One more in honor of World Poetry Day for writer/womanist/activist Alice Walker, who when I interviewed her years ago for a story about “The Color Purple” becoming a play, refused to let me leave her sight without handing me lavender that I saved until it crumbled into dust and the most lovely collard greens I’d ever seen from her garden. “Revolutionary Petunias” was published first in 1971. I discovered it when I most needed it. 
Be Nobody’s Darling (for Julius Lester)
Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
(Uncool)
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Fools.
Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.
Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

One more in honor of World Poetry Day for writer/womanist/activist Alice Walker, who when I interviewed her years ago for a story about “The Color Purple” becoming a play, refused to let me leave her sight without handing me lavender that I saved until it crumbled into dust and the most lovely collard greens I’d ever seen from her garden. “Revolutionary Petunias” was published first in 1971. I discovered it when I most needed it.


Be Nobody’s Darling (for Julius Lester)

Be nobody’s darling;

Be an outcast.

Take the contradictions

Of your life

And wrap around

You like a shawl,

To parry stones

To keep you warm.

Watch the people succumb

To madness

With ample cheer;

Let them look askance at you

And you askance reply.

Be an outcast;

Be pleased to walk alone

(Uncool)

Or line the crowded

River beds

With other impetuous

Fools.

Make a merry gathering

On the bank

Where thousands perished

For brave hurt words

They said.

Be nobody’s darling;

Be an outcast.

Qualified to live

Among your dead.

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