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Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh

by Gary Snyder
Because it buzzes while printing like a planer in a woodshop
Because it jumps like a skittish horse
and sometimes throws me
Because it is pokey when cold
Because plastic is a sad, strong material
that is charming to rodents
Because it is flighty
Because my mind flies into it through my fingers
Because it leaps forward and backward
is an endless sniffer and searcher, is my faithful hound
Because its keys click like hail on a rock
& it winks when it goes out,
& puts word-heaps in hoards for me, dozens of pockets of
gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods
strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;
And I lose them and find them,
Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly layed out
and then highlighted, & vanished in a flash at
"delete" so it teaches
of impermanence and pain;
Because my wife likes it,
& because my computer and me are both brief
in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,
Because I have let it move in with me
right inside the tent
And it goes with me out every morning
We fill up our baskets, get back home,
Feel rich, relax, I throw it a scrap and it hums.

This poem was originally submitted to the Turn-Around Times, the predecessor of the IT Times, and printed in March of 1988. At the time, Gary Snyder reported that he had a Macintosh Plus with a 20 Mb hard disk. Today, Snyder uses a Mac Powerbook 1400cs, with 750 Mb. We reprint this poem with his permission.

Gary Snyder joined the faculty at UC Davis in the spring of 1986. Last year Snyder was awarded Yale University's Bollingen Prize in Poetry. Prior recipients include Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren, and Wallace Stevens. Snyder is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for his collection of poems entitled Turtle Island [New Directions Press: 1974].