with: dana mitchell, isla scott, james butler, nunzio madden, sam petersen performed live on the 10th of november at incendium radical library

James Butler 

still, bodies are always moving

Barthes: “Photography is an uncertain art, as would be (were one to attempt to establish such a thing) a science of desirable or detestable bodies.” 

a thirst trap: a selfie posted online with the intention to solicit sexual attention

“Queerness is a hashtag,

not a destination”—Catharine Hinton 

to see something as queer, to read it as such, is ‘seeing’ tied with ‘knowledge’ and ‘perception’

a perception and knowledge tied with unusual knots of interpretations of predicaments


call it science and double tap the praxis, a queer thirst trap is seeing desirability and detestability in the one body at exactly the same time


a hand any other than my own is a crisis

the textures of my body vary 

with who owns the touch 

not how I am touched but by whom

where I feel soft expanse of flesh 

it could be 

that someone else can feel that flesh 

    —rescinding over bone 

a lover in my bed curls their arms 

around my neck 

and pulls my body close to theirs and 

I smile against their cheek

although all I can think of is how my body is postured

in what ways I can contort my limbs to make them appear leaner

to suck my stomach in while making sure I appear to be in complete comfort

desire and anxiety, not one masquerading 

as another

but both happening at the same time

starvation dilates temporality

a body getting smaller pushes time

outwards, warped and jellied

innie, outtie, fleshy

seconds drag when your stomach is empty

passing time snags itself on a thought 

i’m hungry, what to do

and holds you there

a shirtsleeve caught on a branch

Claudia Rankine writes that a poem 

is like a handshake. 

It says “hello! this is me!” and hands that declaration of self to another. 

There are men who don’t shake hands, they take a limp wrist and squeeze. 

on days where seconds grab

and time drags 

I take my phone and scroll instagram

ride the feed 

and make legitimate the image

Barthes wrote that when 

he knew he was being photographed his awareness and posturing and posing 

would already 

transform his body into an image, 

before any click or whir of the camera

“This transformation is an active one: 

I feel that the Photograph creates my body or mortifies it, according to its caprice.”

Barthes again: 

“In front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.”

scroll the feed

and traverse flesh, devastating hotness

become witness to a body on screen

and sidle up to it, take shape around it

a thirst trap: a selfie posted online

with the intention to solicit sexual attention

a thirst trap: a sexy handshake, a mediated

“hello! this is me!” followed by a sly wink

tongue placed in cheek

a thirst trap: I’ve scrolled past, seen, but never

posed for or posted

never corralled Me, the Desirable

with Me, the Detestable 

my caprices mortifying

Jodie Dean writes that selfies exist in that “weird digital in-between 

of instant and forever.”

bodies quivering in the present

bristling with past and future

not a commemoration or a memorial

but a snagging of the ephemeral

Dean argues that selfies are

not pictures of people


pictures of a social practice

less of who is photographed but 

how and why

“To consider the selfie as a singular image removed from the larger practice of sharing selfies is like approaching a magazine through one word in one issue. A selfie is a photo of the selfie form, the repetition of a repeated practice.”

and, yet,

the thirst trap

is this a reproduction of form?

a sating of prescribed desire

worked and yielded

The Repetition of a Repeated Practice


the doing is the being 

a Selfie is what a Selfie does

has a touch of the Judith Butler


    “Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of imitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the original itself.”


a nude body in the sexual act is still

not fully disclosed

it is a site waiting to be uncovered through

tactility, tacit repeated touch

touching/feeling that is temporal

thickened nowness (“I’ve never felt like

            this before”)


a hand any other than my own is a crisis

“You have a beautiful body,” he says

the first time we sleep together

I stammer

            try and smile

every time after

there is the knowledge of that first time

his enunciation

but it is slippery, won’t stick to me

a thirst trap is the sexual present

throwing itself into the sexual future

the solicitation of sex via the image

invokes its possibility

James Tweedie: “resistance has a history…though that history may remain obscured by centuries of accumulated discourses”

comb through, pick, pilfer the

debris of excess uncontainable by


carry it with me

bandana in my backpocket

starving anorectic bodies

lose their libido, but

the absence of sexual desire

is a presence still

the queer nightclub, the dating profile

tie themselves to a temporality

that moves toward, circles around 

the sexual encounter

to be in a sexual time in a sexual place

traverse flesh, devastating hotness

but to not want sex

isn’t the non-sexual taking shape 

around the sexual

but is to be an anomaly within it

innie, outtie, fleshy

if, say Dean, a thirst trap is photo

of a form

a form of desire where desire is the form

then is the queer thirst trap a variant or

sub-genre or

glitch or rupture?

