The Touch

by Dean Kyte



In the classic con game, ‘the touch’ is the moment when the mark gets ‘taken off’. The contemporary femme fatale is not a murderess, but a grifter who takes off the hearts of men—along with their cash. Melbourne writer Dean Kyte reflects on this evolution of the classic noir archetype from killer to con-woman as he reminisces, in this short prose poem, about a lover’s caress in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens which stole his heart.

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As we huddled, cuddling under my raincoat, in the Treasury Gardens, and kissing in the quickening winter’s dusk, I had a dim sense of the con being worked upon me—the futility of victory with a woman I had already conquered.

It doesn’t matter if you have already slept with them these days:—For no matter how much she is attracted to you, or how much she genuinely likes you at any given moment, each time you encounter her, you must reconquer her as if you had never conquered her before, like Sisyphus re-rolling the rock.

In the Treasury Gardens, I had a palpable sense of the unreality of her reality beneath my touch, like clutching an armful of clouds. As much as I didn’t want the moment to be over, I wanted it to be over quickly, for I sensed that she was not really there.


released February 10, 2021
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Dean Kyte Melbourne, Australia

Dean Kyte is a writer, artist, filmmaker and flâneur.

He is the author of five books and two collections of short films.

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