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CLASS WARRIOR — TAOIST STYLE
history is a word ideology a word the unconscious a word words are like dares in the mouths of the ignorant
or each sign regenerates an undeniable freshness don't get lost in your own thinking don't disappear into that of others
test the blood of your thinking
because in answer to your question you will find only quavering targets action shapes words like the arc consumes the crystalline arrow
the orphan is the class warrior the sovereign orphan
what does "orphan" mean to us?
every hierarchy presupposes a father a mother and a third every politics a master a slave and a third
the historical person is a disgrace
can you disfigure the class enemy without taking on his likeness?
can you defeat your own mirages?
everyone cherishes identity everyone looks for origins and I teach orphan knowledge
wander the roads without getting entangled in the weeds
the bird's song will fail to keep up with your pace on your lips the wound will fail to redden the sun
I teach difference without return and precision violence that's what "orphan" means
what does "the sovereign orphan" mean to us?
the class warrior never shows off his weapons he keeps strong and quiet and destroys with rigor the person who can do those two things is my orphan comrade
sovereignty burns the class warrior like a straw dog
inside outside nearby far away visible invisible capital work this is the class enemy
how to defeat the class enemy?
change your thought categories and you will change your actions change your actions and you will raise up your body raise up your body and you will talk with the unthinkable
politics is sensual a shapeshifting calligraphy with a rainbow of precise gestures mark out your destiny
what the iris reflects erases heaviness a strict lightness must command your style
how to defeat the class enemy?
everything that is said against the class enemy must be a poison target
when a revolutionary reads Marx he puts it into effect with vigilance when a liberal reads Marx sometimes he keeps it in mind sometimes he forgets when a fascist reads Marx he breaks into laughter if he didn't laugh at all Marx wouldn't be Marx
but my adage says the real revolution has no heroes
family undercuts you love absorbs you every institution is regressive
practice combinatory lovemaking this is the secret of every light drunkenness
the before and the after harmonize the high and the low make anew the genitals and the butt touch that's where the body's desires are cut off
I heard it said that the revolution is universal coitus but beware of this phrase beware!
it's better to make love to love this is the secret of every drunkenness
licit illicit good bad presence absence law transgression a vacillating symmetry separates them
don't hamper yourself with these cold binaries the class struggle alters the meaning of number
open yourself to contradictory shades first blind contradiction then contradictions dissolve
tactics strategy revolution three words used when talking beware each action invents a dancing hierarchy
the rise and fall of the stars will never end the human revolution will never stray
how to define your new hierarchy?
by everything that is said
a healer's touch will never calm my particular delirium
I like the gazelle running on the beach
and like a gust of wind I disappear into the sand and glistening water
and so my metaphor is a vague outline
to each part of your body give sweet sustenance at every moment of your life be active and intractable
living in time is a migratory art
in your gaze there's a strange scratch I will call this thing color
the occidental appears red and yellow the oriental appears red and white if everyone becomes red what will happen to the rainbow?
the eyelash equal to a sun is too delicate the jade pin is too nostalgic
so I teach you the orphan voyage
the voyage halted in crystalline drift volatile desire rips the horizon bind yourself to difference without return this is the supreme song of all drunkenness
the eskimo says you're as desirable as a baby seal the bedouin says you're as desirable as a gazelle tattoo the hindu says you're as desirable as symmetry the class warrior says you're as desirable as a grand revolution
what is a "grand revolution"?
a class never destroys another like a sandcastle that's why the revolution is a cannibal it defeats then absorbs the class enemy
in turning against itself it makes history in making history it opens up a double universe
while laughing prepare the act of very great violence
the universe is a chessboard this principle is simple but no one can know all its ins and outs it's better to renounce luck
why is this secret so secret?
when you take a pawn you submit to living in time when you approach living in time madness destroys you
practice while playing the art of the gyre
every stroke of good luck is unjustifiable this principle is simple but the vibration here is immense it's better to cum on top of the class enemy
that's why revolutionary cum can slide down the throat
every stroke of good luck is unjustifiable but why?
nothing equals difference without return nothing stops constant fervor
only the trembling of my lust remains and when I cry I invite you to share ecstasy
stick to simple hardships and cherish the other as you break with yourself to love is to understand better
to understand is to suffer better to suffer better is to never despair
the class warrior keeps in his breast a piece of jade
why don't you eat with your hands anymore?
why aren't flies pestering you anymore?
now that you're someone the simple ways abandon you
who knows how to stop the drifting of meaning understands the hierarchy the one who understands the changing hierarchies acts according to new values
that's why the class warrior doesn't jump like a fickle grasshopper
happily he wounds his own class so practice oblique thinking
truth is a word found in language
I write these simple words to surprise you who possesses language controls violence but the supreme violence exceeds words
make your actions a faltering truth make your truth a lasting critique
if all the class warriors applied their force a strange dew would descend upon all peoples
step forward and stop to think practice the art of the lightning bolt
strike where the luck of the other dazzles you dig the arrow into the heart of its wound and strangle the questions that hound you
destiny chips off like a crystal flower
you don't have a soul you don't have a heart you don't have a body
soul heart body empty and sterile categories if I use the word body it's because I hate the perversion of the soul if I use the word heart it's to test the blood of your thinking
this isn't simple word play meditate on the gyre of double language
how to make a hierarchy of your body?
