Jessie Tu

A music teacher currently calling Bondi home, Jessie Tu was born to Taiwanese mother and Chinese father. At the age of five, she immigrated to Australia- Melbourne, and then relocating to Sydney. She studied music at university having played the violin from the age of nine. She now teaches full time at the Rose Bay independent girls school Kambala and enjoys writing as a means of connecting with her community. Her poetry deals with her identity growing up as an immigrant and the comic trails and tribulations of being a ‘banana’ (white on the inside, yellow on the outside) and the shift from childhood to adulthood. She has recently received a 6 month residency as a Café Poet (a program funded by the government assisted  Australian Poetry Organization) at her favourite café in Sydney – WellCo Café in Glebe. She has had her writing published in Peril Magazine and VibeWire. In December 2011, she participated in a National Young Playwrights’ Studio workshop where a selected few young Australians from across the nation came together with industry leaders to write, learn and create new works.


My mother’s heart is a small, good thing

My mother’s heart is a small, good thing.
It is lovely and unassuming like my stain glassed mosaic lamp
illuminating a room as an angel lights the sky.
It is calm like the winds on a gentle Sunday at 3.
It hums quietly to itself when no one is listening.
It never stirs at the absence of peace.
My mother’s heart is a small, good thing.
It sings at the sight of a neighbour’s garden
transforms her willowy features to delicate soft expressions.
Her heart is a keen student.
It swallows with the force of a sea cave, it
kills all light
Her horrendous freedom, uncaged-
Her fear is mightier than might
She hums to her own tuneful language,
Her solid stare, unpardonable-
She leaks through me like a bleeding creature
Her agility fails tonight,
And I have nothing but my intermediate embrace
To comfort and progress. 



These walls tremor with their private language-
carves a sound sculpture of a musical elegy,
a requiem for my sleepless soul.

I bring myself to this curtailing ostinato,
breathes soaked as self-pitying woe. 

The city abode confines me with
a strange solitude, yearning to disperse.

Feet crawl on broken pavements
obedient in structure and anatomy –
they pace with diligent trust in my heavy head, though-
they should beware
this head is too fruitful
for small talk
hollow prayers.

They settle with a blur,
accepting the inevitable- 

tomorrow will rise like today,
a repetition of yesterday.