In Honor of Ms Roth


The softness of body is a slow animal that has to catch its breath to keep up with mind, city, life.

Today, a sad feeling grew in my bones while I was wandering from Turnpike Lane to Finsbury Park to Woodberry Downs. I feel yellow-sick. When I get home, I put on Bones, begin to dance, crying. Moving between dancing and crying, until it becomes one action. As the beat thickens, my vulnerability stirs into anger, assault. Body spiky, alive with it. All that underneath. Need to be seen, can't see myself. Head busy, not with solid thought but with that thick feeling of something being wrong. Familiar. How do I move on from this? I slow down, come to lie on the floor. I touch my skin, sometimes forgetting that that's what it is, skim my hands over it like I'm just doing the washing up or something.

My body cracks open with it. It? I don't know when it will stop. I don't know if I have to stop it, or it has to just wait. It is about everything and nothing. I am inside and outside of it. Participant and observer. It is soft, and old. Wet and earthy. It is grief but for what I don't know. I worry I am crazy. I worry I need to fix it. I don't know how, please show me how. I worry I am going the wrong way. I worry but I let it come. It needs to come. It's so much bigger, I can feel it, like the sky inside. My belly.

Gabrielle didn't know me. Recently I began speaking with her into my dance. I wonder if she knows how many times she has saved my life. Those umbrellas of feeling, losing myself. At the bottom of somewhere barren. With the dance, I can be with them. Picking myself up from the floor and drawing out the closing in. Dancing comes from the Frankish word, Danson, to draw out. I learn how to hunt the centre of the feeling. My body anchors it in my heart, ice sharp. It feels good. I let it be there, dance into the middle of it. Dance from the middle of it. Convert it. Bringing my body back to life.

There have been a few times where I've felt the nothing on the other side of the dance. Unminding. Body spinning, moving like sound, moving like air. Everything flashing, whispering. All the skins dropped dead to the floor. Snaking, curling, sinking. So much space inside and outside. Where does my body end? Regurgitating. I move deeper inside and sometimes I meet different people there. She laughs. She cries. She screams, feels. Faceless. She beckons home. A desert. A black hole. Right there, in my belly. Beautiful.

The last time I visited home, my mum danced a wave with me. We listen to Gabrielle and my mum says it reminds her of the yoga teacher seduction voice. I feel defensive, no, that's Gabrielle's snake voice! She's real and muddy and her body is water dressed in black. I watch my mum let go, feet licking beige carpet. I think my Grandma would have liked Gabrielle, or Gabrielle would have liked my Grandma. Both radical in their own way. Grandma smoking cigarettes in the attic of her big Jewish house. Wearing a swimming costume on her first date with Grandpa, so he didn't try to grope her. Never missing a hair appointment for anyone. Matching her lime green raincoat to the colour of her car. Knitting landscapes onto cardigans. Devotees to something.