Streets of Fortitude

Streets of Fortitude

Streets of Fortitude


Through Fortitude Valley I stroll alone,

Along Brunswick Street at night,

Past a 24-hour pizza joint,

China Town’s off to the right.


An X-rated Cinema neon sign

Blinks crude movie names quite fast,

A homeless man asks, “Have you got a smoke?”

I say, “Sorry, I don’t!” as I pass.


The Mickey-D’s restaurant is crowded,

Big Mac addicts awaiting their fix.

An up-market Men’s Club ‘with Massage’,

Just a front for call girls turning tricks.


On a corner just up ahead

Police lights flash blue and red.

I daren’t wander very close,

In case some poor soul is dead.


I approach two schoolgirls looking lost,

Perhaps they missed their ride.

I hope they catch a taxi home,

There’s nowhere here to hide.


A drunk staggers out from the door of a bar,

Stumbles and falls to the ground.

He climbs to his knees and crawls back inside,

It’s just luck there’re no muggers around.


Sometimes I wonder why I’m here,

But the choice is not mine to make.

This week I work the graveyard shift,

It’s a job for goodness sake.


Brisbane at night




Latest posts by John Hansen (see all)

John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

11 thoughts on “Streets of Fortitude

  • July 1, 2017 at 12:24 AM

    Nicely capture the essence of FV at night. All that is so familiar is a comfort, the sights, sounds and smells of our familiar haunts. Great feel and well evoked John. Enjoyed.

  • July 1, 2017 at 1:40 AM

    Thank you, Tony. I used to work at Brunswick Street Railway Station when I was with Queensland Rail. Walking the Valley streets at night was always an interesting endeavour.

  • July 1, 2017 at 4:12 PM

    Yes, EHQ, it was a walk on the wild side 🙂 thanks for reading and so glad you enjoyed it.

  • July 2, 2017 at 12:04 AM

    Thank you, Phyllis. Fortitude Valley, Brisbane (at night) has always had quite an unsavoury reputation, though perhaps not as bad as it once was. I used to work there and found it fascinating.

  • July 3, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    Sounds like one of those journeys which could have nearly any type of ending…and one that changes nightly. Interesting how you’ve been able to take the “fear” out of the journey by breaking it down into its components – the falling drunk, lost girls, etc. – while on their own they appear harmless, but as a collective, they present a slightly terrifying collection. Very enjoyable (maybe you should add Travelogue to the classification)

  • July 3, 2017 at 4:18 PM

    I like your insight, Ralph. You are right about each incident being quite harmless in themselves but when combined it does form quite a scary picture. Thanks for the travelogue suggestion too.

  • July 12, 2017 at 8:37 PM

    Its very interesting how you mixed the characters to suit the night. Night shifts are always quite different from the day ones. All cities take on a different hue at night, some would like to think that’s when the coach-roaches come out to play. I remember very clearly those nights as well in Montreal, especially in the lower end where I lived, kinda like a Liverpool or Manchester, factories, dockworkers, bandits and hookers plying their trades. But the beauty of the city from on high over the city, with all it’s spectacular lighting, like Brisbane was and still is stunning. Thank you for a rendezvous from your side of the pond. Excellent work, loved the rhyme and placement of characters.

  • July 12, 2017 at 9:16 PM

    Glad you found this interesting, Vincent. Yes, it was written from memories of when I worked shift work in the area in the Railway Ticket Office. I think Brisbane has one of the most attractive city landscapes at night, but up close it has it’s darker corners like most others.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

Our cookie settings are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. By continuing to browse this website you are accepting our cookie policy.