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Image by Señor Codo via Flickr.

My Grandaddy Was a Gangsta

his disciplining stick in one hand
a bottle of Fanta in the other,
my grandaddy was a gangsta.
known from the west coast of Nigeria
to North America cos he
spread his seeds indiscriminate,
like it was going out of fashion.
tales say he descended from hills
in gold chains and silver teeth,
so he kissed cold and rarely loved delicate.
had seven wives, preaching polygamous,
excuses always eloquent.
talkin’ bout “fuck the seventh testament
rather have twenty-one children than one god
no bastards in this house.”
each child a confederacy,
bearing name acquired
as a crying toddler on a king’s lap—
his visage since departed,
embroidered on calabash, portrait of Mr.
‘rather-be-a-gangsta-than-a-lover-man’
leaving each besotted face
tainted like only a gangsta can.

 

What’s Your Name, (G)Boy?

preacherman gave you your name. see, first he
made you wait several days for the sweat-
ed tongues and pidgin song to cease. oh how
he teased payment for each syllable, oh
how your mama she done spun straw into
gold for that name and
now you tell me how
you gon’ sell that name to the playground for
some cunt and some tenderness. boy, how you
sell your name and you don’t know what it cost.

how you gon’ let me find it in a box
full of trinkets beside the nose of an
Egyptian and the picture of a man
you don’t know no more cos he had your name
but sold it too, then ran. like traitors do.

 

 

About the Author:

Gboyega Odubanjo is a 21 year-old British Nigerian poet born and raised in East London. He is currently a Poet-in-Residence at the Chocolate Poetry Club in Brixton. He is studying for an MA in Poetry at the University of East Anglia.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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