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As your screen dims

Goodbye, my Hard Driven Love

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Goodbye, my Hard Driven Love. Your predecessor's theft left me vulnerable and shaken. Swiped while I innocently left it in the car while joyfully retrieving my vegan sweet potato pie from Georgia Avenue's Soul Vegetarian, the person who was staying with the vehicle was distracted only a moment—long enough to give a few bucks to a man calling himself homeless, though in reality called accomplice. I was possibly more broken by the disregard of the D.C. police than the disappearance itself. The machine was one thing to lose—four months of poems, another.

I didn't wait until dark. At the time we met, Gateway still had stores and a friendly Holstein persona. The air-conditioned chapel of spinning drives, green sheets and silver studs held floor models on café-style chest-high tables as if to say "Come, we will take you to a life of Sunday morning lattés and will-o-the-wisp links."

You were the behemoth. The big, comfy (p)leather bear on the far end of the room. While the others were drawn to wispy, paperback-light machines, I only saw you. Clad in silver, you weighed easily as much as three or four of your compatriots and had a clear, smooth screen nearly larger than the wood-grained dial television I remembered from infanthood.

Twice over, I have typed the letters off your keys I know so well, it doesn't matter that they're now just six rows of identical squares. Together, we have flown over half the planet, crossed the Catskills on a Greyhound, hoofed around Penn Station and the Castro. You've held the music I love in your heart and forgiven the times when in sleep, my bended knee bucked you from the couch.

Even as I type this with your keys, I hear the cries of your power cord slipping away with small yet constant beeps as the icon flips from plug to battery and back again. You no longer recognize the CDs I hand you, a confused error box replacing your once vivacious rip. More often now, you awaken slowly, or not at all. We both know this document I write may very well be our last.

And so, as I thank you, dear one, I also let you go. We wrote five books, though you would see only three find publication in the end. We answered thousands of volunteer work epistles, sent out just as many calls for the active to arise in the name of the oppressed. Stacked atop one another, we wasted weeks browsing photos of cute kittens and playing Law and Order, the video game. Tonight, we write your epitaph, and though I contemplate your successor, I thank you for everything.

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