There was something in the air at the Eaton Hotel on Wednesday night. You could call it love, though for whom, we’re still not quite sure.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); his “close friend,” poet and author Cleo Wade; and her “bestie,” activist and author DeRay Mckesson, were on hand to chat about books and hope — and that one time Wade almost burned down Booker’s apartment.
The event, “My Friend Wrote This Book,” at the progressive and hip downtown D.C. hotel celebrated both Wade and Mckesson’s latest work: “Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life” and “On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope,” respectively. Booker, the evening’s moderator, guided the discussion about civic engagement, self-care and “radical love,” a notion the senator said could unite the country. So about him and Wade.
The politician, 49, and the poet, 29, have been circling one another for nearly two years. In 2017 Booker told NorthJersey.com that he’d “been a bachelor too long” and hoped his relationship with Wade would lead to marriage. In April, Wade told the New York Times that she considered Booker “family.” She also made the point that her work should not be defined by who she is dating.
But at Wednesday night’s event, Booker and Wade weren’t very shy about how close they are. Booker told the story of how Wade set off the smoke detector inside his Washington apartment. The fire department was called.
“What day was it?” she asked. “What date?” joked Booker. Turns out it was inauguration. “I was saging the place so hard,” said Wade. (For the uninitiated, burning sage, or smudging, is like a spiritual cleansing, a metaphysical shower, if you will). The duo also talked about the time Wade cried while on a trip to Costa Rica — and that was before he read one of her poems aloud and she announced to the crowd, “He likes that one because he helped me write it.” Exactly. This sounds like a thing to us. If there is something beyond “Facebook official” for famous couples, we believe Booker and Wade just invented it.