Pepsi – it was the brand he grew
up with – the sweet memory of it,
the familiar tang of aluminium.
Each night cradled in a cot of cans,
suckled on bottles, sleeping on a
seabed scattered with plastic toys,
tops spinning on the floor. Every
one of them Pepsi. He dressed up
in armour – it became a habit
(with a Pepsi logo) – hung out with
a pile of drifters, washed up types
who didn’t even look fine on the
surface. They all drank Pepsi. He
got a tattoo – festooned in red and
blue, he became a brand
ambassador – the extravagant
fandangle spangled on a hand. But
he threw it all away. Bottled it.
Abandoned, he washed up on a
beach – that’s where I found him.
Junked, with only a Pepsi filigree.
Even his mother sent him

Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who won this year’s Lamb Festival Poetry Prize and had a poem accepted by the Museum of London for its Fatberg exhibition. He attends poetry classes at the City Lit Institute and is a member of several Stanza groups.