Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hoped-for payoff

Here's the payoff on that tease of a post I did two days back. I tweaked the first stanza, and then took the poem in a slightly different direction than I originally intended. And I finished it in time for New Year's, which I hope will give me many reasons to be resolved.

by Francis Scudellari

I am wedged, ever so un-
comfortably between too
pliable becoming and
a stone-hardened was: Stuck

Through a piggish present, slow-
roasted over lukewarm flames;
Blue, stubby tongues that lick a-
way my black, greasy drips: Sins

He, She, You, Someone counts, in-
dexes with hidden names locked
in musty drawers; dark acts some-
times only intended: Thought

Clouds of form-shifting, milk-
puff fingers that reach, caress
their glassy lid, collect, and
fall dewy dropped back down: Wait

In-pooled, murky hands that palm-
press this thick-boxed bottom till
spidery cracks appear and I
slip out, into: Tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Embracing my unholy side

I discovered this interesting quote attributed to my namesake saint on a religious brochure piled in among the free lit at the local café:
I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.
— St. Francis of Assisi
Then it hit me like the clichéd lightning bolt: Perhaps the problem is that I haven't been unholy enough. I may just need to embark on a lot more sinning before God deems me worthy of becoming his instrument. Everyone loves a reclamation project.

The nice guy act certainly hasn't gotten me very far. It could be time to turn over a new, darker leaf and head into the shadows. I think I now have my New Year's resolution.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Creative limbo, an update

I've got ideas for four different poems jostling for primacy within my head. One, Turn-tables, which I mentioned a couple weeks ago, hasn't developed much further since its initial growth spurt. Part of that is the unfortunate result of holiday and other life distractions.

Two others are still just twinkles in my mind's eye, with no real sense of identity beyond their draft titles. I'm not sure that they'll even make it out alive, but they're trying very hard to push their way through.

And then there's this last one, Purgatory, the idea of which came to me very suddenly this evening. It will probably outpace the others to make it to the light of day first, but I want to let it percolate a little longer. I will leave you with this tease of a first stanza though ...

"I am" wedged, ever so
comfortably between
pliable becoming
a very hardened was

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The song running through my head

Songs often run through my head unprovoked, but as Christmas wraps up for another year I have a particular tune that predictably resurfaces within my synapses for the occasion. It's John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" and it's a song that I wish more people would associate with the holiday.

If you truly honor the religious teachings of the man who lends his name to this holiday — a man who is also known as the "prince of peace" — you should do everything in your power to foster the golden rule that he preached surpassed all of the ten commandments: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

I dedicate this video to the incoming Obama administration, and I pray that they'll heed John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's words ... "War is over, if you want it." It's time for us to wage peace, not war.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Belated, Candied Christmas Wish

It's the day after Christmas, and five days into the latest Doodle Week, but tardy soul that I am, I'm just getting around to recognizing both on this blog. Day Two's theme was Candy Cane, and here's my take on that holiday fixture. I hope everyone who celebrates it out there had a wonderfully festive Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A layered wave

This isn't the best image of it, but I like the drawing itself quite a bit. The name is probably a little misleading, but for me there's something tidal about it. Maybe it's the rippling blue that is intermixed with the harder-edged surfaces. With that said, as always I toss it out to you to better define.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crash course in scurvy prevention

As further proof of the often pathetic state of my life, here I sit on the night before Christmas Eve eating oranges and listening to my iTunes (I do love the Flaming Lips).

The fruit is all I currently have in the fridge, but that's good as I need to make a dent in the large gift basket my mother sent before it spoils. I also had a nice walk around the neighborhood earlier, which is strangely deserted either because of the never-ending snowfall or the holiday.

I have a drawing that I'll post after midnight. I like it a lot, and I spent quite a bit of time layering the colors, so I hope you do too.

Random musing between flakes

My mother likes to remind me occasionally that I was born in the midst of a blizzard. It may not seem such a big deal in the Midwest where I currently reside, but in the DC area they don't happen that often.

