Saturday, October 31, 2009

His waking coiffure

His waking coiffure
shaped by pillows and static
a cockatoo's crest

Glutton eyes binge on

Glutton eyes binge on
imaginary fillips,
avid to jostle
a brain grown weary trying
to stem their unthinking bloat

Friday, October 30, 2009

Carnival's Valor

Two amorously leaning props,
they duel to woo her,
a far-glowing mistress,
with their neon spins
and flash-bulb reels
that burn untempered torches
against the black-lit night.

The first flings his golden lines,
tracing over-stated claims
to crowned velocities.
The next, more simply,
rolls a sapphire eye
in an unblinking hope
of whirled persuasion.

All the while above,
their cratered princess,
attracted to much more
subtly fired revolutions,
looks down in yellowed yawns,
unimpressed at their boasting
a carnival's valor.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #98: Whee! at Read Write Poem. The challenge was to use a photo prompt (click the link to see the image), which I interpreted in my usual strange way.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My sign of the times

My sign of the times
teetered slowly down the sidewalk
a discounted pizza box
balanced precariously
on her head

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I changed my part

I changed my part
from right to left
not to better my look,
but to skip over
this rut

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Plump-fully fleshed, it sits
to me not unlike
a cloth of sacked potatoes,

though it's so pinkly dripped
and more misshaped
in its stranger bulgings.

This would-be man's clubby arms
and double-stubbly legs
tacked onto a drooping goop

that he eyelessly affords to
flap and flop around,
as a foundling seeking

its comfort's sorting out.
His sweet-meat rolls,
and summery salted stumbles

lead him to the final fall;
a downward folly
lacking its expected thud.

— Francis Scudellari

This poem is another one inspired by a dream. It was, needless to say, a strange and disturbing one, and I've softened it up quite a bit here.

We often bemoan

We often bemoan
fleshed fates we've been dressed without
trying another

Monday, October 26, 2009

My choices fall

My choices fall
in do's small

each splashed no-doubt
kicking out

to carve a did.
Then crooked

of when converge,
timely surge

to push my why.
Blue-tossed I

up on white-capped
and oft-happed

was carried down,
struggling drowns.

now, cleansed by here,
is no mere

Staked in blood-red ire

Staked in blood-red ire
she paints her face ghoulish white
a moody re-vamp

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pulling its blade from stilled flesh

Pulling its blade from stilled flesh
he touches the weeping
tool that bends his once
too-simple faith

Saturday, October 24, 2009

His daily drip of words

His daily drip of words
become a gushing leak,
he shaves the faulty pate,
heads off to nearby shop
fetching, a tarry patch

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coiled care's deadened weight

Coiled care's deadened weight
sliced by tempered hand, soul lifts
cerulean bliss

Choppy blade strokes churn

Choppy blade strokes churn
downward flows from source to mouth
clarity muddied

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back to Belly

I'm finally returning to my short story Belly, which I abandoned early this year after posting the first four chapters. I'm going to start anew with a revised prologue below, and I hope to post at least one chapter a week... but don't hold me to that.

Prologue: A Circular Journey

It starts and ends here: The heavy head of a man, who is perhaps too cleverly named, jumps skyward as if it were tugged by a puppeteer’s unmeaning and graceless twitch.

The man is called Jonas. That’s a variant of Jonah, and this is, after all, a tale of bellies.

The invisible hand behind the tugging is the jostling force of Jonas’s week-linked commuter train. The tethered box in which he’s nestled is the first belly of this narrative, and it carries him halfway along its circular journey. It’s a trek often punctuated by fits, false starts, and sudden stops, and one such regularly irregular interruption pulls Jonas from a dreamless sleep, punching up his ragdoll’s chin to bring him gasping back into its interior.

First to wake are his limpid blue irises, which struggle to emerge between black-lashed lids, straining against the flood of pallid light. His nicely rounded ears, more prominent for the lack of hair surrounding them, rouse next rudely reconnected to crashing waves of cartoonish sounds as the mechanical beast regains its stride. Last to stir are the nostrils of a rather plain nose, which flare to gulp some fueling air then spit back the pungent smell of perspiration, mixed with wet wool.

“What time is it?”

These whispered words, voiced as an aside, cue Jonas’s left arm to lift up, but, so long wedged against the steel wall, it misses its mark. A livelier right hand, eager to assist its fellow player, leaps their lapped divide and massages the deadened flesh. It’s a lovely and successful gesture, and the blood gradually returns, bringing with it pricks of tiny needles.

This first dramatic stumble gotten past, the action proceeds as scripted. The left arm rises dutifully and its opposing hand slides back a pale blue cotton cuff to reveal two silver strips spread like an open scissors attacking the white disk.

“Seven o’clock still, but that can’t be.”

