Brendan Lorber

The Third Man


for Bernadette Mayer

How much would it take
to discourage the heights
I want to burrow through
naiveté as unannounced
stop after the last stop
on my underground
teleology?    The shared
pull of a pull on a
blackmarket cigarette

So trained in the binaries
its hard to not be thrown
from the convulsive beauty
of a triangle —  like a fence
I know by the Danube whose
claims to move even the
hottest lifted goods are
derailed not by inability
but a third thing like pity
or a radiator cap you
loosened to drive deeper
into the desert that the
desert told you was paradise    

It’s hard to be a medium
right?     The very isolation
breath requires to carry
an idea from mouth to ear   
If I told you my real name
would you act like you had
a choice but to use it as
the last chair in an almost
trashed hotel room
or would you remember
it like Vienna with its Strauss   
glamour and easy charm    
gone before even thought of

Only Invisible Worthy of Invocation




Heroes resolved in the permanent
grace of tension     never reveal
themselves as the condition of
their heroism    I worship only
what I can never know exists
to be worshipped     like sweat
on a Central Park horse without
the horse or cancer minus the cell

With no points of reference stillness
can be faster than light if you want
My legs tremble a little in the genome
knowing your genome’s almost
identical and likely to tremble
back     or that you might break

Brendan Lorber

Brendan Lorber is a poet, essayist and editor. He’s the author, most recently, of Unfixed Elegy and Other Poems (Buttered Lamb Press, 2014). Since 1995 he has published and edited Lungfull! Magazine, an annual anthology of contemporary literature which prints the rough drafts of contributors’ work in addition to the final version, in order to reveal the creative process. He lives atop the tallest hill in Brooklyn, New York in a little castle across the street from a 500-acre necropolis.