Autumn Morning, Kings Cross

In little rooms tarts tally up the take
from last night’s joy. In streets between
the rattle-up of shutters pigeons rake
a city-season’s leavings – autumn leaves
and butts in gutters. Sunlight cringes in
and shadows that the smog has softened lean
across anaemic neon signs that seem
less raucous now.

Beside a sex-by-bankcard sign a flare
from open van-doors. Late carnations drown
monoxide for a time. Exhausted air
breathes in chrysanthemums. The driver stands
in kerbside autumn, smiles and wipes his hands
down faded Balmain colours. “Quiet now –
she always is in mornings. Stick around,
at night this town

starts jumping, really swings”. Doors slam, the day
exhales again. A halitosis browns
the colour of the sun. I walk away
with swinging in my ears – a word that stirs
the dust of fair-grounds up, a side-show word
with to-and-fro-and-going-nowhere sounds.
But apt enough.  It seems to fit the town.


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