Cal Freeman

Giacometti’s Heads

In Café du Dôme the waiter’s head
was tumescent and hyperreal,
the street beyond
the plate glass window
a spindled shadow perched
on a sloping bank.
Not that metonym for mind,
but the globe of bone
it’s physiologically impossible
to carry. What he saw:
vegetal skulls screwed
on jagged lines distending
toward the void.
He sculpted the body from bodies
of decomposing plaster,
each new piece a crumbling
maquette of itself.
The heads were chiseled
antonyms of heart,
his muses demimondes
he berated and destroyed.
Most art isn’t art but decoration,
he told Pablo Picasso.
Hands Holding the Void,
breasts thrust before
the guillotine, feet like claws
scrabbling their roost.
The Chariot with no phaeton,
shambolic lines astride a steeple box,
ponderous skull on shoulders
that would fall flat
as a squashed roach
in any other world.
As he watched his own
shadow leash to him
and lead him down
the boulevard
after exiting the cinema
on Montparnasse, he asked
his mute walking companion
Samuel Beckett, In what heart
does maundering
turn to cataclysm? That’s
the desiccated figure
I would make.
Neither thought epiphany
could save them
or believed musculature
could make us real.


About the writer:
Cal Freeman is the author of the book Fight Songs. His writing has appeared in many journals including Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, Terrain.Org, The Journal, The Cortland Review, PANK, Southwest Review, Rattle, and Hippocampus. Freeman is a winner of the Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes) and Passages North‘s Neutrino Prize. His writing has also been nominated many times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His poetry collection Poolside at the Dearborn Inn is forthcoming from R&R Press in 2022. Cal Freeman currently serves as a Writer-In-Residence for Inside Out Literary Arts Detroit.

Image: Paris by Kateryna Bortsova. Print/lithograph. No size specified. By 2019. By permission.