on your divided body trace a volatile circle the most exact rhythm rejects right and left the most intoxicating symmetry destroys all centers
place your body in the pleasure of the other and regain in your dance the breath of stars
without a center without a right or left will your body be the sovereign orphan?
will you pirouette without losing your balance?
no bee's sting will distract me
meditate upon the bitter proof that I reveal to you
and if this argument doesn't stir the blood in your heart then what can I do for you, poor fool?
renounce your uncontrollable joy
to understand is to challenge four sources of power the power of writing goes from the sign to its disappearance the orthographic trace separates the hand from its root the dance and the animated image overtake your body the song and the music measure out your possibilities
hold to poetic knowledge without creating a fetish
what is "poetic knowledge"?
in writing you will protect thinking in the orthographic trace you will reign over volatile motions in music you will puncture living in time
a dry fig tree absorbs the singing of the stars throw yourself laughing upon the straw of the wind
the quality of the misery comes from the effort that's why great misery is an orphan
in front of your eyes man dies like a swatted fly and you cry like a bubbling fool
the class warrior never cries his solitude is furtive he proudly kisses a cold excess
not one drop of blood merits your fury
you want the wealth of many it's better to destroy the place where all wealth blooms you dream of a strange transformation of the world when will you dare to break from the singlemindedness of your desires?
meditate upon my vibratory discourse because it dislodges the route of origins
today is the awakening of your dead senses but beware of this real pleasure marijuana wine allow your negligence
to smoke when history seems to fail consoles your easy cluelessness, poor fool!
to drink wine with your sleeves rolled up helps a little your phallic leap it's better to swallow the class warrior while dancing
I tell you this to drink in your spirit
stick to the aquatic mode of production
the secret is to remain within the wound that is the world that's why I'm infinitely orphaned capable of destroying myself I break with the class enemy
hardships will never stop my trance-like violence
the border between two countries is invisible that's how I can merge with your language without losing myself
stick to the wild sound of the word "barbarous"
you will know the difference of difference that your whirling jubilation will bring you learn the language of the other so that the language of your veins will be distilled
nothing can surpass the word "barbarous"
turned into a sword to fight sand
confront the rapidity of my language and learn
those who stay in one place haven't dared live those who travel without knowledge fall adrift
the rainbow in the sky repeats my wandering and from cloud to cloud my words burn your steps
promise to your barbarity the flash of menace
what makes one people the rival of another?
the rich crawl to money the poor bleed from their bodies
to dominate is to put in play the final weapons to distrust is to tremble from one's own horror to break apart is to take pleasure from one's folly
I reveal this very simple thing to you so that the class war redoubles its fury
sometimes the people rush forward sometimes they slip in ignorance sometimes they change in their disorder sometimes they stick to constant virtues
so I teach you difference without return and I add to your harp a resonant chord I speak of your drunkenness sign after sign I teach you everlasting pleasure
if all oppressed peoples took up arms they would dance proudly on the class enemy
but pride is a word used when talking
don't give in to the agile cruelty of my language at every moment vacillate in the double mirror
the braid that you weave resounds on the vibratory sands
how to defeat the usury of your historical being?
mobile ungraspable you will confront the enemy while timing your breath
in appearing take on the suppleness of the dancing reed
prisoner cast off your personal fears practice the asceticism of non-action
after the torture demystify the torturers
O suicide go back to fight the class enemy or hit the open road always nuance your aggression
because the subject of history is transitory class war requires an orphan movement
because lasting critique dislodges your desires action and knowledge collide and spark
open yourself to a radical divestment
while talking about his wandering an ancient sage said I don't know if the wind pushed me along or whether I pushed the wind
meditate upon this crystalline point of being
stranger to the center you displace things stranger to origins you place value in the return be it eternal
and so I walk with my head bowed and so I wander a winged murderer
whether male or female or androgynous each term carries with it the two others the void that unifies them incites your uncontrollable joy to make love well is to tie together this volatile site to make love well is to paint this void white that's why I talk about making love to love
I heard it said that each one of these terms is sufficient by itself I heard this and I burst out laughing why?
the more we focus on one term the more it shrinks the more we valorize it the less we know ourselves the closer we approach it the less we're our own masters the suppleness of lovemaking resides in the combinatory
the male falls seven times and gets up eight the female half gives herself up and half enjoys herself
those who pivot with suppleness will understand the orientation of the cosmos those who make love with harmony will discover the combinatory
a good male is a quadruped of incense a good female is a vermilion ravine a good androgyne unites the perfume to the jade
an ancient sage said why do you worry about the Immortal Pill when you can drink from the Fountain of Jade?
