Poetry Slamming with the President

8The Obamas held a poetry jam at their big White House last week. James Earl Jones was there, and Poetry Slam Champion Mayda de Valle. And yet, despite Obama’s frequent emails to me, I didn’t receive an invite. How could he have left me off the list? I mean, he even wrote me the evening he was elected, saying: Dear Maxine, I’m about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first. We just made history. And I don’t want you to forget how we did it. You made history every single day during this campaign …I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next. But I want to be very clear about one thing… All of this happened because of you. Thank you, Barack…

I swear to God that is, word-for-word, what came through  to my hotmail from Obama (ie: his publicity team) about ten minutes before he walked on stage.

The only possible explanation for me being left off the readers list is that Michelle saw my serenade to her husband, and got insanely jealous…Still, as a poet, it’s heartening to know the high emphasis the ‘leader of the free world’ and our ‘orator in chief’ puts on words. God knows, they got the man to where he is today. May he never forget that.

This entry is cross-posted here

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian author and slam poet of Afro- Caribbean descent. Her short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the 2015 ABIA Award for Best Literary Fiction and the 2015 Indie Award for Best Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her memoir, The Hate Race, her poetry collection Carrying the World, and her first children’s book, The Patchwork Bike, will be published by Hachette in late 2016.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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