Alley Rats by Carl Sandburg
THEY were calling certain styles of whiskers by the name of â€œlilacs.â€
And another manner of beard assumed in their chatter a verbal guise
Of â€œmutton chops,â€ â€œgalways,â€ â€œfeather dusters.â€
Metaphors such as these sprang from their lips while other street cries
Sprang from sparrows finding scattered oats among interstices of the curb.
Ah-hah these metaphorsâ€”and Ah-hah these boysâ€”among the police they were known
As the Dirty Dozen and their names took the front pages of newspapers
And two of them croaked on the same day at a â€œnecktie partyâ€ â€¦ if we employ the metaphors of their lips.