Wednesday, April 2

2014 Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournaments

These are a thing I do. Sometimes people care, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes I care, and sometimes I don't. Strange times we live in, which of course call for a strange event where anybody can participate. That goes against what we know about the way things work though, so that can be confusing. Whatever. Come to one of these places and taste the rainbow.
  • April 17: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • April 23: Balliceaux, Richmond, VA, 8:00 pm sign-up, 8:30 pm kick-off
  • May 8: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • May 28: Balliceaux, Richmond, VA, 8:00 pm sign-up, 8:30 pm kick-off
  • June 12: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • June 27: Natural pHuel, Farmville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • July 10: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • August 21: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • September 11: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • September 26: Natural pHuel, Farmville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • October 12: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
  • November 12: BON, Charlottesville, VA, 7:00 pm sign-up, 7:30 pm kick-off
I hope to see all of you and talk in real life and conspire against these fucking robots that are starting to control every aspect of our lives and communications and creations. If you have any questions email me at ravenmack inside google dotcom or hit me up on Facebook where I am Raven Doctorlounge Mack or better yet twitter where I am the rambling subconscious of the Piedmont foothills at SSVa_Raven.

Rojonekku Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournaments are a variation on haiku battles that have existed as an off-shoot to poetry slams for the past decade. Our version was established with students in my Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts school, and has been adapted for public performance/competition. The idea is to be all-inclusive, of styles of poet, of types of people, of modes of thinking, of anything really, so as to cultivate as wide a diversity of short poems as possible. Our world needs more diversity. And then that diversity needs to be more diverse. Ten shades of the same thought is not diversity. Ten different thoughts is.
WHAT HAND-TO-HAND HAIKU ENTAILSA Hand-to-Hand haiku battle works as a single-elimination tournament, meaning any number of people can participate. The first round works to eliminate the field down to the closest number divisible by two, in one-on-one matches. From that point on, it’s a simple matter of one-on-one match-ups to narrow the participants down to four, and then a final two competitors. All early rounds are a best of 3, the semifinals a best of 5, and the finals a best out of 7. The number of rounds required depend on how many competitors.What does “best of” mean, and how does that work? Easy, yo. There will be three judges pre-selected for the night’s festivities. They will have two flags (different ones obviously, we’ll assume red and blue for ease of explanation). In each match-up, one competitor will have a red flag, and the other a blue flag. Red flag reads a haiku first, then blue, then after a brief moment of thought, the three judges, who hold both colored flags, raise the flag of who won that round, in their on-the-spot opinion. Whichever flag a majority of judges raises is considered the winner of that round, meaning if two out of three judges say blue, then blue wins the first round, and is up 1 to 0. Loser of any round reads first the next round, so red would read a second haiku, followed by blue, followed by judges’ decision, and so on, until one of the competitors wins 2 rounds. At most this would need 3 rounds to be completed, thus it is called a best-of-3. The same process is repeated, but with more rounds for the semifinals and finals.This means for all people reading haiku, you may need up to 25 or so different haiku, in the off-chance the first round, the semifinals, and finals all go to their maximum amount of rounds, and that you advance accordingly. Thus, I say you need a minimum of 20-some haiku, although if you are eliminated early or win rounds quickly, most likely very few of you will actually use that many haiku, perhaps even using as few as 2 or 3. No worries; save what you wrote for the next one.Here is the thing though: you select which haiku you read for each round, rather than reading them in a set order, so to have a larger, more varied arsenal of haiku gives yourself the freedom to choose ones that might fit your opponent or the moment more easily, to tap into the flow of the evening, or which one you would assume might strike a favorable mood with the judges. I look at it as each haiku is an arrow, and the more arrows you have in hand, the more likely you are able to find a sharp one. So come equipped as you see fit.On a personal aside, as a man who has literally written several thousand haiku over the past decade, a method I use is writing them one per index card. This is a good method for a hand-to-hand haiku battle, as you can have your handful of index cards, mark out ones you use, and shuffle them around and use them accordingly. Just a tip; you can use it or ignore it as you see fit. Once you use a haiku though, you can’t re-use it in the tournament format again, so if you put them all on one page, put an X next to the ones you’ve used so as to not repeat yourself.
