Toledo la rica, Salamanca la fuerte, Leon la bella, Oviedo la sacra, y Sevilla la grande.
Liverpool the impoverished, the liverish, the void, the full,
the self-besotted, the blarney-argoted, the blitzed and blackened,
the bella-brutta, the rag-rich, the moss-stained sandstoned,
the green-lung’d, the ricket-ridden, the loud and adenoidal.
Liverpool the last-to-be-served, the least-accounted,
the over-arched and undermined, the mother-tongued and plurilingual,
the Catholic-Protestant, the cap-in-hand, the hand-
to-mouth, the pub-encrusted and the hovel-haunted.
Liverpool the riverine, the ocean-avid, the slaveship-tainted,
sugar-whitening, matchstick-making, slum and dockland
refuge of Lascars, Chinese, Irish, Jews, Somalians.
Liverpool the deserted, the polluted, the de bon aire,
the clinker-built and shipwrecked, the chameleon,
from Out There (Faber, 2012), © Jamie McKendrick 2012, used by permission of the author and the publisher