Thursday, November 27, 2008

In-colored streams

I struggled a bit with this drawing ... hence the lag in posts over the past week. It's a bit harder for me to deal with complete abstractions. This was very loosely inspired by the line "In colored streams" from my last poem Demented.

A bloggy thanks giving

Honoring the U.S. tradition of giving thanks on this day, I'd like to express my appreciation for all you wonderful folks who regularly read and comment on this blog. The continued interest and very generous feedback have served as a great motivation and inspiration to my odd brand of creativity.

I'd also like to offer a special "thank you" to Jena and Deborah who have given me blog awards recently. From Jena, whose productivity on several blogs (including Gewgaw Writings) and Helium makes me feel like quite the writing slacker, comes the Butterfly Award. From Deborah, who is the motive force behind the Climate of Our Future blog to which I contribute, I received the lovely Lemonade Award.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Temporary dementia

This is the poem I've been working on. It was a bit of a struggle, and I may still revisit it. There's not much biographical in it, other than a few loose-stitched scenes from a recent dream. 

by Francis Scudellari

From a mind's sharp cycling,
His life spun through;
Then reels forward to now
In colored streams;
Faces, at first static,
Thinly sprinkled
Bits of dust, laid afar
Are raised timeless
In eddies' swirl; Gathered
Up; Loose-tear glued
To feature-smoothed spheres, then
By thought storms flung,
Strike thick crystal landscapes;
Punch-out windows:
Perfect round glimpses of
The backing black

Each impact slow-stretches,
Sudden shatters
His scene-cracked mirror; Shards,
Paper-fold hinged,
On jagged wings fly up,
Cutting skyward;
Each fractured flap captured
Stop-frame motion;
Gravity freed, vapor
Tails wag behind;
Their glass-voiced cries echo,
One-note alarm,
Ring present-trapped ears; Pull
Him disordered
To this world; Awoken
For one moment

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sorry for the delay ...

I apologize for the lack of posts this week. I've been hard at work putting together a website for my friends' and my latest venture ... a new community newspaper called The Urban Coaster.

The website is up and running, but the print edition won't debut until next week. Of course, you'll have to live on the far north side of Chicago to get your hands on it (or ask me very, very nicely to send you one). Be sure to check out the "horoscope," which was penned by yours truly and reveals a little different side of my personality.

In the mean time, I'll have a new poem called Demented ready to share in the next day or so ... how's that for a tease.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bled me grey

Sometimes I feel like I need a good blood-letting. Since there are no leaches handy and I'm quite fond of keeping my real blood inside my body, it's much easier to pretend via a drawing. It did help exorcise some self-conjured demons that had infected my soul. Note: Just to be clear, this is in no way meant to endorse or make light of suicide. If it gives that impression, I apologize. I am a strong believer in art as therapy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weightless, I walked

I'm in a bit of a dark mood. Maybe it's the weather, but more likely the pressing on of days too much alike with no clear change in sight. I have a drawing whose title inspired this, and I'll likely post it tomorrow.

Weightless, I walked
By Francis Scudellari
Weightless, I walked
Impatient through
This darkly steep,
Thorn-rapt thicket
With each step, passed
Over careless
A world of wrongs
Un-lived, never
Committed, just
Imagined but
Razor-sharp when
Limned, they bled me
Till ghostly, grey
Leaving, no mark,
Only a faint
Memory of
Pale words spoken
To, for no-one

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Straight to Jasmin's Heart: A guest post

Jasmin Causevic very graciously invited me to write a guest post for his site Jasmin's Heart. I took the opportunity to review the few lessons I've learned about the creative process over the past two years of blogging. The piece is entitled Lost in a Dream Logic.

Here's an excerpt:
I saw more power and beauty in ambiguity than clarity. Rather than trying to control the impulse to create, I had to give in to it. The unconscious mind did a much better job of directing my hand, and my eyes.
Read the full article here

A bit of catching up ...

For those who have yet to check out my new website, it now includes the complete catalog of the poems I've posted here ... numbering a surprising 90 in all. I still cringe a bit when reading through some of the older ones, but I hope that's a good indicator of growth.

I've also added the ability to comment on the site, so there's a degree of interactivity. The web address is FrancisScudellari.Com.

I also wanted to share a photo from my trip to Ohio. It's a group shot of the "Chicago Six" (from left to right: Charles, Katy, Danny, Terry, me and Jim). We'd like to send out a big thank-you to the wonderful folks in Parma and Strongsville who so graciously welcomed us into their homes. We hope to return the favor if you're ever in Chicago.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Toxic mimic

This poem was very loosely inspired by an environmental piece I saw a few months back on the blog Eco-Friendly Life and Toys. The post features a video clip of writer Derrick Jensen discussing the concept of toxic mimics. I highly recommend watching it, especially since I didn't depict the concept very well below.

