nothin’ but pure hot


the air-conditioner rumbles contentment
the sealed house shields me from mosquitoes
the filtered air allows me to breathe
outside the world seems to wither

I know how it feels, how it burns, how it saps
sun in Texas ain’t no joy, it’s misery
blues thy name is Sunshine with no clouds
soil with no water, trees with no leaves

some in northern parts say rejoice
your bad weather only lasts the summer
then you have nine months of moderation
but that ain’t so …neither.

we have winter for six weeks and it’s cold
summer usually starts in’s a rare
spring that we don’t need air-conditioning
and it lasts until November — draggin’ on.

sometimes we have a week or two of relief
a thunderstorm with hail promising a tornado
but…from Lubbock to Abilene, Dallas to Houston
we work, we shop, we auto, we sleep in….

air-conditioned air… how did people live here
without it  …..    I don’t think they did!

© Gay Cannon *All Rights Reserved* 2012
Posted for Stu McPherson’s Whatever The Weather

23 thoughts on “nothin’ but pure hot

  1. Whoa, brought back some terrible memories of living in NC one summer during record breaking 30+ days of 100+ temperatures without AC. No joy there either, you capture that oppressive heat so well.

  2. ha..yeah you have a little different seasons…that is a long summe….i love texas though…just takes a little getting used to….lol…i got t a wicked taste of life without air here this week…ugh….i am def grateful for it…

  3. blues thy name is Sunshine! I really enjoy your ending here. I remember the heat of my midwestern youth and thought it was going to actually kill me. now i live in the PNW, can’t get much soppier than that.

  4. that’s tough.. we don’t usually have air conditions in our private houses over here.. we would really need it for around a few weeks in summer and that doesn’t seem to make sense – though we have in hotels, office buildings and cars but usually don’t need it a lot.. i can’t imagine in your part of the world what they did without air conditioning…

  5. Totally hear you! I spent a week in Dallas last year and it was over a hundred every single day! How DID people cope before air con? I mean… I had to have it in so high there was a light frost over my bed when I woke up in the morning! (maybe I’m a vampire or something 🙂 )… Loved the twang of that southern dialect….combined with the wilt and desert dryness, the mosquitos, and the big old southern plains holding tornadoes…..just took me there…. I actually hope to come back someday! I love the south! Great poem Gay

  6. Well, at least we’re getting some rain this year–we are in CS anyway. I often think about the A/C thing, too; how did people live without it. We adapt–both ways–I reckon. As for the how they did it, I grew up in the Phoenix area, and my first wife’s grandmother was a child when her folks settled there. She said they would soak there sheets in the river and wrap up in them so they could sleep. As a youngster, the house we lived in had an evaporative cooler, which, during the hot and humid days, did absolutely nothing but move (barely) air. At night, I would crawl out of bed and lay on the cool concrete floor, turning constantly when my body heat warmed the spot I was on. To this day, when I sleep, I roll, side-to back-to other side-reverse direction and repeat, throughout the night.
    Sorry for the lengthy comment. I love the poem, and it obviously struck a nerve!

  7. I have heard that this part of TX is brutal weather-wise. I believe that the fortutude and perseverance of our forebears who lived in these lands was astonishing. What keotbthem going? Anger, love, despair, faith? Your poem evokes these thoughts, since I believe that if we miss out on this dimension of the past we lose a lot. Excellent poem.

  8. That last line is something I’ve often thought–people must have been a lot tougher way back when to live here, and not just live, but do back-breaking farm and ranch labor to survive, with the weather in one form or another constantly against them. All I can say is, no wonder people died when they were in their fifties. A clear and clean descriptive write, Gay.

  9. This poem gave and garnered lots of information about living through Texas heat. I enjoyed that as a pure exchange. You said what a lot of people felt as they looked out from the air onto an inhuman environment. And humans did go there to live, lured by the very riches that glass, walls, and AC allow now. And some must still use the old ways to survive. Here in Philadelphia, Libraries and museums are having longer emergency hours to furnish relief to people who have no other access to coolness, and we are asked to help our neighbors, tho I don’t know how much of that is going on.

  10. It’s hot here in Italy but low 90’s rather than the scorching temps you refer to. The beach is near me and folks go to the beach in summer. Virtually the entire country closes for August to make this even more possible. But Italians go home at noon and nap after lunch through the heat of the day since they don’t like using AC. Stores, movie theaters and other AC’d places become popular as well with those who will take advantage of it. We’re hunkering down right now playing quiet games and drinking lots until it cools down in the evening, whereupon the town turns out for strolls, visiting and gelato. I like the voice in your poem describing a particular slice of life.

  11. I can imagine – I grew up in Maryland. I am very lucky now- I manage all summer without A/C! I have it but just hate the closed-in feel and am able to maneuver my way around geographically to avoid it. But your poem describes the difficulty of a place like TX! k .

  12. amazing how many people think we exaggerate the heat 😉

    but it’s true, as you say,

    “we work, we shop, we auto, we sleep in….

    air-conditioned air”

    oh yes 😉 captured perfect

  13. I’m chuckling over your last line. So true. 🙂 I was born and raised in Texas but have not lived there for the past several years. It’s nice to see rain a bit more frequently now.

    This is my favorite stanza:
    “we have winter for six weeks and it’s cold
    summer usually starts in’s a rare
    spring that we don’t need air-conditioning
    and it lasts until November — draggin’ on”

    Great internal rhyme throughout.

  14. The baking part of our Summers is thankfully short (south east Spain). Your poem brought back the memory of when I first came here and there was no such thing as AC. I would swim late at night and go to bed wet (hair and all). In the cool of early morning (0400) thereabouts I would crawl onto the balcony and sleep on a mat next to the cat’s box 🙂

  15. Loved the wording and structure…but most of all…the TRUTH in this! I’ve only lived in Texas (San Antonio) eight years…and it’s so true…oh, so true. (I moved here from Chicago…there, we wouldn’t be caught without a furnace!) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s