Monday Aug 19

freemanCal Freeman was born and raised in West Detroit. He received his BA in Literature from University of Detroit Mercy and his MFA in poetry writing from Bowling Green State University. In 2004 Terrance Hayes selected him for the Devine Poetry Fellowship. His poems have appeared in such journals as Nimrod, Ninth Letter, Folio, Commonweal, The Journal, Drunken Boat, among others. He currently lives in Dearborn, MI with his wife, Sarah, and his stepson, Ethan. He teaches poetry and creative writing at Oakland University.

Outside the Deconstructed Twelve Pack by Cal Freeman

Inside the deconstructed
twelve pack
are one-to-one
pairings, hop with beer, hop
with beer—which is a possibility
for a blinking sign in a saloon window,
a neon suggesting sequence.
Simcoe, Zeus, Hallertau Mittelfruh,
phonemes congealed into
whole words
lifting their referents up from vats.
This is old signage
with a single string to pull
and a single switch for a light
that is only decorative, built
for play, built
for play.  Inside
the deconstructed twelve
pack are five referents with
hop names on labels
so the number of constituent signs
is nearly impossible to count.
Enumerations subject to recombinations
like this make the deconstructed
twelve pack a demon box,
which is why the drinking of it
is so disorderly and smooth;
it is mimetic of what we know
because of the weight of what
it fails to carry.
Beer with hop, beer with hop,
beer with hop, hop with beer
with a single switch
when off is an altogether
different sign; belief
in the difference between off and on
is the only way
meaning can inhere in a saloon window.
It necessitates a profligate taster of wordness,
a Zeus of a semiotician,
an adjectival love—hoppiness,
hoppiness, a mug
sucking syllables, a mug
that believed it was a container
of a vital substance
and will be again, a key fitted to the bottle cap,
the proliferation of bottle caps in milk crates,
the rust trace of bottle caps on macadam,
the dialectical play between full
and empty, the exaggerative quality
of myth.