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6 September 2023

The NS Poem: Against Resting in Peace

A poem by Gboyega Odubanjo.

By Gboyega Odubanjo

there you go telling me what to do still like i ain’t been here listening i washed my ass took my vitamin d i voted phoned my mum twice a week bought my man outside the station hot drinks i deleted social media turned off the tv i didn’t just read the headline i didn’t say anything i knew it would harm my defence i didn’t go to bed upset i signed the petitions i didn’t cross the picket line didn’t walk under ladders i texted you when i got home i kept my hands where you could see them i supported independent bookshops dealers the youth i drank fourteen units of alcohol a week eight glasses of water a day one glass of warm milk before bed i fucking i didn’t expect you to say it back i just said it because i meant it at the time honestly i’m okay now i’m six feet one point eight two metres two yards deep and you still want me to listen peace you say

This poem was first published in the New Statesman in October 2021. We are republishing it following the sad news of Gboyega Odubanjo’s death, aged 27, in August. Odubanjo was the editor of the online poetry magazine “Bath Magg” and an editor at Bad Betty Press. His poetry includes the prize-winning pamphlet “Aunty Uncle Poems”

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This article appears in the 06 Sep 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Crumbling Britain