You try to be awe-gust, confess, you’re just summer’s last bluff.
You wear a sublime disguise—September masked as a more firecracking July.
“The month of August turned into a griddle; days just lay there and sizzled.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Dear August Rush 2022:
You’re way more mature than June. Though to many you’re the month that should get a speeding ticket, I’d rather chill by attaching a water hose to a spigot. Even when you infinitely rest on your side, you show you’re of an age. Unlike Junes of Doom & Julys of long goodbyes, August you lie, balanced on a cusp of summer/autumn semblance. Some call you inferno, a jazzy show about burning slow, using tricks only found in horror flicks. What else August do you do for kicks?
By the time you got to Woodstock, mid-month of 69, so many had or would soon turn to stardust. There was Wild Bill Hickok, dealt a dead man’s hand 8/2/1876 (that’s aces & eights) and Charlotte P. Gilmore, no longer alive after 8/17/1935. That Yellow Wallpapered room delivered her doom. There’s William James, who, if you insist, was called a deep thinker—by people that lisp. Adieu too—H G Wells and Alexander Graham Bell, Sharon Tate, Willy Burroughs, and Marilyn, all back to the garden, plus mass strangler Alfred Knapp, died without a pardon. Who saw those bomber jets, riding shotgun in a Woodstock sky, turn into butterflies? I guess you had to have been there?
Who let the Dog Days out, which start 7/27, with rising (Sirius) Dog Star biting us with fiery heat, while bugs and parched grass nip at bare feet? Who let Scot Isobel Gowdie diss about what witches do in Nairn in August, 1662? Was she daft or a genuine practitioner of witchcraft? Who hung minister George Burroughs (8/1692), a Harvard grad, as Salem witch? Was he the man in black? Why did those Hatfield’s and McCoy’s commence to feuding 8/7/1882? Was it two lovers provided the fodder or was there something off about their water?
The shape of a year, some say, is cemented—by the time summer’s relented, yielding to routines. It’s back to school and out of the pool; it’s off to work, no summer hours—soon to be welcoming September showers. Until then, do try August, for a little less mayhem and carnage. You know what I mean. You saw Manson’s mob/cult of gruesome groupies on the 9th of 8 slay Sharon Tate and others at her estate, followed by slaughter of Leno and Rosemary LaBianco. You noted Elvis’ ignoble end (8/16/77), and lamented Cleveland Torso murders last two victims (8/16/1938). Not to mention Lizzie Borden and that hatchet (8/4/1892), a break, her parents couldn’t catch it. Or poor ol Mary Nichols, lst canonical Ripper vic (8/31/1888), her death’s still a riddle. Perhaps August, your horoscope should say: just don’t kill anyone else today.
What else happened during your August rule? Walls went up in Berlin (8/13/61); rioter’s rioted in Watts (8/11-16); and Nixon resigned (8/8-9/74). Japan surrendered 8/14/45 and volcano’s erupted (Vesuvius in 0079; Krakatoa 1883). Though we’ve been exchanging it with nature for ages, English Chemist Joe Priestley discovered oxygen 8/1/1774. And if it’s to be believed, the WWW, on 8/1/90 was conceived. Flash forward to 8/31/1994, when a Pentium computer beat a chess champ (Garry Kasparov). What do you think about that?
At least there’s a few things to toast. I report with glee Dom Perignon invented champagne 8/4/1693. Ice cream and fruited sauce enthusiasts (on 8/25/1904) enjoyed their first banana split. Hawaii became the USA’s 50th state (8/21/59) and the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini became a #1 hit 8/8/1960. This was in part because Tommy Edison invented the phonograph 8/12/1877. And though serial killer Ted Bundy was prolific, killing monthly in 74, it’s terrific he took August off—returned to school.
Some months end in grief or horror. What still hurts, and somehow delivers, like Fat Man and Little Boy (8/6/45) sorrow—and causes mourning and remembrance, is the bombshell of the demise of Princess Di (8/31/1997). A E Housman’s words hit home;‘dying in her prime’ is stunning, though Diana the Huntress wasn’t trying to be cunning. Like Cymbeline, she’ll fear no more heat of any August sun…Poet Theo Roethke (died 8/1/1963) might have been writing about her in SHE: ‘The dead are tender-shall we kiss? Nothing lasts forever, but what if…. I feel her presence every day, though she’ll never again pass our way. She remains what was, what is, what may be.’
We saw the first pic of earth taken from the moon 8/23/1966. You looked terrif! Yes, August you’re as hot as winter is not, though not—someone I’d date. It’s all the attention you get, the stares. You’re a hunk of a month that glares at me scowling at you looking at me. Like ex-lovers, we can’t agree. August Sturgeon Moon arises on the llth, if you happen to gaze into the heavens; Leo roars off, in comes Virgo.
You’ve got wild talents—as a month you rise to the challenge. They wax poetic and say a summer without a roaring August is like a person without a lover. I disagree—in every life there should be—a space of solitude. Heretowith, August I choose a staycation from the you-ness of you. Do what you do, August—shine, glow, combust… Let others fuss, take full measure of August’s pleasures. My August mantra: September or Bust!