we do not know the name   black boy   aged twelve   well-set
with a good grasp of english  has run  described as agreeable
no vices the young  fellow believed to be between eleven
and fifteen has been reported  missing from listed address
in the west  london area  physical description states  child
is well-proportioned wooly  hair close to head like crown  if anyone
is to apprehend the fourteen-year-old and return them a reward
twenty shillings  breaking  vanished has a west african  black
said to struggle  with the tongue full eyes  all yellow
aged about seventeen  heading eastward wanting  of some toes  a plea
lookout for indian black diamonds  at their temples  hair curled like the rest
three guineas for capture  child still maturing  we have been informed
clothed in drugget gown  dark cinnamon hat  public warned  be vigilant
evil visible in her neck  if approached by aforementioned  black of adult age
this woman  in the whitechapel area  still wanting toes  and front teeth
if she appears wanting of a name refusing  english if she has  a mark
on her  face belonging to her country itself wanting  of a name  forehead
resembling flower  blooming heading eastward still  escort back  forty shillings



Gboyega Odubanjo was born and raised in East London. He received an Eric Gregory Award, New Poets’ Prize and the Michael Marks Award, was an editor at bath magg and Bad Betty Press and the author of three poetry pamphlets including While I Yet Live (Bad Betty Press, 2019) and Aunty Uncle Poems (The Poetry Business, 2021). He was studying for a PhD in creative writing at the University of Hertfordshire and his upcoming collection, ‘Adam’, will be published by Faber in the summer of 2024.

Gboyega was one of the poets featured in IS&T’s Runaways London (2021, produced in conjunction with Spread the Word and the University of Glasgow’s Runaway Slaves in Britain project.) ‘Classified’ is from this anthology.

He was also editor of Uprising & Resistance  (IS&T, Spread The Word, Black Beyond Data) which launched in June of this year.

Gboyega went missing early on the morning of Saturday 26th  August, while at the Shambala Festival where he was meant to perform the next day. His body was found five days later.

His family have set up a fundraiser to support in his final arrangements and continue on his legacy.