and a crab shack near the Shell station on Telegraph Road.
The polysemy and the lump crab sandwiches are delicious.
The trains in these parts can hobble your commute, and if your inclination
is not to trust lump crab from a shot-and-beer roadhouse,
even a well-reviewed one, I don’t blame you.
I recommend the sandwich though. It’s flavorful and fresh,
and the area won’t suffer for having hosted you.
They’ll never buy into your epiphanies, so don’t pretend to have them.
The moon is not a skiff with your inky spleen in its paren,
and the nearby park is not a closed paren within which
you might make a notation about Tycho Brahe’s bare-eyed observations.
There is a sadness to bisque and beer, which is why I’m suggesting
the crab sandwich, the Zeta Cancri signature sandwich.
They’ll never ask you to Yelp the place either. An old trucker friend
of mine lived upstairs after a bad break-up with his ex.
It’s not much of a story: scotography, x-ray radiography,
a couple of boys were whooping it up, writing out the darkness.
The false ceiling, the dim lights, the wickerwork like bones.
It’s a new year. It’s the ecliptic of oil tankers
in the eyeline of that long glacial plain.
You must keep the big rigs’ occultation in mind and search
your blind spot for what you’ve been
avoiding all this time as you write the Yelp review.
The afternoon’s less dull for the thoughts of stars.
You don’t have to sit here while you eat.
You can take the sandwich to the park and hiss back at the geese,
or do the geese honk? I believe it’s both, and they also shit like dogs,
so maybe it’s best to dine in and ask for a boilermaker.
Listen for whatever beered-up nonsense echoes down the pine
and know there’s a pleasant way of disappearing
in such a place without feeling quite alone.
If you sit upright in the stool, you can watch the bubbles
decamp for foam. It’s a bird’s-eye, not a god’s-eye view
from above the ecliptic line the room can get on you.
The crab is not endemic to this place; it isn’t what you’d call
“To die for,” but as I’ve said elsewhere, it’s very good.
Note-Taking While Listening to Liam Clancy Sing “The Dutchman”
When I take my liver down to the rotten dam,
I mix it up
with Rotterdam and sling misery
like spray along the Zuider Zee.
I blinked a time or two
at the ho-hum ship replica assembled to scale
and loaded in an empty fifth of Cutty Sark.
Spike, Butch, Stretch, John John, Cal
are a few of the names
I’ve lived with.
Whereas the captain of Blinkenship went nod
like belly-up or cod playing possum
on a hook, accordioned and drunk,
pseudonyms aren’t nearly as exculpatory
as one would hope.
An unrequited wave along the docks
isn’t worth this brief
communion with the gulls or should it be
this brief communion with the gulls
(I feed them lint from fustian pockets)
isn’t worth the unrequited wave
along the docks? Whether she believes me
or believes in me, if the body is both
shadow and penumbra, horologe
and geodetic hull, the evening light spills
like paint in turgid water?
Cal Freeman is the author of the books Fight Songs (Eyewear, 2017)and Poolside at the Dearborn Inn (R&R Press, 2022). His writing has appeared in many journals including The Oxford-American, River Styx, Ligeia Magazine, Southword, Passages North, and Hippocampus. He currently serves as Writer-In-Residence with Inside Out Literary Arts Detroit and teaches at Oakland University.