the museum of americana

a literary review

A Brief History on Americana — Poetry by Cal Freeman

Isolate a note in the mess you’re carrying.
Scatter it like primrose petals in late May.
Press the heavy silver slide to pedal
steel but soften the attack.
Don’t ask the spring
                    about the bottle-green
storms of summer or the waxy
larvae of the green bottle fly.
Don’t ask how flies store
microcosmic storms in thoraxes
or approximate the pluck
of plectrums with their wings.
Whatever comes has been coming
since before you lit
                    your pretty voice on fire.
Keep track of the seasons lest
late August thicken and take you
                         by the throat
near the back fence
                    where everything once happened:
stolen tools dragged to cool
                         macadam lairs,
reputations ruined in a few short breaths,
narcotics smoked in glass vials
and burnt-out filaments, bottles
passed not because the night is long
or any other excuse
                         that was proffered
while the lonesome music had you
                              in its grip.
What’s that the blue tick has treed?
Answer before the dawn convinces
                         you the day is new
and your salutations serve a purpose.
~ ~ ~

Cal Freeman was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He is the author of the books Brother Of Leaving (Marick Press) and Fight Songs (Eyewear Publishing). His writing has appeared in many journals including New Orleans Review, Passages North, The Journal, Commonweal, Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Review. He is a recipient of The Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes); he has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and creative nonfiction. He regularly reviews collections of poetry for the radio program Stateside on Michigan Public Radio. He currently lives in Dearborn, MI and teaches at Oakland University.