Subject: the pilot post I never made

From: (the tentmaker)
Organization: none to speak of
Date: 14 May 1995 17:39:52 GMT

The Bizarre Song of J. Gatsby Omar

Let us go then, you and me
Where the 'froup is spread across the screen
Like Cobain's thoughts spattered on a wall;
Let us scroll, through certain, half-amusing posts
The neverending roasts
Of AOL trolls written, RE: Kibo
And followups from rec.slang.masturbation:
Threads that fester like a gangrenous infection
Of non-existent reason
To make you edit necessary files. . .
Oh, do not ask, "which is it?"
Let us connect, and make our visit.

On the board the oldbies cringe and pine

The cigarette smoke that sticks in particles to the screen
The hazy fog that sticks in layers to the screen
Reached up into the corners of my room
Hovered about the books that sit unread
Let fall upon its back the ash brushed from my keyboard
Slipped by the candle, made a sudden swirl,
And seeing it was four o'clock in the morning,
Curled once about my head and made me cough.

And indeed, there will be time
For the pungent smoke that stinks up all my clothes,
Congealing in sheets to the monitor;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare replies that quantify the posts that you read:
There will be time to killfile and create,
And time for all the words and nights of fingers
That type and drop a new post in your server;
Time for you and time for me,
And time for a hundred poor decisions
And for a hundred fusions and re-fissions,
Before the rupture of a heart and spleen.

In the room the oldbies cringe and pine,

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and "Do I dare?"
Time to hit Ctrl-Y and quaff dispair
With insecurity about my style and flair
[They will say: "How his posts are all mundane!"]
My expressions tired, my thesis dying slowly in the train
Of logic irrefutable, but asserted with some cool disdain.
[They will say: "But how his pride gives way to flames!"]
Do I dare
Disturb the Not-Cabal?
In a buffer, there is space
For visions and revisions which a keystroke can erase.

For I have read them all already, read them all-
Have read the crossposts, replies, original works;
I have wasted half my life in starts and jerks;
I know the voices silenced with an anvil's fall
Beneath the outcry from another newsgroup.
So how can I not lurk?

And I have read the flames already, read them all-
The regulars that fix you in an ancient anagram,
And when I am formulated and compressed into a bit,
When I am encrypted and encoded in a file
Then what shall I post
To justify the moments of my luser-hood?
And how can I not lurk?

And I have read the stories already, read them all-
Fiction sublime yet filled with ten-cent words
[but on examination, symbolic just to nerds!]
Is it fear of obsolescence
That precludes my thoughts' presence?
Stories that stand solo, or part of larger work.
   And how can I not lurk?
   And what shall I post?

Shall I say, I have sat lonely nights in my smoky room
And watched the fumes that rise out of the ashtray
and beer bottles, coffee cups, and such?

I should have been an unwitting specimen,
Rotting in some X Industries archive.

And the Bobs, the gatherings, they sound so nifty!
Filled with interesting people
Meeting. . .talking. . .or getting laid,
Groping on the floor, somewhere, so far away.
Should I, after all the drinks and snackses*                  *[sic]
Dare to shift the world off of its axis?
But though I have read d.'s truths and tears, tears and tirades,
Though I have seen my prose (grown slightly trite) refuted and shattered;
I am no Vogelite, and here's no great matter:
I have seen the moment of my attribution flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Cavenewt hold my throat, and snicker,
And to make a SSC, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it after all,
After the replies, the followups, the jokes
Among the regulars, among some mail from them to me,
Would it have been worth a smile
To have put away the matter for a while
To have squeezed my emotions into a thread
To move them toward some succinct catharsis
To say, "I am Milton, come from the dead,
Come back to amaze you all, I shall amaze you all"-
If one, replying to something in the thread,
   Should mail: "This is not what we like at all,
   That's not bizarre at all."

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it be worth my while
After the friendships and the gatherings and impromptu trips,
After the beer, after the fights, after the dry emotion that
   lies densely in my core,
And this, and so much more?
It is impossible to post just what I mean!
But if some inspiration threw my thoughts in patterns on the screen:
Would it be worth their smiles
If one, replying to something, or mailing me withal,
And before *plonk*ing me, would say,
   "That is not it at all,
   That is not bizarre at all."

No! I am not Paul Vader, nor was meant to be;
I am an erstwhile lurker, one that will do
to reply to a thread, post an SSC or two,
A JPCA; no doubt a slimy pool
of some genetic waste (or so they say),
Willing, cautious, and still in the way;
Full of much that's pretentious, but can't quite make the play,
at times, indeed, almost a nuisance,
Almost, at times, a fool.

I'm at a loss. . .I'm at a loss. . .
I shall read News with AOL for DOS.

Shall I try to save a file? Will it crash my machine?
I shall depend on helpfiles to understand what's on my screen.
I have seen Homepages linking, each to each.

I do not think any will link to mine.

I have seen them archiving great stuff in droves
Making rec.arts.prose look like a load of drivel,
When the herd seems to post nothing that's not drivel.

We have lingered in the corners of T.B.
By brilliance and insights arduous to deduct
'Til angry 'froupers wake us, and we don't fail-to-suck.

-Omar, the tentmaker
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -              
    "Love is a dunghill. . .and I am the cock that gets on it to crow."


b a c k . . .