‘Liverpudlian’ plays self-mockingly on the idea of ‘pool’. I was born in Liverpool. I would be flattering myself if I claimed that you need to be a comedian to survive there. But Liverpudlians do, like punsters, switch things about: they breathe through their mouths and talk through their noses. They are physiological, existential twisters.

Walter Redfern – ‘Puns’

It was always a question of getting on
in life, in years. A long way now
from our mothers’ simple tontine dreams
of being free of factories, corner shops,
uncouth docks and home’s accumulating
bitternesses; a long way too
from fathers’ hopeless optimisms,
their grimacings at love or luck.

                                           The docks
are emptying. Here’s one drained,
a good-for-nothing siltscape glistening;
and here’s another shop blanked out,
a warehouse where a masochistic wind
cuts itself to pieces on smashed panes.

What’s left behind is just another place
for dying in ... queasy bedrooms and
inhospitable wards. One has to laugh.

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