizarre as that may sound.  Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.

*A popular caricature of African Americans for centuries portrayed them mindlessly eating watermelon. This so damaged the psyche of many black children that they grew up actually hating the fruit or, if they ate it, as adults, and liked it, this fact was hidden.  I think the tender fragility of souls under extreme racist stress played a part in the denial of the African participation in the slave trade.

Leer en español, Los Que Nos Aman Nunca Nos Dejan Solos Con Nuestro Dolor: Leyendo BARRACOON: La Historia Del Último Cargamento De Negros



March 2018

Alice Walker Deepak Chopra Liberatum Mexico Festival 2018

I was delighted to meet and listen to Deepak Chopra at the Liberatum gathering in Mexico City this week.  His wisdom, and self-confidence in sharing it, is wonderful, as was his teaching from his new book THE HEALING SELF. I like this photo for many reasons but a primary one is: it’s good for a society to see its elders at work.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. is co-editor of this very caring, comprehensive, and spiritually thoughtful book, that appears to  consider all known  aspects of the healing process.  Toward the end there is a useful and somewhat reassuring chapter on Alzheimer’s, something apparently many people, starting as early as their  forties(!) begin to worry about.  Oops, time to learn that German and Swahili!


  M a r c h  21st

Dear Hermana, I just want to congratulate you on the World´s Poetry Day. Poetry, as Marti said, is more necessary to people than any other thing since it gives them the strength and the desire to live.This afternoon we´ll have a special reading and a toast. Much love from, Manuel


 M a r c h  2018


Israel’s Chief Rabbi calls black people ‘monkeys’  *22 March 2018 |

Un Dicho Sabio De Los Antepasados

One Wise Saying

Of the Ancestors

Is Worth More Than a Thousand




©2018 by Alice Walker

For instance:
“I’ve been called
but a child
of God.”
Well, there you stand

Mud splattered
Because of intrigues
And laws
To defend yourself
Their attacks.
Hundreds of years
Of this.
And so,
You concede
The obvious:
Their lineage of oppression
Is equal
To your centuries
Of enduring
Their abuse.
What are they declaring now?
That you are a monkey?
A donkey?
A chimp?
A baboon?
A communist,
A conspiracy theorist,
An anti-Semite?
A know nothing,
A moron,
A disgrace,
A shrew?
It is all so seen before:
But the Ancestors,
Denied the right to protest,
On pain of lynching
And/or beheading,
Threw out one true line
That can be stated-
In any circumstance
Of character assassination-
By all the rest
Of us. Standing
As we do
And as they did too
Usually defenseless
Before the arrogant
And morally
“I’ve been ‘buked
And I’ve been scorned,
I’ve been talked about
Sure as you’re born”
Is also
A solace:
Who can deny the support
Of those words
As sung by the choral angels
Of Morehouse, Howard,
And Tuskegee?
But the line: “I’ve been called
But a child
Of God”
So simple and direct
We still see the faces
And feel the quiet eyes of the many thousands
Covers most slander.


Un Dicho Sabio De Los Antepasados



F  e  b  r  u  a  r  y    2018


The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

By Helene Cooper

©2018 by Alice Walker

There are some books we wish didn’t have to be written.  I felt this many times while reading MADAME PRESIDENT, the extraordinary story of the life of Liberia’s and Africa’s first democratically elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, by Helene Cooper.  At almost every page I found myself plotting how I might help get this book into the hands of every literate African and African-American on the planet, because I knew it would startle, shock and amaze them.  It would scare them into many kinds of soul searching; it would cure them of platitudes about Africa that have so stunted much discourse about the continent.  It would require a determined mind and strong stomach to confront the brutal misogyny that has been faced seemingly forever by African women, and it would necessitate a real evaluation instead of a fanciful one of male selfishness and sense of lordship that has meant, literally, the rape, selling out, and impoverishment of a continent that has since time immemorial been understood by natives and imperialists alike to be phenomenally wealthy.

Helene Cooper’s is the perfect voice to tell this tale; she is wry, she is smart, she comprehends what is happening in and to her native country as only a loving but clear-eyed daughter can.  While Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the body and soul of the woman who has walked in all the lanes of the crooked road and is canny enough to get her people around the next bend.  An understatement, of course, because, actually, Sirleaf is simply astonishing, as the woman who holds together a country not only in tatters from layers of bad government and rampant and hideous wars, but also a country stricken horribly by an Ebola epidemic just as it begins to stand up again, having been virtually slain by decades of unbelievably brutal male dictatorship.

