Something Along the Lines of Desire

Chantal Faust

Chantal Faust responds to Rob Crosse's Prime Time with a creative prose-poem exploring desire, intimacy and touch.

Trail wake

don’t leave me behind

rolls of skin, the tide is in


I remember you well at the

Peering still, always watching, watching from behind

Hot bulges in short shorts

Overtaken by the sea and by engines, wildly rolling

the horizon is mad, it’s watching and

I think

I think we’re alone now

waiting, idling time but ready to swallow me, you, ready to swallow us all to a chorus of whirring treadmills

And we’re running just as fast as we can


And it’s just great, it really is. It couldn’t be better

Roll on the front, frontal rolls, big bellies, dripping with sea

Wipe it clean, it’s in my honey, just like honey

                               Wipe it away, it’s in my milk

Permit no trace, no evidence of the encounter and start again

‘Cause it must’ve been love, but it’s over now


Wrapped up in circles,

Now we’re playing the game

                                  It must’ve been good

But I lost it somehow

That, that there, that body of water Lapping the eye, drowning vision, drunk

Tucking in, and buttoning up

Sun setting table setting

Hawaiian shirts a-swaying

But in and outside

                 I turn to water

As the engine turns



Feeling dirty

Wiping it all away

Cleaning the salt, the slate

Looking back

To that first point

When your body enters mine

Because that’s the bit I hunger for

Dive in and

Plunge inside


It’s funny how,

sometimes, you can have

two conversations at the

same time. How you

can be speaking about

something quite banal,

administrative even, yet

simultaneously be having

a non-verbal dialogue,

between two pairs of

eyes. An ocular speech,

full of curiosity, or

panic, or full of hunger

and wanting, none of

which is made evident

by the sounds floating

between our two bodies.

Somewhere thick, in the

air. Something happens

when I look at you, you

do something to me.

Between our two bodies,

in the air, is difference.

We come from different

times, you and I. Worlds

apart. Yet, there is

something about the

vulnerability of fucking

that seems to undo

everything. Watching

your face when you

get near is so, utterly,

transfixing. To have that

power, through plugging

my body into yours,

yours into mine, it feels

as though I’m eating you

alive. Devouring you.

Yet in all that

consumption, who is

really eating whom?

Because the thing is, you

reassure me in some

(deep) way. In some

way, I find you, your

presence, your manners,

your rhythms and your

surprises, your particular

ways of thinking about

the world… reassuring. 

And I wonder if

ultimately, it’s like some

kind of never-ending tug

of war, between wanting

that kind of comfort—

and wanting to own it.

To take it over, to watch

it yield. To dominate in

some strange way.

And yet as soon as it’s

over, we return to our

prior states and I’m

missing you before you

have even left the room.

The tables are cleared

and reset, the floor is

mopped. Sparkling. And

what is left behind is a

kind of yearning that

surfaces, upon each and

every wipe. Wipe. Wipe.

Hygiene is so much a

part of this thing, this

ritual that we share—

the preparation for the

event. Hairs parted and

groomed in such a way

that is particular to the

self. More for me than

for you: but nonetheless

a state of preparedness.

Groomed for the ritual.

Groomed for the

encounter. Touching

the bareness of skin and

anticipating your touch.


Dr Chantal Faust is an artist, writer and tutor in Critical and Historical Studies and convenor of the Humanities Research Forum at the Royal College of Art.

This text was written in response to Prime Time (2017) by Rob Crosse, which was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, with Grundy Art Gallery. Supported by Arts Council England.

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