During his years of wandering from Berlin to Paris to Moscow and back again, Walter Benjamin kept a diary. “Keep your diary,” he cautioned himself in an early entry, “as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.” In his tiny spidery handwriting he recorded dreams, Yiddishisms, profane illuminations. Paris at the time was plagued with packs of stray dogs. Returning to his pensione one night from a hashish party, he saw the dogs were actually men made dogs by their passions. He knew in that moment thatall perception was distortion, a kind of phantasmagoria, the blue velvet and gilt doghouse Marie Antoinette had had built for one of her puppies.
Howie Good’s latest full-length poetry collection, Gun Metal Sky, is due in early 2021 from Thirty West Publishing,