Bowerbird #1 (& A Little Re-Introduction)

Last summer I concocted a project in which I curated lines from blogs (and some other random sites) I was reading at the time and turned them into new pieces with strange vectors. Unfortunately, I hosted this project on my Tumblr which proved to be a terrible idea as that medium is really only fit for the quick and flashy (I bet F.T. Marinetti would have loved Tumblrs).

The inspiration behind these pieces—besides my inability to cease reading science blogs—was the Bowerbird (or at least a few species of them). If you don’t know anything about these birds, they are rather spectacular architects who construct—depending on the species—elaborate, well, bowers in order to lure females and mate with them. These aren’t nests at all. They’re literally just big, fancy pieces of bird art that the bird artist uses to demonstrate his awesomeness. I was in a very serious relationship at the time, so I didn’t need to construct my own bower to lure any females, but since that lovely lass dumped my ass, I figured why not give the original pieces a better gallery than the one they previously inhabited.

I’ve recently started work on new pieces, but since they can take a little while to put together, the lag will give me some time to rework the old ones and share them here. Readers should also beware that almost none of my friends bothered to read any of these when I first posted them and only my ex read any of them and before giving up (she said they were perhaps far too dense and she’s no slouch), so I was offered very little in the way of constructive criticism.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read them! You should. And comment. Or send hate mail! Anyway, here’s the first—and arguably worst—one:


You say you are a nameless man. But
the counterintuitive reality of multiple minds
in a single person

is one most people resist
given that they feel themselves
a singular “me.”

For instance, patients
whose brains have been damaged
so that their two hemispheres
cannot communicate with one

another will consistently fabricate
elaborate explanations for why
one isolated hemisphere acted
in a particular way.

And it’s not because there’s anything wrong
with them, but because they were conditioned
to believe that learning is about giving back
the right answer. The effect is especially powerful

if you blink your eyes. As a result, we hear
“dog” and think of nouns
that, in more sober circumstances, would
seem to have nothing in common.

These depressions just smother you.
And yet, students of bird song notice that
certain species at certain moments just go out

on a jazz musician’s jam session,
taking notes from other bird songs
and incorporating them into their own,

singing much more beautifully
than when merely demarcating
a territory. This repetitive, cumulative,
‘continuous dynamic’ painting

process is strikingly similar
to the way patterns in Nature evolve.
Common sense is nothing

but a collection of misconceptions acquired
by age eighteen. We don’t need to ‘stabilize’
on anything: the virtue of this medium is unfettered

diversity. Aristosthenes’s only tools
were sticks, eyes, feet, and brains;
plus a zest for experiment. The basic idea
is to get two spheres and put some electric charge on them.

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