New Blood

I have not yet read any of his books,
but I have heard such grand, sweeping praise
for the new blood author, such vast exaltation,
that I no longer have any urge to read him.

I do not need to read his excellent books
because I know you’ll tell me how brilliant they are.

Thank god for his talent; what a scream we have.

I’ll simply assume he is the greatest writer
to have ever scrawled a word, the top-most soul
to have reached the ever steady tier,
and move on with my life.

* * * * *

Ray Succre is an undergraduate currently living on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son.  He has had poems published in Aesthetica, Poets and Artists, 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.

His publications at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Something Bad and Stingy

ell, what do you think?” she asked, serious as boiling water. “Wait, you’re doing it again right now, I can tell.”

The light filtered through the restaurant windows and played across her face, like seaweed undulating on the ocean floor, or maybe more like dolphins swimming in the open sea.

“You asshole,” she hissed. “You’re thinking about the wind or the light, or something.”

Other diners turned to stare with the hypocritical disgust of Roman spectators at a chariot race.

“No,” he finally snapped out of it, like a wasp pulling its way out of flowing amber. “No, I wasn’t.”

“You could tell I wanted to have a serious talk and you started narrating your overblown prose in your head. You’ve been doing that for months.” Her voice was lilting, sonorous like a kestrel in an airplane hangar.

“You were, I want to talk, and you’re daydreaming your way out of the conversation.” Her voice was hurt now, delicate as a hummingbird’s wings.

He picked up his fork like it was a life jacket. “Let’s just eat.”

“You’re never here, in the present.” She spat her words out like a howitzer.

“Of course I’m here, babe,” he said defensive as a lamb. He tried on a fake smile. “You read the new Franzen, yet?”

“God, you’re not even pretending to listen to me.” Disappointment edged into her voice like poisoned honey dripping from a spoon. “Six months, and when I talk about it getting serious you shut down. I can see you figuring out how you’re going to write this scene later, in some fake memoir you’ll never start.”

Her words stung him like, like, like something bad and stingy.

“I’m really into you,” he said lamely.

“No, you’re not. Narrate this: he was as alone as an asshole in the woods.”

She walked out and left him behind to pay the bill.