Before my approach to life grew earnest
I was all ears for Tamla: the sweet sounds
of soul as far removed from its roots
as I am now from The Motor City.
In the days when I was thirteen
the change a-coming
was an awkwardness with girls
and a biblical plague of spots,
as I tuned in on a cheap transistor
or played the vinyl
I’d bought from Woolworths.
An ocean away those mythical streets
were hard slog and prejudice,
a life I had no sense of beyond teenage angst…
But when the drummer found the beat,
the writers tweaked their slickest chords
to a symphony of heartache
that never lasted longer
than the couple of minutes it called for.
Behind white smiles
and the sharpest moves
hope had soured
long before the music faltered.
After the rip-offs, drugs and sleaze,
while cars blazed in the ghetto.