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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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CAL FREEMAN

 

 

 

Cal FreemanCal Freeman comes from Detroit, MI. He is the author of the poetry collection, Brother of Leaving. His writing has appeared in many journals including The Paris-American, The Drunken Boat, Berfrois, The Cortland Review, and Birmingham Poetry Review. He is the recipient of the Howard P. Walsh Award for Literature, The Ariel Poetry Prize, and The Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes.) He teaches at Oakland University.

 

 


 

 

 

Etude for an Elegy

 

 

Your fingerpicks and capo

on the settee, a glass of water

and a small capsule

on a time release,

 

the burden of winter

in platelets and bones.

When I heard your dull

thud of chords last night

 

with the mouth harp melody

stringing itself through

“The Night They Drove

Old Dixie Down”

 

I heard chord, quark, and cork,

strings oscillating

on a bridge of chiseled bone,

then thought of something

 

dead, like an empty bottle

or the tines in Tony’s harp.

But who am I to define

a thing as dead?

 

All the good that can be done

is impossible, like this playing,

and help is the shape

that language whittles

 

out of failed intentions.

You told me words

are moody bastards

that have ceased

 

to love us, so I shut

my maudlin mouth.

A bracelet dangles

from your wrist,

 

traveling up your arm,

but the analogy to drugs

ends at the elbow.

I comb your matted hair

 

and curse the old guitar

that makes your fingers bleed

and fools us into thinking

time is stretching out.

 

 

 

©2016 Cal Freeman

 

 

Author Links

 

'Heard Among the Windbreak': poem by Cal Freeman in Canary

Two poems by Cal Freeman in Terrain

'2014': poem by Cal Freeman in One

Three songs by Cal Freeman at the Museum of Americana

 

 

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