This is a thing so bodily that it requires it be felt. Indo-Roma writer Scherezade Siobhan’s full length collection, “Father, Husband,” explores through the slightest pricks at the sentence how we build and where we come from and what it means to come from others and to exit ourselves. It feels like philosophy, like lessons lived and not trying to teach but maybe just to retain past within the present.
“You ask – what do you fear most? I mishear fear for
Fire. I spell what as who. I say you. You say nothing.
Years have taught me how to bed a ghost dressed as
Words are placed beside each other in ways new and baffling but not nonsensical; it is not a game or a joke with Siobhan, but actually, truly, an art. There was no way for Siobhan to say what needed to be said without changing the way that we organize words and sentences, without shuffling line breaks and focusing on the teeny tininess of sounds. No other way to accurately recreate, or create what has yet to be created. It is not a blustering of vocabulary words, but a knowledge of the potential of their new bonding.
“I watched us each stain the other; cochineal
verbs biting into the lightweight cotton of a leaf
We ghostwrote the burgundy of each knifekiss
into the journals of paper-thin kneecaps” “I, within this city. you, within me.”Click To Tweet
The simplest lines in terms of diction and syntax tear out meaning and replace it with Siobhan’s context, twisting expectation into shocked relief. If not game or joke, this work is an experiment tested over and over and over until every glimmering thick gloss of body and element sparked in time.
“I, within this city. you, within me.”
It is not a read you fly through in one sitting and then head to the next book on the shelf. It is as heavy as a body, as weighty as the liquid history forced within its skin. Each letter is a cell, each poem maybe an organ, and it is not easy to decipher meaning because it doesn’t feel as if you’re being told a story, but rather that a story is being told, and you’ve happened upon it.
“in this moment he folds her within him
harbours her hells, her skulking disasters.
this, he repeats, is togetherness –
this sweat-salt of regrets
his antidote & bête noir
his clouded eye
waits for a rain
that will softly river
him to her”
You can buy a copy of “Father, Husband” from salò press here.