Hot Florida Nights - a Poem
UPDATE: When I originally wrote this poem, in 2011, I was undergoing various treatments for prostate cancer. Everything's okay now, but, it was some of the side effects of the treatments that actually gave me the idea for the poem.

I grew up in the Florida panhandle, often referred to as "L.A." or "Lower Alabama", in the 60's in a wood frame house at the corner of Cary's Lane and Bayshore Drive, in Warrington, now known as West Pensacola.

We had no air conditioning, and my room, inherited from my sister, had only one window, through which, despite our proximity to Pensacola Bay, seldom had any air moving through it...and that which did was generally hot...and humid...which goes without the poem points out.


As a boy,
Half a hundred years ago,
I lay sleepless,
Sweat trickling,
Sheets sticking to me,
The one window of my room open,
An old box fan
Droning in the corner.

I dreamed and imagined all sorts of things,
But never thought
To dream about a cooler place.

In Florida, in the Summer, heat simply was...
And humidity went without saying.

So, each Summer night,
A few steps short of misery,
I lay awake for hours,
Mind traveling along the corridors
Filled with images made from
The books I read incessantly.

Girls and cars having been discovered,
And cars...
At least...


Hot nights became cooler,
Driving down Palafox Street
With windows down,
Out to the bay.

Hot Florida nights included
Two A.M. feedings,
And the occasional rush
To an emergency room.

Now, no longer in Florida,
I have air condtioning,
Still often lie awake,
Sleepless, sticky with sweat,
As the medicine works
To slow the progress of
The cancer within me.

...Which the boy back there in Florida
Never imagined.

On nights like these,
My mind wanders up and down
Even more corridors,
Including those built by more books,
And a half century of living.

No more chasing girls
Or driving up and down Palafox,
Or to the bay,
In the moonlight...

Except in my memory,
When I remember...

Hot Florida nights.

Copyright Donovan Baldwin


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Donovan Baldwin
Fort Worth, Texas

Original poetry by Donovan Baldwin

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Hot Florida Nights - An Original Poem by Donovan Baldwin
Page Updated 2:00 PM Sunday 3 June 2018