Category Archives: Guided By Poets

Guided by Poets – Maxine Clarke & friends

Hasn’t been a Guided by Poets blog up for a while so here goes… this one is bristling with the white hot energy of Maxine Clarke, Santo Cazzati, Steve Smart and Melissa Petrakis. You can catch Santo in Brisbane at QPF 2009 (August 21-23) and he will also be stepping out onto the Overload stage alongside Steve Smart and Maxine Clarke, so if you can, get along and check these guys out live… you will not be sorry.


white bred bun
by Maxine Clarke


oooooh check out that lifeguard
he’s ripped
hand me a vegemite
sand stuck in my baby bonus
ooooooh my baby bonus bits

oi! mister / let’s breed
gold haired & knock-kneed
buttercup & coon cheese
bandaid on a scratched knee
judge me by a wet T
call me love

my god / i love this
sunburnt cunt –
calls me a slapper
nother shrimp on the bar—
be unaustralian

i come from the land down under
limp lettuce / tomato sauce
burnt sausage & onion on
a white bred bun
i come from the land down under
balangalow screams / do
you speak my language
well / f*ck off & go home

hey sheila
hitch hike your skirt up
like a north shore school girl
hey blackie
yes you / beat it
only kind we dig are rip curls

oooooh check out that lifeguard
he’s ripped
hand me a vegemite
sand stuck in my baby bonus
ooooooh my baby bonus bits




Maxine Clarke is a West Indian-Australian poet, writer and journalist (The Age, Crikey, the Koori Mail, the Big Issue etc). Her poetry, short plays and fiction, examining the experiences of African descendants in the ‘new world’, has been broadcast and published nationally. She has read her poetry at many venues around Australia , including at the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Arts Centre, the Victorian Council of Churches and Quang Minh Buddhist Temple . Maxine’s poetry chapbook Original Skin (2008) is published by Picaro Press. She is a blogger for Overland literary magazine, and writes a poetry blog at Maxine’s first novel Black Lazarus was the chosen manuscript for the Overland Novel Search (2008). Maxine lives in Melbourne and loves cheese, chocolate and well, pretty much all milk product. She knows that is not cool, in these days of climate change PC, but unfortunately lacks both the willpower or will to change. She does recycle and compost though, does not drive a car. She also rarely showers, which she thinks more than makes up for the milk fetish thing.



Ballet Class
by Santo Cazzati


Santo Cazzati

Santo Cazzati is a spoken word artist. The son of Italian immigrants to Australia, he emerged from past lives as a classical concert pianist and avant garde jazz musician to teach at an elite Melbourne private school which must remain anonymous in order to protect those concerned. He performs in a range of styles, from fast rhythmical delivery to slow atmospheric meditation, often with a strong world music influence and critical ironic distance.



Poems and Open Doors
by Steve Smart

The sign said open
but the door was locked
a sure sign that things had
already turned to burning hell

A brick through the window –
situation desperate
note of apology, rushed but half sincere
the things you’ll do when you really need a pen

no such thing as a victimless crime
minding your own business not always an option
I was trying to prevent a crime
or I was in a hurry . . .

I was thinking about something someone once said
that captured a moment in my life
I wanted to get it on paper before I forgot
it seemed of great importance at the time

Moments are lost so easily
all the things I never wrote down

there’s a certain sense of desperation to it all
I accept I may have been hasty
a poet without a pen is just a brain on legs
I never claimed to be rational

the sign said open
I was confused
the rock was handy
it was Autumn

Without structure an open door is just air
the sign said open
the rock was thrown through air
yet there was structure
the crime was committed
the pen found
the poem written as confession
the poet sentenced to hang

Pause to argue semantics:

If I reduced the poem to a sentence
would you reduce the sentence of the poet?

The verdict revised, the poem thus reduced to

In Autumn I had a thought


Steve Smart

Steve Smart is a Melbourne based poet who occasionally delves into acting, script writing, dodgy video making (, tupperware parties and various collaborative activities with musicians and other artists. His self-deprecating style has won the hearts of people all over Australia who claim to dislike poetry. He sometimes feels trapped and frightened by the life he has chosen but doesn’t really know how to express these feelings except by writing poetry, which is what got him wherever he is in the first place so it’s  . . . he wants to say ironic but has a feeling it isn’t quite that. Hell, maybe it is irony after all. Let’s say Steve loves being a poet and leave it at that.



by Melissa Petrakis

I’ve heard it called witchcraft
when your eyes are dazed
and your autonomy of will
               is non-existent
when your breath is caught
at the hint of a scent like
and actual sight of them
               renders you mute
               and impotent
until their permission to touch
               touch them
and delivers
arterial action
once again.

Someone’s put a spell on you.

You can’t work
You can’t sleep
You can’t
without sounding like static
on the radio
ill tuned in
an AM station
and the band way down
at the far end of the dial
You can’t leave this city
               you can’t
get away
whatever you do you know
they’ll haunt you.

The spell is strong.

To your room at night
in full flight
an adrenalin surge
a heat rod to your spine
a cold shower
it delivers
and it lingers
and it feeds
and it needs
and it gives you
               no peace
not that you’d want any
not that you remember
even recall what it was like to be

And there’s no escape.

There’s no avoidance
abdication or disinclination
no intermission
there is no sense
that denial would help
It’s a full steam
               straight ahead
rollercoaster ride
It’s a train wreck
It’s not polite or kind
or generous or political
               or fair
and never rational
It’s the pits
and they’re so hot.

Someone’s put a spell on you.


(from the collection, The Naked Muse: Domain Press, 2001)


melissa petrakis

Melissa Petrakis is a writer of poetry, plays, short stories, academic reviews and clinical work in the field of mental health research. She has recently completed her PhD with the University of Melbourne, School of Social Work on an innovative model of client-centred assertive counselling, community linkage and monitoring in suicide prevention for emergency department care and follow-up. A short story reflecting on generational differences and motherhood was published in the antipodean anthology about mothers and daughters Mothers from the Edge. Over the last 10 years her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies in Australia, including Meanjin and overland, and the USA, including kotapress and The Muse Apprentice Guild. Her 3 published collections are The Naked Muse (2001), Attic Dweller (2002) and The Earth of Us (2005). Over the last 2 years she and her husband Tristan have become proud parents to Isabel and Lucas.


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Guided by Poets – Victoria

This Guided by Poets thread showcases the voices of five mighty fine Victorian writers.

I gave the enigmatic Maurice McNamara a call to start the thread and the rest…

So here it is, Guided by Poets (Victoria), featuring poems by Maurice McNamara, Joe De Iacovo, Angela Costi, Jen Jewel Brown & Andy Jackson.


