Lazy

A poem by David Yezzi

Analyzed by Thereza Cevidanes

David Yezzi


David Yezzi’s poetry collections include The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, andBest American Poetry. David Yezzi is Executive Editor of The New Criterion. He has also edited The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry (2009). Poet-critic Adam Kirsch, declared Yezzi’s poetry “displays a civilized mastery reminiscent of Philip Larkin and Donald Justice, which no poet of his generation can match.” David Yezzi is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University and received his MFA from Columbia University.

The Poem

I don’t say things I don’t want to say

or chew the fat with fat cats just because.


With favor-givers who want favors back,

I tend to pass on going for the ask.


I send, instead, a series of regrets,

slip the winding snares that people lay.


The unruffledness I feel as a result,

the lank repose, the psychic field of rye


swayed in wavy air, is my respite

among the shivaree of clanging egos


on the packed commuter train again tonight.

Sapping and demeaning—it takes a lot


to get from bed to work and back to bed.

I barely go an hour before I’m caught


wincing at the way that woman laughs

or he keeps clucking at his magazine.


And my annoyance fills me with annoyance.

It’s laziness that lets them seem unreal


—a radio with in-and-out reception

blaring like hell when it finally hits a station.


The song that’s on is not the one I’d hoped for,

so I wait distractedly for what comes next.

So what does this poem mean?

Yezzi is demonstrating the human nature to be lazy. He speaks of how people can barely stand watching "clashing egos" because they are different from their own. Throughout the day, people encounter countless things that annoy them and provide opportunities for laziness. However, he says that humans are too lazy to even do anything about their small day to day annoyances and pet peeves.

Digging Into Deeper Meaning

  • "I send, instead, a series of regrets,

    slip the winding snares that people lay." Yezzi is talking about how his laziness causes him to avoid having to do favors for others and get himself if hard work situations.

  • "And my annoyance fills me with annoyance.

    It’s laziness that lets them seem unreal" It is laziness that allows people to overlook the small annoyances they encounter.

  • "The song that’s on is not the one I’d hoped for,

    so I wait distractedly for what comes next." The distractedness is what is the gateway to the ability to wait for the next song to come on.

World Above Yezzi

This video is of David Yezzi reading some of his other poetry.

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