Cal Freeman’s newest collection of poems, Fight Songs, has nothing to do with ‘The Victors’ or ‘Victory for MSU.’ Instead, his poems are about unsung, little-noticed lives, about underdogs, about animals, plants, and nature.
Freeman grew up in Detroit. He won the Devine Poetry Fellowship and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both creative nonfiction and poetry. He joined Stateside to talk about his new collection of poems.
Listen to the full conversation above, or read a poem from Fight Songs below.
A Jeep Wrangler looms
above the pitted lot
of the closed-down Chrysler plant.
Toledo’s emptiness is the one misnomer
that can bring the game birds back
to patchwork green spaces
sutured over post-industrial scars.
Toledo has towering blue spans
that cross the river
and a searing wind through trees
where the Maumee Bay
writhes in its torrent. Toledo
has gulls that cry like puppies
over produce tumbling
from the trucks at weekend market.
Toledo has a listless energy
that staggers through birdsong and hypodermic
needles in botanical gardens;
jackals, bamboo shoots
in the lairs of pandas at the zoo.
Storm doors with rusted handles
stuffed with health insurance offers,
handbills for pizza, epiphanic notes
blown out beneath a greening sky.