Maurice McNamara

Maurice McNamara











I’ve got fat since I found true lady love
and she’s got a bit fat too
Maurice, I’ll do anything for you
and usually it involves pork

I sit on the couch reading true crime novels
whilst she gets on with making a living
it sounds like good money
but it makes her cranky
fixing up crap someone else wrote

I get on the computer after she’s gone to bed
and write things to other poets
sometimes in other countries
with headphones on
that I don’t want to read next morning
because drink declares
you’re stupid

we argue on Fridays
when we get back together again
are you listening to me darling?
she’s worrying about the cat
we eat at occasional tables found in a garage sale
sometimes she cooks and sometimes I do

by Saturday morning we’ve got the weekend
I bring her breakfast
who goes to the toilet first?
and then shower
she takes an hour to primp her hair

when I’ve evacuated my bowels
and drunk coffee, I’m almost human
sometimes we just sit around and do word play
we go to Footscray and eat Vietnamese soup
some days we go to the country

in a good relationship
you just run across perfect moments
because the universe loves a lover

but she complains
if I take her down factory roads
where, too often, I like to go
but usually we find a cat, a goat
a rare weed, a flower
a smell
something built in iron we take home

our love doesn’t depend on agreeing
we leave our strangeness strictly alone
we’re at that time of life when we can point out houses we lived in
but we don’t want to live in those houses anymore
I laugh at her in that strange hat
she laughs at me trying to climb the hill
but she’s close to my hand
when I slip down


About Maurice:

Maurice McNamara’s debut collection Half-Hour Country is due to be released in 2009 through Small Change Press. He has been involved with Melbourne spoken word scene for a number of years, and now that his children are almost grown up, can devote himself to the sunny uplands of ART.




Dismantling a flockhouse

(for Mars)
My brother said
                                that machine
is older than you and me
put together.
                    Textile plants offer the cleanest
                    with off-cuts,
spools still half-wound with cloth,
clusters of lint hovering in corners
as if they’re moths
caught in an eddy.
                  First, cut along the weld,
just here,
                  then the rest of the flockhouse
comes apart in stages.
                 All of these machines
are going off-shore:
to China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka,
                 my brother said,
leaning over
doubling at the belly
measuring how a mixer’s
shaft is to be unbolted.
                 On the bonding oven’s guards
and long flat panels:
                                defunct roster sheets,
                  faded stickers:
                                -Wipe your hands first-,
a Carn the ‘Roys poster

of a lion holding a bomb-like ball
between its teeth
wearing tight shorts
and a Guernsey of maroon
royal blue and gold.
                    Tattslotto syndicate charts
plotted with crosses of loss
and a few prized ticks
shared-out on Wednesdays.
The names on safety gloves
and dustcoats:
                                   Clem, and Toni with an i-
did women work here too?
There are only men helping us
dismember this place they’ve
                     worked in for
longer than you and me put together
my brother said
                     the women were laid off first
                     he said
some blokes decided to stay
on and help us
                     because most of  ‘em won’t
find work again.
In the mornings
                     they nodded their heads at us
                     just enough
to register a ‘Hey’,
                     and on the day
we closed the plant for good
one man said:
                                     ‘Here we are again.’


(first appeared in Verandah, vol. 17, 2002)


About Joe:

Joe De Iacovo’s writing/poems have appeared in Meanjin, Southerly, Verandah, and others. He currently works as a counsellor.



Angela Costi

Angela Costi








Black Sheep One

They found her swivelled in her lover’s arms,
instantly branded, seared with the hottest tongues
still she swirled deeper, became the second flavour
in the soft serve cone and Andreas became the first.

Her husband was informed while tying up his dinghy,
his hands flew up as if to catch those bad words,
the rope uncoiled and snaked into the sea, he fell in
with his shoes, coat, memories, grappled with the water
he couldn’t drown her green kitten eyes, her splash
of freckles in the indigo light made her look younger
no where near as young as Andreas,
his barber, her lover, his sons’ barber, her lover
his neighbour, her lover, his friend.

She wore her guilt like underwear,
only with Andreas it slipped off, tossed at the doorway,
was sunk in her pheromone’s spell.
Guilt became her second coat worn on the hottest days
when her husband drenched in sea and sorrow
couldn’t speak without a fist fixing into a wall,
her oldest boy tried to split himself in two,
her youngest went missing, found blue-kneed at the dock,
she knotted her apron twice, fought only with grease,
stains, dust and longing, found her sons another barber.

Andreas couldn’t sleep without her nose butting his neck,
if only it was just the bed where he ached for her,
he couldn’t open cupboards, read books, watch clouds,
he couldn’t cut her style into the shape of others,
her wayward curls were unrepeatable,
he saw his future as a cracked vase with a dried rose.

He tiptoed back to her with a wave across a busy street,
a smile, the freshest longest red rose, a card, a letter,
love written, love touched, love held.
She turned back to ice-cream melt,
clenched her fist against her heart and said,
Tomorrow is only possible with Andreas.


About Angela:

Angela Costi is the author of three collections of poetry: Dinted Halos (chapbook, Hit&Miss Publications, 2003), Prayers for the Wicked (CD, Floodtide Audio, 2005) and Honey and Salt (Five Islands Press, 2007). Honey and Salt was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Prize 2008. Her poems, performance text, essays and stories have been widely published, broadcast and produced, including in the US, UK, Greece and across Australia (for example: Sojourner Boston, wanderingdog UK, LiNQ and Radio National-ABC).



Jen Jewel Brown

Jen Jewel Brown









Medusa lead rascalation

I turn on the tv
and there you are
with your guitar slunched into the solo
lathering and turbulating
growling, humming and hubbubing
moa-ning and rascalating
o that thrumming low drung rumble
of your Medusa lead

come closer you
leaning out of the set
to blow your lava crack chick
stack between my feet, bang!
bright spark tangent innocent
reaching down, this thuddering live
rubble crack below
like this massive channel
of vibrating
sex soul synchrome twister wrench
energy opens me up

you right through from the magma
reaching from the hot rock at the centre
of the world right through
to the stratosphere
connecting eerily and endlessly
to you through you to you

now I’m a through-way
a thoroughfare
my fingers radiating
snakes of fire
a lit-up pinball douce machina
paying out in spades, in tangos
bang bang bang ding ding ding
in pepper-tongued blades of words


About Jen:

Jen Jewel Brown is a widely published writer across many genres. Her story on familicide and Family Law, Suffer the little children, was featured in The Age on May 3 2009. She is an activist and single mother who likes to see what poetry can stretch to. She prefers to dance with her demons rather than wrestle them, or better still, matchmake them with her angels and get away free. On the brag front, Jen was the winner of the Greater Dandenong Writing Awards Open Poetry Prize 2006, Spinning Room (Melbourne) female ‘call-back’ poet of 2005 and Victorian Writers’ Centre Poetry Cup Best Performer in 2004. She’s also the author of Skyhooks’ Million Dollar Riff  and poetry books Marsupial Wrestling (Outback Press), Alleycat (Feral Books) and gutter vs stars (Flat Chat Press). Her work has been widely anthologised. She is currently working on two new poetry books and other projects. She blogs at:


Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson








Strange friendship
                   for Norman

The trick has become this – how to pull the thumb out
of the dam and not drown.  Here on the couch, our legs
face in the same direction, our thighs almost touch.

