Mormon Boy, by Seth Brady Tucker
"A young man goes to a desert war, somehow returns with body and mind intact, and begins to write poems about his experiences. Will they be raw, brutal, all but impossible to read? Actually, no. Seth Tucker looks into the abyss, but it's a 'pretty abyss,' as one of these poems says, because life rendered with feeling is always beautiful. Tucker embraces his subject but transcends it; a pleasure to read, these poems show poets how great poems are written." --David Kirby
"Can eyeballing Steve Martin kill a person? Is the baptismal font really
for drowning little boys who just don't cut it? Is the trapdoor spider
important? Can a woman's great ass save us? These deeply weird, dark,
at-times-hilarious, war-torn poems, like a mule ride, are:
'unpredictable, exhilarating, uncomfortable, and silly' (I admit it--I
giggled). And yet. When Kafka said: 'A book must be an ice-axe to break
the seas frozen inside our soul,' he had Seth Tucker's Mormon Boy in
mind--for with electrified language, grit and pathos this stunning debut
collection commands love of raw humanity, unhinged from superstition." --Jane Springer
"Seth Tucker takes you on a trip to the outer limits of our time--to Baghdad and back again, and what he sees will leave you stunned but amazed that a human being could be so resilient, so passionate, and so open to the beauty and terror of the world. Here is a true Romantic--as if Keats and Byron had ironed out their differences and decided to take off for parts unknown. This book is an avalanche of images--tender, terrifying, and and rich as the the landscapes they describe." --Barbara Hamby
Seth Brady Tucker holds degrees from San Francisco
State University, Northern Arizona University, and Florida State
University. Seth has been a scholar at the Bread Loaf Writer's
Conference, a collegiate basketball player, and a paratrooper with the
U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. He has been nominated for a number
of awards, including the Pushcart Prize, and his poetry and fiction is
forthcoming or has appeared in the Connecticut Review, Antioch
Review, Indiana Review, Rosebud, North American Review, Witness, Rhino,
Southern Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, among many other journals and anthologies. He lives, writes, and teaches near Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two dogs.
From Mormon Boy by Seth Brady Tucker
Mormon Boy follows the flat print of moon boots in the snow, a collie slobbering and grinning by his side. He steps uncertainly, his arms wind-milling occasionally, the fat pack of his ink stained harness shifting on his thighs with cool sighs of newspaper and rubber bands and bright orange plastic bags. He throws his papers like he skips rocks—quick and tightly spinning to thump loudly on screen doors.
The sun is combing its hair, looking in the mirror, rubbing its fingers over hot teeth, spitting phlegm in the sink of the galaxy. The sun stares into the sink, eyes as red and bloody and hung-over as time, slow to appear for the Mormon Boy and his dog. The sky is up and cheerful already, white and blue and cold—a reverse impression that mirrors the snowy fleets of white as far as the boy can see. His nose is running with the cold and his numb fingers have trouble clutching the sides of the paper harness, but he is unstoppable. He will deliver them all. He is the best paper boy in town—the papers always get delivered and even the huge bang of his throws are tolerated by the sleepy housewives and the humorless farmers with their black coffee.
Sometimes the Mormon Boy cries miserably to himself if the snow is deep and heavy—his legs are short and the snow is high, and sometimes he even gets frustrated enough to kick his beloved black collie in the ribs when he cries, one leg after another raised high and dropped, raised high and dropped, his tears angry white lines on the red of his cheeks. He is dumbfounded by a world that allows a good boy to suffer this hardship. Mormon Boy believes he doesn’t deserves this. His sorrow is huge and wounded and he laments his own terrible plight with the power of time’s children. No one deserves to wade through snow for eighty bucks a month, and him only six years old! and cold! and forced to kick his beloved dog in the ribs! And Mormon Boy will never know that the seven years he walks this route will be the longest tenure with one company he will ever have.
But he is saving! Saving! Saving! when he is not stealing candy from Olson’s Market, and when he is not buying Swedish gummy fish for Robyn (she kisses him!) and Tara (the cutest girl in school!). And he is tithing too, making sure of his place in the baptismal font, where at eight he will be dipped by his solemn father. When the time comes, Mormon boy will wonder: why did he kick the dog, and why did he let Jeffrey touch his dinger, and why does he spit in his baby sister’s milk, and is it bad that he eats his boogers, and does little baby Jesus know he picks and eats every one? On baptism day, he will see the asbestos ceiling tilt, and as the cold water envelopes him, he will wonder if maybe little mister perfect, Kevin Taylor, whom he hates with all his little Mormon Boy might, was right, if maybe the baptismal font is where they drown the little boys who just aren’t cutting it.