This week, I am very excited to introduce you to an extraordinary talent—so much so, that I am going to spoil you with not one of his poems, but two!
Gboyega Odubanjo is a poet from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. He is a writer in residence at Rabbits Road Institute Library: a position which he originally discovered via the library’s partnership with Pen to Print. Since taking on this residency, Gboyega has produced poetry about a number of important topics, including Black identity and social class, with a particular focus on his own experiences as a British-Nigerian growing up and living in London. You will observe these themes and influences in the featured poems below. I hope you enjoy their artistic flow; they are certain to make you think!
Gboyega really is an up-and-coming talent and I hope you’ll enjoy his poems as much as I have.
Keep on writing!
Dan (Associate Editor)
Obit. by Gboyega Odubanjo
After César Vallejo
i will die in london in the neighbourhood
i grew up in outside the town hall
on the high street. i will have been stabbed
and my killer will look just like me so
no-one will look for him. my body
will remain dead in daylight for hours until
the sky turns more blick than blue. on the news
i will be smiling. i will be as handsome
as i have ever been. today a young man
has died they will say today a young man has died today
it will be a friday a young man has died young o so terribly
young. i will die again three days later
when i hand myself in no-one will believe it because
i will look just like me. i will look like i have died o so
many times already. i will be survived by myself
and the many times that i still have to die.
(C) Gboyega Odubanjo, 2021
Tuesday by Gboyega Odubanjo
here we are fat
a bag of peas
i would change
the channel but
no one has paid
the bill and the man
coming to fit the box
needs me to phone
my guy who will
phone him and then
he’ll call me back
i’m waiting the flies
in here like bailiffs
from the buttocks
of my heart
what i wouldn’t
for a cotch
to lay my hat
in east windows
that open all the way
an ice maker all
i wouldn’t give
my name not laughter
but everything else
(C) Gboyega Odubanjo, 2021
Come back on Sunday 24th January to read our interview with Gboyega Odubanjo. Discover his writing process and advice and learn about Rabbits Road Institute Library and how Gboyega’s residency inspired his poetry. In the meantime, you can buy Gboyega’s debut poetry pamphlet, While I Yet Live, from Bad Betty Press.
If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! ‘Showcase’, please send your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more fiction, poetry, interviews and author advice in the latest issue (6) of Write On! & Save the date – Issue 7 is launching this Friday (22 Jan).