The clinking of pool-balls is an ambient sound,
the crack and sigh of another crude attempt. 
I want to tell you how strange this friendship seems,

to ask you where your grief is, as if in your composure
you are being dishonest, but I fear this might be
the stone thrown into the clear face we’ve made. 

Perhaps this poem will ensure it’s sufficiently obscure. 
Or, in a public place, where a certain absence
of intimacy’s the done thing, here’s an album you might like

and half an answer to a cryptic clue.  Is it funny
when they speak of themselves in the third person
or safe, a way to pull back as they begin to shrink

into the other?  Mateship can be a collusion
or a way out.  You arrived and the line where I end
became slightly more blurred.  Who’s to say

it’s not all a miraculous accident of cause and effect?
Miles away, wave after wave breaks against the beach.
And I speak as if the pulse of blood in us

will not be stopped by any blade or disease,
that these bodies which breathe the same air are enough,
that consciousness is no more problematic than its lack. 

I reckon I’ll get another.  You want one?


About Andy:

Andy Jackson has been published in a wide variety of print and on-line journals; received grants from the Australia Council and Arts Victoria, and a mentorship from the Australian Society of Authors; and featured at events and festivals such as Australian Poetry Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Newcastle Young Writers Festival and Overload Poetry Festival.  Most recently, he was awarded the Rosemary Dobson Prize for Poetry, and will be a Café Poet in Residence for the Australian Poetry Centre.  His most recent collection of poems, Among the Regulars, is scheduled for release by papertiger media later in 2009.


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Guided by (Riverbend) Poets

Yes, the final Poetry on the Deck event at Riverbend Books is fast approaching. The final event for 2009 will launch the QLD Poetry Festival programme by showcasing five of the local poets performing at this years festival. And believe me, it is an exciting program!

Here’s a sample of what you are in for… a poem from each of the Riverbend poets.


Angel Kosch

Angel Kosch











The Rose Crows


The murder of crows in the rose garden
Are eyeing me off
With their ruffled feathers and
Beady eyes.

Sitting on fences, waddling on lawns
Gawky messengers
Dark as velvet

A murder of crows haunting the rose garden
Sitting sleekly on fences
Cawing at benches
Manning the battlements of old cement paths through
Yesterdays thorn flowers.

Old as a rhyme
Hoarse as a head jaunt
Sharpened beak poised to the light
that glints in their eyes.

The murder of crows in the rose garden
Are eyeing me off
With their ruffled feathers
And steely goodbye.



Nicola Scholes

Nicola Scholes









Step II: Learn


I could be sweating in a pleated
sports skirt, way too short for sticky
summer days, when one was seated

like an egg on the mould
of a cheap chair, that one wetted
like glue on an envelope’s fold

until sealed to plastic.  How I
hated that moment when—forced
to peel, rise to feet—I tried

not to notice the damp residue
that dissolved like the screen
of your gran’s TV.  Do you

remember the eyes of the boys
behind—how they burned into
your cheeks?



Jeffrey Harpeng

Jeffrey Harpeng











arms blue with prison tatts
on his shoulder a spider
stuck in its own web

After the bank robbery he went bush, roustabout and shearer. One job
he lived in a tin shed an hour from town. Didn’t drink with the crew
in town. Shouldered slabs of tinnies and a bottle of whiskey back. Just
in the door a termite floorboard cracked and he fell into. . . couldn’t
budge. So he drank a shout to himself and himself and himself.

The sun snailed twice across the sky. And the kookaburras laughed,
even at the brown snake that basked at the door…

Mid-fifties, he keeps his hair long, to flip in case he meets an old



Zenobia Frost

Zenobia Frost











From the Ferry, Looking Out

What bonds must hold these atoms’ hands
that I stand so collected,
like stamps or butterflies?
I can see my yesterdays
scattered across this river, and wonder whether
you could piece me together in different ways
by asking the inconstant water
how she would build me.
Watching twilight
shatter into street lights –
deep blue turns fog
into romance – I am looking
to complete my collection,
and I keep coming back
to Brisbane.



Marisa Allen

Marisa Allen











Little Bird, A Singing Bird


Little bird
A singing bird
The lark of all I have
I’ll take you all
Into the dusk
The wilderness and desert
I’ll bring you home
I’ll let you know
The strength
This heart contains
When the bitter winds come
And all is done
I will remain
Little bird
A singing bird
The lark of all I have



Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present Poetry on the Deck.

Date: Tuesday 23 June
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at

The first two events this year have been hugely successful, so book early to avoid disappointment!


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Guided by Poets – Tasmania

Esther Ottaway

Esther Ottaway













Mary at the supermarket

Her adolescent hands take up my groceries. 
In careful English she says It is warm today

and I see the scar that straddles her char-black forehead. 

Its length is chilling: there is no refusing
the machete’s image, the thunk and force of the blow. 

Yes, I say, and lift my bags to leave:
my heart cleft open, filling with this day’s warmth.


first published Famous Reporter #34


Esther Ottaway is a Tasmanian poet. Esther won one of two Poets Union Young Poets Fellowships for her collection Blood Universe in 2006 (, and poems from it can be downloaded from ABC Radio National’s Poetica website.  In 2008 she performed new work at Sydney Writers Festival and Canberra’s Poetry at the Gods, and her poetry was set to music for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.



Liz Winfield

Liz Winfield












The first time you were hit in love

Remember the open coffin in the lounge –
you tried not to look
but saw that open-mouthed thing
that had stolen your love.

Remember when you couldn’t sleep
because of the dreams
of being chased
through decaying mansions,
caught in lifts
that never opened
to safety.

When did change become a dog with bared teeth –
was it your parents’ divorce when you were six,
when your father couldn’t remember?

Death walked with the pets you loved –
they had names: cancer, broken spine, hit and run,
given away because he cried, shot by mistake…

Remember when you were seven;
the year you couldn’t stop crying.
Your father sat on the bed
and told you, soon it would be
the darkest day of the year,
but then the days would get longer,
and if you could just hold on ‘til then,
life would begin the get better.


Liz Winfield’s poetry has been published in journals and literary magazines in Australia, the UK and Ireland. Her first collection, Too Much Happens, was published by Cornford Press in 2003, and was written with the assistance of a grant from Arts Tasmania in 2000. Her second collection is the chapbook, Catalogue of Love, published in 2006 by Walleah Press. Liz coordinates the Republic Readings, Hobart’s monthly poetry reading, and is a poetry editor for the rePUBlic readings chapbook series, The Poets’ Republic poetry broadsheet and Famous Reporter. She has taken many poetry and creative writing workshops for organisations and schools for children and adults.