As I trudge through the quickly accumulating snow today, I think back to that storm which I've only experienced through re-telling, and find a magical beauty in it. The borrowed memory becomes even more poignant, when I realize how fleeting these moments are.

Within hours (maybe longer considering the city's current budget crisis and cut backs to snow removal), the plows will come by and push the unbroken plain of white into uneven piles stained black, brown and gray by the sprayed salt and belched exhaust.

There's a metaphor hidden in there, which I'll leave you to dig out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Buon compleanno a me: another year in the books

Tomorrow marks the completion of my 45th year breathing this atmosphere. I have every expectation that my 46th ride along the earth's regular solar revolution won't be dull, and if the universe decides to smile (or frown), it may even be fate-full. 

I have a strong hope that circumstances — personal and global — are flowing together in such a way to propel me in a new direction (physically, mentally and spiritually), but then again, I thought the lottery was a sure thing the other day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drowsy inspiration

I'm trying to develop more of a narrative voice in my poems. This one started out from a very simple personal experience ... laying in bed with the covers pulled over my head while music wafted in from the other room. I put that moment into a much different context, and abstracted it from myself by sharing it with a third party.

by Francis Scudellari

Sleep-nestled in
she unfolds too
in-woven tales,
self-spun over-
long ago til
head-to-toe rapt
her mind
swings to-and-fro
up-tethered with
a single strand

The silky pod
floats some-
time jostled by
sing-song voices
snake-tongued sirens
that each day drift
in, try to lure
her out
with their stories
of fabled lands,
distant faces

Yet, warmly tucked
her soothing dreams,
she sleeps on not
eager to join in
worlds, their storybook
readings of love
instead waits for
her own
free-form scenes to
outside unfurl
on painted wing

Monday, December 15, 2008

Clowning around with a governor

This is my perhaps sophomoric attempt to portray my state's now famously clownish Governor. I contributed the cartoon to The Urban Coaster newspaper, which on this week's front page will urge the state legislature to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Mr. Blagojevich.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An odd bit, undeveloped

as a ghost who
passes over,
through barren and
busy worlds, each
footprint too slight,
my outlined frame
too misshapen,
for the tended
masses to not-

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back to blogging

I'm still trying to find the right balance in my use the two personal websites that I'm currently maintaining. This site has gone through a few iterations over the two and a half years it's existed, but I think it's time to return it to its original bloggy nature.

My eponymous site (FrancisScudellari.Com) will become the primary location for my creative endeavours, and I'll amply plug those from here. I'd like to transition Caught In The Stream toward shorter, more prosaic posts with insight into the process of birthing my poems and drawings. Basically, it will be a place where I think aloud. I'll also toss in some seeming non-sequitirs. It may or may not work.

I'm currently working on a poem entitled "Turn-tables: A cylcical movement in four parts" that I hope to have ready in the next few days. A successful outcome is however still in doubt.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stoic pose

This is another in my sereies of winter weather inspired abstract drawings. I'll probably be posting quite a few more the way the season is going here in Chicago.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I was pretty worn out when I drew this. I'm sure that affected the content of the illustration, if not the quality. I'm interested to see the interpretations of it. 

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Gray surfaces

The wintry weather has put me in a gray mood. I think I may continue experimenting with gray-themed drawings for a little while.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Vanishing, LIght

Sometimes I struggle with my writing, and other times the words come together very quickly. This poem came in a quite literal flash of inspiration one morning.

Vanishing, light
By Francis Scudellari

Her face, remembered but,
For this moment, not-named
Features searched, caressed by
My gentle-touched recall

Her smile that beams, knowing
Stares, meant for these eyes,
Where wait, in-part secrets
Of loved not, to explore

Then-with blinking open
Of my dreaming mind
She, so quick, vanishes
Silent to early morn

This feeling, its darkness
Ever dissipating

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Doodled Winter in Passing

Between the holiday, newspapering, and poetry writing, I failed once again to keep up with Doodle Week. I can't let the whole week slip by without contributing at least one drawing, so here's my very quick and simple attempt to capture the season of Winter.