Section 3

Begin; now go deeper

Cee Frances Devlin

Drawing from a combined history of literary, philosophical, queer and material feminist theories, this creative work was composed during Quinn Eades’ writing workshop at the UniSA Gender, Sex, & Sexuality Studies Conference (2017). Selecting part of a Roland Barthes quote provided, my self-reflexive writings spilled forth from this fragmented provocation, exploring the synthesis between bodies, writing, pursuit and pleasure within Barthes’ work and applying them to my own body-memory. What followed was the result of two exercises in which participants were asked to summon their bodies to the task of writing.  By positioning myself as an erotic queer subject, my piece aims to destabilise the impact of violence on queer/trans desire and embodiment. The poems were later presented at the Creative Art(i)culations performance night at the end of the conference, inviting other (es)stranged subjects to explore their own desiring memories and the bodies that carry them.


Gender; Sexuality; Trauma Theory; Creativity; Queerness

Full text

““The pleasure of the text is that moment when {my body pursues its own ideas} – for my body does not have the same ideas as I do”

— Barthes 1973


My body leaks just when I think it has sunk for good

My body pursues its own ideas

I do not arrive easily

Sometimes it is as though in taking such time coming and going that I have to return from leaving too often

A spell of pause and rhythm

I can’t I can’t I can’t

My body pursues its own ideas through liquid


I am reminded and though I may not feel relief I do feel I do:

After what seems like an eternity

Of my body and its hairline triggers for arousal cowering in plain sight

I wake and reach down to cunt-flesh-milk-wetness-slide

I wonder what makes this trans-trauma-cunt

Sliding through the blind

What does it dream of that wets in waking?

Before writing trauma this way I did not think of cycle, smell, check

Remember you are there you live here a home changes

Now there is clock and rhythm and waiting to fuck as though

I can

Waiting not just to fuck but to pursue

It is the smear of stinking flesh lining compressed ribs that paradoxically reminds me (Another rhythm, another clockwork) that

My body pursues its own dysmorphia

Dysphoria, disturbance, dissonance

I create slippery moulds that do not stay put and my breasts my chest pursues an escape from shortened breath, binder, rib pain, flesh rubbed on bone



To grind

Away at


Now, my body even leaks while submerged

As though I walk holding it in in such a way that what desires expulsion must seek other pools

Other stews of body feasting on its own marinade

When I can bother to

I run the bath


I sit in lavender, salt and piss

My body pursues


The pleasure of that moment


My body does not seem to have the same ideas I do is wrapped in the awful joy of opening

Urethra and hot water

I wonder if everyone (someone, some body) does this and They Do Not Talk About It

Many unexpected joys of my body appear in this innocuous fashion

(knuckles hovering over a desk waiting to be instructed “no,” waiting for something to push against)

It makes more sense in the muscle memory

This idea

I suppose it must know what we want(s)

Or maybe I do not try as hard as I used to

To silence shame:

Crying quietly in the laundry at age 8 using a pile of rags to mop up the warm spreading pool bordering on stinking cat jelly dinner and litter tray debris

Knowing for months that the floor remained coated in a thin sheen of shameful pee stink sticking feet squelch for at least a week

(I still wonder the corners and pathways it travelled, whether anyone noticed the smell and blamed the cats)

I wonder if pleasure started here

(Something to grind myself against, the rough tongue of an animal-companion swapping salt-lake for saliva)

This rope extends into such a pit that I wonder how my body learned

To divide doubting salt from foreign sting

If all of its functions, pleasures

(piss and squirt and gush and constipation, knuckles in throat and hipbones carved into wishes, cum and stink and snot and the sweat that smells worst but tastes best, hot salt trails, stop crying stop crying stop crying stop)

If I followed a trickle of forbidden piss to a stream then of course I did not know

How to speak what my body desired

A “no” would never cover that gap

A “no” or 10,000 “no’s” do not cover the gap

I wonder sometimes

Why was trauma the bridge I had to cross in order to find the joy in depravity?

In leaking always, too much

Too much wet and leak

So much that I have earned the title of “Sea Slug”

(I am sentient Slug Spit)

I am wet space pressed against you,you,you

I am please bite me so hard that my breast-chest with the dysphoria tattoos

With the curve and weight that pay my rent

Bite their scarred surface so hard that I bleed

I am trying to squeeze blood from a stone

I am never wet when I say so

On command

My body had to learn to pursue its own wills and I did not help because I did not know how

Nobody told me piss and flannelette sheets and sharp storybook corners would turn me on and leave me (unbearably) open

A dripping tap

So I wonder how “they” knew

I wonder if they know

Do they know?



These poetic pieces exhibit some ways in which marginalised subjects may speak “from” and tell the stories of their bodies. Drawing from a combined history of literary, philosophical, queer and material feminist theories, this writing was conducted during Quinn Eades’ writing workshop at the Uni SA Gender, Sex, & Sexuality Studies Conference (2017). Selecting a fragment from the quotes provided at the workshop, my poetic/memory is the direct output of two exercises in which participants were asked to summon their bodies to the task of writing. The poem was later presented at the Creative Art(i)culations performance night at the culmination of the conference.


This work sees the body (my body) in conversation with text, memory, author/s, and audience (community). In particular, it shows how different writing methods and the act of extending our creative practice to other writers in our communities can draw out palpable memories of physical sensation, abject eroticism and trauma affects.


‘Begin’ and ‘Go Deeper’ work to collapse the division of mind/body and subject/object in the practice of creative writing (Eades 2017, 5). Memory and embodiment are rearranged as non-linear, concurrent states that exist as “already” within the act of writing. They feed back into my 2017 Honours thesis about body-writing as a political, literary intervention strategy that can be harnessed by the traumatised subject, as well as expanding on my previous creative writing and performance work.


Barthes, R. (1973). The Pleasure of the Text. New York: Hill & Wang.

Eades, Q. (2017). Queer Wounds. In E. L. E Rees (ed.), Talking Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Embodiment, Gender and Identity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.