When She Says by Atanda Obatolu |#WhenWritersWrite

So I dive
ripples spread across the surface
Nina Simone is crooning Please Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood
and there’s power in her voice
in a moment we’ll try to match her rhythm
but for now we stay still
she’s the river and I’m the swimmer
testing the boundaries of the familiar


A Certain Last Kiss

When she left she broke me. I remember writing to her, You were my confidence. Now, you’re gone. I’ll never be brave again. And I believed it then. The whole world became bland and absurd, daunting even, and I lost interest in everything. If I’d been brave, I would have tried to end my life; but I was not brave. Most morning, I curled up in bed and wished I didn’t have to face the day.

Something So Benign: A Love Story (Unfinished and Unedited)

Each night, I stand by the window in my room from where, through your own windows, I can see your kitchen. In the day, it’s mostly dark, but when night falls and the interior lights come on, I can see your sink (or is it your stove?) and the cupboards hanging high up on the wall. And I wait, patiently, to see you. Sometimes a tall slender woman whom I assume is your mom comes in and is busy at the sink/stove, her back turned on me at work, but most times, your kitchen is empty, and I stand wistfully at my window, wishing you’d come in – just please come in.

Against Religion (Letter)

Religion is based on fear – and feeds off it. Einstein maintained that the idea of a God that protects, punishes, and rewards man arose from the fears of primitive societies. The world was too vast and daunting, and they needed assurance that there was someone watching over them. And for this to work, they needed other people to buy into it. That’s where the ideas of heaven and hell emerged: if the promise of eternal pleasure did not bind people to God, then the fear of eternal suffering would. And this works, a bit too effectively.