R.I.P., Steve Jobs

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.
O shaman,
O wizard,
O golden son of Zeus and mortal woman, you
defied the gods, stole fire & gave it to mankind.
For this they struck you down.
“One more thing.”
That was your catch phrase.
Or was it the one about putting a dent in the universe?
I like them both, but you have to admit,
“One more thing” is punchier.
Jon Ive says you inspired people
but you could also be difficult at times.
A bit unkind of him, I think.
What genius isn’t difficult?
Picasso was a jerk. So were Tolstoy and Beethoven.
So was Michelangelo, I bet,
though to be honest
I really don’t know anything about Michelangelo
because I missed class on the day we discussed him.
But based on his work I’d bet he was a total dick.
What beauty can ever be created without pain?
What great art has ever been produced without suffering?
And don’t say “Seinfeld” because (a) that wasn’t as easy as it looked
& (b) twenty years later it really hasn’t held up as well as everyone
thought it would, has it.
What you did, however,
now that will be remembered forever.
I don’t mean the products.
The Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad.
Yes, you invented them & yes, we have heard of them
but no, Steve Jobs, your greatest accomplishment
was not some piece of hardware, not some lines of code
not the mouse and the graphical user interface
which let’s face it you really kind of just
borrowed from Xerox PARC & “borrowed” might not be
exactly the right word for what you guys did
but on this day of all days let’s not quibble about word choice.
No, Steve Jobs, your greatest accomplishment
is what you did to us. You gave us joy.
You restored our sense of childlike wonder.
You enabled us to live in a world where
we always believed that something amazing & magical
was just around the corner and that
the future would be better than the past
because in fact, as long as you were alive, it was.
Your name, old friend, is the definition of hope.
Not literally, I mean, not if you look up “hope”
in the dictionary, but you know what I’m trying to say.

And now, with you gone, what happens to us?
Have we reached our peak? Our zenith? Our apogee?
Or some other word that means the highest point
you can reach?
I think maybe we have. Because here’s what I see.
I see America in decline:
a civilization unsure of itself, adrift, confused, puffed up
with phony patriotism, an empire run by number crunchers,
by MBAs & investment bankers, by quick-flippers & angel investors
who make nothing
who build nothing.
You, Steve, flew in the face of that.
You were the one who invented, who created,
who said no, that’s not good enough,
go do it again. Go make it
& stop being such a whiny little bitch
because your kid is in a school play
& and you don’t want to work late.
People call you a visionary. I believe that was literally true.
I believe you had a vision, way back in the early days,
of where everything was headed & once you’d had this vision
you set out to make it real, the way a sculptor sees
a finished statue inside a block of marble
& slowly chips away until everything unnecessary
has been removed & the vision becomes real.

Steve, I’m sorry.
I wrote this lame-ass poem a while ago
because I believed that when this day came
my mind would go blank & I would not be able to write
& all I would want to do would be to go out walking in the woods
alone, by myself, not talking to anyone.
I was right. That’s all I want to do.
In fact that’s where I am right now.
I’m out in the deep woods where there is
no sound except the wind moving through the trees,
shaking the high branches.
All around me the leaves are letting go, drifting to the ground.
I hear my footsteps on the wet path. I hear my breath. I think of nothing.
I do not want to talk or write or sing your praise.
I do not want to cry or mourn.
I will not say that life is pointless or empty without you,
because the truth is, no matter what happens, life is good.
Too short, of course. But always good.
So here in the woods, alone, I make peace with your leaving.
I offer you one last namaste.
I press my hands together & bow to honor the divine inside you.
I pray you will forgive me for going on too long,
& I promise: no more words.
Because words mean nothing.
Words fall short.
Words scatter like dry leaves,
stirred by the wind,
swirling, rising upward,
tangling with each other,
like some incantation gone awry,
unable to bring you back.

24 Responses to “R.I.P., Steve Jobs”

  1. lastangelman

    down my face,
    well done,
    Dan Lyons,
    well done.
    But this
    a setting sun
    but a new dawn
    bright rays
    jutting through
    the clouds
    of our mourning.
    There is
    there is
    there is
    a dream
    as long as there are
    with childlike imaginations
    a demand for excellence
    we will always
    go forward
    to infinity and beyond
    for we are all
    Jobs’ children …

  2. faddah


    best twitter comment i read, that has now been retweeted ad nauseum in a billion iterations, like the power of a thought traveling across the world: three apples changed the world. the first tempted eve. the second fell on sir isaac newton. the third? died yesterday.

  3. Margaret Braveheart Wallace

    Nice job, Dan.
    I was thinking of you yesterday. Thanks for this.

  4. faddah

    here’s another one bouncing ’round the twitterverse i like: “#SteveJobs was born out of wedlock, put up 4 adoption, dropped out of college, then changed the world. What’s ur excuse?”

  5. Louis Bianchi

    Excellent. A fitting tribute from the pretender. The two of you made great reads. Now we can only count on you.

  6. Another Kelly

    Thank you for your Blog. This was the first place I came to remember Steve. It would be nice to hear from Steve from wherever he is now…you know, on that same island with Elvis and Lady Di and Andy Kaufman. Maybe he’s wrestling Andy Kaufman right now.

  7. nancy kelley

    Nothing was funnier than your fakesteve days, because you always set just the right tone. I applauded you then for so perfectly describing the major players and the hilarity of those crazy days, but perhaps hardest of all – for putting the brakes on it exactly when you did. I applaud you now for this entry today.

  8. woz

    Excuse me? “Lost both Steve’s”?

    Nice poem and all, but a footnote at least would have been nice, ya know?

    “Steve Jobs, your greatest accomplishment
    was not some piece of hardware, not some lines of code”

    Correct. Those were my accomplishments which gave birth to the Steve Jobs you’ve come to worship and emulate.

    “Maybe he’s wrestling Andy Kaufman right now.”

    I think Jef Raskin has first dibs.

    Steve was a genius and all, the greatest business visionary and capitalist ever.

    Just don’t forget us “little guys” upon whose shoulders he stood to enabled him to shine as he did, OK?

    Namaste, to all the “other” Steves.

  9. woz


    It was “piers goodhew” who greatly exaggerated my death, not lastangelman.

    Thanks also for the Onion post. I’ve been having to whiff onions to pretend I’m really sad for all the interviews I’ve been doing.

    P.S. – Would it be crass for me to ask Laurene out at the wake? Or should I wait until after the funeral? Thanks.



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