Hugh spirals black circles in charcoal onto the table
The black is immense and deep
I could believe these circles go on, deeper than the table
They are things you can get lost in,
Things to immerse in,
Circles that swallow sight.
They are black holes.
He stands and moves the chair
The legs/feet are screaming,
Screeching against the floor.
This is deliberate, and we are flinching.
When he is still,
Sitting in the chair.
I feel the weight of the leaving, the weight of having been left.
I feel the thickness and length of moments alone,
Moments spent longing for the chair opposite to move.
I hear the frustration of silence,
The thick, mocking lack of noise
And I feel the longing to go through the moment of leaving again –
Just for the salvation of the presence of the other, the moment before the other is gone
That moment, that moment when the other is still there, when everything is not yet lost
Hugh puts on his jacket, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off.
The indecision and pointlessness,
The frustration and uncertainty,
The not knowing what direction you are moving in,
The not knowing what direction anything is moving in.
The incomprehension of what direction might mean, might be.
Standing, Hugh puts his fist in his mouth, pushing until he gags,
Then again, and again, pushing his fist further each time.
While he does this he is pawing at his skin.
Moving his hand over his face with deep intent.
I know this motion, I remember.
I remember pawing at my own skin, gripping my arm to cut the blood off, so the hand wouldn’t feel like my own.
Feeling like it may be a forever until the next touch.
And, missing the grasp of someone else,
Missing the grasp the other,
Trying to fill the vacancy,
Trying to remember their touch.
Trying to recreate them, trying to preserve them, trying to hold on.
Desperate and urgent
The bitter stinging
And there, in this, the desire for pain
To make that which you feel inside, real on the outside
The desire to gag, and stay suspended in the thrust of the gag.
I watch Hugh, and I think, I know this,
I this absence,
I know this longing.
Hugh returns to pushing the chair
The screaming is within my skin now and I am comfortable with it.
The screaming is a singing, a nightmarish lullaby.
He moves to the other side of the room and sits.
Planted on the crest of the audience he returns to his gagging.
We are worried he will succeed and make himself sick,
We are worried we will witness and be splashed.
Hugh moves back to the other side of the room, sits at the table again and draws.
More black holes appear, this time with lines linking them from one side of the table to the other.
As they appear they are in motion, the charcoal’s residue thick and generous, delicious.
Hugh stands and surveys the scene
On the table a cloth covers something.
Under the table, a football boot and a saw.
He pours salt from a large golden tin.
He draws a salt line to enclose it all.
The salt is beautiful in it’s falling,
Its calming shuffle, gentle spill.
Hugh is calm, frowning, considered.
The cloth is removed to reveal a giant heart.
A giant heart.
Hugh pours salt on the heart, salt on his wound,
It is preserved, frozen in false snow.
He raises the football boot high in the air and brings it down
Slamming it into the heart, again, and again, and again.
We are sprayed with salt. I can feel it in my hair, scratching my scalp,
I can taste it on my lips.
I look away, cowering from his vicious smash
Holes in his heart.
He raises the chair now, slams it down.
The noise is louder than,
Harder than black on white.
He does this 2, 3 times
Then he stops.
A human heart is the same size as your clenched fist.
Hugh stands with his in his mouth,
His fist in the air.
Artist: Hugh O’Donnell
Date: 18 September 2014
Venue: Performance Space
Event: Soapbox Session : Gender