Carolyn Fisher

Carolyn Fisher












The Arcanum of Shadow

Near the beach
low morning sun
scribbles the shadow
of a dead gum
on a fence, like a sentence
as unthinkable as four words
of Chichewa* cried
by an eleven-year-old girl:
the verb to die, first person,
future tense.

The shadow throws me,
lifts the exact weight of her
in my arms
and lays the pressure
on my chest.
My stomach bunches
as tight as a group of men
dressed in khaki,
keeping to a border
where burnt-out buildings
gape across at refugee camps;
guns slung against their backs
slap like the pulse
in my neck.

The sun plays on waves
that beat to shore
with the monotony of a dirge.
And pebbles on the sand
slowly take off black hats
as another day assembles
to adumbrate a young girl’s life


* Chichewa is the predominant language spoken in Malawi


Carolyn Fisher’s poems have been widely published in literary journals in Australia and the U.K and a number have been anthologized, including Best Australian Poems 2004 (Black Inc) and 2005. She has been a featured poet at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival in 2001 and 2005, has read at venues in Tasmania and Victoria, and her writing has been supported by grants from the Australia Council and Arts Tasmania. Her first chapbook of poetry The Unsuspecting Sky won the Presspress award and was published by the same in 2008. She lives on the north-west coast of Tasmania.



Kristen Lang

Kristen Lang














In Summer Fields

She is moonlight,
hard through black gums,
breaking across his shadows,

and loving her,
he wonders what it was
he called the world.

He holds,
like moths above her skin,
his heavy rain,

and tells her nothing,
walks in the soft candescence
of his summer fields.


From the collection, “Let me show you a ripple: when words are a way of seeing”

Kristen lives near Mt Roland in NW Tasmania. Her collection of poems and colour photographs, Let me show you a ripple, was published in April, 2008. Her second book, Creative Redemption: Uncertainty in Poetic Creativity, comes from her PhD thesis and centres on observations of creative processes (published August 2008).

Kristen’s poems have appeared in journals across Australia and on Radio National. She has been selected often for the writing programmes offered by Varuna – The Writers’ House, in Katoomba, NSW, and has received funding from Tas Regional Arts and the Australia Council for these events. She was a guest at last year’s Tasmanian Poetry Festival. She also runs workshops and offers tuition, both off- and online. Webpage:



Tim Thorne

Tim Thorne



APEC 2007


The sunlight zings terrifically off the security fence.
Sydney’s always been more than just a pretty harbour.
It is at such rare times as this that the streets
like chic mirrors show the depths of the city’s character,
which is just as pretty and only slightly emptier.


Stolid boys from the Shire or from the country
line up in uniform and the delicate
play of light on badges, cuffs and gun butts
is as thrilling as massed Zippos at a soft rock concert
back in the days when people used to smoke.


Shopkeepers at the Quay moan in funny accents
about the loss of custom, but we can be safe
in laughing with them, not at them, sharing
the knowledge that if it were not for our leaders
there would be no tourists to be absent.


The photographers who snap dead streets
are like papparazzi around a corpse:
no respect, no sense of timing and an
over-inflated idea of the importance
of aesthetics.  We can forgive them


because they know not what those very gutters
reflect.   There is no mist on the glass.
A distant, growing chant reminds us all
of what used to be called “history”
or “compassion” and the water slaps stone.


Tim Thorne has written twelve collections of poetry, has edited four anthologies and his poems have appeared in most major Australian literary journals.  He established the Tasmanian Poetry Festival and was its Director for 17 years.  He has performed his work throughout Australia and overseas, and has worked as a poet in a variety of community contexts.  His A Letter to Egon Kisch (Cornford Press 2007) won the William Baylebridge Prize, and he has won the Launceston Poetry Cup twice.  He lives in Launceston, Tasmania, with his wife Stephanie and a large garden.

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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.


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Guided by Cafe Poets #2 – Anne Collins & Jessica Cook

This Guided by Poets thread, is the second in the Cafe Poets features. All over Australia, poets are bunkering down in cafes thanks to The Australian Poetry Centre and believe me there are some really exciting projects emerging. If you are on Facebook you can keep up to date with all things Cafe Poets here:

I hope to promote each poet and their residency over the coming months. So it is my pleasure to introduce to you, two more of the Cafe Poets – Anne Collins and Jess Cook (cooknkitch).



Heatwave                (by Anne Collins)    
Adelaide, March 2008.

The house waits for the dawn easterly
to billow its curtains cool.
A single sheet feels too hot,
there’s nothing to breathe,
after a sleepless night
my brain befuddles to zero,
my feet and hands swell tight.
Maroon, mineral-smelling blood
gushes wasted from my womb.

Thick and dry as sandpaper
heat burdens every move
one foot in front of the other
almost impossible. My arm reaches over,
to put a cup down on the bench, I pause, stare blank
into the sandpaper haze,
its molecules scratch my face.
The closed-up house swells tight.
I escape into air-conditioned galleries, ponder art,
then sweat at the bus-stop in a strip of shade.
A crisp, high-heeled wedding party, feathered and buffed
perfumes the footpath.
The crowded bus full of tolerance faces the sun, 
moves and stops, jerks –
a woman struggles with her baby, refuses a seat,
a Bluetooth man from Sudan shrugs
and smiles his words into the gritty air.

In the park I listen to writers, ideas and poetry
drift across the swelter
to those fanning metaphors in the shade.
In the middle of the afternoon I’m lost
in the glare of an empty street
squat stone houses frown at parched gardens.
I try to think back to where
my friend’s house sits waiting dark and cool,
fan swirling. I try so hard to think: rehearse
first right, second left – but in reverse
my sense of direction gets stuck.

The heat leaves me heavy-lidded on the couch,
presses on my head as I read
until I surrender to cushions.
Living-room conversation fades as if
someone pressed the volume button.
Dreams come rushing onto the stage.
Did I come all this way to sleep?
The evening temperature is exotic under restaurant palms,
I sip gin and tonic, friends talk about death,
joke that intelligent people are nocturnal.
My shimmer-shirt clings pink,
my legs peel from retro-vinyl chairs.
In the lantern-lit night-park I travel the world in music,
crowds mingle, heat-drugged. I walk home satisfied,
dust in my hair and throat. 

In the middle of the night on the deck
I fix my eyes beyond the hills,
onto a plain of crystal lights
stretched across the mouth of the gulf.
I stop myself from saying it’s hot.



