Al Young title

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 from




Alberta Cifolelli: “The Sentinels IX

The Great Hall Art Exhibit: Alberta Cifolelli—Drawings, Prints, Paintings
Friday, Jan 4, 2013 – Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013


Rewind 1987 <<<


 The VW needs serious transmission work,
the Datsun blows a radiator hose,
Blue Cross wants $425 right away,
the last checks of December come back
bouncing off the wall at $8.50 a crack,
the turntable quits spinning,
mildew overtakes the bathroom walls,
there’s $50 worth of developed pictures
at Fotomat you can’t afford to pick up,
the old typewriter’s gonna cost $30
to fix up so you can rent it out.
You bite into an apple & hurt your molar
on the stem the same molar with root canal
work done last January & it’s time
to go in for a checkup. They’re gonna kick
you outta the screenwriters guild if
you don’t pay up the 2 years’ back dues.
The City of Los Angeles owes all
the money you spent in travel costs
to do a gig way back in November,
the radio you bought your son for graduation
fell apart & it’s cheaper to buy a new one
than have his fixed, the Xmas briefcase
your wife gave you its handle’s slipped off
already, prospects keep growing colder
as the water you’re in grows hotter.
You know it’s January when you have to stop
& pay close attention to what you’re doing
wrong that seemed O so right last July.

—Al Young

— from Heaven: Collected Poems 1956-1990
© 1992 by Al Young


3 Responses to “HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 from”

  1. Jeannine of Heyday Says:

    Thank you for this poem, Al. Seems like things have been falling apart left and right for about three weeks now, from the car to batteries to lightbulbs to leaky sinks to blown fuses and so on. It could be a whole lot worse but it’s making me anxious! Your poem helps me realize it’s just life. Happy 2013 to you and me both!

  2. Al Says:

    Hello, Jeannine. What a treat to hear from you this way. Terry Gross loved that poem, too. She asked me to read it on “Fresh Air” back when it first turned up in HEAVEN: Collected Poems 1956-1990. And now I’m re-reading it, grinning and groaning, because this count-down January feels so much like my 1987 fact-packed lyric-confessional. It helps me, though, to picture that two-faced mask of Janus gazing into the past and peering forward. Everything’s always updated for sure, but wobbling and flickering and sputtering all the same just like you describe. Sticking fast to the moment, dealing with one thing at a time, seems to steady me best.

  3. Barbara J. Tierney Says:

    ….always aware of the flipside ……helps to revere perspective and strengthen the search for balance……”ain’t nuthin’ perfect in this world”….but the good things keep us going.
    Happy 2013 to you….Love, Barbara

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