touching, feeling, posting, posturing

throwing and holding

a queer thirst trap is

        what it does

slough of bodies

desirable, detestable

being and time


blood is blue

Teenagers on the Gold Coast used to go get drunk on the beach I was one of them. Mix sweet red wine with coke and drink and drink and wake up with sand and grit in the back of your gums. Bring a little radio and sit it in an empty glass to make it louder. My friends would skinny dip and I’d stay on the shore because I didn’t want to take my clothes off. See their bodies get smaller and smaller as they waded into the black ocean. They’d say I didn’t want to take my clothes off because I had a tiny dick. I’d get that lump in my throat I still get sometimes.

blood is blue until it hits oxygen/

                bodies of water are blue because they see the sky

One of these beach nights a guy runs up out of nowhere and says “which one of you faggots pushed my girlfriend?” There’s no one else around. We say we don’t know what he’s talking about but it takes a while to talk him down. His nose is bleeding and the blood is all over his mouth and chin. It’s shiny and wet and the same colour as the sky. 

a skin is not a boundary

a skin is not a boundary

you perspire, you microbe,

whet, sate, 

transmutable desire

a body houses:

bacteria work the gut;

the chlamydia he said was likely there

but the cells procured from my blood, my urine, my rectum

said wasn’t

give credence—run as Co-Star—to esoteric auras

give credence to The Shape of You

loosen its tenacity

know that a body’s edges are perforated

stray hairs and flakes of skin lay on pillows across the city

a body spreads its edges erstwhile

a skin is not a boundary

what a toll

I find this remarkable still

Nunzio Madden and Sam Petersen 

Most of the time people don’t realise they are being patronising or being patronised. Like when People say: “good girl”. : : ‘Good’ being an unhelpful binary value judgement and girl being the juvenile form of woman which is condescending when used to refer to an adult. It is the combination of the two words and the act of bestowing it that is supremely patronising. Bestowing it on me as a way of saying nothing more is to be said. nothing more is to be said. I would say it’s infantilising, only I don’t believe children should be spoken to like that either. : : And most of the time they do not know me so them assuming a gender is wrong of them. I em a woman, but you haven’t asked me. Again not valuing my existence. 

Dana Mitchell 

from the inside

I leave half full coffee cups in different rooms Hoping it’s aroma will keep me awake

Notice how I said half full not half empty That was an accident

I’ve pigeon-holed myself as the positive one

So now crying at parties is off the table for me

One time I got geared up to cry on the train

Then as soon as it felt right

the girl next to me started crying

I felt so upstaged

like there was just something in the air that day And all my problems were fake

She really went for it

Trying to make it home without getting upset again I see

Bird wings stuck to the road

One part of the wing still semi raised

In retaliation

I imagine

Its body rolling around in a tire

must feel like what it feels like

To try calling you after 11pm on a weeknight

Hear you say hello?

as if you don’t have caller ID

Just to hear me say oh hey

Like I wasn’t the one who made the call

When we said goodbye for good that time

We timed it wrong

when we turned around heading our separate ways we only caught sight of each other’s backs.

Your back looked nice

I don’t know what you thought of mine You have my email.