About Anne:

I write poetry, essays, reviews and stories. My  work is published in literary magazines in Australia, the USA and New Zealand.  My two books are The Season of Chance (Walleah Press, 2005) and Seasoned with Honey (Walleah Press, 2008) a four-poet anthology by Lyn Reeves, Mary Jenkins, Anne Collins and Gina Mercer.
I have completed my first week as Poet-in -Residence at Chado The Way of Tea in Hobart. Chado is run by Varuni Kulaskera and Brian Ritchie. It is a beautiful tea house with a performance/exhibition space. While there I’ll be working on my verse novella that has a water theme and exploring the world of tea. During the six-month residency I’m also hoping to work with visual artists and musicians. The first of these collaborations will happen with Brian Ritchie who is a master of the Japanese Shakuhachi flute. People coming into the tea-house will be greeted by the calming sounds of the flute and me reading poetry. Visual artist Marianne Stafford will be working with me to produce some paintings in response to my novella. These will be exhibited at the end of the residency to coincide with a reading from my novella. Varuni and I will also be planning other cross-arts events that will take place during the next six months. 


Excerpt from Project ALICE       (by Jess Cook)


We had shepherds
Then we built fences.

Universals in universes
In unison
while these Gates
These uninvited guests of timely fleshed and textured pastures
Raided shelters and pelted shards of difference to build borders

We guided will
and then guarded against
In dense defence
Fixated tense with molten larvae for armour
Lances standing fortress in a long alarming point of arrest
An inked signature dress
Blotted with besotted blood denches
bleeding gums in bleaching surface
Lines missing crevasse
Stripped Fabric in multiple sizes
Biased stretched with stress and bottle shocked
Shell cracked UN matched labels
wining and dining
With porcupine china
Porcelain spines rattle in shop windows
saving blinks in blanks of purpose
the distortions of being earnest

Falling into chasms where nothing is everything
The levels are flooding
Twin sets are barricading
The macro and micro exchanging
To engage with jungle obstacles
Kaleidoscopic spectacles
Un expected tests of space and time
Chases of tails that wag behind
The turnstiles effects of teatime
The topsy-turvy world
House arrested as blue-black bows bruise the roof tiles
Silken hair falls for straw coloured Stairs
descending to ascend
To a new found land of here.
We’re here.

Innuendo spins a gallery of fun house mirrors
Sprinkling impressions of self portraits
21st century pirates supply restrictive forces
Too many voices muffled with corsets

Ahh ahhhh ahhh ah ahhhhh ahhhh ahhhhhhh (paper bag)

The taught elastic band snaps
As lungs expand
Thoughts expand
To grasp
clarity appears from the invisible
Projections of Alice
Innuendo flashes
Till it’s running so fast it stands still to sight
A neon light tied like a twists of hyper ti died balloons
Holding hands stretched out
Swaying as prayer flags
Looming our existence
Pouring out


There are Infinite possibilities
Rolling with the ever expanding galaxy
Abundance beyond polarity
Beyond strict lines of guide
We find Pink queens in rivers of poles dancing
Flexing the unsigned inking in
parlours tattooed with vanity
Glistening in a fisting of self
Shark Soup
Couped up escorts who pawn
For bait
Bit my tongue chewing bubblegum
The sum of us hung like candy necklaces
Blowing fist of neon in the future no age shall come between us
No strand of fear demeans us
The fuss of fitting extracted with the canines
Leaving wisdoms intact as cattle grates retract
Along with the gates
Who kept the molars in silence
Back road rodents unable to bite in the daylight
Now pouring out of the tea pot
Pissing in the wind
Kissing no ones ring
Blings blinding like arteries get binding
With The deep fried mars bars
Gluttonous gadgets that metabolise
Riff rafs breaking kit kats
Drilling this that’s like
Left foot red left hand red
On twister mats the dummy spats
incisors insisting fabric scissors are damaging
The weave implanted in our knowing
How did we get assembled in lines of silence?
piled up in tips of casts plastered in ahhhhh (opens like at dentist)
whilst men on roof tops have us looking up
chat rooms chatter  (teeth chatter) cold call hook ups
glowing white in ebony wormholes
transportation to motherboards
who hoard our exports to the cyber world
a generation lost in cyber space
looking for love gone mad
the snapping of the elastic band
pulling parachutes for fluttering hearts
pumping adrenaline in all the right places
callous driven out with derby day races
we leapt through the glass leaving faith
without mask.
So many tasks
Only belief remained without question
It leaped out of frost-glazed windows
to frolic with the flock
on Mountains of crevasses
fleshed revellers of interdependence
non-linear perspectives

The lack of point is for
Not against
It becomes experience instead of persistence

So get amongst it
Say ahhhh and charge

Let questions guide you beyond fences

Realise the potential of creation
Ongoing combinations of directions
Interceptions perceptions and more more questions

But knowing


This cuckoo flew
Who grew to new
to know
knowing now
its now.
I’m here.




About Jess:

Jess Cook (cooknkitch) is Cafe Poet at Sydney’s Fair Trade Cafe. She is Director of Token Imagination and a performance poet. Token Imagination is an event managment and promotion company for word/performance art, that includes the monthly event, TOKEN WORD.As a resident artist of The Frequency Lab, she has released an album of poetry/electronic music titled Out of Town on a Horse Called Thursday.

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Guided by Poets – WA #2

For this Guided by Poets thread we travel back to the west coast of Australia to check out five exciting, original voices. And here they are:

Amanda Joy – Scott-Patrick Mitchell – Gabrielle Everall – Amber Fresh – Simon Cox



Stuck Out

Deep night in Tokyo
Memories are smeared light
Sirens sparkle urgency
to pillow-covered ears

The girl            is gooseflesh
hidden by the scrim
                          of her smile

These places she doesn’t show
she sees            on her skin

Black dents and scars
she denies the pleasure  
in shadows       in the near silent
night                 the wet ground

Close still      all deadened day
the residual
smell of scotch on the yawning giant

The night presses     to show
her    how well pretty things look
their purity pressed     against
the contrast of a dark background


Amanda Joy is a poet, writer, installation artist and sculptor living and gardening in Fremantle Western Australia. She is the keeper of a dog called Love and has a great fascination for portals and conduits. She blogs her poetry semi regularly at her website and Her work is included in numerous journals online and every now and then she pops out a little limited edition illustrated chapbook for those who ask nicely. A more sizeable binding of her wordage is gestating.



Foundations Of Anatomy & Physiology

cheat notes for drown, the game

learning to swim can make 1ne sadly
short of breath, shouting help, help

sinks depth. deep is the river bed
. stoned on currents & babbling, waves

rip & break. a cross without a
bridge has no music to serenade

. shores line. tug, for water is
lonely. glug, for the bed wants

company. like a thug it drugs
heavy. saragossi into the mud

, a slow motion falling in
love. it bloats. you only have

1ne dry life so be sure your
wings don’t just fly.



