All dougKIM photography Leica New York

August’s Lament

Yes, it is August in the city. It is time for a million shiny faces on the streets, the Rorschach sweat blots on the backs of those in front of me, the surreality of the hair dryer heat in the Delancey Street station, the strong, sinus clearing smell of stairwell urine. And the noisy glory of sweaty, stinky, surly Chinatown in summer.

Yes, it is August in the city. I clean my desk regularly because my forearms stick to its surface when I type. My pint glasses sweat like afternoon joggers.

At a performance at Summer Stage in the park, the bugs enjoyed our sticky necks and we joined in whack-a-moling the whole night.

At the East River Park’s bandshell, a mid-afternoon dance performance was cut short because the vinyl surface of the stage had melted enough that the performers could not turn en pointe.

The thunderstorms bring a great and awesome distraction with their primal clash and fray and their looming, suspenseful dark build-up. But whatever relief they deliver is small and fleeting.

I have a cluster of trees in the school across my street with just enough cicadas to make a chorus.

Look at your watch. It does not matter what it says, as every moment in August is a good time for a shower.

They have been issuing lengthy heat advisories: drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, wear loose clothing, check on your neighbors. They should just say: Fuck, it is August in the city.

I know now that Best Buy has the greatest air conditioning, based solely on the arctic blasts jetting from its doorways and spilling onto the concrete like wasted champagne.

Yes, it is August in the city. And I love it.

Tonight, I will have dreams of January.


West Village, January 2009; Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-x © Doug Kim

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