I had planned to take a hike today
Up in the wooded hills
Of the watershed
But after I finished
Sweeping the front walk
In harsh sunlight
And 90-degree heat
I was flattened
And decided to revise my itinerary
Which now involves
A long sit in the overstuffed rocker
By the front window
Drinking ice water
And lamenting the editing of October
That has transformed its gorgeous prose,
Full of vibrant color and golden light
And cooling temperatures
Into a glaring, clanging, clashing tract
Of white-hot hammer-handed sentences
Pounding and pummeling us
Into gasping submission,
And while I know it is crucial
That we pay very close attention
To the urgent message the editor
Of the book of the month of Halloween
Is trying to get across
By all the insertions and deletions,
All the rewording and reorganizing,
I also cannot help
But pine for the good old days
When the 31 chapters of October
Were not a disaster novel
Of extreme weather, climate chaos,
Approaching doom,
But a lyrical recounting of the age-old tale
Of the changing of the seasons,
The turning of the year.

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. Read other articles by Buff.