From Nelson, a poetry debut featuring a melange of existential and earthly subject matter.
Ordered alphabetically by title, Nelson’s collection ping-pongs among topics as diverse as morning birds, the New York subway, and pollution. “Yes, I see life in many things. / Sometimes even in things not seen by most,” Nelson writes. Throughout, he ruminates on recurring themes—the passage of time, loves remembered, and the human journey. A pair of brief election poems, named after the 1976 and the 2016 elections, compares leaders to coaches; in the latter, he declares the current president “a fucking clown!” “Mad Ave” takes readers to a seedy part of town where gin and beer abound. There’s a soulful side to this collection as well. The poet makes subtle references to the creator without citing a particular religion, hinting at “His son” and “His night creatures.” Nelson’s strength is in vivid bursts of similes, describing clouds that “hang like bodies” or cold as stealthy as a thief. He is playful and rhyming in “Think” as he compares himself to the beaming sun, the wet rain, or the grass on the ground. The lines are downright musical when Nelson implores the reader to dance in “Swing with Me.” Unfortunately, Nelson can also be crass. One poem titled “Pissing in the Wind” begins with exactly that. “Breed of Lady” reeks of misogyny: “There’s a breed of lady that likes to pass it around. / They like to take you high and then bring you down. / They’re not gypsies, and they’re not whores. / They’re bitches and are always back for more.” This scattered collection would have benefited from a thematical, rather than alphabetical, structure.
Metaphors and similes shine in this varied but disjointed collection.