The best human gift is perspective


Fifth Estate # 410, Fall, 2021

it’s also the worst

when used in circumstances calling for a closeup

or in circumstances that call for detachment

it is only a gift when it employs the appropriate distance

that minimizes pain

between the observer and the observed


we have a school for teaching appropriate distance

it’s called a slum a favella


how long

do I have to stay away?


a circumstance is a circus and a stance


without the circus I fold like a limp rag

when the circus comes I take a stance


i am an observer at the circus, rarely get paid

Andrei Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. This poem is from the author’s forthcoming book of poetry, Too Late for Nightmares (Alba Press). He writes, “Fifty books later I still think that words are not outrageous enough.”

He lives and works in Brooklyn.