Next time, the resolution will not be televised


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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Among the conquistadors

Photos and text by Teju Cole

foggy park-like area in Savanna, Georgia

In Savannah, a homeless man, quite drunk, came out of the fog. “I am homeless,” he announced. He began to fulminate about the statues in front of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. They were of famous artists, but he took them to be conquistadors. “This one,” he said, pointing to Raphael, “was a mass murderer. And that one over there” — Phidias — “was a child abuser.”

I gave him money. He reached into his coat and handed me a flower.

hand holding flower

Website. Writer, art historian, street photographer, Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College. Born in the US (1975) to Nigerian parents, raised in Nigeria. Lives in Brooklyn. Author of two books, a novella, Every Day is for the Thief, and a novel, Open City. Contributor to the New York Times, Qarrtsiluni, Chimurenga, the New Yorker, Transition, Tin House, A Public Space, etc. Currently at work on a book-length non-fiction narrative of Lagos, and on Small Fates.

The Great Divide

for Bev

In our first river west
of the great divide
in that swift current
I remember the water ouzel
appearing & disappearing

the gay couple standing
outside their camper
who mimed its comic
curtsying on shore

the way my brother
described it walking
among the rounded
stones on the bottom
or flying underwater
wings like oars because
its feet were unwebbed

& after it surfaced
inaudible over the roar of rapids
I remember watching
its beak move & wondering
what that watery solitude
sounded like
from within.

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Misfit

This entry is part 9 of 16 in the series Postcards from a Conquistador

 

Poem:

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

How the other 3/5ths birds

If you’re into birding and/or slightly obscure humor, you won’t want to miss my brother Mark’s account of Christmas Bird Count 2008, just posted in the sadly neglected Plummer’s Hollow blog. The count took place back on the Saturday before Christmas, but Mark’s been too busy playing Scrabble, scarfing cookies, and driving back to Mississippi (1000 miles in one day — I don’t know how he does it) to finish the blog post until now. Here’s how it starts:

On Brush Mountain, Christmas Bird Count — always on a Saturday in mid-December — has normally been bigger than Xmas (the one with Baby Jesus and all that) itself. 2008, the 30th year we have participated in the Juniata Valley Audubon Society’s Culp Count, was no exception. I mean, Christmas itself is OK, what with all the cookies, carols, coffeecake and pagan revelry, but at heart it just isn’t as fun, at least for 3/5ths of the Bonta family, as a day of dawn-to-dusk hardcore birding in any and all weather conditions, followed by a potluck count supper at the Hoyer’s on down the mountain.

Go read the rest.

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Legend

This entry is part 8 of 16 in the series Postcards from a Conquistador

 

Poem: 'Because we appeared to have come from where the ocean meets the sky, the Indians thought we were emissaries of the sun. They'll believe anything, these infidels.'

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Knight

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series Postcards from a Conquistador

 

Poem: 'Grief was the armor I brought with me from Extremadura.'

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Prima materia

This entry is part 6 of 16 in the series Postcards from a Conquistador

 

Poem: 'Before we brought them more specialized tools, they used to make blades and mirrors from the same black stone: blades for killing, mirrors for capturing souls.'

For a larger version of the photo sans poem, see here.

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

The birds

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series Postcards from a Conquistador

 

Poem: 'The forest went halfway to forever. There was a kind of dove so numerous that one flock could darken the sky for a day. It wasn't natural.'

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Ignorance

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Postcards from a Conquistador

 

Poem: 'The locals are so ignorant, they didn't even know that they were poor until we told them. We put them to work turning mountains upside-down. When the mountains are gone we'll make a fortune farming the wind.'

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).