Bruce dissappeared the day I arrived in Sydney. I spent the next four days with his partner looking for him.He was last seen heading towards Cabramatta, at that time the notoriously visible hub of Sydney’s heroin trade.

I visited Cabramatta many times in those four days. It was a weird scene, especially so perhaps if you’d lived through the days of the “White Australia” mentality. Almost everyone who lived in the suburb was Vietnamese. The only white faces to be seen were the addicts who poured in everyday by their thousands, and the occasional cop.

The moment you stepped onto the train platform a swarm of twelve/thirteen year old Vietnamese boys would swarm on you offering their product. Talk about pushy! There were more on the stairs and on the streets outside. I’d never seen such an open drug market, even in Asia. The kids all worked for the 5T gang, whose leader was a seventeen year old psychopath with a fondness for machetes. He’d already hacked a couple of opponents to death in public, but got off because, as is the way of these things, no-one saw nothin’. The 5T‘s supliers were reputed to be respectable Chinese businessmen & politicians, but there were so many layers between them and the street that no-one could say for sure who the Higher Ups were..

The younger kids were expendable as street dealers, they only went to childrens court if caught and there were always more willing young recruits to replace them.

Every now and then a foot patrol of cops would slowly saunter through the scene and the whole circus would stop for a few minutes. The addicts went for a walk around the corner, the kid-dealers would banter with the cops. Five minutes later business resumed.

We checked the hospitals, police, prisons and morgues. We asked after his real names and his aliases. Nothing. I eventually found Bruces unidentified body in a morgue on the far side of town. It had been a buzy weekend with eleven overdoses and the morgues close to Cabramatta had been all full. With no identification and no claimants he had been misplaced in the rush.

There was a funeral. I tried to look after her but despite my best efforts, four weeks later his partner followed him.

There was another funeral. So it goes. I wrote a poem. Put it aside and forgot about it. Found it the other day. Here it is. Go easy, Friends.




Way down deep in Cabramatta,

Needs were meat, mere hopes were shattered,

And our dreams, dispersed & spattered,

Never see you anymore.


Needle deep in Cabramatta,

Now it seemed like nothing Matters,

Lives like ashes they were scattered,

The Rain it falls, it starts to patter,

Like my tears there on the floor.


Dig down deep in Cabramatta,

Rich men keep on getting fatter,

Friends, their eyes were all around,

But you never made a sound,

As we put you in the ground,

Never felt so low before. 

-for Kamala & Bruce



The Reverend Hellfire is an occasionally practising Performance Artist and an ordained Minister of the Church of the Universe AND the Church of Spiritual Humanists.

He has a heart of Gold and feet of Clay




~ by reverendhellfire on May 6, 2012.


  1. Reblogged this on galaxybureau.

  2. so deep and moving

  3. Heart wrenching intro & poetic telling…

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