We are star struck on the edge. A drone operator walks out of a trailer in a desert and smokes a cigarette. The Predator drone looks like a blind whale—the front of the aircraft has a hump, so it is a whale, and my mind attempts to turn everything into a face, and this face has no eyes, so it is blind, but nonetheless its sensors are better than my eyes, or at least, can see what I can never see, delve into other spectra. The drone operator does not see the Predator itself, the predator himself, the Predator is in Afghanistan, the operator in Nevada. We are stars struck on the edge. The difference between my sight and the drone's is even worse than most, because I am colorblind, and so the camera feed from the drone would never even translate into the right sight. While the rifle's sight is on the target, a cardboard cutout of a man with a yellow bullseye where his throat would be, the sergeant at the firing range says look for that yellow halo, then pull the trigger of your M16; aim too low and the halo becomes a dot, aim too high and it disappears altogether—and all day at the firing range it is my search for that yellow halo. Perhaps love is only a hindrance for pulling the trigger on a joystick and launching a Hellfire missile from the wing of a Predator drone, but certainly hate is also not a necessity, nor soon will be touch: they are working on vocal launch commands now, and after that brain waves. The star's edge strikes us. The drone operator drives to his house in the outskirts of Las Vegas, and through the vantage point of his windshield he sees the casino replicas of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids of Giza. The star's edge strokes us. What of desire? The operator is not a lover but like a lover reaches for the target, searches on the screen under other spectra for his object. It is easy to place trailers with humans in one desert to connect via satellite to drones in another desert, there is plenty of room in deserts and plenty of room in the sky. Stars suspended strike. In the crook of the drone operator's finger there was a drop of sweat, right before he pulled the trigger; it is labor after all. Is there no desire in the striking of stars, do they extend out of their own internal reactions? It is easy to fake monuments in the desert emptiness, to, as it were, create a text with no context. In the desert the operator's fatigues blend with the sand and in the suburbs his polo shirt blends with the lawn and he disappears for us. Unmanned, we seem to desert our desire. If I had a drone I would point it to the moon to see how far it would go, not too far before the air becomes too thin, I know.
To read the rest of this piece, purchase issue 27.1 here.