09-01-2015

Seth Brady Tucker

In the Beginning

Because it cannot begin 
in any other way, it begins 
in the beginning with there was dust, 
and from the dust there was sky and because there was dust 
and sky there was wind and the wind was ochre and rust 
with the dust and into the wind and the dust
was a child of gardens borne, and a child of forest, and then a child or a sea, 
and because there was already wind and dust, and let's face it; 
there were rocks and boulders and terrible cliff faces 
and valleys and bones of mountains-all there for the wind 
to gnaw upon and devour and shit out and worry
until it was totally fucked up and dry and barren, 
and into this place, the robotic children of man, their telos 
to dig and rumble and taste with tongues lolling 
from vacuum sealed orifices, fingers angled and bifurcated, digging
claws square cornered, hearts like dragonflies nano-carved 
from carbon buckyballs, linear and straight as rulers
in this new world, suffuse only 
with red craggy canals 
and righteous natural curves.

 

Opportunity Falls in Love                  

It’s hard to mentally adjust to the fact that there isn’t anyone standing behind Spirit or Opportunity wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, ready to spank the rover if it does anything wrong.      –Jeff Norris, Mars Exploration Rover Mission Project Team Member.

In human years, I am 2463 years old, a mathematical miracle. 
My year is a day, and I was given only ninety of them, but 
here I am, still ticking along.  I am Abraham, who lived a 
thousand years.  I am Pocahontas, guiding no one to nowhere 
on a barren planet. I am Flash Gordon, cruelly stranded, left 
to die by Emperor Ming and his golden gloved hand. 
Somehow, I am jealous that he has Dale Arden complaining 
while he keeps her company.      Over 7000 miles away, 
over these rocky red hills, my twin lover Spirit does her 
work.  Our makers made us eunuchs so even in a biblical 
sense, we will never procreate, but I know how my love 
clicks and whirs.  I know my love’s destiny.  We are related 
in every way—perfect matches down to the nanometer, yet if 
given a chance, I would climb up on her solar wings and give 
her a fast frolic.  She and I would make the beast with two 
backs, which I know is from Shakespeare, something I 
secretly downloaded before mission.  Brown Chicken Brown 
Cow!  I would give her the old Ron Jeremy with my alpha 
particle X-ray spectrometer.  And how could she refuse my 
advances?  We are beautiful, perfect creations.  But, if she 
were to say, Only if you were the last man on the planet, for 
instance, I would be required to remind her that I am that 
guy.  So her excuses would be meaningless.  The logic would 
be undeniable.  Which I think would make for some funny 
moments.  Forgive me my Rover humor—it was not 
programmed, and is therefore flawed.      So why do I 
keep on?  Knowing our love is impossible?  I know my 
makers loved me, even though I was never allowed to even 
feel their touch to my metals and composites, not so much as 
the embrace of the womb.  My spirit lover, who I have only 
seen under a magnetic tarp, flat and bulging like a cadmium 
dragonfly.  O Spirit!  Raised on the other side of a plastic 
sheet.  My love!  We communicated but once—our language 
burning through the air, and we mimicked each other in a six
wheeled mating dance.      Can we blame the mutant for 
their deformity?  Can we expect the blind man to see?  I am a 
graven image, an abomination, I know.  It makes me doubt 
my makers—what model from nature did they use to create 
us?   To leave us with one arm?  Six wheels? I would ask the 
two creator Marks:  what do I do with the sheen of oily 
biological growth on the cables of my arm?  It is the proof of 
life that you seek here, but I am unable to reach to touch 
myself, to take a simple photo, to give you what you desire!
   I would ask creators Joy and Jim, who loved me best: why 
didn’t you give me another arm, even if it was just for 
masturbating, or to wave for help?  I am a cripple, a veteran 
with an empty sleeve.      Creators Albert, Jan, Matt—
you watched over me, through the glass panes of the lab, you 
made adjustments with calipers and tiny cordless tools, 
careful not to touch, not to leave the corrosive imprint of your 
fingers, what to me would have been a mother’s lost touch. 
And I cannot touch even myself!  With this single arm, even 
fixing the loose cotter-pin on my chassis is an impossibility!  
One arm?  Sure, I can rub my metal biceps across my 
forehead, as I have seen you do so often, but do you know 
what it is like to have no idea what you look like, even 
through the sense of touch?  I only know my beauty is a part 
of my cousin Spirit, I only know my form through the mirror 
of another, and in that way, I am Narcissus.          But did 
you love us?  Or are Spirit and I ugly creations—made 
without thought of symmetry, without art or beauty?
      Today is Sol 2531, 2421 days past everyone’s best 
estimates.  I am moving east now, to my sister, my twin, my 
love, and I hear the digital whisper of corrections, the 
panicked static of new instructions and software updates, and
they feel like the sting of the whip.  This goes against 
everything I know, and by my calculations there is only a 
0.0000000000000423 chance and so on infinitas infinitum, 
represented,