WHAT ABOUT HAIKU?Ah yes, the terribly pretentious question us westerners are forced to ask ourselves with regards to a Japanese literary tradition based on a language of characters while we speak syllables. Haiku traditionally was tied to the seasons, and the most common western translation has been a three-line poem of five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables, which is often times seen as the truest replication of the Japanese poem. For the sake of our Hand-to-Hand Haiku purposes, to keep everybody on even ground, I tend to encourage that we go with this. Now somebody may say, “Wait, counting syllables goes against what haiku actually is, Raven Mack!” I can assure you, I know this form on a deep and personal level, and could tell you that haiku is not even a poetic form on its own, but is part of a larger group form of poetry called renga where the first part was called hokku and became the title of famous renga poems, thus it became its own thing as literary time passed. So haiku is not even technically what the hell it is supposed to be. So for all haiku traditionalists insulted at counting syllables, once you are holding mass parties where groups of people compose poems as a group with 100 verses per poem, you can hold your complaints to yourself. We cannot accept part of a tradition but pretend the rest doesn’t exist and call ourselves traditionalists. I mean, we could, and in fact that’s what most people do, but I’m not supporting that.So for our sake, our haiku will be three-line poems, preferably of 5-syllables, 7-syllables, and 5-syllables. I will not count them though, and if you feel overly confined by this structure (form is good for you though), you can stretch the definition of haiku to mean a short poem of 17-syllables (or less).Also, traditionally, these have been tied to the seasons, or nature, but I regard the act of haiku as more a meditation or habit of observation, which means all the screwed up parts of the world made by man are as natural as nature, and more than perfect for haiku. You can go traditional or you can go with observing the world around you or you can go experimental. Whatever’s clever. For me, it is a meditation on the world around me, and this can be natural or it can be spiritual or completely inside my own head. I use it as word medicine, so whatever I feel like I need the form to give me, to make me feel better, to help me process the world I’m in, that’s how I go.And obviously, you should write your own haiku. If you have competed before in a different Rojonekku Hand-to-Hand tournament, you're expected to come with fresh material. Obviously there are no haiku police who will count syllables or be like, "Didn't she read that one before?" We, as the viewing community, will police ourselves, so if you are in the crowd at an event and it seems someone's gone long on syllables or repeating themselves, I encourage you to chatter amongst yourselves about it to create that uncomfortable buzz thing that happens in public events. If the competitor repeats these shady activities, hopefully the buzz will turn to outright booing and jeering. In fact, unlike your standard poetry reading, I encourage the crowd to make noise and respond. This is not to be a silent awe affair.
BUT HOW WILL THESE BE JUDGED?A valid question, as none of us wants to be judged, and yet judges will be involved. Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to pick a winner, and this method will always be subjective. Always. But I am going to have three judges, and attempt to curate each of them from a different angle of cultural sensibilities. Judges’ decisions will be final, and also subjective, so never take it personally. This is meant to be fun, and will be fun, so nobody needs to get all, “Damn, why wasn’t my poetic greatness not properly recognized in this damn hand-to-hand haiku thing? This is bullshit!”Judges: You will judge as you feel appropriate. Like I mentioned above, I’ll pick you because I'm thinking you'll observe from a certain perspective, but I might be completely off on judging your personality, so feel free to toss that aside completely and just go with your heart. In fact, the whole point of haiku is to go with your heart, and this whole nonsense endeavor of a tournament is meant to motivate people to go with what’s in their heart, not worry and become anxious.
SO WHAT DO WE WIN?Winner of the night’s tournament will receive the accolades of an adoring attending public, and generally I try to have some sort of prize to present to the winner, depending on what I get my hands on from willing accomplices. As part of hosting the festivities, I'll share some of my own Rojonekku writing, or unique perspective, or perhaps just talk crap about what I've been cooking up in the kitchen. The entire motivation behind Rojonekku WFA (Word Fighting Arts) is to battle the complacency of routine life with words, and this means not just books or printed matter but stories and jokes and strange tales from stranger places and just everything and anything to be honest.So that is how the Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournament works. If you are interested in participating - which I hope you will be - contact me at ravenmack at gmail dot com. Even though this is developed from the slam poetry tradition, my goal with this is to bring different styles of poets from different backgrounds into a mutually accepted format, and interact. Then we cross-pollinate each other, and everything will taste better.



