Trying to come grips with the psychology of machines,

Mailer (being Mailer) brought it back to sex—everything and everyone an interface—

a connection—a kiss—a link—but

any moonwalker can tell you how carefully each move must be made, a

balletic transposition, a pirouette in space, how everything must be aligned, perfectly—the
pilot careful not to oversteer or use too much thrust— trusting entropy to do its work, to
dock—the way my mother used to bring the boat in, killing the engine, spinning the wheel
with an offhand, last-second flourish to glide in stern-first toward the moorings, with only a
gentle wake lapping at the dock: the complex mathematics of intuition overcoming distance
and resistance to bring together in

compatible parts—a thing we used to call seduction (Were we ever that innocent?)—
so like

a writer to imagine a world of wants—all the stones intent on the caress of a river,

the crowbar a crack beneath a windowpane, the trigger, pressure, the fist, a chin—a moon, it’s
planet— “Now” become another word for waiting on the surface as your lifeboat orbits
overhead—each stage of the ship, desiring, reaching, aching like an astronaut for home, for
each other—but also, themselves—to be a thing and part of thing at once is to be

conflicted—is to be constantly making

messages and waiting

for translation before they are received, then waiting again—and to wait is to be

locked in an embrace with an unknowable thing—which is maybe why Collins

claimed he never felt lonely through the 27 hours and 14 trips around that rock (I had too much 
to do)—self-contained with containment, within

his capsule, the radio cutting out, kept company only by the beating of his heart, his
own body’s stink, a light the console blinking—isolation as freedom—after all he wasn’t the
one staring up at the sky in faith and trust—like children staring out into a parking lot, an hour 
past the time when their parents were supposed to pick them up—or a parent when their child
is the last one off the bus—in the space before

a rendezvous—when there is only you

and your wanting and how each wanting contains

consequence—any interface must find, must create, space, gaps, points

of contact—must translate, conduct information, energy across

the gap—everything a semicolon, or better, a dash—the Russians could never crack

aaaaait—their N1 splitting at the seams, exploding on the launchpad—I think

of all those early fumbling attempts in the passenger seat of my father’s chevy in the

aaaaaparking lot outside the abandoned Brothers of the Sacred

Heart Catholic School for Boys—and of that light that


and blinks its way each morning outside my office window, along the mountainside,

across the Ohio—

lonely satellite—and I can’t help

but wonder what driver plows through the dark, what kind of person steers what kind

of machine toward where, by when— and why that connection matters— what is the

aaaaapayload—what is the spark

traveling a wire or leaping branch to branch, sky to surface, launchpad

to space—a cup of coffee set between thick thighs, nestled to the groin and

steaming—the engine trembling the surface—and I think of those O Rings and the sequence

aaaaait took, it takes, to blow it all up—a few degrees of cold, the seal compresses, and gas
aaaaaescapes, ignites— then


boom—so like a human, balancing

its wants, clinging for dear life to itself and to others, waiting for it all to come




Joel Peckham JR