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.