James Brown’s Rhetoric

To compose this poem I simply took the titles of James Brown’s hits of the 1950s, 1960s, and rearranged them so that they basically spell out a kind of speech of a fellow, of course, probably – well, yes, it is a fellow – who is rapping, basically.

Think!
I’ll go crazy.
I know it’s true.
Baby, you’re right:
I’ve got to change.

It hurts to tell you
I got the feelin
I’ve got to cry.
Don’t let it happen to me.
Please, please, please.

It’s a man’s world:
I got you
Bewildered?
I won’t plead no more:
You’re mine, you’re mine.

I’ll never, never let you go.
You made me love you.
It was you.
There must be a reason:
You’ve got the power.

Try me —
Prisoner of love —


from Red (Gaspereau Press, 2011), © George Elliott Clarke 2011, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1Watercolour for Negro Expatriates in France

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2Look Homeward, Exile

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3The Wisdom of Shelley

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4The River Pilgrim: A Letter

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34I Loved You Once

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35James Brown’s Rhetoric

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42Au Tombeau de Dante By Othello

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