We mad fly; we
Dream dry; we
Scribble drunk; we
Fake the funk; we
Keeps it real; we
Sly conceal; we
Royal hall; we
Southern drawl; we
Bleed tears; we
Clink cheers; we
Fling curves; we
Gnaw nerves; we
Break it down; we
Class clown; we
Write raw; we
Down by law.


[Yo Jam Master Jay, Drop that old school beat!]

2 years ago a friend of mine
Asked me to peep this site online
So I hit the browser and read away
The site’s been fresh to this very day
She had a word with Brad and I’m sure ’nuff glad
Dude set me up and I tried my luck
Soon Josie dropped by, and Sheree dropped by
I was instant friends with some solid gems
I met the dialogue derringer JMB
And the cinema cinderella Kimberly
There was Nick Belardes and Jennifer White,
My later crime partner putting verse on the site.
So before you knew it I was going legit,
Dawn Corrigan thought I’d make a useful fit
She was breaking ground for poetry
‘Cause we were spreading our wings in version three
So Rich and Milo completed the team
And we were publishing poems in a steady stream.
One day Kimberly invited me to NYC
And I jetted for my first TNBLE
I met Will and Kristen and other guests
And for the first time in person the charming hostess.
AWP came to Denver town
So TNB Colorado laid it down
We got organized and knew the time like Movado
Thanks toΒ Erika, Megan, and Hector Bravado
Met Tom and Gina and Alex Chee
Ben Loory, Jennifer and Aaron Dietz.

I found the multimedia magic of the Wendy clan
When she submitted her work I was an instant fan
I’ve recruited her since on the poetry tip
And we got the fam together on a London trip.
Then came good news from the TPAC crew
Not five, nor four, not three but two!
So we hung with Simon and Zara sweet
Colorado-style bonding at the nature retreat
Which is how I met Richard Cox and Slade Ham
After the Comedy club with his buddy Sam.
When the bell tolled calling back Quenby Moone
We had a bittersweet reunion of the Boulder commune
We caught David Wills after a flight from hell
And J Evinson with a killer book to sell.
We come to TNB for what we create
Then lay down law from state to state
And so many good friends I haven’t even seen
Like Greggie O or Ma Zion Irene
And I could go on and on name-checking stars
But I’m about to run clean out of bars
So here’s a shot out to the whole TNB crew
I’m looking forward to the day when I meet you!

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UCHE OGBUJI is a founding editor of the TNB Poetry section. He is also co-creator and co-host of the Poetry Voice podcast. His short collection of poems Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press, 2013) is a winner of the 2014 Colorado Book Awards. To expand a bit, Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado where he lives with his wife and four children. Uche is a computer engineer (trained in Nigeria and the USA) and entrepreneur whose abiding passion is poetry. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared widely. Uche also snowboards, coaches and plays soccer, and trains in American Kenpo. You can catch more of the prolifically fraying strands of his life on his home page, or, heck, even on Twitter.

27 responses to “TNB at 5: My My My!”

  1. Erika Rae says:

    Dude. You rhymed Movado with Bravado. To you, sir, I tip my fedora (what? I used to have one, but I don’t anymore-a).

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      What up E to the Ray! It’s all proper the first comment goes to you. You got me into this insane asylum, and you made the first comment on my first post. I’m a have to check myself, before I go all Bette Midler and shit. Bottom line is that every time the TNB Front Range forms like Voltron, something good happens, including crazy-ass rhymes, naw-mean?

  2. Irene Zion says:

    Damn, Uche.
    You make me wish so hard I could do what you do.
    You’re like a biscuit, a million layers and flaky.
    Love hearing your voice.

  3. Love it, love it, love it.

    Great tribute, Uche. Hope to meet again one day!

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Well I’ve been fiendin’ to visit Asia some day. I know it’s a Godzilla-sized continent, but if all goes well I’ll find my way to whatever part you’ve chosen to inhabit at the time. I’ll employ the TNB electromagnet…

      • Brian Eckert is here right now and we’re struggling to cross paths, but hopefully the TNB electromagnet will kick in eventually. It is a beast of a continent, but weird coincidences happen here every damn day.

