Lost in Liverpool, 2003
It's no longer my city, or my uncle Doug's either.
But we renew our acquaintance with the grave
of the Child of Hale, nine foot three, wrestler
in James I's court, unchanged if all else has.
Locate the corpy where uncle lived 70 years ago,
and my semi of 40 years ago, remember neighbors,
puzzle out how we and the houses have changed.
The loose brick in the wall is all I recognize.
I attend the Ripper convention at the Adelphi;
Donna and Doug agree to meet up at 4:00 pm,
but he doesn't turn up. He's age 88, ripe to be
a statistic. We get ready to call the rozzers.
I squint along Lime Street -- so many bald men
like Douglas! I feel lost in a scouse fog, the raw,
ripe accents. Epstein's "Liverpool Resurgent"
nakedly soars where I met Pat, John met Cynthia,
surrealistic feeling, pull of the Cast Iron Shore,
the city's magnetism calls us home, and back
Doug finds his way to the Adelphi's faded grandeur:
a pint for Douglas and a stiff scotch for me.
By Christopher T. George