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(With another round of apologies to Edgar Poe)

The Icon

Once upon a website sleazy, where I lingered cold and queasy
Over many a violent, prurient page of on-line magazine
As I lurked there, scarcely thinking, suddenly there came the blinking
Of an image brightly winking, twinkling on my iMac screen
“ ’T is some random glitch,” I grumbled, “Nothing’s wrong with my machine
-- Merely garbage on the screen!”

Like a flame the image fluttered -- Seizing then the mouse, I muttered
That my desktop was too cluttered -- So I dragged it to the “Trash”
Wond’ring, vaguely, how I’d sinned -- O, how came there to be this Window
(Icon of a colored Window, in an undulating sash)
Upon my screen? My god! The symbol hopped right back out of the “Trash”
-- Prompting my machine to crash!

Almost since the days of Pac Man, I had been a loyal Mac man
“Why this warrantless attack, man? What’s the point?” I faintly coughed--
“Who’s the joker? Who the hacker? Is the hated Gates thy backer?
Speak! (I’ll grant, thou art no slacker -- Truly, sir, my hat is doffed!)
Shall I quit and switch to software through which no such glitches waft?”
Quoth the icon, “Microsoft.”

Startled now, to find the mic on, I addressed the glowing icon
“Go now, damn you! Get a hike on!” It remained aloof, aloft;
“Demon!” cried I, “Cyber-vampire! Creature of Gates’ Evil Empire!
He who scoffed the fed’ral umpire, and got off with having scoffed!
Was there not an anti-Trust case? Has all Justice gone so soft?”
Quoth the icon, “Microsoft.”

And that cool, unearthly glimmer grows no dimmer, grows no dimmer
Though I’ve checked my iMac primer, though I’ve off’ed -- and on’d -- and off’d
Nay, whate’er the ruse I strike on, I cannot erase the icon
Nor put something else I’d like on--Though, I swear, I’ve tried it oft:
To replace the icon with a crude cartoon of John Ashcroft--
Still it whispers--“Microsoft!”

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All contents © Copyright 2004 Tom Chalkley (Baltimore, Maryland)
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