RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, December 7

S4M3 L0S3R'S M3D1T4T10NS...

same loser's meditations
against life's algorithms,
burying me without care

SONG OF THE DAY: Jackie Blue


It’ll Shine When It Shines by Ozark Mountain Daredevils was a heavily played LP throughout my youth, which went with my dad to the trailer down the road when my folks separated, and then went away with me to college, and has lived with me ever since. The album cover has that plate motif that everybody in the country had back in the day, and we had a set, only used on nice dinners. I remember most nights was hot dogs and cheap ass generic mac-n-cheese, on paper plates but with those weird wicker paper plate holders to make them sturdy. But on some occasions (Sundays? birthdays? holidays?) we’d bust out the old blue and white plates, and I have very strong visual associations with those plates and mashed potatoes and peas, which was not a common meal, obviously special shit, and likely also meatloaf but my little hungry ass probably ate that right away.
This album makes me think of country, and not shit I read but what I lived. Playing in the woodpile in Rice, VA, busting up my weeble wobbles, disappearing off to the barn across the field. That house is gone, old cinderblock shithole long lost to something or other. Then there was Meherrin, home of Roy Clark (RIP) and Raven Mack (Alive!), where my grandfather funded us having a house, enabling stability that might not have happened otherwise. Playing in the woods, turning my uncle’s junk car into a time machine which can only go to Pikeville, Kentucky, for some reason. And finally the trailer down the road, which I shared with my dad, cold as fuck, clothes on the line outside by the trash barrel even in the winter. Country as fuck shit. That trailer’s gone now too, replaced by a newer trailer in the same spot.
I see a lot of performative rural identity online now, and I remember that shit happening in the ‘90s too, in real life though, and it annoyed the fuck out of me. People cosplaying white trash. It’s annoying now. There’s no glamour to that shit, and I’ve worked most my past ten years trying to break bad cycles and be a healthier human being. And I’m also incredibly proud of who I am, the whole way through, all 45 years, because it gives me a perspective not everybody has. I mean, that’s true for a lot of folks… and yet seemingly our media and cultural representations are still pretty homogenized. Even “diversity” is a fairly homogenized presentation of a liberal diversity. That likely won’t ever change. But when I see corny ass memes acting like a dude with a mullet leaning against a truck is reading Marx, it bugs me. Shit, the fact I just called it a mullet, an internet slang homogenization, instead of a short and long like what I knew it as growing up, bothers me. And I say that as a person who had a pretty fuckin’ sick rat tail when I was like 11 years old, which I could even braid, myself.
“Jackie Blue” was the radio hit song off this album, and I love every song on this LP, but this one will show up on the radio still, and it hits me in the country ass feels every time. It will indeed shine when it shines, but y’all fake shinefaces can fuck right the fuck off. Forever.


KN0W M0ST 0F W3ST V1RG1N14...

know most of West Virginia
through various aimlessly
wanderings over the years

Thursday, December 6

SONG OF THE DAY: Pop Duke


I had a mid-life crisis and bought a car… a really fucking boring basic ass Corolla, but new. This is the most basic cheap ass Toyota you could possibly buy, and yet somehow due to my familial conditioning I feel like I’ve completely fucked up. We were raised to think people who had things were lesser, or people who bought new cars were fucked up humans, even a simple ass no frills Corolla. And I guess this is my mid-life crisis. Not a convertible, not a fancy car, a budget ass hopefully reliable and not breaking down all the fucking time tiny sedan. And somehow I feel fucked up about it because of the way my family is.
This generation is the first in the American Empire’s history to have less than the one before it. The concept of generational wealth has come up a lot in my goings on lately, in how some have access to down payments for cars, or access to family money to start a business or go back to school, or to fund their dreams and wishes. And while I lack that, I also recognize how good I have it too. As I was riding the bus to Pantops to walk from the Roses to the Toyota dealer to start the process of being ripped off by capitalist greed, I thought about how this was a week in my life without a car, instead of constant reality, juggling bus schedules (and bus passes) and slowing your day down to get around without a fast way to get around. I have a steady job which allows me the numerical data that financial overlords are willing to squeeze more blood out of me, because more is still there to be squeezed, until the cards all fall and they begin fighting with each other to see who gets the last remaining drops of my blood. But the American mythology of “working hard and saving up and retiring” is not a reality any more. I’m lucky enough to work, but there’s no saving and there’s no retirement. And I’m actually pretty far up the giant pyramid scam that is American economics, meaning there’s a lot of people who have it worse than me, far worse.
I feel old. This is a fucked up system we live in, and it’s going to break. I am starting to feel too old to do the physical work of participating in the violence that is ahead, but I’ll likely have to, to protect those who have importance to me, both those I know and those I don’t know. What I’m doing personally, and we’re doing collectively is not sustainable, and in fact that lack of sustainability is creating violent reactions from the nature of things itself. It’s gonna get ugly. But also it’s gonna get beautiful afterwards. And like I always tell my children when they freak out about the future, even if the population of the Earth cataclysmically shrunk where 90% of humans died in the next three decades, that’s still like 750 million humans still alive, making new things happen. Why not you? The whole foundation of generations is generating, continuing, surviving. So fuck it. Blow my fake number cards over, repo everything and throw me into the streets. I’ll still be alive, perhaps even more so in some ways. This shit’s all fake and unsustainable and it makes us stress out in ways that aren’t helpful for survival or our intestinal health. So fuck it.

4DV4NC3D TH1NK1NG L1TTL3 0R4NG3...

advanced thinking little orange
boys advancing across the
forest floor, flagless of course