I have it on good authority,
supposedly, that the internet
will not he the death of me.
I have my sincere doubts, and
regardless, it has turned my world
on its head more than a bit.
In high school and college
I knew that a thick envelope
was an acceptance, a thin one
a letter telling me this or that
Ivy League school had a large
number of qualified candidates.
And as a poet, a thin letter was
acceptance, thick a return
of my work to trash or recycle.
Now both worlds are driven by
computer generated emails, and
I know the computer rejecting
my work in a kindly, if grammatically
inaccurate email never understood
the subtlety of my imagery at all.
The phone is again ringing,
and the odds say it is someone
who wants to extend my warranty
on the car I no longer own,
or to lower my credit card interest
though I never carry a balance,
or to help me fix my computer if I
just hand over control to them.
I won’t answer this time, almost
never do unless I know the caller
and want to speak to them,
robocalls, despised as they are
do provide a convenient excuse
not to speak to the long lost friend
who only needs a short term loan,
or the charity always wanting more.
Many want the government to act,
to ban or limit these calls, and I
agree, but be prepared to answer
when I call about the money you promised.
It is incredibly frustrating that no matter how long I spend in discussion with the egret, he will tell me nothing of his life, of what it is like to be able to perch on long legs, and then take glorious flight. The limpkin will speak endlessly on this topic, but he really has nothing to say of any importance. Still, I’m not giving up hope, for a friend said that he had it on good authority from a passing wood stork that the egret is planning to write a tell all book, once he figures out how to use a computer.
The key, he knows is to eliminate the impossible. Once you do that what remains, no matter how improbable must be the truth. Holmes, as it comes out might have been right. Oliver Wendell was, but how can you know when you’ve eliminated all impossibilities? Doyle (Roddy perhaps) would note that improbabilities can look a great deal like impossibilities, but may nevertheless prove to be the truth. We could enlist Watson’s superb mind, but we know just how possessive Gates can be, and it could swing shut on us at any moment.
You set a record today,
five blue screens,
and finally there was
no rebooting, and even the tech
at her desk in Bangalore
could not figure out
the error message
and politely gave up
promising your replacement
won’t have these problems.
There’s a whole new set
of crashes and lockups
waiting in the box
down at Staples,
she didn’t bother to mention.
The screen, a shade of blue you have come to hate,
stares back at you defiantly.
You expected something like this,
though there is never good reason for it.
You check your calendar and clear
the next two days of all non-critical items.
You adjust the chair carefully, for it
will be your home for countless hours,
and you only wish that you could drink
before 5 PM or invoke the “it’s 5 PM somewhere” rule,
but you know your tolerance is limited,
less so in situations such as this,
so you dig in for the long haul.
You know this won’t be the last time
you will face this problem, only the current one,
and you know in the end it will be fine,
so you suppress your anger and frustration
and prepare to do battle, yet again
with the seeming evil demons of Microsoft.
is not the final frontier
of that I’m certain
nor was Debussy right,
though some does live
between the notes,
nor do I want more,
what I have
will suffice. No
space is the damned
key on this keyboard
that sometimes sticks
I laughed at my parents
when they talked about a typewriter
as something of a marvel
when they were so commonplace.
Of course as a boy, half the fun
of helping my father at work
was knowing the mimeo ink
would stain my fingers purple
for a week and even borax
would only render them lilac.
And the wet process copier
with the pink tissue paper sheets
seemed utterly remarkable.
10 rem Then I found the computer
20 rem and I could make a machine
30 rem actually do my will
return without gosub.
Now it seems so archaic as I look
back at my own life
all the while transferring
180 jazz albums
to the thumb drive
I will put in the car.
What would Stanley Turrentine
have thought of all this.
He says he has discovered that the best
way for him to write is to ignore the pen
totally, to just let it lie on the desk doing nothing.
It should be in close proximity to paper,
for pens need that to complete their existence
or at least to give them purpose to go on.
He also needs to avoid the siren’s call
the emanates from the keyboard
far too frequently for his taste.
No one is willing to believe him, “Just write,”
they say, but he knows that words
are merely that, and meaningless without
the context only a reader can provide,
even if that reader is he, and so he stares
at the pen and page and in time
he becomes aware that the pen is ready
and then, and only then, does he allow it
to move his hand across the paper.