My (not so) secret poetic shame

I’ve heard so many writers wax lyrical about their early poetic influences and, indeed, I’ve done it myself in interviews. Musicality plays a great part in my poetry and some time ago, a young writer asked me what the first album I bought was. They might have been expecting Tracey Chapman, or perhaps even Gil Scott Heron, The Last Poets or Public Enemy – and indeed, they did come later. But here, ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure, is my ultimate secret shame.

bobby-brown-my-prerogative-239516In 1989, I bought my first ever cassette tape album: Bobby Brown’s gem Every Little Step I Take. It played on loop on my sunflower yellow boombox till the tape got twisted and Bobby began to sound chipmunk-like. Whitney Houston and Brown hadn’t hooked up yet and I knew deep down that somehow, Bobby and I were gonna marry someday. Bel Biv Devoe and Arrested Development were soon to follow suit, though none of them would steal my heart anywhere close to the way that skinny-legged black-shoulder-padded-tux-with-bare-chest-underneath Bobby did.

Cross-posted from Slam up.

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.

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