Technology is Seduction by Ray Ogar

>>> COPYRIGHT 2001

technology is seduction,
like an edifice that warns off while
calling to you at the same time—
it seems something i’ve unwittingly inherited
from the life my father led in the military
and the reconnaissance my grandfather did
for the air force—
and yet i don’t consciously think of the
life i’ve come to live where casual radio signals
cradle me from day to day or
how the computer that sits on my desk sometimes
seems to have more attitude than my worst enemy.

sometimes years will pass before any clue of
personal family history will be dropped.
then dad says, “i worked on missile guidance systems during
the vietnam war—don’t tell anyone.”
grandfather says, “deep in an underground air hangar
the germans had row after row of dark machinery—
some were gutted like steel cattle, others were finely
wrought like tiny phallic tanks—these were the
precursor to the jet engine.”

i usually sit brooding at the dinner table during holidays.
and i seem to sit in the background,
my mind slack and dull
until some hasty scene from world war 2 is reported back
by my grandfather.
he lives it like yesterday.
and i do get excited.
finally he recalls how he used to trade cigarettes for sex
or how his team discovered a top secret german facility
just months before the war ended.
he says einstein would have been shocked.
and he probably was.

later, maybe in the backyard while smoking a cigarette,
dad refers to his past in the army as
if it were encased in ceramic.
delicate looking.
delicate to handle.
and fired to some semblance of security.
he does drop his own hints at times.
he’ll pull me aside near a rotted piece of fence.
it is then he provides me with background information.
a confidential moment perhaps.
he reports on older computers
and stale control surfaces that record and
catalog the details of missile activity
over certain countries that used to be colored red
on any world map.
were these war games i ask?
not necessarily.
and my brow wrinkles.
he remarks in a more than offhand manner on the
true existence of larger, more menacing machines
that seem to double all of our everyday movements.
but he laughs.
a little anxiety?
i can’t tell.
i laugh too.
and it’s then when walking into a room full
of computers that i sometimes hesitate and
realize that my father and grandfather were
there at the early stages of
technology evolving intelligently.
only now it alls seems background
noise until sometime tomorrow.