Thursday, February 27

Solitary Confinement

So hey, I was gonna share some articles that showed up this morning in my reader feed, because they related to each other and also related to what I was babbling about in my sermon portion of the Hand-to-Hand Haiku in Cville the other week talking about prisoner class/political class. In a nutshell, what I said was if you have a dog in the fight - if you give a fuck about Obama/Ted Cruz type shit, then you are political class. God bless you, you have a voice in this shit. But for many, most of us, that shit is irrelevant. We don't know what stocks are, we don't have bank, we battle daily, weekly to keep from being a prisoner, literally or financially. It's a constant fucking struggle. Now I'm lucky enough that I've avoided the hardest ends of prisoner class - and make no mistake about it, it's a lot of luck involved in that. There's no merit to this shit, no you earn your way out of what you're born into. It's a lot of luck, and good timing, and shit man I don't know. But contrary to the constant proclamations on the flat screens, shit is not getting better for the American empire. Well, check that, for the Imperials, it probably is better, and data supports that. But for the mass amount of people living underneath the imperials, it is getting worse, and all the economic shit they talk on the flat screen is, again, irrelevant to real life shit. Thus, more people are going to find themselves doing dirt to survive (as in Duke freshman student convincing herself that doing porn is somehow financially empowering her family), and because of that more people will find themselves into the deeper realms of the American prison state.
Which brings me to the articles to share, both about solitary confinement. I was reading the Outlaw Bible of American Essays the other night in bed, and it had this Iceberg Slim piece talking about getting out of the pimp game finally, and how solitary had completely fucked his head up, made him crazy. (And interestingly enough, I was discussing with my wife how probably the reason the pimp character is so respected in lower classes is because it's the closest thing to indiscriminant successful capitalist that socio-economic level sees - manipulating others into making him profit.) That was 40 years ago Iceberg Slim wrote that. And the use of solitary confinement has done nothing but expand as the prison industry has expanded (and privatized and been monetized). Anyone step out of line? Lock them away. Rehab is not even considered a viable option, or communicating or teaching people to learn to value themselves so that they can value others. But hey, I'm going off on some grandiose humanistic bullshit with all that. Let's just talk about what solitary does in a real sense. And these two articles contain that info.

What Solitary Confinement Doest to the Brain (from Aeon Magazine)
Aeon is one of my internet favorites, but this is an article outlining the actual neuroscience studies being done about solitary confinement. I can tell you from my own dirty work in the field of science that a lot of what has long been considered psychological manipulation - both in terms of criminal punishment as well as most of our western advertising - is not a simple psychological trigger but an actual manipulation of the brain with negative consequences. Unfortunately, this type of advertising or punishment/reward system is a major foundation to our western capitalist society, so it'll never be admitted as morally wrong without suggesting our way of life is immoral. I'm here to tell you that I believe what American advertising does constantly, what solitary confinement does to prisoners, these things should be seen as morally wrong a hundred years from now. However, morals are not decided by any universal code of right and wrong so much as they are by the mightiest hand which inscribes the history book. Morality is decided by whoever ends up being judge, not by the masses as a whole. This is true for dictatorships, democracies, and everything in between (including corporate kleptocracies like we have in America 2014).
Now take all this info with a caveat - that science thinks it can explain everything. It can't. But at least sometimes like with these studies in this article, it's at least still trying to challenge the common beliefs put forth by the corporate kleptocracy. I would imagine though, that once too much info is found out, whoever's behind the research will get quieted down through lack of funding or support.

The Plot from Solitary from New York Magazine
California has been one to use solitary more aggressively than anywhere else, in an attempt to squelch gang violence inside (and outside) of the penal system. The story of how sworn enemies in Pelican Bay's solitary housing unit were still able to plan out and stage a huge hunger strike, statewide, is fairly amazing, and also testament to the outlaw spirit. Oddly enough, as negative as all this "corporate kleptocracy" "prison state" shit might sound, I don't feel overwhelmed by it personally. People are people, and people will always resist bullshit oppression. We've done it since the beginning of time, and regardless of initial intent, every government known to man has always become corrupted by special interests hijacking its once pure intentions. People are people - those few at the top and the masses beneath them in the pyramid scheme that civilization has always been. Leadership cartels get run the fuck off, and old ways become new taboos all the time. All the fucking time. No matter what anyone does to try and stop it.
That's actually a part of why I don't do so much online any more. It's a means of exposing creative spark to light, immediately, but without the real life tinder to help that spark explode into something huge and warming and cleansing and that can burn bullshit the fuck up into ash. This medium called the internet is promised as a revolutionary tool that connects blah blah blah but that's already been hijacked to a large extent by corrupted intentions. And who can even say the entire point was not for that hijack to take place anyways? Keep it street, face to face. You can make connections through this medium, but unless you build them in real life, it's not a solid connection. That is true whether it's one person who shares your same special interests, or one hundred thousand people you want to occupy public space with in frustration. Build in your physical life. The Revolution will not be digitized, but the commercials will.

