Benjamin Landry


—in conversation with Walter Benjamin’s ARCADES PROJECT

There is no fullness of pleasure unless

“There is no fullness of pleasure unless the precipice is near.”
—Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (quoting Anatole France)

tell me about
of which capable
the wet white teeth
of modesty
a sort of dissolute gravitas
stars mount the sky and later
take themselves down a peg
sugar is a faithful taper     watch

the hills light themselves up
neck down has a funereal sheen
what’s the use you ask

to be used and complete you’d
never guess completion’s sickness

Galeries de Bois

Gray is harmless and spreads
the crystals     the hairlines and Maginot

overheard, under breath    When
does it stop not meaning and become?

So, the regiment of brute-faced
animals muster. They suppress
crucial information: everyone
has a mother.

Trees lay down their arms
just as a new-shorn lamb
stands from its fleece.

The dead realization
of loneliness colors everything
you love. The whites
of stars are like the flashing
of teeth and eyes.

The canvas stretched above
is a mercy, even though
the rows of acquaintances
forming the aisle
refuse to say your name.

The Bourse could represent anything

“The Bourse could represent anything; the Crystal Palace
could be used for anything.”
—Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project

Featureless desert of now, or,
in negative, the stars’ darkroom.

I’m thinking of having my open
heart surgery projected. And also
a culvert constructed through marrow.

Each morning to raise one’s head—

this vast of brittle iron and glass like the one
eye in which your future self is fixed.

A place to call the winds to order,
a place out of the weather where the remains
of the world are brushed clean, cataloged,
reconstructed, finally understood.

Benjamin Landry is the author most recently of Mercies in the American Desert (LSU Press, 2021). His poems appear widely, including in venues such as The New Yorker, Kenyon Review and Ploughshares. He is at work on VerseCurious, a podcast of poetry reviews, debuting in the summer of 2022. He teaches creative writing and is the guest poetry editor of Saranac Review.
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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.