Sunday, January 31, 2010

Designed to Kill

At first I thought, guns are designed to kill,
killing being their essential purpose,

twitchy triggers and bored barrels anxious
to thrust their loaded charges at something.

If they merely wound, then they fail the task,
albeit at hands a bit too shaky.

That's when those hands and my eye connected.
I saw, so are we — designed for killing:

bipedal stance a leg up on hunting,
with our oft-deadly knack for tool making.

These arms in blood-lusting grip, we follow
where our frothy appetites take us,

but sometimes those trails only lead us back
to ourselves, another kind of preying.


Sun, then moon leave me.
Lacking both vision and dream,
I wither, unbranched.


Patterns in patterns
they refuse to see without
a loan of his eyes

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Still dawdling abed
he watches teak fan blades whip,
air thicken and fold

Needy lips

Needy lips sip, slip
off, the proof of their taking
a glistening tale


Being invisible
has one great advantage:
Whenever you decide
to disappear
no one notices.


The pupil pours tea
from a pewter pot
as the master marks
her languid posture

Friday, January 29, 2010


With excuses dressed
in florid prints, he fends off
their unflinching stares

Not leaving

Not leaving a thing
to chance, he ties together
all life's incidents








Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shy bulbs

Shy bulbs hide their smiles,
cringing till lapsed affections
discover new warmth

Shrewd Cardinal

A shrewd cardinal
conceals his rude-eyed peeping
behind fluid songs

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A hurt-ling, I always hurtle
head first with lips puckered
unpoised by each mazy turn,
the walls smacking my face


it's swept on
synchronous cilia
whipped to spiral through
scummy ponds
and cytoplasmic


Slyly come unglued from
time's straight and sticky flow,
he watches a life spill out
through his many aged eyes

Pyramids of sand

Pyramids of sand
poke noses 'tween grass, hop off
to bathe in the sea

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flash Fiction: False Imprint

He imagines he feels her first.
The slight tap of slender fingertips
to stop the holes only she can see
run down his fluted arm.

Then, tender lines of perhaps
too-thin lips follow along his neck
to shape lyrics from bouncy songs
he heard once, in passing.

Finally, her whole body pulls close
eager to imprint his bare back
with blocky paragraphs that break
his inhibited spell.

All this happens in glancing yet.
They haven't met, but when they do
their story may choose to travel
less conventional paths.

Tied-down paths

Rusted gray cross warns
Tied-down paths to salvation
have been rerouted


An eco-vandal
he wears sandals to brand all
polluters with hushed steps

No Peer

He has no peer,
peering into
the hearts of others
and finding his own
pernicious desires


A dank reasoning
stewed in swampy fumes, hatches
poison slathered tongues

Monday, January 25, 2010

Flash fiction: Stilled life

He pulls the flannel sheet up
all the way over his head,
a purply plaid pretend shroud
very much in need of washing.

"If I can lie this way,"
he whispers, "ever so still, I might
convince Death that long-awaited
visit has come too late."

But, he's not sure how long
he can hold the pose, and then
there's the small problem of his
constant shallow breathing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Night for Day

prospector eyes pick
greedy to mine the sparkling
veins of nightly wealth

star-lit gold hoarded
hoping to barter one day
its priceless kisses

(A two-part haiku for the Haiku Challenge Twitter Prompts: Prospector & Barter)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The unkind art of feeding

You have to feed on something,

they said, or I imagine them
saying, and I do... but I don't
want to feed,
at least not doing it to trade
in visible doubts for a life's

drift between I am, and I'm not...
fed fat by the neatly packaged
clearly drained and cellophane wrapped,
to keep unclean hands bloodlessly
far from mine.

I'm told but I won't hear, We're more
highly evolved
. We think therefore
we are so
discomfited by not knowing...
whether the fed-on think and feel
what we do

when life's last light runs out, taking
with it the green and red that played
over flesh
and bony because... if they do,
it could be, we're feeding on one

That's the unkind art of feeding.


his arms vine round hers
fingers creep green, but hopeful
their love will blossom

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Vine)

Salty treading

Straying boots corrupt
Last patch of pure snow taken
with salty treading

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Corrupt)


Time's a reverie.
Its distance illusive keeps
us longing, un-waked.

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Reverie)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flash fiction: Nook book

There's a tiny nook
behind her double bed
where she keeps small thoughts,
always written out with blue ink
on regular, lined notebook paper.

