Reading the Poem, “Advice for Dying Fathers,” at Butler’s Coffee

On Friday night, one of my poet friends (Niccelle Davis) took a picture of me reading a poem to an audience at Butler’s Coffee in Palmdale, California, and posted it at her blog. I didn’t look too fat, so I asked her if I could post it at my blog here as well:


Here’s the poem I was reading:


Leaves cling, do not go gently, but go just

The same. The signal is yellow; the alive

Are always downcast before being cast down.

Look! The green team winning all summer

Is starting to lose badly, going bald in

The stunning radiation. New vine tendrils

Watch from a distance, still wet, uncommitted,

Literally on the fence. Some mock. Like Jesus

Or not, you must brace yourself, whisper to

Your God, your God (and your mother). Hold tight

To the wood, but nothing works. Nothing ever has.


Unlike me, by the way, Niccelle is a real poet with a serious book of poetry coming out through a university press soon. She lives for her son and to write poems, and teaches with me at Antelope Valley College. Her blog is an avatar reflecting her deepest poet soul. I suppose a lot (all?) blogs function this way. Hers is one definitely worth following. She’s planning some blog posts on Keats anon.

—Santi Tafarella

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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