After 7 years and fighting for a block and a hood and trying to make a life for me, my dog, the peoples in my Hood I lost my home in a Residential Tenancy (Ms Knots) decision which took 20mins with no background as to my life and my work and not caving into the harassment of the landlord in favour of a slum lord Robin Kimpton who will occupy my home in less than two months then move out and double the rent and
sigin it over to the wealthy. I lost my home today and maybe my hood to a man who 'cleaned" out his apts. of Natives and will not rent to nonwhites or poor or working -class now that he's had to actually tend to the basic needs of the slum flats which he owns. We can't live in decent places and once we fight to make it decent we are asked or pressured to leave to make room for "decent" people. This is not right.
I know that Spawn would never let this happen. It may seem a bit loco but here me out and I'll tell you how Spawn #29 made sense to me and I figured that sonics, words and a little heart could do something and chase the badness away and whip darkhearts. I guess I failed. I'm sorry.
But hear this out-- I just want to holla.
It was 7 years fighting crackheads, pimps, dealers, stumbling and tryin to keep my and maybe a few other peoples' heads up and trying to do more than just consume and take up space on this block and when it seemed
livable again I'm ejected and my home is taken over by the slumlord who tried to destroy us all. Basically, me and my dog did the dirty work in cleaning up the place and trying to be community minded and now the soldiers are DISsed and DISmissed. ...or as Professor Long states; "Gentrification and caucasation, the new urban renewal." They tell me
that he can get away with this injustice. They tell me that all people can get away with this sort of injustice and the response is to shrug and say 'oh well' and lose a little more of your soul and move on. I think we're runnin out of soul, though. Can the good guys actually get a little break -- I guess that's only for 'paperback heroes', ri? I guess that was funny.
Me and my dog would like to stay in Fernwood/The Hood/some call New PAlestine cuz we have not just lived here -- it is our home and our hood. It has become a character/a persona in my work, my short stories and it is spark in my heart. It is a place I wrote a whole love letter to and made it into novel -- with respect (fwuh -- i never laughed this
place or the people in it). It is a place I was a scribe. I took that seriously as all scribes should when they write of the peoples who are and once were. I don't find all this funny. Some may find it odd and bit crazy. It just happened and when I looked around it was 7 years and kids
had grown up and I had written poems, short stories and a novel about the place -- one I hope more like singing than reading. It was a place where no matter where I went from San Francisco to Atlanta to New York for literary events and they knew I was from Fernwood in Victoria, BC.
It meant alot to me and people loved the stories of the peoples here and they never laughed about them cuz I never made my home and hood a joke. The people here are not a joke. It was my purpose to recite and write of the lives which were being neglected -- lives which sometimes even the
peoples here felt didn't matter or deserved notice. They did and I wanted to be a part of this place -- me and my dog. I couldn't do very much about world affairs but I could do more than most writers here and I could use what little fame or notoriety I had to drop some Knowledge and energy here. I wasn't hoping to add respect to this place cuz it already
had it goin on. I've seen kids growup here. I seen the a school yard at George Jay turn from a drug pickup joint to a place where kids play.
Some people, and you got to hear me on this, have found a place they say which holds magic for them which inspires them to write poems, plays, music, novels, today; films, for some it was Berlin, America, Dublin, Morocco, but for me it was an odd little place with special tough people who really shouldn't get along but managed to do that -- in their own
way. Fernwood is like that odd little house, just on Pandora I believe, which the city can't tear down and is hidden away between corner chain stores, highways and government buildings -- it has vines all over it and just chills in it's own yard. That's Fernwood for me -- just a place which wasn't meant to be anything and then just chilled so right and you
could get codes and graphs from Ghosts to Village Idiots to community events, music shows and radicals trying to warn us of a prophecy which we didn't listen to and now "they've come for us". If you assemble those codes and write it as a poem -- what may seem random becomes a narrative-- a perfect linear pattern of semiotics and fable. You can
watch that from your lawn in the mornings and by walking around the blocks carefully respecting physical spiritual and verbal language.
You see that in the spirit of the kids as they growup in front of you. You can feel it in all the peoples who once helped build this place dead and alive. You can see it in the people who move to our Hood and get a new life -- breath again. Maybe I'm crazy and maybe even amusing "a bit ridiculous" but it's not too crazy. People will watch movies or listen to music about places which others would call "hick" but they can't see
how this place is my Nebraska, My Matewan, my Dublin, my Patterson, my Brooklyn, my Long Beach, my Hood and home and the place which breathes with a story to tell which goes back ages. If you can't be proud of where your from, and the peoples who live there. you can't be proud of very much in life now can you? and this is the only place I have ever
felt the need to fight for.
If we have to leave Fernwood something me and mine don't want to do, then I hope that people don't let slumlords make schoolyards into needle parks and bullies make kids afraid to play and watch as girls and women are turned out on street corners or simply shut their windows when they here a woman , or anyone, scream or let slumlords bully tenants. I would hope that they would watch the shop keepers and backs so they know that no one is alone here. I would like to see kids having free breakfast served to them by our Fernworld occupants/peoples -- just so they know
they come from a special place and that they are special in a
community's hearts. Then it's harder to help destroy your self or your hood when you know that they care.
This may seem odd or even funny but I do suggest that folk read a book called The Dogg Father by Snoop Dogg and David Seay. Despite whatever opinion people may have about or have judged the musican/rapper on being, it has a few points to make on history and communities. You see
in it Snoop Dogg speaks about how it was engineered that a
communites/hoods were turned into slums, programs cut, communities centres destroyed and kids offered no other opportunities of histories but depression. slumlords and gangs. In the Snoop Dogg book he makes note of the choices he made due to the social engineering. However, he
does note that he could rise above it because he did remember when a community was supportive. He could remember who were responsible for the fall of his hood -- it was a city, greed merchants, the right-wing greed
government who made shiesty deals with slumlord property owners at the expense of the peoples. .. B.U.T. the peoples could have fought together and not given into fear and police state tactics.
This is, if you know you urban history what is occurring here in Fernwood and in other old working-class communities. The choices offered -- crack it out, project fear; force out all poor and nonwhites and leftist. There were places where we all use to assemble and chill with pizza or coffee. Now, rents are so high and shops spaces are kept closed. apts
are rented at unreasonable rates and only wealthy and certain class of people are allowed to rent there. Slumlords are on a free reign of terror. OUr hood has become exclusionary and not in favour, as if exclusion of
any kind is good, of our peoples but made in an effort to push our peoples out and make the place another greed and wealth centre with no heart. They wish to gut our home.
So you may laugh cuz to take things serious or have passion is a laughable thing and a weak thing now but I did love this place. Only someone who loved it would write and do so much for it for free. Every place needs a mythology. It sings for it. When it gets to the point which it is singing then it only hopes that it is heard. I hope I got to transcribe the notes right. It has a certain tone to it -- a certan bassline. This place/my hood/barrio/community, well, it became a place
where you knew people cared enough to help each other out. Where we have a generation who were playing with each other as children of all faiths, races and ethnicity's -- where colours gang or skin tone didn't matter. It was place that should take itself seriously -- everybody else
who I've spoken with or met in other countries certainly have. It's not really the author it's what inspired the author to write that carefully and passionately about. I did love the place -- it was a place which inspired me, please believe it. Now lost to a slumlord, geed,bullying and gentrification.
Peace for letting me holla at yuh.
Me and mine, we lost our home today . ...maybe our hood. I t breaks a man's heart.
I just thought you'd might want to know.
Lawrence Ytzhak Braithwaite(and my buddy)
2319 Cook st
Fernwood/The Hood/New PAlestine