January arrives on the doorstep
in a leotard and legwarmers
with a clipboard grin
and the promise of
a new you in just four weeks.
She is a GHD dream
her face a wipe clean surface
well-Dettol’d with a ruthless anti-bac sheen.
She unpacks a superfood salad
and a wheatgrass smoothie
while lecturing you on the
global and personal benefits of veganism
then hands you a freshly-pressed pinny
and a pair of marigolds
because a tidy house is a tidy mind.
January rearranges your fridge
and reminds you of that
wheel of brie you ate
and says: you know you actually
looked quite ugly
when you laughed
and even stupider when
you showered your
bulky sequined cleavage
with cracker crumbs
your friends were just too polite to say.
January is here to install a 360 degree mirror
so you can view your curves
for what they really are
a tribute to your wild entitlement
a fatty monument to your
peasant like greed
when you think about it
you are nothing now Christmas is done
just a big fat leftover roast potato
that no one wants.
January smiles and says:
somewhat harsh I know
but you get my point.
Her teeth dazzle
minty fresh perfection
they remind you that you
got struck off the dentist list this year
and that your eldest needs braces
that you probably can’t afford.
January wonders dreamily
how much space
you actually take up these days
as she watches you scrub at the bin lid
with a bleached scourer.
January says: come on
it’s only your willpower
that’s stopping you
and she hands you the tweezers
and says: don’t forget the whiskers on your chin
or the ones on your nipples
because no one loves a beard
or a freakish booby hair.
January looks over your shoulder
as you pluck and asks
why you aren’t you married yet
and says that all things considered
you are too old to be a blushing bride
but don’t worry because
photographers can work wonders these days
if you can afford a good one.
January tuts at your shoebox of receipts
stuffed on top of the bookshelf in the dining room
and says that studies have proved
that a well-organised filing system
can help self-indulgent freelancers
to double their measly incomes
in a matter of months
if only they had the willpower
and a proper accountant
and a PA
and a proper business plan
and a proper job.
January counts your steps
as you walk into town
singing the joys of pedometers
then stands over you
as you spend a fortune
on unwanted box files in Rymans.
On the way home January confides in you
that she is concerned about your credit rating
and suggests you pay an online fee
to download your Experian report
because if you don’t keep track of it
you’ll never get a mortgage
and you don’t have a pension
and social care for the elderly
doesn’t come cheap these days you know.
As you hang up your coat
January suggests a career change
says you would look lovely in a power suit.
January makes you a green tea
instead of the hot chocolate
that you asked for
and then opens web browsers
searching leather briefcases
and fitness classes
and recruitment consultants.
January laughs when you have
lost the letter with the dates on
of when the kids go back to school
and reminds you of the French exchange trip
and piano lessons and dance classes
and says healthy habits start young you know
and she gives you an article to read about how
bad parenting is the cause of most
adult psychosis, criminal activity and addiction
and everyone knows that
single mums breed psychopaths.
When you ask January
how long she plans on staying
and whether she needs a lift
to the bus stop
she tells you in no uncertain terms
that she has had enough
of you and the way you always bring mud in
on her freshly-hoovered New Year carpet.
She says: I don’t know why I bother
without me you are nothing but a stain
on the freshly laundered sheets
of this next gift of a year
you are lazy and self-sabotaging
you are spoiling the Egyptian Cotton
crispness of your own potential.
When you laugh and shake your head
and tell her you think it's time she left
January declares you a very silly girl
and calls you a defective glitch
says you are like the disappointing cluster
of dead pixels
on a newly unboxed
high definition screen.
She says she doesn’t like to be brutal
but in all honesty you are shaped
like a 60s concrete eyesore
and you are ruining the beauty spot scenery
of the next twelve months.
She says the way you dance leaves
a line of clumsy footprints
in the snow fresh meadow
and that you are like the fat kid at the disco
or the one who sings out of tune in the choir
and spoils it for everybody else.
January has arrived.
She’s here to help.
She’s your friend.
She wants you to write lists.
January places both hands
on your shoulders
and sits you down
she hands you a brand new notebook
and a sealed pack of colouring pens
and dares you to mark the first page.