Old is not a Four-Letter Word poems by Alexandria Sergio

picture of Alexandrina Sergio
Photograph by Al Ferreira  

The poems in Alexandrina Sergio's Old Is Not a Four-Letter Word are as expansive of heart as they are witty and energetic. Danielle Pieratti writes: "With wisdom, candor, and witty defiance, the poems in Sandy Sergio’s Old Is Not a Four-Letter Word observe life through eyes simultaneously prudent and fresh. Hers is a world viewed with earned distance, where ordinary encounters—a visit from a solar salesman, a chance meeting with a biker, a glimpse at a child carrying his saxophone home from school—are endowed with a touch of the divine. Even an artichoke holds a secret. In savoring the mortal, the temporary, these poems make one long for permanence.”  David K. Leff adds, “Time is a haunting, bodily presence in Sergio’s poems.  She wrestles elegantly with the years in a language that would be poignant at any age.”
  Old is not a four letter word cover image
  Cover photograph by the author.

About her life, the poet writes, “Back then the place for good shopping at good prices was Park Street, which after sundown saw a lively excitement of bargain-seekers, families out for a nice meal or couples anticipating a movie at the Lyric. On one memorable evening, flanked by Mommy and Daddy, four-year-old Sandy danced down Park Street, ecstatic in her just-purchased red sandals.  They were the most wonderful shoes in the world! Near the corner of Park and Main a woman stepped from a doorway and held out a nickel to the exuberant little girl. The mother held the child back, wary of the coin’s dubious source. “Aw, let the kid have it.  She’s making me smile.” The mother relented and Sandy took the nickel.  Parents who loved her so much they bought her beautiful shoes, a sparkling night-time excursion, and a nice lady giving her a nickel: life was perfect!” 

I was—and am—Sandy, and this is my very first memory, one no doubt reinforced through hearing my mother over the years tell the story of that evening when a lady of the night gave me a nickel because I had made her smile. It could be that the memory has remained with me because I treasure the thought that I, however briefly, forged a connection with someone who perhaps needed such a thing. Through writing and performing poetry, I hope I can still manage to do that.

In 2015 Sandy was appointed to the newly established position of Poet Laureate for the town of Glastonbury, Connecticut.

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ISBN 978-1-943826-45-2

First Edition 2018

5.5" x 8.5" paperback, 52 pages

This book can be ordered from all bookstores, including Amazon.



Copyright © 2018 by Alexandrina Sergio




It should be easy,
this being the second time.
The first was all excitement and hormones,
expectations and prediction of approaching wonders,
everyone leaping onto the express
to be part of the
next new thing
to emerge from a cocoon,
passenger of honor
trading the comfort of hugs
and easy forgiveness
for promised sexuality
and some gauzy thing called

Done and done
and now doing
something very like it again
minus the expectation and promises.
This time riding
a local headed out of town,
sitting just a bit forward,
alert to jump off
at any station
offering the maybe
of an unexplored wonder
or two.



Eighty-two years to mark
on this brittle birthday dawn,
its chill sky patterned by clouds
resembling quarter notes
and a truncated jet streak
that looks very like a baton.
The brutal wind stabs against my window
on this icy morning
at 82
I am allowed to select my omens.



My octogenarian amygdala dances
(swirls  sways  glides)
ignited by
a tilt of smile,
an implication of  glance,
a shift of shoulder,
a low almost-laugh
perceived through the scrim
of an age-tamed id
that demands
no hormonally-infused response,
the pleasure
of an exquisite




The kid next door
lurched home from school today,
shiny saxophone case
shifting from one hand to the other.
I visualize him wrestling
the brass beast,
putting aside his screened devices
to produce quoks and bloots
and terrifying brassy skwerks
as only a ten-year-old
strangling a new art form can.
Anticipating the primitive anthems,
my spirit soars.





The boy-cousins align in regimental file
and at the far end
one swirling girl,
silly-faced and barefoot-dancing
(face that clenches when the world assaults,
feet that kick back at frustration).

The photo shows
the eyes-forward stalwarts
ordered by height,
and at the end of the string,
swooping like a kite in the breeze,
the Smile Maker.

Procrustean observers
remain unsmiling, mutter
spoiled the picture,
find virtue in denial
of a wondrous child,
a little girl
who loves honeybees,
whispers her small finger across their backs
to marvel at the brush of gold,
has never once been stung
by a bee.




more like an acquaintance
you don’t invite to parties.
He doesn’t come to steal your voice
but merely to take you off the stage
after you’ve finished your song.
He’s prowled my street frequently,
an annoying drop-in type with
few social skills,
doing no harm, just tidying things up
(often like the hostess who whisks away your plate
while you still have a few delicious morsels saved
    to enjoy).
Sometimes I’m sure I glimpse his shadow past
    the window,
a necessary figure in the neighborhood,
like the trash man
coming to take away
the wrapping paper and ribbons.



A fearsome swagger of leather and chains,
he dismounts his Harley and I step close,
impale him on aged glare, ask
why on God’s Green Earth
he would risk his beautiful face,
his fool head so full of adventure
to ride without a helmet.

I tell him
that he holds in careless hands
what I have through seasons beyond his knowing
cherished, loved
used as well as I knew how;
that when my breath is no more
all this human sphere holds sacred
will count on him
to honor the space left empty,
to heed the past as it pleads with the present
to keep a beating heart,
to take up the songs of the silenced;
will count on him
to sing them better.


“Every breath you take has, at one time or another,
been associated with another living organism.”
  – Martin St. Maurice, Professor of Biological Sciences
Borne on my every inhalation,
through the choreography of time’s particles,
is an immortal connection
with ancestors of courage,
speakers of truth,
allowing the possibility that
life is vertical,
death an irrelevance;
that while traces of
and Pol Pot
prowl through time,
I breathe as well
and Teilhard
who in molecular incarnation
may well lead me
in a single respiration
toward Omega.