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Thursday, October 10, 2019


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

It is quiet now
In the corners
Where dust collects itself
And afternoon light
Relaxes its shoulders
As it prepares
For its daily departure.
All day it has been
Early October
Hot as August or July
And drier than dry—
But we are not fooled.
Look at the leaves
Teasing us
With the faintest hints
Of the russets and golds
And wild vermillions
That soon enough
Will inhabit the snug dwellings
Where their green sister chlorophyll
Has resided
Since the February arrival
Of spring.
Look at the long shadows
Falling across houses and streets
Lounging in parks and playgrounds,
Look at the honeyed light
Sprawling on manicured lawns
And fading gardens.
Feel the air,
Apologetically hot
And promising that this heat,
This spit-thickening dryness,
Will not last much longer,
That the familiar, reassuring chill
Of autumn
Will soon return to our evenings
To herald the arrival
Of the season of heavy rains.
But of course these days
With the climate being systematically mauled
By billionaire carbon-suckers
We can’t be sure
What the coming months
Will have in store for us.
And for that matter
We cannot even count on October
Remaining the October
We have always loved,
That paragon of months,
The crown jewel
In the year’s annular passage,
The golden door
Between summer and winter.
We must struggle and hope,
Defy and resist and disrupt
To defeat those who are ravaging
Our weather and our earth
And replace them
With our kind of folks,
The ones who believe in communities
Of mutual support and nourishment,
The ones who reject profit
As a way to measure human worth,
The ones whose furious spirits take flight
In October light.

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film Outside In and, with the MIRC film collective, made the film Por Que Venimos. His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California. He podcasts at: .