Fall 2010


A Fan’s Poem for José Feliciano

from Poems: 1962-1972

I’ve worn my José Feliciano T-shirt so much
that it is as old as I am. C asked,
‘Who is that? That Spanish blind guy?’
No I said, he is a singer.
He starts his songs where everyone does,
but ends where no one else goes:
in Spanish, in a rapid-fire rhythm,
over our newly blinded eyes.
On stage his seeing eye dog sits at his feet.
Spanish, English, and Blind all at once,
but without any of these accents—
it’s all accent.
C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A D-R-E-A-M-I-N-G
His voice acts like his hands,
his bare hands,
hands that never hold back;
it‘s pure percussion.
I’m convinced he’s singing about Dido,
but Dido or not, we’re helpless
when it comes to how he finishes
the songs as if he were just starting.
‘We try but we always lose.
And our love becomes a funeral pyre.’
My faded rose José Feliciano T-shirt
is not my favorite one, it is my only one.

THOMAS DEVANEY

 

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José Feliciano performing "California Dreaming'"