They Work and Drink

when I grew up
Poles were a thing
hard workers
that drank a lot

they were always alone
no wife
no family
but not really alone
always in small groups
living together
in cheap housing
working and eating
and drinking
and sleeping together

we always said
Poles only work
and drink

drinking those big
half liter cans
of cheap beer

they did work hard

cheap labour
that’s why they were welcome
working the lands
and in the greenhouses
plants and flowers

I remember a hot day
10 of them
on their knees in the dust
between plants
topless white men
bright red backs
I remember thinking
how that was going to hurt
and that they would really
enjoy their beer tonight

no one
really talked to them
and they didn’t talk to us
maybe one of them
spoke some English
he would be the supervisor
just for understanding
some English
no one
really talked to them
we didn’t connect

except the boss

he had a Polish woman
he gave her a trailer
on the back of his land

she was skinny
and petite
he was fat
and big and unhealthy
and smoked cigars

she worked in the sun too
and I just thought
how it was going to hurt
at night
when that sweaty pig
would fuck her

in the trailer
on the back of his land

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