They made even the war seem funny,

shirtless, dog tags silver bright

on their smooth black chests,

standing barefoot in that day’s dirt,

three or four in a huddle sucking

weed outside a ramshackle hooch,

jiving, chuckling in the way only sons

of ancestral slaves know how, wisecracking,

“Shit man, fuck them peoples,”

and how I wished I might have been

one of them in their ghetto days,

more hip, wise and street smart

than any man I ever met from Yale