Saturday, November 1, 2008


Darlinghurst once had the pulse of Sydney in it. It was raw. Life was on the street. Patrick White famously said Taylor Square was the only place in Sydney that had soul. Taylor Square at midnight Friday would throb, the footpaths stuffed with life emerging from the confines of the day into the liberation of the night. The Saturday papers were stacked high next to the magazine stands, sellers darting between treble-parked cars where hands held out dollar notes, no one in a hurry because they were there to be there, no smart flagpoles, no ugly street furniture, and no self-conscious outsiders. The only strutters were drag queens from venue to venue and Capriccios was standing room only. Well not any more. Gutted by the rule of the car, streets widened (boulevard my arse – Berlin and Paris have boulevards), overtaken by crass commercial traders in alcohol and take-away food, the ghetto has been blasted and the crowd dispersed. There’s even a Catholic University jammed into one corner.

In another corner of Darlinghurst, my mother rests and waits. She's waiting to die. Rather we’re waiting for her to die. K says she has mostly crossed over, slowly through the passage, gradually releasing herself in a gentle, slow and dignified way to her next level. I saw her on Friday. I don’t think she saw me, although the face changes when she hears your voice. Her wasted facial features struggle to sustain expression. Gutteral noises jerk from her throat. There is barely anything left.

This one is for you Mum.

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