'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
rind – scrapped
i’ll still be here when you tread me in.
watching my Physicality disintegrate, into the un-
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
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
pink, bright red
struggling to step out from under this grip
i wish i could let Her go but she’s stuck under Firm Skin
sometimes soft, sometimes sweating, sometimes scabbed
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,
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
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
The Performance keeps on.