Now so firmly far from the sun, the cold air outside is a dead, permanent threat to ears and fingers. So you like to look at this old picture here. Taken in July, in the New York summer. Back when you were


just getting used to the heat. With relief you find yourself accustomed – finally – to the stifling invariance.

Before this summer, a hot crush of air meant being at your Gramps’s house, with his fuzzy blanket of a living room glowing constantly in the low 80s. Keeping his old bones moving. You get yourself a drink if you want it, son.

Or that feeling of stepping into warm air. For those like you from a temperate country, the inescapable association of being on holiday. Freedom from time and anxiety, cities and hills and waves and lakes and bodies to explore.

chirrup chirrup

Or when drinking, a romantic vision of a limestone house in swampland. A lightly sweating stoic, a Hemingway, white linen and bronze liquid in sweating thick tumblers, bright light from a doorway or desklamp, pen or fingers poised to deliver something important through tobacco smoke. Sweat, lamps. The blur of fans. Distant night sounds. Stubble. Self-regard. And not just the heat, but this new, real noise all along 22nd street. The anvil flood of sunlight crashes down into the trees, blasting green light from their veins and awakening a riot in the branches. Cicadas. The hot afternoon chorus pouring through your window, a wash of jagged noise, ten thousand knives shaken in a cement mixer. An encompassing racket with no evident source; just foliage, glaring and innocent. Jungle drums, smoke signals, beaten shields, out of sight. It could all be in your head, but for the way the sound echoes pinballing down the street.

On cooler nights, the tide of noise recedes to a single call, one timballing insomniac. Unlike the day’s constant call, this sound is intrusive. Chirrup, chirrup. Trying to sleep. Eyes closed, you try to use the noise as a percussion; in your mind’s ear, put a tune to the regular beat. To your dismay the wee fucker is the world’s worst soloist, first round and soundly in rhythm, then early, then hanging, lingering late.

Circadian rhythm, cicadian arhythm. You wish that words were sleep.