Some 20 years ago, I took a call to interview
an Ethiopian poet in Wellington. His was a
refugee story. He had a book out – and I jumped
in my car, met him at his job and asked him
a few questions.
Home straight after, I typed it up, drove back
into town to hand in my copy for the week’s free
arts and culture rag.
I never knew if I did a good job but it can’t have
been terrible, because it made it to print. And
that was a start. It was in the press.
(And so was I).
I would see this poet around town after, though
we never spoke. I recognised him and if he
recognised me it didn’t show and he didn’t tell.
Now I’m in the bar as the guest poet at
the regular open mic. They begin the night
With a eulogy to one of the community poets.
Refugee poet. From Ethiopia. Died in his flat.
A hard act to follow.