Gazumphed by Mr President.

After the wild night, a glorious morning comrades as I wandered downtown to meet with Stephen, a librarian here and a poet (not on the IWP). Lovely guy, knows his poetry and it was a breath of fresh air. We talked non-stop about the poets and the poems and the films we love.

He’s just become aware of that lost genius of the early 70s, the singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who has been re-discovered and is now the subject of a film. I loved his album in 1973. We plan to meet again

On the way back to the hotel, I saw some young Democrats signing up people for tickets to the Obama Campus rally on Friday, so I got me one. Election fever is getting on the boil here and the town is pretty solid behind him – but get out of the city limits, they tell me, it’s Romney country. Don’t they know that’s a breed of sheep?

Later, at meeting with a Democratic organiser for the re-election of a congressman here, Joe the go-to guy for the IWP tells me that my scheduled poetry reading (5pm Friday) kicks off at the same time Obama starts talking.

Our people confer with his people – Obama acknowledges he can’t hope to compete with me and emails from his CrackBerry, “It’s all yours Jeffrey, poetry rules!”.

I message back, “Mr President, just this once I’m going to defer. Politics is a dirty business, it’s a dirty job you have to do, so go git ’em. The poems will keep.”

The President emails back, “Michele says hi!” Then I wake up and realise my little event has been gazumphed by US politics, so I can put my feet up till next month. Nice.

A walk to the Co-op and the Farmers’ Market on Washington and Van Buren (more presidents!) ends the day, and I walk home with my funny, charming Egyptian friend Kahled, trying to explain to him how Kiwi humour works, using the example of Fred Dagg – “yeah, well, gidday” – and of course, he humours me. God Bless America.


About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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