'A space between m()e' / Madalyn Trewin

'A space between m()e' / Madalyn Trewin

Madalyn Trewin is a recent creative writing graduate, currently based in Canberra. She hated poetry until sitting in on a lecture a few years ago, where she listened to a poet talk about the ways bees communicate for over an hour. A year later she ended up with a minor in poetry that she still doesn’t know what to do with, aside from write poems. She’s dipped her toes into concrete poetry and spoken word but mostly writes experimental free verse that plays with enjambment and ideas of instruction. Her work touches on skin, disembodiment, and what it means to make a performance. 

Madalyn is influenced by Lisa Fishman, Yoko Ono, C.D. Wright, Eileen Myles, Mary Ruefle, and Anne Carson. This series in particular was influenced by one emphasised question from Chris Kraus’ novel Aliens & Anorexia. Kraus asked: “Isn’t it possible to just leave the body? Is it wrong to even try?” (2000). Madalyn finished Kraus' book but still lingered on this idea of the cemented figure: heavy and forever tangible. This series followed the thought. 

(Image: Jemimah Tarasov)



Shouldn’t it be possible to just leave the body? Is it wrong to even try?”

Chris Kraus, Aliens & Anorexia (2000).



to let myself be sunburnt is to, finally


watch my Solidity come apart. i want to be weak in the lap of heat. i am desperate to be

glowing; rosy – sunburnt


i avoid sunscreen for three months. i open myself up

The Dirt is the platform, i am the surface, The Sun is the scaffolding, you are the audience


The Clouds close, revealing me. i’m spread across a bare Mattress, peeling at the backs of my knees you applaud.

finally limitless; stripped back, sheetless. finally, clean

pink; skinned

rind – scrapped


i’ll still be here when you tread me in.

watching my Physicality disintegrate, into the un-

clean rug


in the meantime, i’ll be

growing back, i’ll be

grass sprouting: dry


no longer limitless


The Sun will set. its heat will pull out. i’ll be left with worn, blistered fingertips. freckles scattered
               across the length of my Solidity, to remind me of where The Sun’s been, where

i’ve been



i’ll be.


i’ll be

brushing over my shavings, dusting myself off The Mattress, and into the un-

clean rug. my skin will settle back in. i’ll be thicker, drier


impeding on my inner.


i’ll be more.



i hold my breath

until i’m completely full. until the seams of my stitching are split-


until my hands are shaking with stimulation


i hold my breath

until it’s been simmering on my tongue for long enough

that i’m ready

to spit out my entire being   


i close my eyes


-en my mouth


i wait to feel floating.


i fall to the floor, bones twice as heavy.



i clamp my Left Hand round the width of my Wrong Thigh.

It flushes, soft pink: embarrassed. She’s mimicking The Sky: warm, careless, immeasurable

just out of reach

She’s eyeing up there, but stuck under



She’s bursting from under the thrust of My Embrace, the stick of My Palm; My Sweat


squirming, writhing

pink, bright red


struggling to step out from under this grip

from under




i wish i could let Her go but she’s stuck under Firm Skin


sometimes soft, sometimes sweating, sometimes scabbed


mostly Firm.



there are a series of signs that come,

when i feel ready. when my Physicality wavers


these are (most commonly):


goosebumps (my skin feels fleeting. It snakes up my arms, i am lift-

ing up. this happens until It reaches my fingertips, before retreating)


pins and needles (i am trying to irritate my Outer as much as i can manage

from the inside. i’m pressing into my first layer with sharpened fingernails – or otherwise, equivalent)


vertigo (momentarily, my body forgets it’s a body. i hang

above myself at great height, limitless. i grow to my maximum potential

without any necessity

of arms, legs, skin.

i stare too long


it’s been a while)



everything i do is, inescapably, A Performance. i’m really just Walking, from here,

to there

back here.

but my Physical identity is so inconceivably Loud, that by simply Walking, i’m Performing. i’m not Walking with purpose. i’ve got no desperate need to get anywhere



out of here.

i’ll never not be



thick fabric tries to separate me from my outside

it might be thick but it’s still transparent. still equally here

visible, material.

the thickness might try to mute the feedback

from My Performance, but as long as i’m still here, i’ll still Be Sound


all i’m doing is Walking, and i’m conscious-

ly trying to make my Walk quiet, slowing my speed. but

my footsteps against

cement, damp grass, water,

anything at all









i am willing it to stop, but i’m still Walking, and it’s



my volume refuses to adjust itself accordingly to my


smaller, internal, silence


i wish my Walk would quiet - it won’t

so i keep on. i Walk from here,




i meet the eyes of the woman brushing past from across the street

her eyes are slow, steady


i wonder if she can hear My Performance. i hope not, but

her eyes say:



   i wish i could Walk out

   i can’t


   The Performance keeps on.




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