Scott-Patrick Mitchell is a poet & writer living in Perth. He works as a journalist for OUTinPerth, a lesbian and gay news and lifestyle community street press, for whom he writes fashion, arts, music and a regular graffiti column called Perth Street Art. His work has been published in such anthologies as neoteric, Interactive Geographies, naked eye, Poetry Creations, Lines of Wisdom , Red Leaves and Through the Clock’s Working, the world’s first anthology of remixed literature. He edits two zines – ‘COTTONMOUTH’ & the underground literary street art adventure that is MoTHER [has words…].


Indi rock god

You saunter through
Rilke’s narrow lyre
there’s nothing of you
to kiss
a rake —
I want to be part
of your progress

I am purdah
I am abject
closer to death

my blind girl body
is sacrificed in you
still rising up to you

my body becomes your name

to believe in you
is to be God’s lover —
the only legitimate passion —
moral passion
triggering moral panic
we must eat
the sweetmeats of Christ

your child body, wafer thin
swallowed with wine
leaves me swollen

Saint Teresa’s eyes
roll in orgasmic jouissance

I want to kiss
every part of your wasted face
the revolt of your christly flesh
that I thought
wasn’t good enough

like a pig in mud
I wallow in thoughts
about you
you’re a belly god
I’m rapacious

the slashing of my skin
is a breath of fresh air

to reach Godhead
tie me to the bedhead
beat me with your beatitudes

the catch 22
of a suffering that causes jouissance
and a jouissance that causes suffering —

deprivation is your scripture

I a desiring ascetic
you an object
that is handed to me
like a child
is given a toy

a daddy toy
a never ending sweet
I’m an all day sucker

Christ has been there
God started it all.



Gabrielle Everall has published Dona Juanita and the love of boys with the assistance of The Department of Culture and The Arts in late 2007.  She has been previously published in The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, Herding Kites, Cordite, The Sleeper’s Almanac, A Salt Reader etc and has work forthcoming in Going Down Swinging.  She has performed her poetry at The Big Day Out, Putting On An Act, NRLA, NYWF, Overload and The Emerging Writer’s Festival etc.  She also performs at Perth poetry readings Cottonmouth and Voicebox.




one time i asked a boy to push me over in the carpark
where we were and

at that instant i thought it was an incredibly
romantic thing to ask a boy

just as that feeling of possible romance was fading he did
push me over

when  i say ‘push’ i mean
suddenly his whole body was rammed against mine and i
flew about a million centimetres into the air

well, across the air and through the air really, and then
onto the bitumen, with my whole body smacked and
crushed against itself and into the ground at the same

that boy would have done anything i asked
so i’m glad we didn’t have a gun

one time if you get someone to push you over you will
know exactly what i’m talking about

but only if they are exactly the right person



Amber Fresh is a writer from Perth (via Albany and Paris). Her poems have been published in Westerly, Navigations, Cottonmouth Zine, MoTHER [has words…], The Ponies Zine, and Metior. This year she released her first book of poetry, “Between You and Me”, with funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts. She writes on a typewriter and makes music in a band called Rabbit Island.



The Same Place Twice

Nothing. Nothing but the storm held aloft by a kite string,
the mind an empty bucket in the rain, beds freshly poured
for the leaf litter, puddles open pores in the pavement.

Nothing but the sky gone cerebral with storm clouds,
the rain coming on like a migraine, synapses lit up with
the one thought, clouds epileptic with lightning. 

Nothing but the thought like water vapour over our heads,
the answer around which all questions hang rhetorical,
the perfume of the executioner sweet as summer rain,
the moment perfect in its passing.

Nothing but the boy pulling down
on his kite string, the sky pulling back up.

Nothing but the stars come unstuck in the storm
and the clouds gridlocked on the horizon,
the wiring live between my fingers
and the sound from inside the seizure. 




Simon Cox was the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre Young-Writer-in-Residence in 2008, and has been published in Voiceworks and the Sleepers’ Almanac. With friends he organises Perth’s monthly spoken word showcase, ‘Cottonmouth’, and will help publish an anthology of Cottonmouth performers this June. In 2008 he self-published a chapbook of poems, Book Lung.


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Guided by (Cafe) Poets – Josephine Rowe, Amelia Walker & Lara Taylor

Poets and cafes have always been a happy match and currently there are a number of poets undertaking residencies in cafes Australia wide, thanks to an initiative of the Australian Poetry Centre. And there are some exciting projects happening as a result.

Over the next few months I will be featuring many of the ‘Cafe Poets’ in the Guided by Poets section of the blog. So it is with great pleasure I present the first three poets in this series: Josephine Rowe (Melbourne), Amelia Walker (Adelaide) and Lara Taylor (Sydney).



Train to South Australia

On a train to South Australia    my face turned to the window    thistles by the rail-line    the land mostly flat and gold    black in the places where there was once water    white cows and battalions of gums as windbreaks    the dusty blue-white sky spread like an old eggshell bedsheet   the moon still out though it’s nearing midday    and I feel I might  be out there somewhere    not draped here my skin sticking to the cracked leather lounge    a warm glass of beer on the kidney-shaped table in front of me    I call my own name very softly    but it’s you that I see    shielding your eyes half-heartedly from the dust    the dead grass sweeping away and cracking beneath your unpolished shoes    for hundreds of ks you’ve kept up    stepping easily over tangled wire fences    ruined farming equipment    yes it’s you that I see    and I want to call out    I want to knock against the double-paned glass    beat my hands against it and shout    Hey    till the glossy crows are startled away and you look up    your pale round face sleepy-smiling    you’re looking up and gently    and I want to strike the window glass and yell out    Hey    but all you hear is wheels and whistles    scotch-thistles puffing Father Christmases across the rail line    all you hear is the dry cracking of the grass    the flit and drone of insects    though I’ve pressed my mouth right close to the frame and screamed for all I’m worth    all that comes out is a sigh    and it sounds like dry grass cracking    it sounds like the sleeve of your jacket    brushing the fabric of your trouser-thigh    as you marry your stride to the landscape    leave me wanting for you    with this dust in my chest and no breath    just my name    traced in fog    on the glass.

(from the book Asynchrony)




Josephine Rowe:

Over the past twelve months I’ve been working on my second collection of short fiction, so I haven’t written much in the way of poetry. I saw the Café Poet Program as a perfect opportunity to switch back into a poetic headspace and rekindle my love of the line break. I’ve just confirmed my residency at Victorian Railway Workshops Art & Antiques – it’s a mixed business run out of an old light-rail station in Albert Park, so I’m essentially writing amongst all of this beautiful old railway paraphernalia. It would be an amazing place to have a reading.

I’d have to say I’m fairly nostalgic for a twenty-four year old. Perhaps nostalgic isn’t exactly the right word in this case, as we’re talking about an era that I didn’t belong to, but I do have a strong interest in pretty much anything from the Victorian era to post WWII. That interest has often been reflected in my subject matter. I used to write a lot about wartime Melbourne in particular; the brown-outs and the ration books and the white feathers all fascinated me.

