I heard Eli’s footsteps before seeing his smile. Once in front of each other, we said each others names simultaneously and then shook hands.
Before I could sit down and press record, Eli was already spewing off knowledge: the intersection of ableism with racism, how not all disabilities are visible and therefore ableism is experienced in different ways…
I was wowed.
It was Eli’s poetry that got my notice first. I have heard his essays are amazing. I know his talks are unbelievable. But it’s Eli’s poetry that speaks to me, holds my attention, and teaches me something new every time I re-read his book.
Eli is a kind soul whose words feel like a punch to those he is challenging: ableists, racists, homophobes, and all those who keep their company.
This past August (2010) I was given the pleasure to hang with Eli again. I interviewed him for XTRA! and asked if he’d read some of his poetry for the magazine. Please enjoy Eli’s inspiring words.
Tune in to Black Coffee Poet next week for a review of Maya Angelou’s poetry collection, and an interview and reading with local artist Zainab Amadahy.