5/8/14

Book Poop In North Beach

There is a rather odd art installation on the Northwest corner of Columbus Avenue in North Beach called "Language of the Birds."


Basically it consists of a large group of books that had been gathering on the corner but a dog came running through and startled them, so they took to flight and at the same time, pooped words all over the sidewalk. They were that scared.


This corner is near my apartment and I need to traverse Columbus to get anywhere, but I try to avoid the book poop as much as possible, as adjectives can be quite slippery and nouns are almost impossible to scrape off the bottom of one's shoes. I hate coming home and getting yelled at by Dorian because I've tracked poetry all over our nice new carpet.

A plaque mounted nearby gives this explanation..


"Historically "The Language Of The Birds" is considered a divine language birds use to communicate with the initiated. Here a flock of books takes off from the plaza to fly the urban gullies of the city. The fluttering pages have left a gentle imprint of words beneath them. These serendipitously configured bits of local literature reveal layers of human culture, nature and consciousness."

Also from metaphorm.org we learn a bit about the book poop words on the sidewalk..

"On closer inspection the fallen words are in English, Italian and Chinese and were selected from the neighborhood’s rich literary history, ranging from the Beats, to SF Renaissance poets and Chinese writers, over 90 authors are represented including Armistead Maupin, Gary Snyder,William T. Vollman, and Jade Snow Wong."

Despite the messy literary sidewalk, "Language of the Birds" is quite clever in that it ties in with such a literary neighborhood, that being North Beach, where beat poets used to hang-out. They were all over the place in the fifties and sixties but most frequently seen at City Lights Booksellers, which is across the street from the book-birds. City Lights even harnesses the sun via solar panels on their roof to power the birds at night. Yes, they light up after dark, and not a taxpayer dime goes into the electricity because the solar panels charge the batteries during the day and keep them lit at night.

So basically, the sun feeds the book-birds that poop words on one of our sidewalks, and they do all of that right across the street from a genuine Banksy, which is graffiti that's held in such high esteem that no one will paint over it because Banksy has become internationally renowned. (NOTE - Actually, Banksy's work has been removed in the past. We hope that doesn't happen here, as we can see this one from our window).


"If at first you don't succeed, call an airstrike"

And to top that off, on yet another corner across from all of this are three strip-clubs that sit next to each other where sexy girls stand out front and invite you in to watch them dance topless after you've admired anarchistic graffiti and slipped on literary poop.


I love this neighborhood.

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