Toxic mimic
By Francis Scudellari

(Be led …)

To this reed-choked pool
I'm drawn
With liquid murmurs
My face
Reflected, once-clear
Lines warped
By bubbling decay

(Belong …)

On rippled surface
I seem
Closer. With each breath
My lack
Spreads. Circling worries
By weak-willed current

(Believe …)

In the brown-tinged glass
I bend
To watery shade
Twisted black branches
Reach out
For a sighted hope

(Be loved …)

As teary phantom,
I view
This lonely image
All worth
Grown monstrous, over
Time held
In, tightly, my own

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem ... a day late

Yesterday was the Blog Blast for Peace, which I missed despite my best intentions to participate. Inspired by Mimi, the originator of the Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) globes, November 6th was a day in which the desire for peace rippled through the blogosphere.

Never one to let the calendar stand in the way of a good idea, a day late I'm posting this original drawing I did to commemorate the occasion. I call it Terraforming Peace.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

We'll return to our regular programming after this brief political message ...

I'm just back from my trip to help Barack Obama carry Ohio (which he did, in case you didn't see the news), and I wanted to very briefly share a few thoughts on the experience.

Four of my friends and I traveled from the electorally secure city of Chicago to Cleveland, a toss-up territory on the shores of lake Erie. There we met our good friend Katy, who had been helping to organize the campaign in the area for five weeks. A rough-around-the-edges group of guys dubbed the Chicago Boys and the Chicago Crew, we were welcomed enthusiastically and immediately put to work out in the neighborhoods.

It began with a methodical canvassing of suburban Parma to tip the minds of those who hadn't yet decided and to motivate those who had. It ended, in the last few hours before the polls closed, with a mad dash through the streets of an impoverished area of Cleveland to make sure that everyone there had exercised their right to vote.

There are many stories to tell (and I'll gladly share them with anyone who asks me over the next days, weeks, months and years), but no amount of words can adequately capture the whole experience. Most memorable was that shared moment as the large group of local volunteers and staff nervously watched the returns around TVs and computer screens on Tuesday night. First came the news that Pennsylvania had gone to Obama, and shortly after that the giddy announcement that Ohio was also projected in our column. 

As more states were called with the closing of polls in the Midwest, we all began to realize what we had accomplished. I'll never forget the tear-streaked faces mixed in among the smiles as Obama secured the needed 270 electoral votes. Handshakes, hugs and kisses abounded as a tremendous wave of emotion washed over all of us in that office -- a scene that I'm sure was played out in countless places across the nation. 

There was a tinge of sadness that we Chicago Six couldn't be home for the big celebration in Grant Park, but it was more than compensated for with the sheer joy of watching Obama's acceptance speech at a local bar surrounded by a group of committed community organizers (and yes, after much serious dismissing of that occupation at the Republican Convention, there was some vindication here). 

Although Obama's victory is a very big, progressive step for our country and the world, it is in many ways just the first foot forward on our long and very challenging journey together. Amid the many positive memories we bring back with us from Ohio, there are also the bracing ones of naked racism discovered in some homes whose doors were opened to us. It is a reminder that there are still minds stuck in the rut of antiquated ideas, and we need to reach out and pull them into the future.

That said, this election proves that most Americans are tired of the empty ideological debates and the childish name calling. They're sick of the politics of a past where race and religion were used to divide and distract us from the tasks at hand. Beyond its already well-documented historical significance, Obama's victory is the triumph of a politics of pragmatism. We have much to do, and we can no longer afford to shunt those responsibilities onto future generations.

Individually, we need to do the hard work of organizing the communities where we live. Members of a thriving democracy don't wash their hands of their responsibilities after visiting the voting booth every four years. They dirty those hands digging in to make sure that the people we've elected are keeping the promises made to uphold the constitution and protect the public interests. Let's use this moment to come together as a nation to guarantee that this truly is the fulfilment of that long-sought and hard-fought dream of a society where we're all judged based on the content of our character.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gone electioneering

I'll be neglecting this blog for a few days as I depart early in the morning to get out the vote for Obama in Cleveland. Having embarked on my first out-of-state canvassing trip to the Buckeye state earlier this summer, it makes for a tidy ending that my personal 2008 political voyage winds up back in Ohio.

To put us all in a Cleveland state of mind, I'm posting this video of Randy Newman's tribute to the city on the Cuyahoga. There won't be any burning rivers this week, but it could be quite the shining moment in US history nonetheless. We volunteers certainly plan to be "all on fire."