We get to the party

everyone’s too far gone

to even notice I’ve already broken a glass I swirl a cup of mystery dregs

sourced from the abandoned kitchen some girl tells me how edgy it’d be

if we all took our clothes off

I don’t want an orgy here

I’d rather do my taxes here

then I’d be impressed

emerging from a swamp of indulgence with some financial skill

I wipe my lipstick off in the bathroom noticing how I suddenly recognise myself

I blink twice with what my mum calls

almond eyes

But what my ex-best friend, the Narcissist, called dirt brown

I can’t escape the truth that I hold characteristics I miss thinking I didn’t have a face

The only person I wanted to see tonight

is ignoring me by the dj booth

I feel like a walking parody of

A reality we’d laugh at

I wish I could pass the time at a party

reliving my entrance to it

everyone’s so happy when you arrive

but for the event’s duration

you simply decorate the room,

If I was a party decoration

I think I’d be a banner with a spelling error on it. Happy BiTHday!


Bon VoyaG!


Today I heard a new coupling of words that I like

Callous Sentimentalist

The coupling hurts because it’s true I remember us kissing on the tram once we knew it was empty

How it happened naturally

Like dusting your shoulders of dead skin Brushing our lips past each other

We knew wanting well

I wish I could live in that moment

Of wanting and receiving

To be given to be a gift

To have something someone wants

Is a sweet way of being something

someone needs

I need to be held when I’m sad

You need to be sad to be held

I don’t mind waiting

Amongst charity and loyalty

I heard patience was a symptom of true love Drinking wine out of a mug

 Thinking of you

I feel like I’ve just booked myself into a centre for the lonely I’m churning through this heartache

Like a sinner listing sins

whilst a priest bites his nails

I want to unfold dirty napkins

And remember devouring you

You wouldn’t understand that

You’re not like me at all

you’re a whole new sound

I’ve heard the breaking of barriers

They sound like the hazy “I love you”s

mornings after wishing

to be the hum in that noise you keep hearing

I’d like to be memorable

But you can’t seem to find the source

Of this longing tune

Put it down to impulsive “I love you”s

Put it down to a clogged up sink

Put it down to virtue

Hiding in the bathroom

Breathing in and out

I love you so much

even when I grab the jaw of your sink

I feel something.

I flaunt how I feel

It’s something silk

catching the light

My body won’t wear silk

but it does bend for you

Silk doesn’t bend for me

but it catches the light for you

Notice me slumbering

Steadfast in my loneliness

Notice me living this conscious uncoupling

I’ll bury the champagne glasses in the sink

I’ll leave lipstick on your wrists

trying to swallow your heartbeat

With you on the bed springs

The weight of you is

red wine down my neck

Pouring, rich flavour

My skin softens

The lights dim

You purr

I’m callous

You disappear

I’m sentimental.


 All I want to do is make a mess

I want to be covered in fucking filth

I want it to be really not alright


You’re eating soup

And I take your bowl

And pour it over my head

But the soups like polish or whatever so

It’s like cold

Cold beetroot

Borscht is the name

Can be served

Hot or cold

All over my fucking face

Like it’s a crime

Like I won’t be able to revisit this

Cause it’s just so horrible

And you want to like make it stop

but i’ve started by going to far

I have nothing to lose

More filth

I said more filth please

Put it all on the card

I don’t care about the surcharge

I’m slicking my hair back with scrambled tofu

Corn chips in my socks

Tzatski hand cream

I wouldn’t mind if

you slap my face with an eggplant


Does parmesan pair well with a revisit of my teen angst How’s melted cheese atop the eight times

I cut myself in one night

Mm delicious

Five whiskey highballs poured over me

and i’m 15 again

No make that five skinny bitches

That’s a fun name for

vodka sodas

Watching calories is a funny thing

That cute girls do

Crunching lettuce beneath my closed fist Can u shove croutons down my top

And tell me I’m Caesar salad

Lady Caesar salad

Refer to me as such

Queen of the house

Most garlicky in all land

Bacon bits in my hair

Whole chicken breast down my top Caesar fucking salad cunt

 Do you hear me?

Is this getting through to you?

Why is everyone afraid to fuck clothes up and the worry ends there ?

No restraint in fucking me up

The worry ends there

And begins again

When you actually hurt me

Full fuck me up

And its filthy

And you worry

That I’m out and

When I see our mutuals

I’m gonna make you look bad

line 12 was curated by ben sendy-smithers, ruben and daniel ward.