If his eyes and memory don’t betray him, and after the arm-lifting mishap he can’t rule out their collusion, time’s usually steady gait had limped to a halt and then reversed path back to the moment icy winds ushered him onto this round-about. Or, it could be the watch. Jonas taps the glass crystal, but it offers no signs of life.

The rounded square of a window, backed by an early winter morning’s confounding darkness, gives him no clues either to his place in this oft-repeated story’s book.

“It doesn't matter.”

Suspended inanimate within these vibrating walls, Jonas lets the wash of artificial light and heat coax him back to unconsciousness. The troubling city sprawled out below him fades further into the black. His once-sharp calling recedes with it to the indistinct mumble of words spoken long ago, far away, and in a forgotten tongue.

Overcome by sleep’s welcome eraser, Jonas’s shoulders slump and his head nods, their controlling strings severed anew.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Burgundy seed pods

Burgundy seed pods
in honey locust dangle
bumpy lobes curling
anxious for fall's first strong tug
and the peace of raked earth beds

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playful finger smears

Playful finger smears
chalky smiles across gray slates
lifting somber face

Monday, October 19, 2009


In the heat-tricked mirror, he sees
crafty miles creep up with vital intent,
toeing waved lines.

A pair of vultures glide in lean routes,
marking bold exes across the grain
of age-stained charts.

Their sudden runs on scented organs
made with strong swoops to fleshy thresholds
of life's tipping.

He discovers in this scaled calculus
that distance, moist but listing, travels
in taut cycles.

It can't defeat the curse of lifting
unbalanced loads with back pushed against
jaundiced fingers.

Ten peckish tips, waiting for victuals
they smell buried in gusty legends
of cornered maps.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #97 at Read Write Poem. The challenge was to use the "cut-up technique" of picking words at random. I used words from five recent haiku and short poems, so its a cut-up plus a mash-up. The result is pretty abstract.

The world may refuse

The world may refuse
words I toss out, more refuse
atop littered piles
but this trash, offered humbly
is my only true treasure

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Turntable: Regret

This is part two (you can read Part I: Love is here).

By Francis Scudellari

II. Regret

slips through, skipping over hairline scratches
etched by fitful nudges. The crooned once-so

simple and soulful, become fragile when
poised on wound-up platter. Needling him back,

that night their conversation broke to-be,
and was followed with a pause, he stretches

on each wobbly replaying. Then picked up,
he'll tuck it back in a wax-paper sleeve

corner-chopped to stash among discounted
bins of ballads rhyming her without him.

Your opinion

I truly value
your opinion, it's just that
I like mine better

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I hear now my
youth's crickets call
in the chirped hitch
of an overhead fan
or the high-pitch spin
of an idling engine.
The everyday reminds
I may have strayed
nearing too far.

No mere pin-prick

No mere pin-prick
on indigo veil, she hovers.

A wink each night in southern sky
burning through this big city haze
to re-assure me, I'm not
utterly alone.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nostalgia's fluffed sponge

Nostalgia's fluffed sponge
dabs a cracked past's weepy spills
staining as it sops

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back-door alley's soundtrack

Back-door alley's soundtrack:
the one-note songs
of trucks shifting
into reverse
above, an arrhythmic beat
as pigeons take to wing

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

After School

Backed against an unclean slate,
this teacher, much more preacher,
vowelizes her vague threats
with a dry-throated croak: "I'll learn
you both to behave, or else!"

A one-eyed stare sawed in two
shows that she means vehemence,
tying down small-town thrashers
in the straight-jacketed comport
of a well-raised progeny.

Their permafrosted pause firms
the footing for lessoned spells
that had giggled on the brink
of insolent "Chelations"
and its indecent relations.

But this light-bubbling silence
irresistibly explodes
in a "Cosmoramic" spray
of sophomoric rhymes – soapy
language tickling her upturned no's.

"One more outburst ..." and she'll make
twin reprobates rinse away
too-capricious grunts and groans,
exulting in the power
of a well-placed investment:

her overtime, their effort.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #96: spam, spam, spam at Read Write Poem. The fifteen "Wordle" prompts, taken from spam e-mails, are italicized. I used the motif of a spelling lesson to avoid having to write lines that made sense of the words Chelations and Cosmoramic (whose definitions bred more confusion than clarity).

