Excerpt from More at 7:30: notes from new palestine

Lawrence Ytzhak Braithwaite

… and his daddy looked like T.S. Eliot, round the age of 17 wearin that, on the out, thriftshop, brown, snug fittin tweed suit and those govt., welly wrangled pair of glasses. Athalwolf was a smooth killa. He said that he wonted to take a life. That he felt like it was his mood. Some say he was a far kin of a halfbreed; Alex Hare—hung at 17 and a wicked little sharp shot. Woht they say about the west, Athal was, partially. He bore a rugged individualism, had conquest on his mind but cared less about entertainin progress in his conscience, nor did he care much about law and order, except when the predictable crash of paranoia set in and he thought they might be after him.

His girl was a comely crack ho, soon going on ugly, who he held up in the Heroin Hotel with a screwed-up frenchman who watched porno 24/7 on 5 different sets. He was a mousy guy and road a 200/LX roadster right by Athalwolf’s side, even through fights.

Athal’d sit with her on the balcony, overlooking the bad buildin tops and smogged-out mountains of the Olympic range, when she was too strung out. “Can you hear Sam Cooke, baby? can hear Sam Cooke, on his best croonin tracks, huh, baby, can you?” He’d tie his arms and legs around her and talk about where they could go and how much money they could get for woht they wonted. It was never about leavin this place or even getting a new room or turnin off the television, maybe even changin the fuccin channel or getting a new video.

She was still nuff pretty to be a good wife but she couldn’t come through with barin any offspring. She’d been knocked up six times and lost each one to miscarriage. She was hopin seven would be a charm. Seven is what was good in Athal’s “Book Of Judgements” and way of life. She wonted his baby. She had been passed up and down the Island and even the mainland, in the circuit, to greet and please the locals with cash and wives and stiff stupid friendlies feenin to bust. She was still nuff pretty. Not too much of the west’s loneliness, hardwork and over fret around cops, sammy bulls, bailers, blades, psychos and bully boyfriends, was wearin her out. But, she was still pretty, in way. If you stood her next to the girls who Hammet called better than pretty and who ate all the meals that a daye could offer, you’d peep that she wasn’t up to match. You’d be able to tell. All she had now, to compare her countenance with, was what was crawlin from Wharf and endin up on Broad for 20 bucks a head. Maybe a head job, maybe just a talk to get more, to score more, before even a lick was offered, which was why so many ended up getting beat down and tossed out trucks on quiet corners. She was sure it was Athal’s baby, Yeah.

He could get his dick sucked by a feggit for a couple of good whacks of bogus scooby snacks. It was an admirable characteristic of the Long Mile landscape he grew up to know. It was the body politics of the area. If his girl, the frenchman, his chuck[L]heads and the chink and the stad dealer from Duncan, where pirootin, cookin up rock and talkin chemistry in the parlour; if he wonted to whack, in the bathroom, on a date with a yack feg, who wonted to suck his sweet young dick, as he spoke dirty to him, he’d peep his Book of Judgements, his guide to life, written in fatty-tipped marker, inna drawing book. He’d keep his eyeballs stranded to {3: 7-13} the page of the daye, as it spoke to him and it and He would say; “repent”:

“Repent from the followins of the spoilers.

You have turned away from me and

have taken on the ways of the sinful.

You have known abominable ways

and eaten of the waste left of the spoiled land,

ingestin devastations and

whackin hatefulness into thyself.

You have taken to lay down with hos

and those of which not even a dog

would find fit to eat of at My command.”

—AAAaaaOOOOoooohhhhaaaFuc/bitch! I like you—

Over on the outside, he’d take the frenchman out with him and a couple of the bwoys and go drinkin. Top of that, he’d do some deals for the Duncan chink and the stad. Things could get pretty fuct up on a welly Wed. They come out from all over, which is why they’d send Athal out with the bruisers. They were known to mess up a few suckers for not payin up or getting out of hand or just because they read “n ü n h e i m” across their forehead. They got jackt, real soso, off the free shit, that they got from the Duncan stad and the chink, or skimmed off the top for the SMUs, the Rockland boys, and them sorts, who came down and took cab rides or drives or followed and waited across streets, of the lower parts, to get them to pickup. But they couldn’t fuc with a chug who was on a bad high, though. They was bad injuns. Injuns are just bad on any shit. They just got drunk and mouthy and couldn’t remember where they were and where they were going. They start seein things and think that they invincible like they was inna ghost dance. There was no reasonin. One came to the apt and stood outside the door with a big ‘ol knife and was screamin about cuttin throats and runnin the bastards and the bitch cunt through.

