Freedom of the Borough



A city is more than its merchants and bankers,

than wealth gathered from bricks and blood.

A city is more than a recitation of royal visits,

Sunday piety and prosperous citizens.



A city is built of contradictions,

where Liverpool's burgess might bestow Freedom

to Clarence, future king, who opposed abolition,

while its poets present arguments for an end

to the affluent trade in human misery:



A city is more than well-scrubbed streets,

boutiques to draw cash from visitors.

A city is more than well-scrubbed history;

a city is also the pox that scars its memory,

forgings that bind it to an embarrassing past.


By Gary Blankenship, Bremerton, WA USA