Mark T. Watson
Born in the late sixties, Mark showed an early love of poetry,
writing his first poem at the age of only 8 years, called
“Summertime”. It was in celebration of getting
off from school for the summer holidays.
His father Reginald Wilcox Watson was a merchant seaman,
born in 1918 in a sugar cane plantation in Berbice, East Demerara,
British Guyana. His father’s nickname was “Slow
Train” as he’d walked 250 miles from London to
Liverpool, seeking work in the 1950’s after serving
on the supply ships throughout World War II and performing naval service during the battle
of the Atlantic.
At the age of nine, Mark’s world changed, when his
father had a stroke and became a quadriplegic. Mark was one
of four siblings raised by his mother Sonia, who came to Liverpool
from a little village in North Wales. A white woman
raising four black kids in the 1970’s was a clear social
work case and inevitably in 1975 Mark was taken into local
He emerged semi-literate from that era at the age of 18 years,
with no formal qualifications and a bitter taste from the
injustices he had both suffered and witnessed whilst in so-called
“care”. This was to spark a remarkable chain of
events which caused him to challenge the system at all levels
and compelled him to travel the globe in search of the truth.
The journey started with his meeting the infamous political
poet and performer “Gil Scott Heron” who took
Mark under his wing and schooled him in life. Mark has travelled
on and off with Gil and his band from 1984 to the present
day, touring the UK, Europe and the USA.
During these tours, Gil took it upon himself to mentor Mark
and encouraged him to become productive, creative and educated.
This mentoring, combined with close study of Gil Scott Heron’s
published work had a dramatic effect on Mark, fostering a
real sense of social responsibility and a desire to both change
himself and bring about positive changes in the world.
Mark left Gil for a few years and went away to sea. He used
the long days to ponder nature and taught himself to read
and write. He wrote to Gil regularly, sending copies of his
poems for Gil’s appraisal. This book largely derives
from that period, inspired by Gil’s teachings and the
value of his revolutionary poetic work, which not only inspired
the black people of three generations in the States, but ricocheted
throughout the world.