Do we trust some of the saviors who come to help?  Of course not.  But that is not  the point.  I am thankful they appeared, though some of them undoubtedly caused part of the disaster.  What matters is:  The Women of Liberia Stood Up.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Stood Up.  The writer, Helene Cooper, is standing up.

I believe with all my heart that this book can be a major force in correcting our misperceptions about a land most African Americans relate to more as myth than as reality, and can lead us all, African Americans, Americans, and indigenous Africans alike, to our true, as opposed to our mythical, home.  The work to be done is immense.  Simply attempting to understand the politics involved in keeping poor countries enslaved by debt is mind boggling.

Even so, let us be encouraged by the women of Liberia who, finally, had had enough.  Women who chose one of their own to lead the way out of wars in which children were drugged, terrorized, and forced to rape and kill family members, and to chant, of “Pappy,” the warlord who clearly tortured them into insanity, as he campaigned for the presidency of the country, “He killed my mother; he killed my father, I will vote for him!”

This is a book to help us grow our universal heart.  A heart anchored in respect for the human mother and the human child;  a book that calls on each of us to protect the sacred inviolability of the human mind, spirit, body and soul.  It is simply a great book, filled as such books often are, with insights into the unimaginably bitter residue of lives distorted by historical misadventures, and external, as well as internal, demonic forces.



Window Sill Vibrant Blue Wood Piece and Wall Hanging Photo by Alice Walker

Photo by Alice Walker

Spring Poem 

Copyright 2018 by Alice Walker

For daisy, zinnia, petunia, jasmine, rose, tenzin, rebecca, rachel

The seed from last year’s garden

Has been scattered

By the wind.

When I return in Spring

Tiny green faces
Are everywhere.
Some have landed
As we might too
In dry
& rock
But mother has returned
And she
Is the gardener;
She notices.
The stunted plants
Trying their best
Still are stuck
In rocky soil.
Or maybe more discouraging
From a young plant’s
Point of view
In treacherous sand.
Sand looks so solid
But is not
& winter packs it hard
Like earth
& it is earth
But a very fickle kind.
It slips
It slides
Water drains
Right through it.But the gardener
Who knows
The mother to the plants
Has come home.
She sees.
With her old and dullish trowel
She sets about her work.
For days she has carefully
All the uncomfortables.
Now she moves.
The stunted zinnias
She can almost hear
Gasping for breath
She moves into big pots
No matter that legend
Is: they dislike being moved.
The impatiens
Fainting in the heat
She transplants
To dappled shade.
The huge jasmine
That never blooms
She leaves alone
Except to shower it
With a hose
& Tell it that
Though perhaps it has forgot
She has not
Its function is to create
Heavenly scented flowers
That look like stars.
No more letting seeds struggle
Where they fall
As if there is
In neglect.
This is an Old
Or New Testament
We might decline.
Placing our belief
In the gardener
The mother of the plants
Who always returns
After the winter thaw:
Sees the condition
Of each one of her green children
And acts
To bring nurturance,
And radiance
To them all.



Leer Poema De Primavera




J a n u a r y   2018


Alice Walker keynote speech — Earth at Risk Conference




Somebody Died for Us: 


Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Alice Walkers Garden Remembering Martin Luther King 3

We are the Ones We have been Waiting For

Alice Walker speaking about Martin Luther King, Jr (start time 9:37 to 39:25 end time)

Atlanta, Georgia

Nobel Peace Prize Martin Luther King

MLK at Home Martin Luther King Jr Alice Walker Remember MLK Alice Walkers Garden Remembering Martin Luther King 1

Lesson:  Never Wander Into the Marketplace

After a Silent Retreat.

Or During.  Which Is What I Just Did.

Copyright©2018 by Alice Walker

Perplexed by signs for “bookstore” and finding none, I wandered once again down the path beside the new community building.  I saw folks going in. I had wondered about the lineup of small Buddhas outside the building.  Of course! The bookstore and market!  In I went. Not thinking this was not wise to do on day five of a weeklong silent retreat.

I found so many lovely things inside!  Spring’s book!  Larry’s book!  Prayer flags!  So many lovely things – and of course I chose many!

But then I looked in vain for a salesperson.  None appeared! I went here and there!

Finally I realized there was – this being the up to date commercial age- no sales person! I saw the instructions for how to pay for my purchases by myself.  I found them extremely complicated.  My spaciness?  Yes, but also, my kind of mind. Not good with gadgets and especially intimidated by financial questions and the tapping of machines to “wake them up” at nine o’clock in the morning!

