You were rebellious from the moment I met you
Promising a beer in the Printworks, the spirit of the street
Was incensed with footfall, red and blue of the football
Served up without pretence, like old record sleeves.
Manchester; warder of wisdom, bartering freedom
With a Salford you insisted was no longer tied
And still those love children – Ancoats, Hulme, Rusholme
Grew up under the influence of an old lovers eyes.
Of course you were trouble, the musk of your perfumes
Through Oxford Road buses, cars at Piccadilly Basin
You charmed with your bars and extended your arm
With an Urbis-like shine to Victoria Station.
More than one night could handle, thick with the banter
Names like Great John and Sackville, Deansgate and Minshull
You were late with light the but it came like insistence
Over the Irwell with kisses like wind-chill.
You raged with your charm and dealt it in stages
Shudehill, NQ, up to Piccadilly Gardens
The spill of your voice spelt out through the noise
Of Moon Under Water, Dry, Star and Garter.
I couldn’t help smile at your sly sense of humour
Sunning your strange ways, unfolding time
Saying you loved every artist, athletic, eccentric
The city still holding, that old Valentine.