Brendan Lorber

These are not normal times

These are not normal times        say the people        who ruined time
and want us to live        in the ruins        broken and grateful for the semi-
autobiographical vividness that terror lends an afternoon        Your edition
of Paradise Lost may differ        in its approach to the oligarchs’ dark arts
airbrushed        on the wrong side of history        or the right side of a creepy van
you find yourself        having been tricked into        driving yourself down
a boulevard of faschy schemes        but more likely just ulterior neglect
as a principle come to life        within its victims        The enchanted novel filament’s
unchecked genesis in the retort of your lungs        is no more a surprise than
the devil may care        only about himself response        There are zero spells
that don’t contain their mirror        and every mirror contains its own spells
that you’d have to be        a pretty fucked up sorcerer        to have even heard of
The mournful fright at the austere world’s end        is both real and also the disguise
my half-dressed anxiety wears        in the countdown to a new day one

A new day one

A new day        one of us        picked out of nostalgia        for before the trials
with the same languorous relief        as a morning in search of noon
who finds it        but only at the expense        of no longer being morning
You can cling to brunch        or be something magic        in the unlocked era
already here        when the lights level down        and you discover who you were
meant to see        in the dark all along        The kind of self-lethality
that cheese lays on crackers        and without which        neither’s shortcomings
lead anywhere cute        My own shortcomings long        for the adaptation
that caused them        the evolutionary gambit        of having become almost
all water        at the moment almost all the water in the world        was inside
living things        A Darwinian détente that        ripples through my cheerful
inability        to cope with the apocalypse        as some unethically monogamous
attachment        to a single cypher        separate from all the rest        when we
can’t have one        without the others        and the space sloshing between them

Someone full of sparkle

Like someone full        of sparkle        in the form        of batteries
and marbles        they ought not to have swallowed        the solution
was inside us all along        or maybe        the solution was staying
inside        roused and cagey under a city        whose hot swarms
remain a standing argument        to not live anywhere else        but
which also composes itself        as an essay to humanity that begins
we are sorry for your loss        and keeps going        until internalized
beliefs        in the mythic outside chance        that a pure-hearted lab tech’s
razzle dazzle heroism        or more impersonally        that the economy
might not be        totally over        the idea of reopening        despite
only ever having been        a chasm we participate in        by screaming
as we fall        Here’s how my scream sounds today:        You and I
have everything in common        with the virus        that only wants
to live        but which is        so much better at it        than we are

Brendan Lorber is a writer, visual artist, and teacher. He is the author of If this is paradise why are we still driving? (subpress, 2018) and several chapbooks, most recently Unfixed Elegy and Other Poems. His visual art is in The Museum of Modern Art, The Free Black Women’s Library, Artists Space NYC, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Woodland Pattern Center, The Scottish Poetry Library, and in private collections.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.