The Obsequious Pen: Siobhan Casey

Siobhan
NEPA based writer, Siobhan Casey

Siobhan Casey is a writer originally from NEPA. She wrote the following about herself and her work:

Siobhan Casey completed her Master’s in Fine Arts at Chatham University in 2011 where she studied Poetry and Creative Nonfiction. She worked as an assistant editor on the graduate publication, The Fourth River: A Journal of Nature and Place Based Writing as well as Assistant Poetry editor for Weave Magazine. Siobhan also spent time as a creative intern on Creative Nonfiction. Her work has been published in Blood Orange Review, Caper Literary Journal, Rougarou, Monongahela Review, and Coal Hill Review. She published a chapbook of poetry, Three Fourths of a Dream in 2016 and presented her work at the Scranton First Friday Arts Festival. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her cat, Zooey.

Siobhan included the following poems: That Time I Met Buddha, Story, Mary Oliver Way, and Ode to Objects that Hold.

That Time I Met Buddha

The stones, they
were hands pressed
hard along my vertebrae. Hot,
they formed straight
lines, rows of fires along my legs.

The woman,
who didn’t claim to be a healer
said that she was born in Hong Kong
and that she was Buddha
that she was a man with power
and wives
in her previous life.

−and when I opened my eyes
I was not the same.

I was pure light, weightless.
The dark was not so dark
and the boats were not so far.

 

Story

The beginning is always improbable: a good hook. You can sense
a seed blowing through the air about to land, anywhere, and turn into
peony or zinnia or, human.

The middle:
all conflict—a bar fight, communal
shunning, disease, or storm after storm on a broken raft.
If the story is good, the conflict
is so much like the one you are living and yet
not so to the naked eye.

It is one you can feel in your breastbone, in your sleep,
and you mention it to your bedmate
the breath knocked out of you each time
you finish a chapter.

When the story finds its end
you are stunned or unsurprised. Either
way you would like to return
to the moment when the seedling fell from the tree

a magical thing at your feet,
and was just about to become.

 

Mary Oliver Way

The world blossoms, whether or not we are ready.

The violets and vines creep without design. The backyards purple into blue, cracked asphalt hot underfoot. To the right: a gym with graffiti-d doors. Painted ice cream cones and a man lifting a barbell, his face rendered in the peripheral. The latest addition: a swan with folded wings who floats like a snowy apparition in the winter.

It’s a short meditation, this path, before it breathes onto the boulevard.
To the left: rows of houses, unkempt gardens and stoops where the neighbors, my neighbors, exchange recipes and slumlord stories. Where grandmothers take care of the children and call them in for supper at six o’clock before mothers and fathers return home from their shifts, feet aching.

I walk this alley often. The cats follow, slinking out of garages if the sun is low enough in the sky.

I am learning, like this, to be soft and rooted. To grow whether or not you are visible, not in defiance but in awe.

 

Ode to Objects that Hold

Julia said I would hear the bagpipes
once it was warm again. And finally
they woke me, the sound clear
on a Saturday morning.

I climbed the fence.
like I would have as a child, my fingernails chipped
from so much living.
A young girl, sixteen, was playing
in Schenley park, under a grove of trees.

I’m not sure how this sound can exist,
holding the opposition
of joy and sorrow together.

Months later
metal feathers hang from my ears
and the only sound I can make out is
sleet on the horses
where the fields shiver.
I want to build
a fire. I want to make blue white sparks
so the horses and I can warm ourselves and keep ourselves safe.

Instead, I walk home
and take comfort from solid names
like shelf and bed and tea-kettle
the things that hold
and do not cave.

 

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