Our first computer
came in a big box
That looked like a cow
Like a computer inside a cow
A farm computer
I guess it was their marketing thing
It wasn’t like computers Now
It was the computer of Now Then
The name was even futuristic
It was like Christmas ’94.
We also got an Encarta ’95 CD-ROM
A chess game and a golf game and a skiing game
I mostly played the chess game
The CPU was named Ziggurat
In the beginning
I liked Ziggurat
Because on the Beginner level I could win
And Ziggurat explained the openings
There was the Giuoco Piano, the Queen’s Pawn Gambit
The Ruy Lopez, the Fianchetto
I liked the Fianchetto for its dramatic sweeping bishops
You could even occasionally catch Ziggurat off guard on Beginner
Then I felt smarter than the cow computer.
After I few weeks on Beginner I moved right to Grand Master.
Then it was like Ziggurat wasn’t my chess friend anymore
Ziggurat got deadly serious.
Its moves were instant, efficient and it played them with menacing intent.
I never won again.
Soon I switched to the the golf game or searched the Encarta ’95 CD-ROM
I searched Rutherford B. Hayes because my dad’s mom’s like great great-grandmom
Was his First Lady
They called her Lemonade Lucy, I think it was because she hated alcohol.
But then I got bored of Rutherford and my family history
And played the skiing game.
The skiing game started slow and got faster as you slalomed
Down the slope. And you could jump on the jumps and do dumb tricks
Until a big furry monster inevitably gobbled you up
Then that was the end.
Then like a bunch of years went by
Then I was in college and tripping on psilocybin
And I was alone
And I had my head on my pillow
And my head was like exploding onto my pillow, but, like sweetly and softly exploding
And everything was a pale purple
And a pyramid grew out of my brain
And it kept adding levels and levels and
And I knew it was Ziggurat
And I still sucked at chess
And Ziggurat was probably like three moves away from
Gobbling me up
But it was cool because I could just open
And everything would disappear.
Mike Andrelczyk lives with his wife in Pennsylvania. He is the author of a chapbook called “The Iguana Green City & other poems” (Ghost City Press, 2018).