Sammie and Henry and Karen and Harriet,
the 4F’s they called themselves–
the “Fucking Fearsome Fighting Foursome” ––
on the Wednesday before Memorial Day
in 1966 during the Vietnam War,
dreamed up a rally against LBJ’s tour
through the middle of the city,
handed out flyers on street corners,
nailed them to trees, shouted to students
before classes, passersby at malls,
to form an awesome protest

They marked the backs of posters
Henry stole from the campus store
with slogans in psychedelic script:
“No More War!”, “Peace Now!
“Bring…Back! Little… Buddy!”,
the fraternity clown drafted
for missing two semesters
for lack of ample coin

And when the cavalcade rolled by them
standing alone in a small huddle, fists in the air,
the 4F’s chanted into megaphones as LBJ
waved his thick fingers at the patriotic crowd cheering
hand over heart, hailing the red, white and blue,
proud of their country, proud of the boys
they watched dying in clusters on the evening news

“Damn,” the 4F’s later lamented between classes
in grad schools the following autumn,
from pristine offices high above streets
lined with working class stiffs
and start-up homes in gentrified zones,
“All that time we spent in the hot sun and
Little Buddy still got his ass blown away”

And they mourned the rest of their lives
the loss of those hours they sacrificed
scribbling on cardboard signs
they trashed in a loose pile at the intersection
of 14th and South streets,
stood by helplessly as the sanitation department
hauled their hard and dangerous work
to the town dump the very next day