meditate upon this metaphor while pivoting according to the rhythm of your desired positions
imitating the style of the ancients I disfigure their morality altering their voice I set free origins
the non-origin is at play in the origin imitation requires distance that's why I reject nothing without having chewed some ginger
poor fool who refuses the secret of imitation learn here learn these four principles for reading and unreading a text:
identity of opposites fragility of images music of rhetoric and overdetermining rigor therein lies the frame of the text
in imitating me you discover your difference
this bread is hot this bread is round that's why I eat joyfully
the one who laughs deafens the enemy each laugh makes you sovereign
the warrior doesn't suck his mother's breast nor his father's dick he swallows them
eat this eat that that's the secret of every act of eating
the rain falls in the desert once or twice a year the bedouin gently caresses his camel the supreme departure throbs on the horizon
the rupture of the voyage enlivens difference but why insist upon this?
it's left up to people to teach fasting to their kindred it's up to them to leave origins behind
upon the doorstep of being your solitude quavers
to dance a jig to the rhythm of the universe that's to discover the wisdom of wandering
to kiss the wisdom of wandering that's to open up the body's fertile slope
while leaping learn the gyre of your desire
set free your body quavers wandering your body challenges the class enemy that's why the illness is the oblique doorway of your disorder acupuncture upends class medicine
I heard it said that dream science cures your illness I heard that and I balled my fists
knowledge will never cure your irremediable distemper
every day and every night while breathing swallow your neverending madness that's the secret of every cure
class war moves like a big wave it can go right and left
the class warrior is born of this trembling without origin the class warrior takes sovereign action without false rule the class warrior takes hold of power while decentering it
its force traces out a lasting critique
the low tears down the high the high raises the low that's how authority crumbles
it will eliminate the external fury so fury will devour it from the inside it will neutralize the internal fight so a delirious vacuity will ensue
because power is a continuous sharing its overcoming requires an art of divestment in the exercise of power be a vigilant bystander I tell you this so you can conserve your energy
while pivoting listen to the reason of my song
language of gold language of class this is my first adage knowing more is a class privilege this is my second adage
being a class warrior is also a class virtue
reject all goals while transforming the world this is the extreme secret of all utopias
my sentences are simple my word choice exact the parable of the people inspires my singularity
what makes a writer?
a good writer seduces first poisons second and in the course of writing the writer poisons the writer
what makes a reader?
a good reader absorbs the poison but doesn't die from pleasure the reader creates a purer poison absorbing the spirit of other readers
what makes a book?
a good book obeys the laws of transmigration it has an orphan signature it stands outside of its intimate uncontrollable joys
good writer good reader good book this is still a class virtue
write while clawing at your crystalline voluptuousness
the pure image quavers between two mirrors that which remains plunges into the forgotten pleasure how else to surprise the zither's sound?
nothing will ever fix in place my wandering
before I had to load the wind onto horses now I have to rewrite history
while flying accentuate the shapeshifting of your body
peaceful solitude nostalgic sadness strange sadness I leave it up to vacuity to control their fervor
will someone cross beyond the veil of my hazel eyes?
will an orphan drifter like my dissipation?
will the aquatic vibrate in response to my drunkenness?
from the corner of my eye I see half of the universe
Excerpted from "Class Warrior — Taoist Style"
Copyright © 1976 Abdelkébir Khatibi.
Excerpted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents<P>Introduction<BR>Class Warrior—Taoist Style</P>
What People are Saying About This
“Khatibi’s postcolonial poetics are both experimental and urgently militant; his fusion of Deleuzian nomadism (and even Sufism) resonate with the work of Edmond Jabès. The translation carries across the force of crystalline poetic koans and stands beautifully on its own. In an era witnessing the chasm of inequality yawning ever more widely around the planet and the subsequent throbbing pulses of each new crisis in immigration, this text is a manifesto for those wary of manifestos but also desperate for fighting words.”
“Oscillating playfully between the violence of his early poetic texts and the poised reflections of his mature essays, Class Warrior: Taoist Style offers a rare view of the genesis of Khatibi's oeuvre.”
“This elegant, gripping translation of Abdelkébir Khatibi’s evocative text compels readers to contemplate complicated questions of class, language, love, and identity in poetic terms that sing of the “orphan voyage” and embrace the possibilities of difference.”
"This elegant, gripping translation of Abdelkébir Khatibi's evocative text compels readers to contemplate complicated questions of class, language, love, and identity in poetic terms that sing of the "orphan voyage" and embrace the possibilities of difference." Alison Rice, author of Time Signatures: Contextualizing Contemporary Francophone Autobiographical Writing from the Maghreb
"Khatibi's postcolonial poetics are both experimental and urgently militant; his fusion of Deleuzian nomadism (and even Sufism) resonate with the work of Edmond Jabès. The translation carries across the force of crystalline poetic koans and stands beautifully on its own. In an era witnessing the chasm of inequality yawning ever more widely around the planet and the subsequent throbbing pulses of each new crisis in immigration, this text is a manifesto for those wary of manifestos but also desperate for fighting words."David Fieni, SUNY Oneonta
"Oscillating playfully between the violence of his early poetic texts and the poised reflections of his mature essays, Class Warrior: Taoist Style offers a rare view of the genesis of Khatibi's oeuvre."
Olivia C. Harrison, author of Transcolonial Maghreb: Imagining Palestine in the Era of Decolonization