A coffee with more in the saucer than in the cup
faded splendour was invented for here,
a re-enactment of the Titanic but that boat has sailed.
The Beatles stayed here once and later TV crews
embedded the place into our psyche.
I am looking at the three legged table in the hallway
the empty beer bottle in the lift
three hours waiting for our room
and it’s the smell that drives us out
to do the tourist thing.
Forces us the next day to the Marriot
after a ‘veggie’ breakfast.
What is the vegetarian alternative? I asked
‘Not eating the meat’ the waiter replied.
Yet Liverpool wasn’t a faded place,
despite ‘The Cavern’ having sidled across the street,
and the faux yellow submarine and Macca’s place
donated to the National Trust, and other soap impressions
of listening to my brother’s Beatle records.
Wasn’t everyone in Liverpool at school with Ringo?
or in a band with John?
In that pub with the fabulous toilet tiles
down from the spaceship cathedral,
we walked to the sound of cellos
back to the deck of the dried up titanic,
abandoned ship, went for a Kevin Keegan
in the café with the bikes hanging from the ceiling.
And at a poet’s flat in Gambier Terrace
we unpeeled everything scouse
drank to its red and blue heart and purple wheelie bins,
loved it and left it with its Liver Birds.
Squawking as we crossed the Mersey and ourselves
with that song played every day so many times.
And you on the train full of crack saying
Liverpool was not just a city of life and death
it was more important than that
and we rolled about and smiled
cursing another away defeat.
By Kevin Cadwallender