Unlike most of the country, California actually warms up in October, even as the nights grow crisp.It's enough to inspire writer Al Young, who's composing a poem to mark the start of each month this year. Al Young served as California's poet laureate from 2005 to 2008. The winner of awards and honors too numerous to mention, Al Young has contributed to The California Report many times over the years.
Bring on October; savor the light.
Ring in the yellowing, ring in the red,
bring up the darkening, dial down the bright.
Give up green trees gone blonde in the head.
Bring on Pacifica, bring on Palm Springs,
bring on Tehachapi, bring on Chester.
Roll out the Gravensteins, bring on sweet things
October brings in. Hey, ripener, tester
of yesterday's pumpkins, this morning's kale!
Who are you, October, that turnips turn sweet
in your cooling silence the color of ale?
Who counts you in with her vivid back-beats?
Bring on Olvera Street, bring on la calle,
bring on curled chiles: red, sea-dark, gold.
Roll out a moon-licked, wee hours highway;
all the slow loving a belly can hold.
Bring on the wine country's Napa-Sonoma,
now in the pick and the crush of its fruit.
Let future pop art at chic SF MOMA
out-Steinbeck time's 99 to 1 truth.
Bring the soft snore of another year waking
sweat-wet from chapters of unfinished dreams.
Bring on October, bring on the taking
of light and dumb time; life's stitches and seams.
Al Young served as California's Poet Laureate from 2005 to 2008. Throughout this year he'll be reading an original California poem for us near the start of each month.