Resolutions in Poetry

I resolve, I resolve, I say each January, trying to think forward to next December’s short cold days, a distant mirror.

Will I honor these resolutions come December?

Are they worth a year’s devotion?

Will they change me? Will I allow myself to be changed?

Or are they destined to become discarded, New Year’s party favors like funny hats and horns that unfurl? Will I find these resolutions balled up in the garbage come February and with distain say, “Oh, you. I remember.”


I might.

I love the drama of New Year’s resolutions.

I love the promise of renewal, that I might grow better at being me.

And buried deep in each promise, the dark wriggling worm of betrayal, allowing myself to forget and discard what I value.

2014: renewal or betrayal?

Like salmon swimming upstream each year, resolutions return, leaping gracefully from icy blue water, suggesting growing inner strength, a capacity for greater love, for living with less struggle and more fight. New Year’s Eve, I wade into this frigid stream, a shaggy bear swiping at resolutions, catching some in my meaty paw, delighting to feel them wriggle me alive.

So I resolve, resolve, resolve.

Cook more, say two delicious inventions per week. (More than sandwiches, more than microwaving.)

I will call mom twice a week and thank her for those home cooked meals I now miss dearly.

I will grill, steam, and gnaw vegetables more than last year. Don’t ask me to quantify “more.” We all know what that means.

I will befriend cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and maybe even vegetable smoothies for breakfast, wait–I’m not sure about smoothies. Let’s not make that a resolution, let’s call it a 2014 possibility. I’d rather jog naked around Lake Harriet in January than eat kale whipped into breakfast froth.

I will try to be open. I will try.

Some resolutions must be uncovered, discovered. I resolve to avoid roping every possibility into convoluted knots. I resolve to be open to new things, like kale smoothies, though I may end up barfing.

To start more arguments if I think they will strengthen friendships.

Write more.

Throw away more junk, both in my home and in my head, useless, obscure shapes that do not serve.

Read more.

And when I resolve to lose thirty-five pounds, I skip last year’s failures and shame  to better steel my gaze toward this year’s success, the possibility, hell, probability that I will succeed. One of the things I love best about me is my ridiculous faith. I will use this tired ol’ weight-loss resolution to cultivate ridiculous faith, my optimism, to stretch the boundaries of my power. I may not lose thirty-five pounds. But I will cultivate my faith in myself and I will learn from past mistakes.

Hell, I may lose fifty pounds.

Only next year’s December knows at this point and we are not yet in communication.

One day this summer, I will watch a butterfly for fifteen minutes to study its flight and wonder about it’s airborn life.

Speaking of, I resolve to get interrupted for things more important than me. I resolve to use this interruption to remember there are lots of people and events more important than me. I will do this twelve times, once a month. Who knows? Maybe more. There are many people and events more important than me.

Ride my bike 10 times this summer to feel chill breezes and the green blur whiz past me.

I resolve to make time for ten October walks in the woods. My favorite month. I resolve to gift these ten walks to myself.

I resolve to surprise myself at least five times.

I resolve to say internally “I can’t believe I just did that.”

Say, four times.

I resolve to create opportunities for me to win with myself so I can say the words, “Beautiful job, Edmond. You’re doing your best.”

Three times, I will listen to someone outline my faults and I will say “thank you” instead of arguing why they’re wrong. If I am brave that day I will ask follow-up questions, promising to give careful consideration to what has been said. I will assume they have insight which blinds me. They might be wrong. But I will listen first and decide later.

I resolve to wear my pants less.

I resolve to sleep more.

I resolve to sleep less and use that time writing.

I resolve to look at the contradictions in my life, which is really all a New Year’s resolution is, a promise to examine contradictions, our personal absurdities and say, “Huh. Look at me.”

To celebrate my contradictions, I think the best way to stratify and organize my bulleted New Year’s resolutions is in poetry. Something ethereal and silly, solid and sing-song, over-long and easily forgotten but using dancing words that zip around my candy cane consciousness.

To remember these resolutions and zipper them up inside me.

This, I resolve.

2 Responses to “Resolutions in Poetry”

  1. Allison Says:

    Thank you, Edmond. Thank you for sharing this but also thank you for making me look at resolutions in a different way. I don’t normally participate in this tradition but I may this year because of this post. So many possibilities! Happy new year and good luck with achieving your goals!

  2. Moria Says:

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing this. I love it. Hmm, I might steal parts of it actually. *grin*

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