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In Praise of Outside Air — New Orleans

new orleans oak tree

In the evenings we sit out on the porch and enjoy the outside air
With our drinks of scotch, or wine or beer we pass the time
Talk about the day or talk about nothing at all
The fan on the porch ceiling spins slowly moving the air around
Enough to take off the heat.

In the evenings the air cools off, believe it or not.
Sometimes the air is wet, sometimes not.
I sit slouched my feet on the wicker table,
Folks walk by chatting, some with their dogs.

Cicadas call one another from the trees a long springing sound.
How is it that such a little bug can make such a racket?
The sky darkens, the moon rises through the tree branches across the street.

New Orleans has a lot of porches but people don’t use them like they used to.
Used to be before air conditioning people had their windows open.
We could smell the trees and plants, Gulf of Mexico and the rain.
We could smell a storm in the air, could feel when a north wind was bringing in a front.

Now we’re all air-conditioned up. Don’t get me wrong I like being cool on a hot day.
I like that it takes the edge off, like that my clothes aren’t always damp in my closet
Or that the house doesn’t always smell of mildew.
But why not have it both ways?

I like when the air cools off throwing open the windows letting the breeze blow through.
It feels fresh, alive, living.
Why not take a half hour to sit on the porch or on the steps or in the yard?
That’s what we used to do. We can do it again. Renew.
We can participate in outside life.
Wave at the neighbor, chat with our friends, pet the dog.
Drink in the lovely air and let the tropical breezes fill our senses.


Leave a comment. Tell me what you think

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Poetry.

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2 Responses

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  1. termite says

    i’ve been a porch termite for many years now. every evening, that’s where you’ll find me.

    this was a lovely post. thank you.

  2. Richard Bienvenu says

    Nothing like porch livin.’

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