(Cu Chi Base Camp, 1969)


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,

chuckling in the way only sons

of ancestral slaves know how,

jiving, wisecracking,

“Shit man, fuck them peoples,”

and how I wish 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