Vick Mickunas: Poetry collection is funny, insightful and a great stress reliever

Poetry can be just the escape during times of stress.
Poetry can be just the escape during times of stress.

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

“Rhymes and Reflections” by Gordon Alexander (Outskirts Press, 72 pages, $14.95)

Last week was a struggle. Some bad stuff happened. I really needed to find a book that could lift my thoughts away from my worries. Over the weekend I found just the book to do this, to make my America feel normal again, at least for a few moments. It is a book of poetry. I read it the other night by the light of a flashlight. (Yes, it was a difficult week).

Gordon Alexander is 84 years old — he had a long career working for Volkswagen of America. Alexander lives in Troy with his cat Macaroni. He had never written any poetry until recently and by the look of things, once he got started he has not stopped. Alexander recently published “Rhymes and Reflections.” This poetry collection is his first book and according to the note he enclosed when he sent it to me he is already at work on his next book.

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I can remember when I first heard poetry as a small boy. The thing I noticed about it was that it rhymed. I liked that. It seems like most of the poetry I see these days is free verse and it rarely rhymes.

“Rhymes and Reflections” by Gordon Alexander (Outskirts Press, 72 pages, $14.95)
“Rhymes and Reflections” by Gordon Alexander (Outskirts Press, 72 pages, $14.95)

Gordon Alexander is from the old school; his poems have consistent rhyming patterns and each one has just one word for a title.

Here’s a poet who can observe the world around him with a sense of humor. This snippet is from his poem “Diet”:

"You are having a snit, your clothes they don’t fit,

It’s time to go on a diet.

That ice cream and cake, frozen pies that you bake no

longer will you even buy it.

From this day and on, it may taste like your lawn,

Its arugula and kale be nighttime or dawn."

And if you are not on a diet, Alexander has his poem “Donuts” for you:

"But the ones that are fried are the ones most like best,

For a fried food junky these pass every test.

Served with coffee or milk is a gastronomical treat,

As you question how many of these should you eat."

Some poems deal with grief, others are philosophical, like this extract from the poem “Civility”:

"Imagine how great it would be if aggression was thwarted.

So give it some thought and this question should come to you,

Would you rather be judged for the things that you think

or be judged for the things that you do?"

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During these trying times, many of us have found comfort and relaxation in physical activities; riding bicycles, watching the birds, and taking strolls. Here’s Gordon from his poem “Walks”:

"What helps you decide is just being outside,

Breathing air nowhere else can provide.

With one step at a time you begin to unwind,

As concerns of the day run away from your mind."

And when you are planning to step outside for that constitutional Alexander reminds us that:

"One thing not to forget is to spell for your pet,

Since walk is the one word they just never forget."

Thank you, Gordon Alexander, for sharing your “Rhymes and Reflections.” I’ll be looking forward to your next book.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). Contact him at vick@vickmickunas.com.

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