Andrei Codrescu’s work can be seen as combining two elements: Surrealism and the expressions of a flâneur, the gentleman stroller described by Charles Baudelaire, who comments on the urban scene of which he is a part. These converge to form a goal of intensified awareness of oneself and the environment. Codrescu is both detached and involved. His rejection of convention avoids the rage of the alienated and is paradoxically both softened and made more penetrating by humor.
In Jealous Witness, Codrescu’s fascination with the urban milieu plays a central role. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he focused on New Orleans. In “Cleaning Ladies,” he expresses his fear that an urban treasure is irremediably gone:
they were cleansing storms katrina and rita they were cleaning women hired by the housing boom broom real estate real estate you kept rising like the water but the poor kept staying on in the days before the storms then came katrina and rita to finish what you began cleansing storms oh...
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