Dizzy

By David Yezzi David Yezzi
Zigging, mid-
block, he’s off:
on a torn-up, trafficked slab of Second Avenue—
his cane sweeping
over

broken asphalt,
like a sapper or
an open skiff on back-splashing seas. For a few
seconds it’s
unclear

if he gets
the risk,
as yellow cabs swoop down and flock at the light.
Then, safe
home

on the other
side. And I
for one cannot take my eyes off him as he pivots,
compassing
north.

We’re never
truly clear.
Now he jams himself at pace between a giant planter
and cross-braced
scaffold

newly set up
at Finnegans.
And wham. The guy is smack on his ass, un-staring up
to heaven,
stunned.

Damn,
I think, what
in hell was that? It’s not like the pain of loving someone
who doesn’t
want

you back
(though that
once ate up years of my life and left me blown like an artery
after too many
bypasses),

nor does it
compare to
frittering away in a job that I’m ill-suited to and which I’ll
probably
lose.

It’s more
as if a hammer
dropped from a sill and laid him out cold. That scaffold
just appeared there
overnight.

And for all
my hard-won bile
I’m not worse off than he is, except in this: I’ve come
to think I
am.

David Yezzi, “Dizzy” from Birds of the Air. Copyright © 2013 by David Yezzi. Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Source: Birds of the Air (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013)

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Poet David Yezzi

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

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 David  Yezzi

Biography

David Yezzi’s poetry collections include Azores (2008) and The Hidden Model (2003), and his criticism and poetry have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Best American Poetry. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Yezzi is Executive Editor of The New Criterion. He has also edited The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry (2009). His libretto for a chamber opera by composer David . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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