From Hakim Bey's "T.A.Z."

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WHAT THIS TELLS YOU is not prose. It may be pinned to the board but it's still alive & wriggling. It does not want to seduce you unless you're extremely young & good-looking (enclose recent photo).

Hakim Bey lives in a seedy Chinese hotel where the proprietor nods out over newspaper & scratchy broadcasts of Peking Opera. The ceiling fan turns like a sluggish dervish- -sweat falls on the page--the poet's kaftan is rusty, his ovals spill ash on the rug--his monologues seem disjointed & slightly sinister--outside shuttered windows the barrio fades into palmtrees, the naive blue ocean, the philosophy of tropicalismo.

Along a highway somewhere east of Baltimore you pass an Airstream trailer with a big sign on the lawn SPIRITUAL READINGS & the image of a crude black hand on a red background. Inside you notice a display of dream-books, numbers-books, pamphlets on HooDoo and Santeria, dusty old nudist magazines, a pile of Boy's Life, treatises on fighting-cocks...& this book, Chaos. Like words spoken in a dream, portentous, evanescent, changing into perfumes, birds, colors, forgotten music.

This book distances itself by a certain impassibility of surface, almost a glassiness. It doesn't wag its tail & it doesn't snarl but it bites & humps the furniture. It doesn't have an ISBN number & it doesn't want you for a disciple but it might kidnap your children.

This book is nervous like coffee or malaria--it sets up a network of cut-outs & safe drops between itself & its readers--but it's so baldfaced & literal-minded it practically encodes itself--it smokes itself into a stupor.

A mask, an automythology, a map without placenames--stiff as an egyptian wallpainting nevertheless it reaches to caress someone's face--& suddenly finds itself out in the street, in a body, embodied in light, walking, awake, almost satisfied.

--NYC, May 1-July 4, 1984

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