Green’s Dictionary of Slang

punk n.2

[? US punk, rotten wood or a fungus growing on it]

nonsense, rubbish.

[UK]J.M. Hoppin Office and Work of the Christian Ministry II ii 315: Better have the simplest and most common thoughts, clearly expressed, than what Carlyle calls ‘phosphorescent punk and nothingness’ .
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 187: Well, if they are Right, then I must be Wrong, but to me it is Punk.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1977) 141: ‘Oh, punk!’ interrupted Robert rudely.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 12: Punk, thats what it was. Better to be out in business.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 7: I proceed to tell him how my father was a Mexican on his mother’s side of the family an’ a lotta other punk on the same line.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 314: Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), who characterized nonsensical or foolish writing as ‘phosphorescent punk and nothingness’.