It will be interesting to see how working from VRW influences my writing. My own apartment is like some kind of 1920s slum-deco time warp, where television is non-existent and my laptop is a complete anachronism. But there are more distractions there, and the coffee isn’t quite as good.



City, Lover, Self
Goodbye Poem for Adelaide, December 2004

I am listening to you breathe,
to the rhythm of your being,
the rush of engines through your dark streets,
your veins, your arteries,
those whispered capillaries of suburbia
perfusing backyards, bedrooms
-the soft tissue organs of your strange scarred body,
city, lover, self.
My feet are intimate with your paths,
every shop glass shines with the ghost of some moment:
things that have been, or could have been,
people I knew, and never really knew,
people I have been, people I could have been…
This comfortable haunting gets loud at times
in your arms it is too easy to rest
eyes shut, warmed by familiarity…
city, lover, self.
I am leaving. Not forever,
for a while.
While I am gone, you will continue
rising and falling with each quiet breath,
your hidden heart will beat, not miss me,
you will dance, will sleep with strangers,
will grow and die and grow and die and die and grow
and so will I.
Tonight, though, we sleep safely one last time,
city, lover, self.

(from the book ‘Just Your Everyday Apocalypse’)




Amelia Walker

Amelia began writing poetry and performing at venues around Adelaide when she was sixteen. Since then she has performed at festivals around Australia and overseas for the 2008 World Poetry Festival. Her second collection of poetry, ‘Just Your Everyday Apocalypse’, was recently launched by ABC Radio’s Mike Ladd and is available for purchase from or by emailing
As a Cafe Poet at Higher Ground in Adelaide, Amelia is spending her writing time working on poems for her Honours thesis artefact. She is studying Creative Writing at UniSA. She also recently organised a full-costume wrestling-themed poetry debate and monster open mike to celebrate Love Poetry Hate Racism 2009 & to launch the Love Poetry Hate Racism global poetry anthology. Free copies of the anthology can be downloaded from Future plans involve more gigs and workshops.



How to Save the Planet

There’s a mist that is rolling through the thunder
There’s a morning view just waiting to be found
There’s an ocean that is full of bloody currents!
And there is Stillness in a Deep and Wordless sound

There’s a Caterpillar climbing up a strong and silken Thread
And a waterbird just goes his merry way
And there’s a web complete with Droplets that have come into the Light
And there is me and there is you and we are Learning how to play

And I see beyond the Rotten on this Still and Seamless morn
And I listen to the footsteps of mankind
And it feels a little tricky, but we’re all in the same ditty
As we open up our eyes to this, we open up our minds

There’s a hole beyond the Cobweb, I can see it
I can hear it in the sound of morning dew …
And the Busy-ness is leaving as the Wordless takes its Place
And I find a moments Peace which I am sharing Now with You

Cafe Poet Program ‘09
An initiative of the Australian Poetry Centre and supported by the Mortdale Grind Cafe, Sydney, NSW




Lara Taylor:

Lara won her first poetry comp at age 9 with a poem entitled ‘My Horrible Brother’. Her style hasn’t changed much since then; she enjoys a simple childlike use of words to explore complex human themes. In 2006 she won The Literary Prize for a performance at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta for her poem ‘I am looking at the Masses’, an exploration into human pain and the search for meaning. Recent titles include ‘The Flippy Floppy Bunny Rabbit’, ‘The Very Sad Poem’, a comical piece about her desire to have a more elegant vocabulary and ‘From Hiam to Lebanon and Back’.

The Mortdale Grind is a stylish busy cafe in Mortdale, Sydney. Decorated by various awards, saleable artwork and comical cartoons, it serves coffee to a wide variety of individuals from the local area. The ‘Poem of the Week’ is our first project and plans are to create a booklet entitled ‘The Coffee Shop Collection’ later during the residency.


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Guided by Poets: Zenobia Frost

The Guided by Poets idea has been a blast! For this thread, I tapped Miss Ruby Fizz, Zenobia Frost on the shoulder and asked her to hoist the sails and captain this Guided by Poets voyage. And this thread has traveled some distance… Brisbane – Berlin – Cambridge – Chicago shining a light on some mighty fine poets along the way! And here they are: Zenobia Frost – mr oCean – Michael Haeflinger – Jose Olivarez – Nate Marshall.


Bathing with Gaiman

Before reading in the bath,
I ease the book’s
jacket off. I

the steaming water with one toe
and shuffle off my own dust cover
to step
and slide
in and under,

holding the book above my head
like an umbrella. Then, spread
with my arms leaning on my legs,
I read, turning the pages

with the tip
of my tongue.

Later, while I scrub
or shave my legs
with my right hand,

I realise I’ve gone
cover to cover (or nearly).

The fingers of my left arm sulk
and strain, and I must
balance the book on my head
to flex the lameness out (and again

till feeling returns).
Then I swap hands and finish
my story and scrubbing,

to step out clean and complete,
steeped in someone else’s
glistening words.



Zenobia Frost is a poetic adventurer, hat fetishist and protector of apostrophes whose debut collection, The Voyage, will be launched by SweetWater Press on the 3rd of May. In her writing, Zenobia aims to highlight those common enchantments that are often overlooked. Thus, The Voyage is a whimsical journey on (generally) calm seas with a crew of curious creatures and a compass that points to whichever shore offers the best cup of tea. Zenobia’s poems have found homes in such Australian journals as Going Down Swinging, Small Packages, Stylus, Mascara and Voiceworks, and she has recently performed at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Contraverse and Under a Daylight Moon. She also coordinates The Ruby Fizz Society for Superior People, a light-hearted excuse for performance arts and baked goods. The Voyage, illustrated by talented local artist Bettina Walsh, launches at 7pm on the 3rd of May in the !Metro Arts Basement.



It is an act of impossible will,
to hold my body together,
when every nerve insists
that all I am is energy
and that we belong to the sky,
with the lightning and auroras.

All that holds me down,
all that keeps me from atomising,
is the focus of the flow of ink
and the flow of red wine
past my madly grinning lips.

I am the helium balloon
on a windy day,
colouring the chilly clouds
and whispering dreams of flight
to the child who holds me



mr oCean is an unfinished work of fiction, commenced in Brisbane, Australia, and continuing in Berlin, Germany.  He has featured at La Mina di Velluto, The Kurilpa Poets, SpeedPoets (Brisbane) and Fluxus Capacitor (London).  Making only occasional forays into reality, he writes predominantly sketches of views from windows or mirrors.



Love Poem for the Everyday

I love you mixed with lemon juice and basil.  I love you on fire
in the sink.  I love you made of plastic or small triangular pellets
or standing on a coast somewhere staring off in the distance
singing a Top 40 hit.

I love you with your hair pulled back and your eyes
facing upwards like that painting of dogs playing
poker.  I love you when you change your name to Lucy
and shoot paper wads from straws.

