Kings Cross Memories (circa 1984)
I sought to find, I sought to find - and found,
Lost innocence, that was newly shattered;-
When, now that I had seen Old Sydney Town,
In her cloak of darkness, nothing mattered.
When all I wanted, was to find my own
Identity; my senses now were scattered,
Into the stars; now down in Old Kings Cross,
(My memory now grows a verdant moss).
So young, (they say), so young for a "street kid",
(Well this is what it makes you - if you stay);
Something to shock the Ego, and the Id;
To shock your very soul into dismay;
Where in this shady place, in corners hid,
Were ev'ry type of vice, and wicked way;
There's things you shouldn't see when your fifteen;-
Things that are a nightmare's waking dream.
So now up gaudy William Street, I walked,
Past glitzy showrooms of luxury cars,
Past girls on corners (before whom I balked);
And by each corner, with their lonely bars;
Past the trannies*, whom their wares they hawked;
(For a Mountains Boy, this may as well be Mars);
Past the Coke Sign**, and into her den of vice;
And anything you want - if you have the price.
Bright lights, big city, (so they say) - it's true;
Many moths to a flame, many moths destroyed;
And once it's seen, there's none forget the view;
(Even if thereafter, they then, the place, avoid).
Here's another street fight, here's another blue;***
And before too long, here's police deploy'd;
A gangster's paradise - men like Neddy Smith;-****
Now all these years later, we have Neddy's myth.
I'm on Darlo Road^, (I'm in the "Cross proper);
Past strip shows, f*ck shows, nightclubs, and such things;
With drug dealers paying off the bent coppers;^^
And all is well, and good - till someone "sings";
Then you'll see "what gives" - when they "come a cropper";^^^
(Their blood on the street - is what this brings);
They're called a "dog"^^^^; and bashed there in the street;
And afterwards; their face is like minced meat!
Still there's virtue, in the worst of us;
When the tattoo'd arms, of some criminal,
Would pull me back from the danger, and the fuss;
Away from things which scarred the mind subliminal;
And swimming in societies' worst pus;
With prostitutes strutting in their clothes minimal;
And most of them off their heads on smack;
Which was guaranteed to keep them coming back.
Though in this place, there was a kind of beauty;
Sometimes mix'd in, with the vice, and dross;
At fifteen, I was innocent, as could be
Expected; when I first saw old Kings Cross;
Still things run deep, and deep runs the cruel sea;
And many things must die, to pay the cost.
Some things, which died, inside me, at this time;
Now form the very subject of this rhyme.
So at fifteen, (and also still a virgin);
A young kid's eyes are opened to the world;
My education, somehow, had to begin;-
And so it did - in this underworld.
Drinking underage - most pubs let me in;
(My young mind swimming in the alcohol);
Of course these places also paid police;-
To operate in this place of vice.
So there you have it all;- "it takes all kinds";
And of this saying's truth - I have no doubt;
At my young age then, I missed the land mines;
By keeping quiet - a whisper was a shout;-
(Or could become one - in some other's mind);
It took so little for a fight to break out;-
Which could then cascade into a mighty brawl;
That was "all in" - a violent free for all.
Now the 'Cross is nothing like it used to be;
(Though some things do not change up there - I'm sure);
And She's expensive - in her gentility;
(No longer will you find the dozy whore).
With a veneer of respectability;-
And a little more regard for the Law;-
Pubs close early - with Lockout Laws in place;^^^^
And less young kids there, getting off their face.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Posted: Apr 2020
About this poem:* Transsexuals, prostituting themselves.
** The famous giant "Coca Cola" neon advertising sign.
*** Blue = Australian colloquialism for a fight, or disturbance.
**** Notorious Australian gangster, of this era - now in jail, for life. Now passed away,
RIP Neddy, I suppose
^ Darlinghurst Road, the "main drag"
^^ Coppers = Australian slang for police.
^^^ Come a cropper = Australian slang = meet with an accident (or similar).
^^^^ Dog = underworld/prison slang (means a police informer)
^^^^^ Lockout Laws (Pubs nightclubs, etc, close at 2 or 3 in the morning; with patrons, who leave before this
time "locked out" of the venue's (preventing re-entry). This is to reduce street violence.