Monday, July 07, 2008

poem Bill Gates' "Retirement"



Man can multitask
and recognize when one big
one, for him, is done.

The man’s stack is still
very deep. Yeah. Iconhood
alone’s a full-time.

Not to mention his
new to-do: doing good on
a grandiose scale.


Bill: the short form of
billionaire: a shorthand for
envy incarnate.

Kids know him: name a
five-year-old, in the day, knew
what Carnegie wrought.

Or J.P., John D.
Not one learnt their ABCs
on raw pig iron.


Met him. Upon two
occasions. Analyst-packed
rooms. Me: Q. Him: A.

Smart, technical. But that’s par
for this profession.

Has private nervous
tics I’m told, and swears a fair
bit, but so do I.


He’s fifty-two now.
Has held one job since nineteen.
That’s unusual.

Has weathered pressures
uncommon, advancing far
beyond wunderkind.

Put yourself in his
place: Would you still rise early,
check e-mail daily?


As the salesperson
wearies of the pitch, software’s
abstractions grow old.

Real though the money
may be, coding can often
blur into word games.

So it’s no wonder
programmers seek programs a
bit more tangible.


Melinda, for one.
A wife programs you in ways

May make you think of
work less. Retire earlier
than was your habit.

May make you want to
designate her cornerstone
of your foundation.


Dare say he and she
don’t see these as their waning
or remaining days.

Aren’t hunkering down
in their subterranean
Lake Washington lodge.

Decrementing the
dollars and hours from their cache
of Microsoft years.


An open expanse
of marriage is scary: too
much time before us.

Office visits: these
daily separations have
held us together.

The milestones of our
children’s lives, the schedules of
work the world demands.


Can you walk away
from unfinished business and
leave others the mess?

Then dive forever
into the muck of ages
and leave a fresh one?

An execution
plan and platform that, like your
first, will decompose?


William: is your will
writ large? Are your intentions

As we straddle our
respective half-century,
there’s no letting go.

Men still managing
ours. Me: these thoughts. You: still chair
and emeritus.