Athal was makin a deal with this stad. The stad was getting paranoid.

The chug was makin noise.

Athal had no intention of rippin this dude off.

Athal was just a little fuct and was tryin to make the deal, like he wasn’t, and so he was fuccin up and the chug kept talkin over him, wanting to hedup, asking for all of this shit and sayin that he knew him. He kept calling him a “cock sucker.”

At crixmas Athal got his girl 6 turkey bagel sandwiches, that his friend, Harlo, gave him, from the Bagel shop he cleaned up at. They would not let Harlo work the cash, just clean up. He asked once and they said his face was dirty. He was a dude who slept on the beach, when he got tossed out of his apt, by his girl. Some say, she was the sort of chick, they evented the sport of bitch-slappin for. She would look at Athal and others like they just shot her dog, burned down her house and chased her family out of town. She took Harlo’s little puppy. It was cute little guy. A tiny pitt puppy, that he’d freak over, if he got puppy hiccups. Harlo laid out alot cash to get it dewarmed and hauling it over to this Native chick, down the street, who took care of the pups what belonged to the poor kids in the hood, who were hassled to disarm by the animal controllers what infected the area outside the demiliteriazed zones of New Palestine.

sha la la la …

He lost the pup to his girl. She just took it. He slept on beaches, got hit on by old men, got a job cleanin up bagel shit and was told he had a dirty face for it. But he got Athalwolf and his girl a crixmas turkey, one way or another.

Harlo made it with Athal, once. He came to the bar and they were closin up and the kitten at the counter wouldn’t serve him. He’d just gotten paid and had a load of cash on him—200, maybe. It was a load for this time of the year. This was the closest place and he went in. It had a bitchy bummedout emo cool to it; mobbed with white jazz suburbia ragers. Harlo looked around and saw the usual paint tarps sitting at the other end bein talked up by the mad trippin’ exjock from Nova Scotia. He’d bought the place when he came over and thought he made it to the bigtime—Hali ain’t nothin but a Block of downtown, here. From the time the TVs went on and the beer started pourin, it was tongue oil suckin the life and hearts from the drywallers and fadin football thugs. Their lives hung over the vacuum of the stuff. The country had done them wrong: them, they had took it—they not bein like them. … and their faces failed and had fallen ages ago into those glasses that they formed posses roun to keep and remember splices of Dartmouth and Pictou, Penticton, Mission and Langford, Chillwack, Creston and Caroline and nightmares tales of migrants, pakis and slantyeyed gangs and Gottegen and them Africville dumbass coons who fetid the place for all them. Athal was sitting behind them, hearin, noddin and smirkin. Then his eyes flickered, reflectin off the teeny candle light and yellow brown and stale brass. Him and his, they connected like they do. Lost compadres, slow walkin from behind the blunderers, pass the missers, cheers to the jock, nah, no, not takin off, just sayin hi, howzit going, you got no beer, no drinks, can’t buy a fuccin thing, these jointsers are bummedout. You just borin. You got the same shirt everyday. A’yo Athal, do you think you, can’t you, you know, you know where and they decided to go on and get, go get some and then they got all eric martin. Then they brought up some feelins, they’d stashed for awhile and then—thing one and thing two and years back stories bout fus meetin and thinkin about stupid stuff and then the makin silly with each other happened. They never talked about it and for a bit Athal felt special and Harlo always did. Harlo, he wasn’t like that. It was just one of those freak things, between friends. It just was this thing.

The frenchman then pulls up his roadster and starts to told the guy to “come on” and “get lost” and “stop bodderin him.” All the other of Athal’s boys watched or tried to make deals across the street.

