Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the Night-time Heat

In the night-time heat,
June bugs buzzing on the screen
- don't they know it's July? -
I sit motionless,
feeling the sweat roll down my chest.

I hear a car idling across the street
and wonder what it's doing there,
whether the occupants are perhaps
enjoying an air-conditioned respite
from their sweltering house,
or maybe they are moonlight lovers
sneaking in a sweaty rendezvous,
their temperatures rivaling the outside's.
Who knows what can happen on a night like this?
Murder, mayhem, music, booze, sex, drugs
all melting together on a sultry summer night
revolving in its own steamy torture.
Sleep won't come so a writer writes
and down in the heartless city
an old man dies of heat stroke.
Alone in the endless world.

 - Rick Dale

Rick Dale is the author of The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions  - part nonfiction how-to, part memoir, and part journal, The Beat Handbook lays out one hundred days of reading, writing, and introspection that can help you find your inner Beat.

Rick has a D.Ed. in Educational Administration from Pennsylvania State University, and is a professor in the Special Education Department at a state university in Maine. In the Night-time Heat is reprinted here with the author's permission. It first appeared in the Daily Beat in a slightly altered format.

Like the be-bop jazz that inspired a generation of nomadic wanderings and writings, Night-time Heat bops to a different rhythm on this page.


  1. wow nice capture not only of the moment but where you are in it and the old man dying is a great finishing touch as he too probably sits alone...

  2. yes a nice capture. Thank you.

  3. It is an honor to share Rick Dale's work. As with this poem, he takes me back to a different time and place.

  4. Rick, I so enjoy your work...I confess, perhaps more than Kerouac. It's raw but more accessible to me. In this one, I felt like I was right there in Times Square, sharing the experience.

  5. You had me..there.. crisp images, sharp dialogue and a tidy ending..
    yes sir..good po here!

  6. Hi Rick..... Great read... Your poem describes so many forgotten nights of my own....... really related this this....... good job......

  7. Love this:

    "all melting together on a sultry summer night
    revolving in its own steamy torture"

  8. oh i can feel the pulse of the city here...great work by rick - may check out his book..and yes...who know what can happen in nights like this...

  9. It is a great book Claudia, you wouldn't go wrong in picking it up.