GBoyega OduBanjo

Holy Roller

by rhythm by fire by force i’m sure
we moved wicked everything licking 

       sure we tasted something like umami 
in the heat of it 

how we wined we maybe whined 
to it to sing a thing too honest too unruly 
maybe singed 

       when the day of pentecost come 

we were one accord
one place       of this i’m sure

       it was a sunday 
but of course       outside was a cold 

that we mocked & that mocked 
in turn      an ocean

on a bucket list that pagans swam in 

i believing foolish in the heat of it
assumed sweat was communion       
       fever god given
music      an undressing

the backdrop to a tonguing       & spirit
& spirit gave utterance &

spirit on all flesh 
       & we were all filled 
& we were

well done holy
       darkened swarthy bitter

as moon into blood become night 

say darkening needed

       say we got the whine wrong
       forgot what we was whining for


look ahead filled foreboding [ You ] like roman see river foaming intractable coming all but come __________________ 1 after Enoch Powell

Poems (With Drums)

on my birthday my aunties bring me gold, frankincense and shea butter

i want to write a poem and i want everyone to like it

i don’t want to stop until i’ve got all of the black out of my greys

a friend told me that the problem with birthdays is that you are forced to think about yourself in the third person and most people don’t care

it is all noise

here, i imagine light drums in the background

in this poem a loved one is almost dead and we are all in their living room watching a recording from their 50th birthday and they are dancing and i don’t know what it is like to look upon oneself and be so removed

in this poem a stranger on a train tells me to get out of this country the first chance i get

in an earlier poem i am a boat and you are an ocean

[more drums]

not understanding a prayer is no reason not to say amen

it’s just noise

i remember being told that if i needed to write about love then i never needed to actually say love

i don’t think that i ever need to actually fall in love because i have already watched all of the sitcoms and the actors have already done the loving for me

i think all that i need is to start talking and to never stop

it will all just be noise

[drums, louder now]

in this poem, maybe it needs

[more drums, more drums]

i want to write a poem that is partially muted on primetime television that is a group of young men dressed in black dancing aggressively on stage that is nothing but a mouth of chicken and henessy trading substance for melody my mother said boy i pray you don’t embarrass me i want to write about disillusion and accepting and being tired and

[just drums]

Gboyega Odubanjo is a British-Nigerian poet born and raised in East London. In 2018 he completed an MA in Poetry at the University of East Anglia. His debut pamphlet, While I Yet Live, is published by Bad Betty Press.