The stad says he’s got to go.

—No, no, wait, just told me how much you want, man. Come on let’s take a walk—

—No, I’m not takin a walk, dude. I’m outta here—

A lot of abi-originalz show up and they’re younger, wearin jerseys, and naga wear. They think that they ni@@erer than nekgaz, who they call ni@@er. They got the ball caps and eurotrash slick back mohwaks tied into ponytails. Say most, they always looking for trouble and jackin shit. They never got over the mess woht happened with Here Before Christ and their avengin hoods like Dan McLean and J. Doug (who they say, was not some bit far from the beast, who shall rise in the form of man in preachers clothin), blasted Tlel, a squaw, her baby and his uncle back in 1849. High yella super shiesty—Doug did shit to stop the rapes of native lils and settlas landgrabs—poor Nigger Dan. But they really hated ni@@ers, so much, they wonted to be one. So much, they acted like one, without the ghetto, and only a reservation and all the video arcades, welly and poison they got pumpt into their heads. You cyan say that they ever wonted to be a credit to their race.

—Hey feggit—

… is what they said. Athal never listened to that, when people said it, because he knew that they weren’t talkin to him.

—A Yo feggit—

—Man, just told me how much you want—

—An 8ball, fuk, ain’t you listenin—

—This dudes fuktup. This is a fukken heat score, man—

—Wait, you want game, right—

—A Yo, feggit—


—Well, let’s take a walk. I don’t walk around with that on me, you know—

The injuns move closer and the frenchman just starts to move his roadster back off down a ways.

—You’re a feggit—

—So let’s take a walk—

—Forget it. Come on, let’s get out of here—

—Yeah, well fuc you. FUC YOU! … waste my fuccin time—

… and he turns to the chuggas and says;

—What the fuc do you want—

—Your ass, feggit—

… and they pull out a gun. What kind, nobody knew. Athal took a swing at the fuc and it went flyin and hit the wall. He was, like he was, bein on whiskey root and could care less, like usual, of becomin shot. His girl came out of the truck she was in with a loser who had his dick out. Athal gets a good swing in and bashes the punk chug to the pavement. He was better than Hulk Hogan, better than Rodney even better than that Shamrock is, naw, before he got bought and sold out to make pretend messes of people’s bodies. He was always good inna fight. He could have joined the gym and had his face and body on those posters, they get up around town, for real boxin and kick boxin events. He could have gotten the deals on the tats, they gave the pugs, at the shop, just alla. He kicked the chugga on the ground, and it became a runnin battle, with him and four injuns. They had him backin up, swingin all left/right/ right/left combos, inna boxers attitude, the frenchman and his roadster scootin on behind the pageant. His girl was screamin, just right/lower, for the streets, not to draw too many warders, despite the surveillance cameras and the undercovers, but to give warnin and back to her man. He took a good swing again and got another injun. Athal pulled off his jacket and ripped his glasses off. His girl retrieved them all. He was injun fightin like Cody. They made like Sitting Bull.

It was just a beer splattered tall wood, which was, basically, a long/lanky twig that Harlo left a sixpack beside; clips from the Judgements, a poem from the “Redzone.” If it had air and a little more Sun it could have been fat as an oak. … and the corner boys and their bettys laid pretty wild picked and plastic flowers roun, along with, some Hallmark cards and fooscap tacked to the trunk.

we mis you

We allways love you

We cry a tear for you each day while your gone

Lawrence Christopher Patrick (aka Ytzhak) Braithwaite (March 17, 1963 – July 14, 2008) was a Canadian novelist, spoken-word artist, dub poet, essayist, digital drummer, and short fiction writer. Born in Montreal, Quebec, he has been called “one of the outstanding Canadian prose writers alive.” (Gail Scott) Braithwaite’s work has been praised by Dodie Bellamy for its “sublime impenetrability” and is fueled by a modernist and Fredric Jameson-influenced late modernist approach to writing and recording. His work is influenced by the musical and social realism of punk rock, opera, musique concrète, noise, hip hop, rap, industrial, black metal, country music, and dub. He was the author of the novels Wigger (1995) and Ratz Are Nice (2000).