I love you when you don’t do that, too.

I love you like I used to love you, before I stopped
loving you, because we tend to drift apart, but we tend
to drift back together again, too.  I love you in the heat
of the pennant drive, coated in mustard, wafting your divinity

across right field.  I love you brewed into my brain,
electric, set apart.  I love you left behind as an artifact
and already talk about you as though you are dead.
I love both sides of your brain, weigh them separately

then weigh them together and then check the math.
I love the smooth rich columns of your promenade
and I love the chipped sidewalks of your memories.
I love the sound of your key in the lock, your made-up

words and own two feet.  I love scanning the ends
of movie credits for your name.  I love your name
and I say it every morning when the blooming pussy
willows yawn through the open window.

Berlin, March 2009



Michael Haeflinger is a poet, educator, and organizer from Dayton, OH.  His work has recently appeared in BlazeVOX, Newleaf, tall-lighthouse anthology, Make, milk, Nexus, and SoMA.  He has taught workshops in the US, Germany, and Netherlands.  He currently lives in Berlin, Germany.



April 10, 2009

How I learned to talk to girls

Sitting on the couch
with a girl I could only dream about
in dreams,

I tried looking her in the eyes,
but mine were birds in the winter
darting south.

She told me she liked
poetry, so I smiled sunshine

Talked poems and poets:
pantoums to get in your pantoons

but she crossed her
legs building borders between us.
“No, no”

said, “when I told you
I liked poetry I meant that I liked you—
Now come over here and please

stop talking.”



Jose Olivarez is a junior at Harvard College.  His work has been published in Konch Magazine, the Harvard Voice, The November 3rd club, and this spring will be published in The Gamut and Tuesday Magazine.  He is also an occasional blogger at



the genesis

rappers i monkey flip em
with the funky rhythm
I be kickin

age 13 in evergreen plaza
cold chillin in a b(irthday)-boy
stance i was stone still
standing in front of the
cd shop with my homie
jess was from oshkosh wisconsin
didn’t know nasir from nelly
thought wu-tang
was a fruit punch
but he bought me my first copy
of illmatic
popped into my discman the
crimson Columbia© disc
and started spending the jacksons
asking myself

what the fuck
is this bullshit
on the radio



Nate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. This is by far the most important thing about him. He is a poet/MC/writer who has been previously anthologized in The Spoken Word Revolution: Redux. He is a first-year student at Vanderbilt planning to major in English and African American Studies. He competed in Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam and was a part of a Chicago team that took 3rd in the competition. He has performed his work at many universities and notable venues across the country. He has also released two independent hip-hop albums with the group Daily Lyrical Product. In short, he has a higher ACT score than your favorite rapper, can beat your favorite dead white poet in a rap battle, and can outscore your high school valedictorian in a poetry slam. Word.


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Guided by Poets – Queensland

Here is the second thread in the Guided by Poets series. This thread started in Queensland and gradually wound its way south. Each poem speaking to the next, contibuting to the ongoing poetic dialogue.


i called the number

handsomely written on my forearm

in true black nikko

and gave my credit card details

to her anonymous voice


and three days later

my left hand was returned

in the mail




Nathan Shepherdson is the son of painter Gordon Shepherdson. He was the winner of the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize in 2004 and 2006. In 2005 he received the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Award for an unpublished manuscript. As a consequence of that award, his first book, Sweeping the Light Back into the Mirror was published by the University of Queensland Press. At the 2006 Queensland Poetry Festival he was the recipient of the Val Vallis Award and in the same year was awarded the Newcastle Poetry Prize. His recent collection, what marian drew never told me about light was released in 2008 by Small Change Press.



Come on then my pretties
with heads or tails down at the bar
let’s drink to a strange kind of paradise
coz it’s double or free
and the bar always wins
Oh! I’m wearing my head of hard mud
and fallen in the river after insane nights
Oh! I’ll drown before the mud softens
for there’s never enough love with you
no there’s never enough love with you




Angela Gardner won the 2006 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and 2004 Bauhinia/Idiom 23 Prize. Her first book Parts of Speech was published by University of Queensland Press in 2007. She is founding editor of the poetry journal and a practicing visual artist with work in public collections. In 2008 she travelled to the USA and UK on a Churchill Fellowship to investigate small press poetry/printmaking collaborations. In 2009 she will take up a residency in Ireland supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.





 when i’m not drinking australian wine

                     ‘i like the way she
breaks her                  (her) lines’           the way the
music introducing no repeats for house                     (the tv
with cello sounds)     like     like how the mind can conjure
          i like the way curtis teases how curtis makes me roll     roll
how          blogpost armantrout
          her third     way i          i like the way she takes her time
(is it the bach?what number?what conductor?)     the glass     late like




Louise Waller is an Australian poet from Yeppoon in Queensland.  She devises work for theatre and writes poetry.  Her first collection Slipway is published in Swelter (IP2003) and (IP Digital 2004).  She has received national awards and grants for her poetry and work in theatre.  Recent poetry from her developing collection Aftershocks appears in Blue Dog:Australian Poetry and papertiger #04. Her latest collection is holding Job’s hand published by light-trap press in 2008. 




observational number i forget

fear of necking fear of basalt optimistic
about all white cliffs of dover ambivalent though
at rampant prolixity / achromatopsia / idiocy
magniloquent when fusing systems of
thought to suit this apparent

internationally registered mail from
turvey park p.o. after 4pm / wet clothes
& whatever xeransis / cheese is lunch /
this to type as if an act after
unintended celibacy   

a steady vein-cut dotting the patina 

         i’m stable while everyone
twitters about turning into angelina jolie




Derek Motion is a poet, a writer of fictions, a PhD student at Charles Sturt University, and Director of the Booranga Writers’ Centre. He also occasionaly writes reviews for *Famous Reporter*.




Escape (third confession)

this is where we spat into the sea
this is how we clapped for snakes
what I meant when I said north for starters
he tried hiding beneath kelp with bait 

naming the winds we spoke of sealers
who fuck their eel skin bags
never of cannibals who starve until
they see the house they are most afraid of 

he swore he could steal us a firestick
but his balls shrank to a purse inside him
he pissed on his feet to warm them up
then his chalky feet grew cold  

and frogs that roared as loud as cattle
he asked me how to suck his teeth
I felt my head for monstrous signs
each glance a thieving octopus  

all the time swearing on the book of Job
all the time with one eye open
until he seemed to me a lake of milk
I chewed his ears like apricots




Nathan Curnow’s first collection of poetry is No Other Life But This (Five Islands Press).  Funded by the Australia Council he has written a new collection of ‘ghost poetry’ based upon his stays at ten ‘haunted’ sites around the country (forthcoming with Puncher&Wattmann in 2009).  With further assistance from the Australia Council he is currently writing a new play based around convict stories and escape myths.


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