Ginger Beer

Haggardy, raggedy, pinkish, taut
men, quiver in their sodden thousands
barely able to stand, held up through rough leather rigging
heads bowed in pastiche prayer, drips open mouthed.

Slippery, slovenly slap to a languid cheek.
This heads up tête a tête, proves too taxing. We fall.
Skin on strap, catches a rub, raw wounds remain.
Still the stream flows as the pond life is sent to cannery.

Jittery glances from red brothers minus hope.
Held firmly in place like cattle waiting to be milked,
the brewish flow silks from the foetid vat up high
running amongst the unwashed herd that never lows.

Beardly broken the older ones, ragdoll Jemima’s
barely exist, wake yet comatose, drip fed drop dead.
Swiftly remove the offal, as line rejoins hive mindishly.
Never knew him, never knew him. Stream flows always.

Sickly, sticky brownish liquid drizzles all year,
through hair on skull chin and scrotum. So direly needed
to make the spiced supping sluices they all desire.
Tanners sun above, only presume, consume nectarish ooze.


James Mallett


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