We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks
Stanza II Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
- The guys stay out late and they're also a mean bunch of pool players who can shoot a ball "straight" into the pocket almost every time.
- The two words that begin these lines, "lurk" and "strike," make the boys sound like jungle cats or some other predator from a National Geographic nature series.
- You could interpret these words as having sexual overtones, as young guys might "lurk" in places where they might see pretty girls walking past.
- Their late-night habits could also suggest that they are involved in some shady business around town, although we should always be careful to not simply fall back on stereotypes of inner-city life when reading this poem.
- The fact that they hang out "late" means they probably don't have regular jobs.
- (Otherwise they would need to wake up early.)
- They clearly have spent a lot of time practicing pool to develop that "straight" shot.