Angry1541 — A Poem about the Commodore 64 Disk Drive and my Alias

 

Our parents would pick us up
from the game guy’s house
after what seemed like hours
in the blue cigarette haze
of his gadget filled basement
flipping through boxes
of black floppy disks
looking at the white labels
with hardly legible names

Bruce Lee: Way of the Exploding Fist
Raid Over Bungeling Bay
Adventure Game Construction Kit
1943: The Battle of Midway

We’d rush in to the house
with Disks, freshly filled
jockeying for the old office chair
and fighting to be the one
the first to load Alter Ego
or Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
my brother, smaller, losing
I’d pull a disk from its jacket
and slip into the drive
flip the switches: drive, computer, monitor
and type the magic words,
a spell, an evocation of our
gate into other worlds:

Load”*”,8,1

And we’d stare, like the witches
at the random red light blinking
on the drive, our bubbling cauldron
our indicator of success
or failure…the latter
accompanied terrifically
with the sound of grinding,
failed whirling, and the final
rhythmic steady red LED pulse of
a load gone awry…
at the whim of our god
the Angry 1541.

 

A note about this poem — the number 1541 is model number for the Commodore 64 disk drive.    I got the idea for the name Angry1541 from an animated gif I saw on a Commodore enthusiast website site — it was a cartoon image of the disk drive with teeth chomping on a disk.  Which is how I remember the drive…it would often get misaligned and not really chew up disks, but would make some really nasty noises and we’d have to realign it with some disk we used for the purpose.  I can’t remember the disk, it was years ago after all.

So that’s the name.

One thought on “Angry1541 — A Poem about the Commodore 64 Disk Drive and my Alias

  1. As I read this, I replaced the floppy disks and computer with my dad’s original Nintendo. He had a ton of games and when my siblings and I would go visit, this was almost the exact scenario. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. That is a very visual poem.

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