Guided by Cafe Poets #3 – Jessica Raschke & Gemma White

And the Cafe Poet features keep coming…

Jessica Raschke and Gemma White are both part of the first crop of Cafe Poets. Jessica is currently Poet-in-Residence at Cafe Tulk in Melbourne and Gemma is undertaking her residency at Zappa’s Cafe in South Melbourne.


drama sections          (by Jessica Raschke)

in the broken sections of the drama
lie some jealous little shards
they move themselves as troopers
into veins and dotted red cells
they possess small histories
that are laid down for the shattering
and those broken sections:

they forget their wholes
they relish in their self-destruction

(it was once called self-murder)


not shame not brokenness
only the surfacing of some deepness
a damned public viewing
of a circle of the broken
they are sections
that are inlaid
they are
set in fleshy faces
they are
suddenly relieved
in the broken sections of the drama



About Jessica:

Jessica Raschke is a writer and visual artist with a background in creative, poetic and non-fiction writing. Her visual artwork combines textual and multimedia forms and has been exhibited at Kings ARI, 69 Smith Street Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Photography, fauxPho, Gabriel Gallery and Hunt Club Gallery. Her writing has appeared in Overland, The Big Issue, Metro, Australian Screen Education, Australian Bookseller + Publisher and InPress. Her first poetry collection, Luscious Glass Cage (Ginninderra Press), was published in 2008 (visit She is currently the Café Poet in Residence at Mr Tulk Café at the State Library of Victoria. Raschke completed a PhD into the history of multicultural literature and the culture of whiteness in commercial publishing in Australia in 2004. Since 2001 she has taught across a range of disciplines, including publishing and communications, journalism, media studies, creative and non-fiction writing, and cultural studies.





The Joggers and the Immaculate Lands.          (by Gemma White)

In this postcode, the lands are immaculate.
Even the leaves of the trees gleam like
a cleaning product commercial at the
joggers in the park below. Their sunglasses
reflect blue skies, kids in prams, dogs.
I know something they don’t know:
running is not fun. And it will not stop
you from getting old. I’d rather just not run.
They run away from age, from wrinkles, from
weight gain, in long yet futile strides.
They’re out there every day, at all times.
Even when it’s raining, they keep on running.
I guess old age keeps chasing; is neither tamed
by time nor change in weather, and so,
on they must run. Then one day, whilst
cornered in my private apartment of nothing,
looking out over the stream of joggers,
I suddenly get the urge to do something drastic.
I’m feeling trapped. I’m feeling static. I
have to move. Do something. Go somewhere.
Go out. I find myself on the carpet, clad in
clinging black tracksuit, feet shod in white lace-up
trainers, stretching a shoulder, an arm, a quadricep.
I enter the green square like a robber entering a
jewellery store. I look around. No one takes any
notice of another track-suited fiend on the path
to Health and Fitness. I start jogging, slowly at
first, a tad self-consciously. Then I go faster. My
legs enjoy it. They like being used, stretched to
their full capacity. I run like I am running from
something. I run from life. I run like I am free.
I have become. One of them.



About Gemma:

I began writing poetry a couple of years ago, while mooching around Edinburgh, pretending to be part of some Beat-style avant-garde poetry movement (purely made up by myself and a few fellow young writers). What these students turned Serious Young Poets taught me has been invaluable. I realised that poetry can be humorous, chaotic, drunken, glorious, and most importantly, relevant to real life. I returned to Melbourne feeling inspired, and set up a local poetry publication for new writers:

Recently I have done a few readings of my work on SYN 90.7 FM’s arts radio show, Arts Mitten, which has been great fun. I’m hoping that my café poet residency at Zappa’s Café in South Melbourne will force me to schedule in some more weekly writing time, and that writing in a public space may bring forth some interesting and varied subject matter.


Filed under Guided By Poets

2 responses to “Guided by Cafe Poets #3 – Jessica Raschke & Gemma White

  1. Hi Jessica,

    having read about your work with Cafe Poets, I’m wondering if you would like to participate in an exhibition/concert/storytelling day at the QV Women’s Centre on Sat 6 March 2010. It’s entitled “Phantosea” (phantoms of the sea), so we’re encouraging artists to celebrate the magic of our oceans in any media – including poetry! Have you written any poems about the sea? I’m trying to contact Kylie Rose as I really like her poem “Blue Bottles” that appeared in “Harvest” magazine. Maybe you have other recommendations? Please contact me on the above email if you’re interested in this event or need more info about me and my co-host, fantasy illustrator Rachael Hammond. Best wishes, Louisa.

  2. Pingback: Other poetry things that have happened « Only Words Apart

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