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The Anarchist Cookbook

ISSUE:  Winter 2023



Steve, though he’d cut you
if you crossed him, drop you like a sack
of potatoes if you came at him drunk
like Randy Parr in the backyard,
Steve had no truck with violence—
no guns, nary a knife that I remember.
But, susceptible to conspiracy,
that bitter pap of the bright
but undereducated, he liked the idea
(and who doesn’t?) of having what he shouldn’t.
Like when he cooked the books
waiting tables at Red Lobster,
pocketing discounts from coupons
slipped in at the register.
A little weed money. A little fuck you.


The Cookbook was black, a big paperback,
with just the title blocked in white
at a severe tilt. How to make
tear gas in your basement,
DMT, a chimney trap… 

Devil’s book, Philosopher’s stone,
it promised to unleash the miraculous
from the everyday detritus of our lives.
Not that we ever tried a recipe.
I don’t remember cooking up
banana peels, or making a paste
to trip on morning glory seeds.


Amazing how much of his creed
came out of that book: freedom and respect
must be earned—taken from your parents.
The only laws an individual can obey
are those he instills in himself.
Think about it: who controls the information,
the military manuals Bill Powell freed
from the dust of the public library:
Explosives and Booby Traps, Escape and Evasion.


Once I started hanging around Steve’s,
I put away childish things, homemade
napalm and flamethrowers. I’d gotten behind
the creek’s veil. I wanted the fire
        It ended for most
of the guys who came through me
with leaving for college. With the internet
and the Cookbook—getaway-
car literature—more of a badge
than a tool for terrorists. With Columbine,
which brought Bill Powell out
of hiding to condemn the book
he made when he was nineteen.
Steve went on for years
to feed and feed off the lost and ungrateful
and dissipated, making sure,
if nothing else, we couldn’t lash out
at a world that never gave us anything.



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