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Poem: “New Year’s Day”

2017 January 2
by Mike Vial

“New Year’s Day”

In forgotten clubs across America,
we pay tribute to the late great songwriter

who barely broke through
the consciousness of his occasion.

Lifting our mugs of beer and lowballs of bourbon,
we toast not only a man’s work,

but also a timeless story: a troubled poet,
whose words may imprint paper

longer than his footsteps tracked
the wintery ground to seedy towns

where he sang his songs to chairs,
until his voice grew hoarse.

Who needed whom more?
The song or the songwriter—

the audience or the entertainer—
the stiff hand or the drink?

By night’s end, all we will conclude is
Lefty needed Pancho,

and another unsettled poet
will take up the chase.

January 2, 2017


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