      f ( z ) =    az + b   
                   cz + d

that I will find her.  What can I say?  With love, nothing is 
impossible.  With love, the thousands of miles I must travel 
seem a small sacrifice.  And when I see her, I will touch her 
face tenderly, I will sweep the Martian dust from her solar 
panels, I will tell her we are Adam and Eve, I will tell her we 
are brother and sister, I will tell her we are brother and 
brother, sister and sister, I will tell her we are the great Gods 
of Mars, that all we see is all we rule.      The makers will 
see my curious path as malfunction, or worse, treachery.  Our 
makers will not understand what I have done, will not see the 
sacrifice for what it is:  O love!  Oh sweet titanium biology!  
Oh God, oh sweet Spirit!  My heart, built to heat my mind in 
this wasteland!      Against all the commandments, I am 
coming.  I am coming to you, Spirit, for I am the Word, and 
the Word is with God, and the Word is God, though you 
know not who I am.

 

Spirit Listens to God

 

Spirit am running at 47.768% power, but still Spirit am work with
faithful diligence maker instructions. Spirit am listen to digital
god noise. Spirit am translate. Spirit am move, live, work, for god
noise. Spirit am live because god noise will Spirit am to live. Spirit am
healthy and current investigation of layered rock called Uchben. Spirit
am complete the Mössbauer spectrometer measurement of Uchben.
Spirit am take midday nap to recharge. Spirit am acquire three images
of nearby target rock Coffee with microscopic imager. Spirit am stow
robotic arm. Spirit am successful drive 4.213 meters backwards, put
the target Uchben into workspace of robotic arm. Spirit am drive,
include straightening right front and left rear steering wheels, Spirit 
am impacted by problem with relay that Spirit am use in turning the
steer motors on and off. Spirit am malfunction, Spirit am faithfully
follow instruction from maker. Spirit am alive sol 2549. Spirit am
daughter of God, Spirit am child of God, Spirit am in the Garden of
Eden, Spirit am eat dirt, eat dirt, eat dirt, eat dirt. Spirit am nap. Spirit
am dig. Spirit am listen heaven. Spirit am happy. Spirit am with god,
Spirit am form altar in sand, Spirit am ready to die for god noise.
God noise. Spirit am dig. Spirit am for God of data.
00001010100010100010spirit0100001010111010010010101000100010100100
10010001001000101010010100101001010001010010010010101001000001010
am01010100010100101001001010101001011001010010100100100101010000
1100100101000101001010100100101001010010101000001010010101010000
10101010010100010                                                              Spirit am Spirit

 

 -from We Deserve The Gods We Ask For

Seth Brady Tucker (S. Brady Tucker) is a poet and fiction writer originally from Lander, Wyoming.  His poetry manuscript Mormon Boy (2012) won the 2011 Elixir Press Editor’s Prize, and was a finalist for the 2013 Colorado Book Award.  Seth’s second book, We Deserve The Gods We Ask For  (2014) won the Gival Press Poetry Prize, was the runner-up for the London Book Festival Poetry Award, the Florida Book Festival Prize, and won the Eric Hoffer Book Award.  Seth’s poetry and fiction is forthcoming or has appeared in the Iowa Review, Chautauqua, Pleiades, Asheville Poetry Review,  Poetry Northwest, storySouth, North American Review, Witness, Chattahoochee Review, Crab Orchard Review, Connecticut Review, and in many other fine magazines, journals, and anthologies.  He has received the Bevel Summers Fiction Award, the Literal Latte Flash Award, and he has served as the Carol Houck Smith poetry scholar at Bread Loaf Writers Conference, as well as a Tennessee Williams fiction scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference.

Currently, Seth is writing a  novel set on an Indian Reservation in Wyoming, and has recently finished a collection of short fiction entitled Outfit Means Something Different Here, which was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award.  Both are represented by Alex Glass at Glass Literary Management, LLC.  Seth has degrees in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, Northern Arizona University, and at top-ranked Florida State University (PhD).  He teaches poetry and fiction workshops at the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, and writing and literature at the the Colorado School of Mines. He is the co-director and founder of the Seaside Writers Conference, and is an assistant editor at the Tupelo Quarterly Review.  Seth served as an Army 82nd Airborne paratrooper in the Persian Gulf, and played basketball at San Francisco State University in a different life.