Ode to Oona

Oona Doherty is flirt­ing with me, in French. Or is she flirt­ing with the woman next to me? Oh god, please say she’s flirt­ing with me. She grabs her crotch, play­ing the dis­tilled male for the night. I start to do the same but stop my­self — mim­icry is mis­read in the gods. Plus, no one here is mov­ing. Sometimes, the­atres are strange, still places. What did you all come here for?

Oona Doherty, chore­o­g­ra­pher and dancer, wipes her nose with her crotch-hand and I think: I could watch Oona Doherty wipe her nose all day long. Don’t mind me, I’d say, nes­tled in the cor­ner, I won’t dis­turb, stretch­ing my arms against the wall, I’ll just watch, just lis­ten. It would be bare­foot lie. If you see some­one move like Oona moves, you can’t help but want to get up and —

ooze limbs. Like Patrick Swayze in­hab­it­ing Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, I wish I could jump, slither into her mus­cles, even for a minute. What would we do?

Oona Doherty is bare­foot punk.

Oona Doherty is a slinky, or the witch melt­ing into the floor. A de­scent might be an epiphany, or a ner­vous break­down; a cata­tonic col­lapse.

Oona Doherty makes you think jelly is a con­spir­acy.

Think of her body as an oc­to­pus pos­sess­ing a mar­i­onette, or that alien in the first Men in Black, con­sum­ing then wear­ing the farmer like a hand-me-down that does­n’t quite fit.

Her cen­tre of grav­ity is kin­dling. I chas­tise my­self: walk a lit­tle more like Oona, things would be dif­fer­ent.

Never for­get­ting the words are born in the body, Oona Doherty spits syl­la­bles, splits the air with her tongue. A cough-stut­ter is an in­can­ta­tion in process, a be­com­ing: words splut­ter­ing im­ages, con­jur­ing flesh. She is Jackson Pollock, lib­er­at­ing the lines, with a slick, pulled back, early noughties knot, but —

What do the words mean?

Break them down into crumbs, into slices, then bat­ter them to­gether again through rep­e­ti­tion and let the voices crescendo, plead, protest. I worry she’s go­ing to strain her voice, but I also won­der: is this what we’re ca­pa­ble of?

She slaps the floor with her feet, her torso, her thighs; a break dancer in dis­guise: an as­cen­sion.

Is that a prat fall? Or a dis­agree­ment with grav­ity?
Is she a film in re­verse, or a vi­brat­ing halo, or a but­ter­fly shot and stum­bling?

She hits her­self — some­times it’s the only way to get the words out. What would we say, if we could get the words out?

Now, the bass beat to get the party started; one fin­ger up in the air like you know it baby. Now, a cello be­ing ca­ressed by the waves. The ocean: her hands.
Now, get this feel­ing off me, out of me, let it loose, catch it, cough it up.

Oona turns bro­ken mem­o­ries into a neon bright prayer.
Oona is the breath in a loaded gun.
Oona is a feast of chaos.

I saw her once in Dalston.