Early to Bed is Early to Rise, But Do It without Me

by Ray Succre

Dawn light, in which he had learned to expunge his sleep,

courted my old man into coveralls and the boots—

I wore them at times once my young feet reached similar size.


This was his start but never mine, even then.


I did not wake for dawn, but find my sleep too near its approach.

There are moments of night and morning’s first tick

when all the world feels to be my own.

Intersections whose lighting changes for none but myself,

buildings vacant and half-dark,

moth and myself and a cop and the cold, that’s all.

We each nod at one another and move on.


Dawn light my son sees, but not his old man.

Dawn light my wife sees.  She steals my slippers

and he steals my boots when the Sun appears.


I am often thought to be sleeping in,

though I sleep less than those who say it,

not that I usher sleep in as a worthy thing;

the sky at times falls to black and must have you,

preferring you still as an ornament.


At three in the morning you will dream while I try.

You will snore in sheets, curled within or laid out atop them,

beside me for a time before I leave warmth,

go for a walk past the church down the street, return,

and alone revise chapters fourteen through nineteen.

This will seem, beyond your snorts and blanket turns,

in one hundred naked minutes of quiet,

to excel and unguard its gold from me.


I will work and smelt at length until having worn my mind to sleep.

Shortly after, you’ll wake in your window gold

and view me and yawn and slide into my slippers

and leave the room and too soon forget what you have dreamed.


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Writers Bio

Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son.  He has had poems published in Aesthetica, BlazeVOX, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries.  His novels Tatterdemalion (2008) and Amphisbaena (2009), both through Cauliay, are widely available in print.  Other Cruel Things (2009), an online collection of poetry, is available through Differentia Press.  

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