A frustrated sun

A frustrated sun
wishes for hands, to rend clouds
stealing his kisses

Inspirational Bloggers

My friend Jena has just published a new book called "Inspirational Thoughts and Stories of Bloggers from All Over the World" that features one of my pieces. It's a compilation of works by 27 different bloggers and authors hailing, as the title indicates, from around the globe. To read more about this anthology, and to order yourself a copy, visit her GewGaw Writings site. With the quality of its contributors, it's well worth the money.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A dark, bloated cloud

A dark, bloated cloud
caught in lake's bounded mirror
pushes drifting thoughts
to float sinister tiding
shaped as his own swelling corpse

Wooden mask

Wooden mask slipped off
face carved wicked revealing
god's crueler knife

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Turntable: Love Is

This is the first piece of what I plan to be a four-part poem. Unfortunately the next three are still just vaguely shaped at this point. I'll post the remaining pieces here as I finish them, and then the fully assembled work at my main site (FrancisScudellar.Com).

By Francis Scudellari

I. Love is

a two-headed hook, that bobs as she toes
this cunning line. It cuts through the muddy

reverb of a wax-spun groove, swirling round
tar-black to reach the Day-Glo hypnosis

at its center. A trembling voice tucks in
among the hiss and crackling pops. Echoes

found as her left arm floats, extending
a turntable's journey to spiral back

on that jumble of a first rainy day
they met, dripping in the coffee shop's queue.

Halfway up the hill

Halfway up the hill
after many trips, he asks
"why the fuss, Sissy?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

With tender kisses

With tender kisses
her lips blot away, his doubts
spilling from cracked brow

Friday, October 09, 2009

Waking on clear white sands

Waking on clear white sands
teeming with black dots a-scurry
to surround his giant's frame,
it dawns on him Swiftly,
he's read this tale before...

Forgotten glimpses

Fogotten glimpses
bubble up from decay's dream
airy traps catching
roll-back words in filmy shells
lines warped by a fish-eye lens

Thursday, October 08, 2009

East of the Sun

I often try to sing of penciled landscapes
where we two might meet.
My clumsy words hatching crumpled rocks
to top a barren line,
and in between their gaps, thick trunks I sketch,
to sprout bouquets
of vibrant green. But I give these trees too much
life, too much choice,
missing you, they pull up their roots and escape
the page to run

East of the sun,
And west of the moon,
We'll build a dream house
Of love, dear;

down mirrored corridors.
The future and familiar trade steely gaze,
as wooden crowds lead
in fruitful chase, pointing my not-belonging
eyes toward stainless pods;
squat glowing bellies lined with leather laps
where I could slip, nestle
and pillowed watch digits whirl backward,
dialing a piped-in lilt,
my lullaby to a past that trips its way

Near to the sun in the day,
Near to the moon at night;
We'll live in a lovely way dear,
Living on love and pale moonlight.

across black-and-white tiles. Instead I dodge
as I skip-dance through
dozens of mechanical players, lounging
above carved pieces,
hand-painted with perplexing stares. These
salt-and-pepper pawns
I grab and toss shoulder-ward, unsettling
over-recked games not fit
for the fancied fix I place on distant cracked
pedestal. Then, a stray

Just you and I, forever and a day;
Love will not die, we'll keep it that way.

among banqueted queues
of chattering guests, who ivory arrayed
wait beneath vaulted glass,
I see your finery's smile beyond them,
with pen poised atop
my hard-bound tale of tender leaves. The ink
on cream, once-written
you tear, so that together we can fold
papyrus sail boats
homeward pushed by a shared breath's slow unwind

Up among the stars we'll find
A harmony of life, too lovely, too.
East of the sun and west of the moon, dear,
East of the sun and west of the moon.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #95: The poetics of the mash-up, by celebrity poet Matthew Hittinger at Read Write Poem. Of the suggested mash-up techniques, I chose to mix a poem I was working on with the lyrics from a song.

The poem takes as its inspiration an actual dream sequence I had, which was a bit of a mash-up in itself. There was some very sudden scene-shifting, and it included a piped-in recording of "East of the Sun" as sung by Billie Holiday (and those are the lyrics interjected here). I tried my best to make the dreamy bits a lot more coherent, while preserving the metaphorical quality of the experience.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

His close-covered eyes

His close-covered eyes
dodge appointed jabs and thrusts
dawn's glad-jousting sun

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tension curls

Tension curls up on his couch
a triggered comma, waiting
to uncoil with the phone's next
blasted ringing out

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I can't help...

"I can't help but feel"
is a phrase
I can't help but torture,
prying out
that rooted "but"

Or gently stabbing
a daggered comma
in between
its yawning gap

Still, the words
always leave me
feeling helpless

Francis Scudellari

Leaf transformed to fire

Leaf transformed to fire
mimes our slow-burning journey
then falls, exhausted

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bitter-syrup stares

Bitter-syrup stares
he spoons around, milky gray
eyes, wide yet shallow

A demagogue takes

A demagogue takes
world's embrace, while Cassandra
gets an ill-turned back

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Transfixed by pulsing

Transfixed by pulsing
in streams of soft red, he waits
trafficked and blinkered