Cal Freeman

Question 1

There is a globe
somewhere
that doesn’t
remind me
of the tropes

I use
over and over
again –
like some anaemic
artist failing

to find nourishment
in moving on.
What ideas
do you find yourself
repeating in your work?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

There is a globe where
stunted carp float
among ceramic decorations.

Some nights I write
to the worst rock n’ roll
of my mother’s generation.

Songs of dammed eutrophic
pools,
hagiographies of the drowned

in stone-eared
cadences.

– Cal Freeman

Question 2

Fourteen bells ring out for the first place
I could never call a home. At least
Ten held my growth, nurtured my words
and gave me a Kevlar chest.
This place will haunt my dreams at best,
throw me down the well
and insist on a girl with a two ton
fist. Yet all I can see

is the garage to be torn down
and a neighbour who
carries knives like my demon carries
the hearts of other
women. The heart of a daughter who
doesn’t know what
diseases she can pass down to her son.
Whether to screen for some

kidney problems [yes] or the potential
for a psychotic break [maybe].
I want to set myself alight, run through the flower
bed and burn every sorry
excuse for gardening. I want to break
my back on the phone box
and cry secrets to the operator. I want
to write witty lines about suns

and stars and sons. The kintsugi tiled path
is back as a stop gap
for rendezvous disguised as fishing excursions.
I was promised Subbuteo
in Redruth, watched my dad leave to visit his
parents, me in the bedroom
window. The next time I watch him leave will be
in Truro, for someone not

my mum. Why do we mourn those who barely
even care for us?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

I don’t know the names of the flowers
the dirt kept coughing up, but digging
those perennial bulbs from the front of the house
in 2004 was my one failed attempt at destroying
a garden. It isn’t that what crops up despite

being unloved is resilient, nor is it
that our mothers are forlorn.
I’ve given up the belief that I have the agency
to destroy anything.

We used so much plastic
at our last Christmas party, probably
four Hefty bags worth. When I was a child,
my father had a cat named Boccaccio.
An orange cat lingers in his voice to this day,
half-heartedly pawing at apothegms like,

Fathers are only capable of destroying themselves
in the maelstrom of their leaving, or,
In the end every hypochondriac is his own prophet.
The skin around the eyes will swell
with excess bilirubin prior to renal failure.

Redruth coheres just beyond the dormer
of this musty upstairs room (phlox,
huckleberry, cedar), and I, too, have mistaken
the tacit promise of a quaint neighborhood
for the absence of a threat.

– Cal Freeman

Question 3

That halogen moon has shone on a quartet of foxes,
crying for me
to acknowledge them.

trains pass overhead
and my body rattles
as any semblance of humour
I once had is extinguished.

daylight never finds this town,

– How do you write
in perpetual darkness? –

nobody is ever on hand
to grab the people and tell them:
– you made it through the night –
a bohemian canopy shelters it in memories, and it’s
all we have since the
……colours are too vague to recall, leaving only
…….synonyms built from assumptions.

I wish to be reincarnated.

I read Walt Whitman.
I read Charles Bukowski.

I can feel my bones eroding.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

Your quartet of foxes has me thinking
of Ted Hughes and the text
their paw prints make in snow.
It is raining here tonight,
the fields slicked and scabrous.
The thinking totem, the little feral dog
known for sequestering itself against
the day, the riparian draped
in fog, leaves clumped
upon the lair, the gone
transcribing our thoughts
in the ever-dense darkness that hangs
leaves and diaphanous eyes
like berries glassed in dew.
Reading is the act of burrowing
in riverain and emerging
only when the pangs of hunger hit.
I’ve scarred the pages of
Robert Lowell’s Notebook
and lived with the neurasthenic
fasciculations brought on by it.
Don’t trance your rabbit,
a poet told me once while I was
recumbent in the stink of reading,
stink of fox, stink of eutrophic river.
All mammals smell like books.
I don’t know what goes on
in that space between the seasons,
only that the cartilage wears
and certain exercises seem to help.
People in Detroit barrooms think
their clubs are quite exclusive
as they pickle into relics
of a more sequestered time.

– Cal Freeman

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