Fives logo – a stylised number five

with Natasha Oladokun

The last thing that made you smile

An immaculate GIF of Prince wearing a fur jacket and gold chain, shaking his head in utter disappointment. I imagine that, on occasion, he looks down on me from heaven like this.

A secret

In college I once gave an entire oral presentation—and led a group discussion—on a play I hadn’t read. To this very day I’m still ashamed.

The last thing you wrote

I never know how to define what counts as “writing”! The last thing I wrote by hand is a fragment from a Lucille Clifton poem: just the phrase, “all goodbye ain’t gone.” I’m not even sure what it means or why I wrote it down. But I dig it. The last thing I wrote digitally was a tweet about how much I hate the Christmas carol “Little Drummer Boy.” That song is nauseating. Everything about it—its awkward rhythm, saccharine sentimentality, even its rhyme scheme—all of it makes me want to walk into the sea and drown. The last poem I wrote is a short one titled “Essay on Eros,” though I wouldn’t characterize it as an overtly sexy poem. But maybe it is? I don’t know. Sexiness is strange and unpredictable.

Your favourite city

I haven’t lived long enough, in enough cities to have a favorite yet. But I love visiting London. My dad was born there, and many of my relatives on both sides of the family live in London or close enough to it. As a child I would go with my parents and brother every couple of years or so, but the last time I visited was for a few weeks in 2013, when I was still an undergrad. So it’s been several years. I think I fell in love with the way I felt in London that time around, as much as I fell for aspects of the city itself: its busyness, color, ambient noise, and the newfound independence I discovered, navigating it all. I loved walking around by myself, particularly on the South Bank by the Thames, which is a truly disgusting river. But the breadth of architecture surrounding it all is pretty gorgeous to me. There was something deeply peaceful about those walks—everyone doing their own thing, but together. It was there that I realized for the first time that I feel most alive and most like myself in large cities. So I think I’ll always carry London with me, not unlike the way one never really forgets a first love.

What you’d place in a time capsule

A laminated printout of the extensive arsenal of saved reaction memes on my phone, with no context or explanation. Just to mess with my great-great grandkids. I intend to have fun even after I’m dead.

Natasha Oladokun is a Cave Canem fellow, poet, and essayist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Poetry Review, Pleiades, IMAGE, The RS 500, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Poetry Editor at storySouth, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Hollins University, her MFA alma mater.