But the pad is nearly full,
and the nook can't fit another,
so she'll have to be content
re-thinking those same small thoughts
until the tiny gets bigger.


Fool's chicanery:
Make a King see the unwise
keep to their wisdom

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Chicanery)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Elegantly not mindful
of false walls propped up
by maze makers meaning
to keep her, she waltzes through
their tissue-paper sighs.

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Waltz)

Leftover embraces

She wraps herself in the ragged
wool shawl, less for its leaky warmth
than its leftover embraces

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Shawl)


Sun nibbles cold ears
Warmed, she smiles, and I fall in
love too easily

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Nibble)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Building a Rainbow to Caliban, in Seven Steps

1. Red-eyed, not weary, we feed
on the rarefied
aerial leavings of gruntled clouds.

2. An Orange gap carves out when
the gobbling is done,
and strings are strung tight across that lap.

3. These six wires grate full Yellow
hymns into fine crumbs,
sifting down through curious weather.

4. The suppler notes land to Green
and moisten stretched tongues
on mannered ferns eager to praise sing:

5. Of powder Blue complexions,
jays abandoning
spent wings to totter off at twilight,

6. In search of Indigo fins
and shallow pools where
they might paddle up enough courage,

7. To ask the Violet sky
to stay its blushing
hues, so he'll never be wak'd again.

Francis Scudellari

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grey sedation

Damp-cloth clouds whisper
Grey drops to further sedate
a wintering earth

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Sedate)

Rusted drums

Angry tongues of flame
leap from rusted drums, hissing
tales of warm houses

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Drum)


His sloppy theories
always exclude, unhappy
far from right reck'ning

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Exclude)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


A cheerless chill prowls
beneath the blasting wind's howl,
by mere touch dead'ning

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Prowl)

This George

This George, devoted
to flowery words, not swords
could but barely snip
the heads off gold snapdragons

Prior sins

Prior sins over-
look as printed-on petals
are pealed back by flame

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Overlook)


Star lit bits filter down
a sleek black cable
signalling his drooping gaze
to rise up skyward

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Cable)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flash fiction: Chopping blocked

Acting on the impulse to chop
off his too-uncooperative hands,
he finds himself
with a bloody stump,
a dulled ax,
and no clue
how to finish the job.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wiggle worms

You might see a man.
There's just a boy, who puts on
layers of time burying
wiggle worms, once held in hand
He'll run off to show them

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Hand)


disappointed vow
now holds a constant vigil
for its never was

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Vigil)

Twin Stars

Seen through this worn yellow
patch of blanket,
the lamp's coiled bulbs look
miniature, twin stars
pulsing softly
at a galaxy's center.
They ask me to fix it
there, my unfocused stare.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A spam poem...

To: Viagra Pushers
Subject: Just a Thought
Maybe the world needs fewer
blokes sowing their oats,
not more.
Sincerely yours, F


Its significance
lost, he titles his bio
after someone else

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Title)


Even as an adult,
whatever, whenever, wherever
happy accidents roll her way,
she claims them by yelling, "Mine!"

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Mine)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Lately, simple stones have taken on
the heft of enormous boulders.

It could be that our gravity has changed,
or that these rocks are newly made
of a matter with greater density.

I'm ever an enthusiast
for Greek myth, its stories penned far away
in fertile fields of elites bred
from the straying loins of finely flawed gods.

That's what I tell most, but I couldn't
tell you any details about twelve labors,
monsters taken, torn asunder.

Hercules must have shouldered his burdens,
I imagine, froth at the mouth,
drawing on his inner strength to support
the brunt of a weighty world's cares.

Or was that Atlas? The question may be
moot, examining my own thighs.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #109: beg, borrow, steal at Read Write Poem. This was a "wordle" prompt, click on the first link to see the 13 suggested words.


small, dark and gruesome
there was cause to be grateful
at least he wasn't pale

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Dark)

Prankster oak

A prankster oak drops
snow on passersby, catching
spasms of laughter

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Spasm)

Monday, January 11, 2010


at last...

he pours out, his coctions
conned with too-cunning smile
from these gullible tips of wilting

lips impetuously
pushed by a pouting posy.
Its bunched buds weep chartreuse then slink

off into the waited
years of welcoming swallows.
Their needle wings paired with calls pierce

the sky's purple-black bruise,
revealing light, stenciled clues
he sorely needs to fly himself

up to shivering heights.
Once shin-deep in substrata
routes flooding forth from badly zoomed

maps, his questions run
afoul. Ascot-wrapped but choked,
the relentless sinks to unhealthy

altitudes, and he falls
through stained ceiling of acid
nave where his fancy first took off.


