i came back because

the time between when i last put something here and now has been full. i've been writing and making shit but none of it belongs here. this is a space for rawness and untangling and weirdness and unfinished truth, nothing whole.

right now, i am sitting in grey light with a window open, sweating into my black leggings and shirt.

my friend lynn is being moved to hospice, having just been taken off intubation. i don't know if she will live through the night or even the next few minutes. i am listening to distant cars and my own breath and i am feeling my spine and hips against this chair and i am here.

i am sitting and i am feeling and i am going to type and i am not going to stop because that is what i can do right now.


two years ago, i was at a table eating lunch with my mother.  she pulled a necklace out of her purse and began to put it on. as her hands reached behind her neck, she paused and said, "how strange that i can fasten this necklace behind me without seeing the clasp." 


six days ago, i was at a performance in greenpoint, sitting in the front row. dancers in wedding dresses were dropping in front of me and suddenly my hands were shaking and my brain went, run, and my heart went, where are you, and my body went, where am i.

i left because traumatic grief.

i left because complex ptsd.

i left because i've been trapped before.

i left because i could, because nobody could stop me.

i left because.

i left because.

i went home because.

i came back into my body because.

i came back because.

i came back because i could.

i came back.


two weeks ago, i was sitting by lynn's hospital bed listening to a ventilator keep her alive. its rhythmic rush of air and small, high pitched squeak on every exhale.

her eyes were closed and i was reading poems to her aloud. the sun was setting in the window. soft beeps of machinery reached us from nearby corners of the medical intensive care unit. 

she opened her eyes. with her hand, she fingerspelled in american sign language to me,

"this one breaks me. beautiful."

"i know," i replied.

"it's —," she signed. she stopped.


two nights ago, i saw claudia rankine and dionne brand in conversation. claudia rankine showed a short film containing clips of police brutality against black people. 

my heart raced. i glued myself to my seat and i glued my eyes to the screen and i watched and i felt my complicity and i held the deep evil of my whiteness. i listened to these brilliant humans speak.

whiteness is death. whiteness is murder. whiteness extends so far beyond metaphor and back into its utterly brutal self. 

these facts are mine to hold, my work to do, in every moment. the work is endless and there is nothing commendable about it, only necessity of action that will never be enough.


what does fear feel like in your body? can you feel it in this moment?

what does anger feel like in your body? can you feel it in this moment?

what does grief feel like in your body? can you feel it in this moment?

what does beauty feel like in your body? can you feel it in this moment?


the writing i've done in these past weeks has been strange and morphing. i'll start writing about forgiveness and end up writing about evidence. i'll start writing about truth and end up writing about denial. i can't see a way to tie it all together and then i realize maybe i don't have to.


some people seem to be so fucking fine with unresolved shit.

i'm much more of a hash-it-the-fuck-out and make peace while you're alive kind of person. i've had to learn to become okay with unresolved shit. unwholeness. the possibility that an apology or a gesture of kindness will never come. the possibility that nothing i do will ever be enough. doing it anyway. trying anyway.


life is over in an instant or it's long.

dying is slow or it's not.

breathing is exhausting and exhaustion has degrees and there is no exhaustion that i can ever feel that will match that of someone without my skin color.

i am alive and people who i've loved are dead or dying.

i am here.

i've got so much inside of me to give.


i will post this now. i'll leave the rest of what i want to say unsaid, for now, or spoken only to those who speak with me, ask me to speak.


love you.


Siena O.