I SAW A CROW, ORCA WAS I, Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver 2020

photos by Graeme Wahn


rogue wave,
wide as night
peels back fear's attraction.
study finds:
professors of reflexology
unblinking on the weekends.
mounting certain
red-letter exit,
heads and tails
pinned by
dyslexic laser pointer

bias-cut apologies
to follow
at the heckler's ball.
the dress code is
‘drag and drop’.
the grit of
that rising pitch!
we stage the
morphologies of leaving
by skittering across
the tops
of fermented fruit

patient assemblies
taxi, shaping
the shoreline jagged.
stray centers
are the tourist's
in the house of pining,
the invention of
the return gaze
yields magnum eros,
eros set wide
on trestles,
wrestling for keep
in the multiplex


I was on the subway today and noticed ads for a(nother) dating app that marketed its own
obsolescence. What terrible timing. My timing is all off today; late train, late bloomer, late empire. I’m still
waiting to step off the L train someday onto serial monogamy. That’s in the outer boroughs I think.

They seemed to know which way they're going, those dinosaurs. The choreography is somewhere in there, each
step and thrust, deep in the bone. And there, next to the smaller toes, was always extinction. They have an instinct for it; they know when it’s time to go, time to exit with lumbering grace and goodwill. An innate style, a deathly savoir faire, many millenia of moves like Jagger; high kicking to an ever fainter rhythm, until it’s silent. The way to disappear.

You could say the Dodo fell into a bad scene. It mistook its predators for friends. But we know them full well. We gently lay our heads in their laps as they finish up the last chapter of this epic burn book.

At what point do creatures no longer constitute a genre? How few must remain? Ten? 2? Once a herd, now they’re each just one possibility pushing weakly into existence.

The endgame built into the logic of every series. I figure the only way to avoid extinction is to enact it ourselves, to end the species and start some new ones.

As unique members of our own sui generis.

You see, their heads are already there; in that obscure space called ‘after the species’. Their eyes can see it already. It's beautiful. They shuffle off, faintly humming. All together now–

I have every intention of personally embodying species extinction, were her words as she left the room, with
her saxophone that no longer wanted to be a saxophone, a serial object that hates its series, like a misanthrope. It is singing off key, has made some new holes, a botched surgery, all kinds of damage. A clumsy effort, but anything to
make a new sound. It was her position, in her parting utterance, to protect this new thing, and whatever obscure
future it might become.

She gets on the L train, going back the way we came. The sun is setting and the train car is glowing like a
microwave. Some men notice the saxophone and beg her to play them something. Please play us something,
baby. She says I don’t know what to play and they say Happy Birthday and she says Is it really your birthday
and they say Sure. She starts to play and the former sax squeals out a tortured sound, like if you chained
happy birthday to a radiator and beat the melody out of it. Too nervous to stop she repeats the
song again. She plays it five or six times, no two ever alike, before the men disappear onto a
dark train platform, the sun having set, in the obscure minutes before the
street lights turn on.