My new book, Chomp Away, is now available from Combo Books.

The book release event is this Saturday, 2.26 at The Bowery Poetry Club, 4:00pm

Drew Gardner and Josef Kaplan
Segue poetry series at the Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (Between Houston and Bleecker)
F train to 2nd Ave, 6 to Bleecker


How much difference could there be between the Egypt NSA briefs that Obama must be hearing and the hysterical Glenn Beck tirades that Americans hear on TV?


There is no broker state (Manning Marable) in Egypt or Tunisia. One thinks of the vanity of well meaning academic socialists in assuming to predict the periodic tempo of crises in the talk of "late Capitalism." The writers who speak of "utopia" -- what do they imagine happens after utopia? In the USA one is actually soaking in the silent assumption that the interventions upon the inevitable crises of under-regulated broker state capitalism represent a kind of economic harmony, whereas it's a scam where the population pays for the investor's gambling losses with unemployment and recession. It's a joke, and yet in Egypt they are ready to die for their imagination of what this could be for them: free elections, free speech, jobs and no torture. The second phase of de-colonialism. To what extent to we have those things? Did Abner Louima have freedom from torture? In Guantanamo? Was eight years of executive branch governance determined by a crooked election and a supreme court justice a free election? Do we have the power to stop wars we don't want?


Bill O' Reilly, who has his own television show, one where he explains that tides prove the existence of God, interviews the president of our country on the day of the super bowl. Sending thugs on camels to whip, beat and slash the protesters in Cairo is as medieval as the scene in Andrei Rublev where the secret police on horseback gouge out the peasants' eyes, but O'Rielly's thinking is no more modern. Maybe the potentially dangerous caliphate we should be first concerned with is the one perpetually lurking in the United States.


If you took part in the 2003 antiwar protests in New York City you know that the police didn't need camels and whips -- false consciousness is a far more powerful weapon than such things. In the faces of the cops effectively corralling us there was a weird mix of fear, derision and sympathy. But they knew their leaders were not in any danger of winding up at the end of a piano wire any time soon, and we were pretty sure we wouldn't be shot. We went back to our jobs. In Egypt there now appears the inverse of false consciousness-- conviction and clarity toward change. The overcoming of fear. The power is in the general strike combined with this conviction. If it sticks it will open something, no one knows what. In Iran in 2009 Facebook went the other way, self-surveillance ending in jail and repression.

There is nothing new without randomness (Gregory Bateman) and there is nothing more random than emotionally charged young people.