Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.
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.