when i learned that january is named for janus

I have been on a mood rollercoaster lately, from depressed to angry to resigned, hugs if that sounds familiar. Perhaps it is the stages of grief. Today's poem is settling on random, which is an improvement. 2017 let's go :)

when i learned that january is named for janus

the roman god of open doors.
yes. but.
i am trying to write from a
less ethnocentric and more multicultural perspective
and not assume everyone had to
break ice for their chickens to drink this morning,
or are putting away christmas decorations,
or use a gregorian calendar
or care about the origin of english words,
but damn,
i am
a pacific northwestern american
day timer toting poultry owner
divining meaning from cinnamon sprinkles
on an eggnog latte procured at a corporately owned
coffee chain that has leather chairs
near the door which are cozy
and sells pumpkin bread whose moistness
makes me feel everything will be ok.

rituals can be anything,
in this post modern dis/utopia.
each morning i drink a cup of
earl gray tea as though i am the
queen of england, when i shower
i am under a waterfall on a hawaiian island.
i have the privilege of consuming both global and local,
the wherewithal to recognize mediocrity
as magical for which i am beyond thankful.

to ringbringsingstring in the new year
my daughters and i walked to a totem pole yesterday.
it is on a strange property near our house
with a pond and clearing,
there is a large summer camp style picnic table
and the painted pole.
the wooden stacked animals are important to list,
they are also global and local,
from top to bottom:
1. monkey holding a yellow cat
2. large bird, albatross or eagle
3. salmon (two swimming in opposite directions)
4. large bird, albatross or eagle
5. frog

we don’t know who owns this land,
there is a creek, and there had been
maintenance since we visited last new years,
tools stacked against a shed,
a burn pile in the center of the field.
i mention the spot because it is wild and imaginative
and perhaps someday we will not be allowed there.
here is the list of our resolutions in no particular order:
1. to be liked
2. to not lose those we care about
3. to be in the present moment
4. to say yes to opportunity
5. to be supple and warm and forgiving
6. to become a fashion model
7. to notice and mention positive aspects

the young want to be famous and live forever.
my fourteen year old asks me if i could be any age
which would i want.
i hope to always be able to say, this one.
even at 100.
for now i cite 2 working hips, 1.5 good knees.
perhaps at 100, i will list,
1 pumping heart.
she'd settle for 25, because she could drink
and still look amazing.
i don’t want to be famous anymore,
well i would take it, under certain circumstances.
but more i want to be
useful. to matter to a handful of people.

we wrote the wishes on tissue,
turquoise the color of pinatas,
it was left over from christmas
i’d bought it to cut out snowflakes to decorate windows.
we burned our list and watched the fire
devour the paper, it smoldered with purpose,
doing its job as we humans do ours,
smoldering with purpose,
creating and destroying and looking for
beginnings again.

i need to go back to janus,
he is symbolic of thresholds,
birth, journeys and time.
his image is carved with two heads,
one face looking forward and one looking back,
poised between past and future,
the guardian at the gate of heaven.
the romans believed the beginning
of anything was an omen for the whole,
thus it was customary to begin the year with well wishes
and cakes of spelt and
honey and figs, gifts of gold coins.
i chose to make love and eat well and
be as nice as i possibly could to my children.

one of my favorite writers
(yes, you helen, if you are reading)
uses no capitals.
not even when referring to herself,
her punctuation is also disconcerting
with a * or ) or # thrown in,
but in the best way, like an accordion
in klezmer music.
i copied her lack of hierarchy this poem,
it was sublime, one less thing to keep track of.
i’ll go back to the shift key and big letters
but only after finding something else
somewhere else in my life
to let go of.