December 4-10, 2017: Poetry from Sheikha A. and Cal Freeman

Sheikha A. and Cal Freeman

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Sheikha A.

Bio (auto)

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Over 300 of her poems have been published in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She has work upcoming in/with Poetry Repairs, Poetry Bay, Dreams and Nightmares, Illumen with most recent publications in/with Praxis, New Mystics, Peacock Journal, Futures Trading, Atlantean Publishing, Allegro, Cruel Garters and elsewhere. Her book Spaced [Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013] is available on kindle. With having had her poems recited at two separate events in Greece, she looks for wider venues to connect with people through her poetry. More about her can be found at

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Sheikha A. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Linguistics, and the need for expression
brought us together – for a while.
We argued about the chattering
of sparrows, their tales of distraction,
never quite wanting to let the other
have the last word. We were a series
on a code that was deliberately left
undefined – silence too noisy in the quiet –
too awkward, too pure, too raw, too honest.
There is a term for couples like us: never,
for holistic, bohemian, curious, detachable
became too familiar. The act of not being
made for one another yet losing nothing
is the part about wings we never argued,
spoke of logic like truth pulled from a hat,
believed in fairy tales, yet spoke none
of the never we could have been.

Cal Freeman

Bio (auto)

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.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Cal Freeman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


a hymn for Kevin Matthews,
killed by an off-duty policeman
December 23rd, 2015

Our town is a sclerotic beast
whose sewer throats disgorge
the epithets of Orville Hubbard
and Henry Ford, where police
give chase beyond duty
or jurisdiction and kill
the unarmed suspects
of misdemeanor larceny.
It squeezes the slow
river guts to rapids.
Its nerves are shot;
it shakes the haws
and sugar maples
then drinks them under.
I love this place
as the tholepins creak
and we take turns rowing
down Shenandoah Street,
erstwhile floodplain. 
Its makeshift cinderblock
levee spined through Spinks loam,
its concrete brow ringed
by a high-water mark
nobody thought this run-
off could surpass.
To love any city is violence.
The once-ambling body
snakes and hemorrhages;
thousands of muscles flicker
as it runs.  Did I ever tell you
the story about the night
Henry Ford died?
The Rouge overran its banks;
his powerhouse flooded;
his brain bled into itself
like the outmoded machine
that it was, eagle-shaped
blood flecks congealed
in his hippocampus grooves
like posterity’s dark prizes
as his corpse blued
and stiffened, no light
in his bedroom except
a candle and a wood fire.
I feel like I am always
telling you this story.
Do you also imagine
these blocks in leagues
of water, our bungalows
hurtling like failed arks
toward a new, unmapped sea,
until our brief existence
is a pseudo-history, a lesser
Atlantis nobody will search for? 
We live and die in the riverain
which is the property
of everyone and no one. 
It periodically lifts its haunches
from alluvium to chase us
off.  But it makes sense
that we call our favorite places
haunts, given what we know
of geology and murder. 
You were killed
behind Cardoni’s Bar
the night that by virtue
of my skin I stood unbothered
on the banks and watched
the water rise,
trying to remind myself
that it was winter.



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