  4. Quenby Moone says:

    There once was a poet extraordinaire
    Who flung words with a great deal of flair
    But when Quenby stepped in
    with rhyme pedestrian
    King Uche was crowned then and there.

    All I got in me is limericks, Uche. That, and great memories of a weird night in Colorado.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      I miss our limerick bouts, so I’m glad to have inspired a suave salvo from you. And as far as I’m concerned, rhyming “pedestrian” with ‘stepped in” is totally gangsta! I mean it even works etymologically. Looking forward to seeing you again soon. I need to drum up an excuse to invade Portland.

  5. Love you, Uche!

    I’ve met so many people that I consider close friends, in real time, because of TNB. You the Erika Monster certainly top the list.

    I love your work and it’s always such a privilege to get to hear you in your element!

    Cheers to you and Happy Birthday to TNB!

  6. jmblaine says:

    out the gate
    we mad fly
    5 5 5
    minutes of funk,
    Uche like Versace
    like six foot blondes
    & L. Rons
    you shook me
    all night long
    killing me softly
    with his song
    Uche Uche Uche

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Yes yes yes Mr. Dialogue Derringer. I was originally going to go with Dialogue Damaja, as in Jeru the Damaja, but I thought people might mistake it for a negative connotation. Versace, 6 foot blondes & L. Rons? Now that is a lyrical compliment. What can I say?

      Booya! Jam Master Jay sure did know how to beat a funk tattoo over the Apache break, didn’t he? That was a lot of fun, so I’m glad a bit of it was contagious. One day I intend to meet you too, even if it has to be spy vs spy style with disguises, altered voices and all that πŸ™‚

  7. Gloria says:

    I can’t listen to this because I’m at work, but reading it made me smile.

    Maybe I’ll meet you in October!

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Oh good. I’d actually considered not publishing the text of part II because I thought it would seem even more corny without the actual flow, but of course the links are key, so I had to in the end. I’m glad that gave you a preview, and I hope you enjoy the performance. For some reason it sounds as if I took a whippet of helium right when I started rapping part II. Might have been the inadvertent wind-up for getting all that out without much of a breath.

      As for October, come on, now. Let’s make it happen, now. Don’t make me have to send the mothership to abduct you this way πŸ™‚

  8. You’re slinging some mad words and rhythms, Uche. Way to go, my funk soul brutha. Also gotta say I’m so honored to work with as a fellow editor in the TNB poetry department. I continually learn so much from you. Here’s to another five years and much, much more!

  9. Love it! 1. We real cool! 2. Great rap!

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Yes! We have a Gwendolyn Brooks mention! That’s 1/2 easter eggs cracked open from part 1. There’s one more πŸ™‚

      2) Thanks. I do seem to recall being much better at the genre during my secondary school wannabe MC days, but I’ll take the twitches of the long tail.

  10. I loooove Gwendolyn Brooks! Hate that people have to die. Would be nice if she were still around.

  11. kristen says:

    Ahh, so great, U! Thanks for spreadin’ a smile across the ol’ mug this a.m.

    We come to TNB for what we create
    Then lay down law from state to state
    And so many good friends I haven’t even seen
    Like Greggie O or Ma Zion Irene

    And “cinema cinderella” is way fun.

  12. Joe Daly says:


    So much to love about this. This is a fantastic reminder that we are more than writers, we’re artists, communicators, singers, riffers, rappers and Arsenal supporters.

    This is a stone cold groove.

    Horns up and rock on!

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Aw I really appreciate that from the local musical encyclopaedia. Only one question though: was it metal enough for ya? OK I know! I know! But what if I say I was putting up the horns the whole time I was busting out lyrics? πŸ˜€

      BTW, the prem won’t be the same without the Hammers. Best of lock your lot shakes off the run of shambolic managers and comes back up at the first time of asking.

  13. Wendy Chin-Tanner says:

    What a rollicking ride of a poem, Uche! I’m honored to be mentioned, and most grateful to you for inviting me to the TNB party.

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