Sweet Liquor

Left right, left right in the Government boots, the Government boots
I see them boots, boots, boots and more boots
On the feet of young trigger-happy recruits – The Mighty Gabby.

girl, if you see thing! the way they does pile in here when fete 
door bus open on saturday nights. pour in like animals. looking 
sweet too bad. girl if you see the way they does parade and carry 
on. how i does close meh eyes and lean back on them hard bodies 
and wine. i know some of them real good. the way they move. 
how they handle women bodies.  the way they does roll they hip. 
girl you have to know them tings, so when a man come jam 
behind you, you could know if is friend or foe without turning 
round and looking up in he face. Or in case the place too dark to 
make out the face. you know if to walk off or stay there. girl I 
even know they faces real good but never look in they eyes. 

if you see the way they does hold on to rum bottles like is com-
munion. like is holy. like is they saviour. the way they does crawl 
all up inside hard liquor. girl, if you see them wring out johnny 
walker bottle. squeeze every drop. knock back wray and nephew 
just like real beast riding they soul. 

girl, to see sweet young ting hurt so bad does make pain bus open meh 
belly.  when they play that destra song that say, everybody everybody 
bounce somebody, bounce somebody, girl, if you see ting! a host of 
unruly joy. them man does tek over the dancefloor and smash 
they bodies, flesh hitting flesh, jumping and hollering like the 
army evict them. like them bodies have nuff sin to wuk out they 
system. last night ashley tell me he name call and he going over 
there soon. girl and when he tell me dat I mek the mistake of 
looking he in he eyes. if you see them eyes! i frighten men with 
eyes dead so. like all the love wring out of them. i does wonder 
what the hell them see so, make sadness line they eyes like 
cataract. oh lord, girl, what I see in he eyes mek meh own eye 
spring water. He so young eh. baby still in he chin. and he standing
there body lean to one side, squeezing the bottle neck. choking it
nah backfoot! girl, what I could say eh! stupid tie up meh tongue,
 so I jus hold onto he all night. sweet he up with meh body, 
and pile he ass with more liquor. 


Malika Booker is a British writer of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage. Her poems are widely published in anthologies and journals including: Out of Bounds, Black & Asian Poets (Bloodaxe 2012) Ten New Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) the India International Journal 2005, and Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry (The Women’s Press, 1998).  She has represented British writing internationally, both independently and with the British Council including Slovenia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Russia. In Spring 2005 she was sponsored by the Arts Council England for a three-month writer fellowship at the India International Centre in Delhi. She has also written for the stage and radio. Her one-woman show Unplanned, toured nationwide throughout 2007. Her collection Breadfruit was published by flippedeye in 2008, and recommended by the Poetry Book Society. She was the first Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and her collection Pepperseed is forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press in 2013.

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