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“power duo” was a joke. you got that right?

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Britain Street
Saint John New Brunswick

This is a street at war.
The smallest children
battle with clubs
till the blood comes,
shout ‘fuck you!’
like a rallying cry —

while mothers shriek
from doorsteps and windows
as though the very names
of their young were curses:

‘Brian! Marlene!
Damn you! God damn you!’

or waddle into the street
to beat their own with switches:
‘I’ll teach you Brian!
I’ll teach you, God damn you!’

On this street
even the dogs
would rather fight
than eat.

I have lived here nine months
and in all that time
have never once heard
a gentle word spoken.

I like to tell myself
that is only because
gentle words are whispered
and harsh words shouted.

— Alden Nowlan, 1957


“do you put radishes in your salads?”
“no, i guess i don’t.”
“the house salad always has radishes.”
“that’s because radishes are a chef’s vegetable. Late at night in the kitchen, that’s what the chefs are practicing with, radishes.”