Sunil Freeman

Thinking of James Wright

Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014

Thinking of James Wright,
Alexandria, Virginia

The ceiling fan might as well be on Quaaludes,
but it’s just right in this second floor bar
of dark wood, old anchors and exposed brick.
The second slow cold Bass tames the heat
into a vague memory of morphine, so the pickup
Irish band wails tunes in a room gone goofy,
suffused with slow motion grace. The fiddler,
grown bold on his third beer, bullshits up a storm.
So the giants got tired of fighting and went
to the corner pub and partied for days . . .
Say, is this a bar?
I think O’Carolan would like
his tunes sent out on this air, centuries later,
where a young girl stares, still,
as if in the presence of Jesus, or Big Bird.
She’s with her parents and older sister.
One day she might write of climbing old wooden stairs
to a room lazy with friendly heat, where hands, feet
and legs fluttered to fiddles, guitar, flutes and pipes;
how she looked out and saw leaves riding the breeze
and the room slowly filled with people who heard music
drifting to the street. Perhaps her poem
will have the words anchors, fiddles, stroll. Watching
the girl absorbing the room like a perfect disciple,

I picture the almost cellular osmosis
on slow capillary streets; from ice cream cone
to book store to coffee shop to gallery to reels
to crabcakes. Afternoons where we all freefloat,
given over to some larger dream, perhaps
to join a small crowd, feet tapping, that sways
into the sweet pain as a man blows
blues harp above a woman’s walking bassline
on the street and all of Old Town
might be a hammock in Minnesota, a hawk overhead.
We are living our lives.


Sunil Freeman is author of one full-length poetry book, That Would Explain the Violinist (Gut Punch Press, 1993) and a chapbook, Surreal Freedom Blues (Argonne Hotel Press, 1999). He has received an individual artist grant in poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Gargoyle, The Delaware Poetry Review, The Delmarva Review, Kiss The Sky: Fiction & Poetry Starring Jimi Hendrix, and Full Moon on K Street: Poems about Washington, DC. To read more by this author: Four Poems, Vol. 1:2, 2000, Wartime Issue, Vol. 7:2, 2006, The Writer's Center, Literary Organizations Issue, Vol. 11:2, 2010.