August comes to city and country

August comes to city and country
August comes to city and country




Morning can’t help but be morning


A summer morning can’t help but be morning: people go out but there is great space between each of us & the air is clean as if it had never been here before, & everything feels significant though no one can say why because for once everything is good in and of itself & all the anguish of the night, the soaked bedsheets & all the passionate regrets can’t be found, the sidewalks are grateful for the cool air & the light that sparkles; nurses descend the bus at 96th Street, wear masks and walk with dark eyes as if the street is a corridor & for sure in the hospital, their shoes make no sound. The Wales Hotel becomes a residence, and the fine people have traveled somewhere else and the doorman on the side street has time to talk about parking, and the women who run the shabby grocery store greet someone they know, & the city is confused, because it can stretch & ivy can grow up a wall & friezes that no one looks at the rest of the year can be proud of themselves for this is a world we do not look at even though we see it every day. Great danger surrounds us when we have no idea what we are waiting for; hope is the great thief—we steal entire lives from ourselves: footsteps of desire kill the joy of morning.


In the afternoon


Yesterday, in the afternoon birds of great significance gathered, fluttered, took quick & darting gambits of flight. In my dullness it’s not obvious whether there was a convocation of insects drifting like airborne plankton, and the needling beaks had simply gathered there for it seemed more to it than that; you learn when the weather never seems to change and August stalls, haze for whatever reason, gathers near the spillage of tampered, dusty light & speaks to another humid day as if things will never change, and you are bound for the neighbor’s horse barn where we can talk about artificial knees and hips and dropping dead and the dog sleeps with fluttering hunt eyes and the cat blinks watchfully from the little window ledge looking wise about nothing at all—be very careful at such moments, we drip blood, stain the mown grass with a cheap attitude about time—at least birds work & their drilling pitch doesn’t disturb the peace as we hear better, more silently if there is such a thing… because purity makes no excuses.


About the Author

Daytime, James teaches public speaking in elementary, middle and high school; at night, he is up during the dark hours, working on poetry and fiction. Home is New York City.


Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash