by Dan Cuddy


July is like Juicy Fruit gum

sweet but taste leaves early

the more you chew, ruminate, contemplate


it is like a woman who can’t bask in love

but must get up, make breakfast

clean up the crumbs, wash the bed linen

open the windows to let in fresh air

but the hot sun too


July is a parade of bands

wedding, brigand, radio wavelength


July is a bunch of unruly words

like bananas

and we are monkeys

peeling the skin off our chatter

swinging on the vines

chomping on the South American fruit

like someone possessed by the sweetness

of the New World

all exotic flower and anaconda

and odd monkeys like us but talking

another language

and so our scratching under armpits

curling the upper lip

distorting their language

with our own wild cheep jeer

and whooo and squeal

is a true July in the jungle

a knot of cultural vegetation

expressed in fits and starts


July is a litany of saints

hanging out in the sauna

sweating their holy pounds off

weight loss a miracle for the ages

especially middle and old


July is a piece of mind

left out in the sun melting

the logic and passion raspberry colored goo

oh, don’t step in July’s philosophy


it is all about taking one’s clothes off

taking a cold shower

July nights come in hot, hotter, hottest

but the AC hums its breath of frigid sanity

one dreams in July with coverings of symbols

allusions, autumn sale images

pulled up to the chin

as the controlled air is condensing, freezing

the vapor of one’s desires

but, oh, open those windows

and a hot blast of social inconvenience

vaporizes any and all dreams


July is such a middle of the year month

a year declining now

lengthening its shadow

wiping its brow

singing Christmas carols

under its hot-to-trot breath

and the blind keyboard player

twings and twangs old jukebox tunes

and everyone

who can carry a tune and the memory of the lyrics

gathers round, boogies or woogies

or just hangs out in the Hotel California


July is a parade of such days, daze, dais

a homonym of hymns to the republic

banana or not


ah, July, baby

let us sip mint juleps

a little swig of brandy on the side

to chase our overheated sensibilities away

let us drink our drunks

like in the arms of sexy decadence

all hanging of shampooed hair

leis or Spanish moss

oh kiss life

let her lipstick collar you

July only happens once a year

and the surf is up



Dan Cuddy is currently an editor of the Loch Raven Review. He has been published in many small magazines over the years, e.g. NEBO, Antioch Review, Connecticut River Review and online at Praxilla and The Potomac. In 2003, his book of poems Handprint On The Window was published by Three Conditions Press.


This poem originally appeared in Issue 6.