Francis Scudellari

(I built this poem using the found words of verification prompts from blogs on which I've left comments recently. Some were whole words, like shiver. Some were near words, like coction. Some were mere gibberish that my mind filled out into words; for example, acinv became acid nave.)


This wretch white-cloaked will
persist till his green queen wakes
to take back her realm

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Persist)

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Filthy hands were wrung
over winter's brash thieving
his sweet, hot water

(For the HaikuChallenge Twitter prompt: Wrung)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

There's math in grapes

There's math in grapes,
and their longing's arc: adding shape
clutched on leafy vines
then divided, into shapeless wine

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Shape)

Too angelic

Words too angelic,
more than diabolic, spur
my squirming torments

(For two HaikuChallenge prompts on Twitter: Diabolic, Torment)

Friday, January 08, 2010

He'll uncork

He'll uncork bottled-up
ships, and watch these friends reach
for open seas, one wish held
as cargo in each

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Cork)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Wen Chang

I wake monastic
to a morning of spare light,
and an itch to be
tetchy lingering from last
night's candle-lit creeps.

A quick rummage through closets
where I keep hidden
pantechnicons of surplus
garments discarded
by near houses of worship,

finds a never-worn
surplice cut to my liking,
and I slip it on
starched and musty white
atop wrinkled blue

jeans. In the hall, I perk up
primula bouquets
laid at feet of ivory
and I ignite
a joss stick, letting its curls

of fragrance implore
the deity to bring down
his leather-bound book
and nobble my stubborn mind
until its ructions

subside. But Wen Chang keeps words
clutched dear to his breast,
and I'll need another means
of making myself
a muggins with romper thoughts

new freed, ever penned
to bounce about. So I head
to the scullery
and peal yellow and red blotched
skins from twelve pippins

to bake in two tarts, bubbling
up brown: One I'll eat,
the second use finally
to coax a musing
from my still stiff friend, Wen Chang.

Francis Scudellari

This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #108: a mechanical approach, by matthew zapruder at Read Write Poem. Matthew outlined a mechanical process he used to create his poem The Elegant Trogon. It involves working through a dictionary to find interesting words. I did the same, moving backward from T through J, but I didn't end up using the chosen words in the order I discovered them. I've linked each to their Wiktionary definitions. In researching "Joss Stick," I happened upon the Chinese God of Literature, Wen Chang (picture above courtesy of Wikimedia user Captmondo), and he proved my guiding spirit throughout.


She chose to chat
of piled-up chattel
mucking their lives, but chastened
and gripped by the cheerless
cold, his teeth could only chatter

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Chat)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


The sun strikes, dropping
its sideways glints to rally
agitated clouds

(For three HaikuChallenge prompts on Twitter: Strike, Sideways, and Agitate)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Her youthful warble
gobbled by ravenous years
fades to garbled hum

(for Poetwist's Twitter prompt: Warble)


Her sigh rends his why
opens dark torrents, she nips
with a crackling glare

(for the Haiku Bones prompt: Electrifying)

And here's an alternate version, which I tweeted and got positive feedback on:

Her sigh rends the sky
followed by wordy torrents
then a crackling glare

Feel free to cast your vote in the comments...

Monday, January 04, 2010

She fingernails

She fingernails
a smiling sketch
on his open palm
so he can catch
her buoyant mood

Past's acquaintance

His story concludes.
Pages slip back, renewing
a past's acquaintance.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cold transgressions

A lone sparrow chirps
of cold transgressions, the wind
it pleads ignorance

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Talia lit

Talia lit
a candied wick,
her annual try
to melt away
the cherry-glazed

but having
no taste for cake
and no fondness
for pie, she drips pink-
blue stings on her

palm, its cracks
brimming with waxy
rivers, to set
a striped and flamed
believing, where
as when

the tremors
go out, she'll wish
for tears to rise
and curled smoke to close
the black eyes of

Francis Scudellari

Drunken moon

The drunken moon, dropped
frosty white into pooled blue
mirrors my image

Friday, January 01, 2010

Gone to cede

Ev'rything old needs
replacing. He leaves, placing
a sign: "Gone to cede."

Smoldering sun

A smoldering Sun
obscured behind clingy clouds
gives Earth a strained wink