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

New Year

new 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.