Oh, I tried! And I am glad I made the effort. At least I was not defeated without some attempt to comprehend the machine. To its credit (no pun) it’s written message said plainly: “I prefer cash and checks.” Forgetting I had cash, though no checks, I endeavored the plastic route.  No dice.  I was royally frustrated within minutes!

I decided to save myself complete meltdown and wrote a note (hopefully) to management:  “This is too complicated by far.  Where is the humanity in this? (Envisioning marketplaces in other parts of the world with kids and their grandparents and maybe even a goat or two around.)  Or the sales, for that matter?” – I signed, and left all my lovely, would -be purchases on the counter.

Came up the hill to meditation in something of a huff.  Went straight to the Forgiveness dharma talk by Larry Yang in which he seemed to have watched the entire situation in the bookstore. Especially my somewhat sour (I bet!) glance at the smiling woman at the entrance of the building.  Poor thing!  What clue could she have had?

Anyway, a teaching about exchanging self for other.  In other words, lighten up, not tighten up! And don’t go shopping in the middle of a silent retreat!


This was all settled beautifully of course.  As I was leaving the retreat with a friend she suggested we go inside the bookstore and re-select my would-be purchases. She was handy handling machines, she said.  Her interaction with post- modernity up to date! In fact, they were all still on the counter, just where I left them! I bought two copies of Spring Washam’s amazing book, A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage, and Wisdom In Any Moment, and two of Larry Yang’s bedrock of a Buddhist book for communities of color: Awakening Together: the Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community.  I got my Tibetan prayer flags, because by now all my old flags are gray and torn, literally shredded by the wind.

The book I hadn’t expected to carry me off, that I bought mainly because I love Taoist poetry, is beside me now as I type:  The Activist’s Tao Te Ching:  Ancient Advice for a Modern Revolution  by William Martin.  Rarely has a book touched so directly the places this revolutionary and poet needed, these days, to be touched.

Listen to this:


Noise confounds our leaders.

They don’t know what to do.

Scurrying this way, then that,

they never find the silent Tao


If they could find that silence,

the country would transform itself.

Simplicity and freedom from desire

would become the natural way,

and destructive habits would fall away,

replaced by patient compassion for all life.

Leaders will never find that silence while serving the current system.  Since dollars have become speech, the noise has overwhelmed all possibility of silence. No one in leadership has ears to hear the quiet among the cacophony of special interests. New systems must be founded on a stillness, a serenity where decisions can be considered from a place of wisdom, not from urgency or expediency.  Of course, we can’t form such systems until we find a silent place within ourselves.

-William Martin

Shopping while pursuing peace definitely interferes with finding this silent place. -AW

Meanwhile:  I just finished FIRE AND FURY, Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff.  It is deeply troubling and positively deeply important.  We might not survive this debacle, but I cheer the writer’s craft, and courage, and willingness to alert humanity.

Leer esto, Una Leccion: Nunca Vayas Por El Mercado, en español





Encouraged by the Miracles of Life

©2018 by Alice Walker

for Rebecca, Tenzin and Rachel

December 6, 2018

For instance:

The wisdom of the mango tree.
Two years ago
A hurricane
Named Patricia
-The worst storm
ever to hit Earth
according to those keeping record
of relatively recent times-
Destroyed two mango trees
I planted thirty years
With sorrow, we pulled up one stump
But while preparing
To pull up stump #2
We noticed at the very top
Of it
Clinging for dear life,
A tiny twig of a branch had started
To grow.
It’s solitary tenacity
Moved me.
I grieved the huge tree
The Mango used to be
With luscious mangoes
Hanging down
And hanging as well
A bright green swing
I had placed on a stout branch
For my grandchild.
Last year I noticed the tiny branch
Left out of pity on the otherwise
Dead seeming stump
Had begun to grow.
This year I see it has grown
And has shaped itself
Into a tree.
From a distance you cannot even tell
This “tree” is growing
Out of a stump!
Here is the miracle –
How did it know
To do this?
That though only a sprig of a branch
And a spindly one
At that
How did it know
It was supposed to be
A tree!
Next year it may well
Produce mangoes!
From this experience
My faith in us
In just this way
The way of the tiny mango twig
That knew it was supposed
To be a tree
We will also know
-however betrayed, broken, deformed or distorted
we may become, whole parts of us sheared off in a multitude
of human storms –
That we are meant to be
Upstanding, fully rounded,
Goodness producing
Human beings.
We will grow ourselves back
To our original form
If even one leaf is left to us;
And we will drop our fruit
To nourish the world.




Archive of Home Page 2017