Author Archives: Dawn Macdonald

Dawn Macdonald

About Dawn Macdonald

Dawn Macdonald lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she was raised off the grid. She holds a degree in applied mathematics and used to know a lot about infinite series. Her poetry has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Literary Review of Canada, Rattle (Poets Respond), and elsewhere.

Manner of Speech

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I wrote a computer program to write haiku. This was in 1994 or thereabouts. I wrote it in PASCAL. Here is its best work:

The taller teacher
enlightens slowly, but this
ignorance consumes.

Or rather not its best work. It had no best work, because I hadn’t written into the program any sort of function for besting. It only had functions for working. The above work is the only work it made that I remember 25 years later.

The other day I was walking down 3rd Avenue and I heard a man say, “It’s about yay big,” which is a thing my father says. “Yay” or “yea”? Or “yae”? I thought of my father but it didn’t occur to me to call him. I actually need to call him for practical purposes to do with a kid and a car but I’ve been putting it off. I don’t like talking on the telephone.

Suppose that I had written a computer program for having telephone conversations. It wouldn’t have to have good ones. It would just have to have ones that followed the rules.

“Hello.”
“Hello.”
“Do you know who this is?”
“No.”
“Me neither.”

art by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier showing a woman's face and computer keyboard

Interfacing by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier