(with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)

Once upon a midnight dreary,
as I programmed, weak and weary,
pondering forgotten codes
and how I used them once before.
Suddenly there came a tapping,
whirling sound and vinyl slapping.
I woke from catatonic napping
to file names scrolling past galore.
The screen turned black and nothing more.
Too distinctly I recall,
I wailed and pounded on the wall
and every picture shook and fell
to lie upon the floor.
Horrified I woed tomorrow,
returning all the files I borrowed,
erased of data, and it followed,
my boss would sure be sore.
I might be jobless ever more.
Presently my soul grew strong.
I could not whimper all night long.
I must reboot this villain
to retry the files once more!
Gently now the disk lamp burned
and quietly the disk now turned,
and how politely I was spurned,
"Your stuff ain't down here anymore".
Only that and nothing more.
Staring at that screen of black
while that screen sat staring back,
I dreamed of things this mortal man
had never dreamed before.
Of mainframes dropped outside to freeze,
of bending keyboards over knees,
of violating CRT"s,
and violating more.
Not to mention being poor.
Open here I flung my brief!
A backup disk would bring relief!
No one would be the wiser
of the goofs I made before!
Veins bulged out from tired eyes.
Finding it took several tries.
Triumphantly withdrew the prize,
then flung it to the floor.
"Updated March of '84".
Doomed! I might have known it!
Found my chair where I had thrown it
and I pushed it through the disks and pictures
strewn about the floor.
Then on the cushion sinking,
I betook myself to thinking
the solution would be drinking
and I headed out the door.
To an all night liquor store.
And that cyclops, it seems fitting,
on my desktop still is sitting
casting light upon the disarray
and drunkard on the floor.
And that screen has all the seeming
of a demon that is dreaming,
and will learn binary screaming
when I'm on my feet once more.
It will eat no files no more

This poem is copyright 1993, 1999 and may be used or reproduced for any non-commercial purpose without further consent