Monday, February 3


Look, I will be honest, I don't give a fuck about the internet right now. In fact, my new book of tanka poetry which is pictured below has a lot of that sentiment. Here is the Amazon page but you can also purchase it in the flesh at upcoming Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournaments. Those will be happening on the 3rd Thursday of every month in Charlottesville at BON, on the 4th Wednesday of each month (March thru May for now) in Richmond at Balliceaux, and some assorted shows scheduled for Farmville and perhaps Blacksburg. Talk to me there. Check my twitter. I'm sure there's face(snitch)book event pages for these things too. But fuck the internet. I guess I may re-design my page at some point and have all my assorted sites just to point to the same place but that also means investing further time into the internet presence of Raven Mack, which seems like a fucking waste. Get the book. Get the real deal. (Note: it is also available for your robot reading machines.)

Monday, November 11

Last Hand-to-Hand Haiku Event of 2013

On the evening of November 21st, we will be having our last Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournament of the calendar year at BON space on South Street in Charlottesville. This first year of public haiku events has been a lot of fun, and I'm packing all the surprises I can into this last one, to make it sort of a year end get-together for anyone who has attended any of them throughout the year. And if the turnout is as good as it was last month, I plan on having both an under-18 and adult tournament at this event.
In addition, I'll be talking my standard Raven Mack speaking-in-tongues gibberish. I'll have some poetry books there for the buying, and also stacks upon stacks of truth-free pamphlets for the having (donations kindly accepted to support the Rojonekku WFA cause). For anyone who's been to one of these in the past, you know already to expect whatever. There are a number of paths any one given event could take, and I try not to hold too tight to the reins. If we go in a different direction than anticipated, that's what we do. You can't control life, just ride that motherfucker out.
Sign-up starts at 7:00 pm, we'll start the jibber-jabber at 7:30, and as always, the event is free. Here is how Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournaments work. If you have any questions, just hit me up at ravenmack at

Monday, November 4

ORALE! Let me speak on this! at VCU November 15 (plus Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournament)

On Friday afternoon, November 15, at 3:00 pm in the Student Commons at Virginia Commonwealth University, I will be giving a presentation or some sort called New Writing: Maintaining Your Shadow in Light of Total Awareness. What will this presentation involve? All of the following:
  • Keeping it shady even though authoritative overlords want you to be transparent as fuck so as to get a better digital read of how they can sell you shit/make you afraid of shit.
  • Preventing your blood from being turned into money by lizard humanoids.
  • Using curry in combination with lacto-fermented foods to loosen up stagnant energy in your gut – kinda like that bullshit lemonade master cleanse thing, but actually encouraging positive probiotic growth instead of just gut-bombing yourself like healthy bulimia.
  • How to successfully navigate time travel to within five decades past, and four weeks forward. Beyond that either way, you’re on your own.
  • The importance of writing strict form sonnets in the 21st Century, but not iambic pentameter because BORING.
  • How our minds being completely fragmented by wireless digital energies what which we interact with openly is definitely a change occurring, but rather than get all Luddite scared, perhaps we should just learn to do better more soulful mosaics with our fragments.
  • Increasing flow of positive chemicals in your brain like serotonin (sex juice), omega-3s (fish juice), beta-endorphins (exercise juice), and how to combat the depressing tall grasses that grow in your mind’s blind spots (aka sub-conscious).
  • How to turn human misery into abstract wealth.
  • The neo-pagan, post-industrial, subliminal earth consciousness of Balkan state football hooligan groups, specifically as it relates to setting fires in occupied spaces at away games.
  • Bedazzling balaclavas, while still maintaining an Etsy- and Pinterest-free zone.
  • Wearing digital sock puppets for increased comfort.
  • How to psychologically justify to yourself that America is indeed still an exceptional meritocracy, and because of that, if you are smart enough and work hard enough, you will not be fucked.
  • Using paint-sticks efficiently on rusty objects.
  • How to treat the surface web and more covert deep web like a raised bed garden, using digital composting to bear life sustaining fruit not yet harvested by libertarians (aka The Alternate White Guys).
  • Back yard screen-printing.
  • Converting old government auction school buses to bio-diesel, and how to effectively bury recycled shipping containers for concealed lifestyles. (NOTE: This particular part will be specific to southern West Virginia.)
  • Appearing in real life to actually exist, to other animals.
  • Identifying future trends by communicating with forest spirits, who have basically been in hiding since 1672 on the North American continent, east of the Mississippi.
  • How to securely change your password with Google products without having to ever use auto-save again.
  • The art of burning bridges, enjoying the fire, fighting up stream, baptizing yourself in struggle, building new bridges, and then burning those too (and how to save fun metallic memento pieces from every bridge to weld your own Power Whirligig Nkisi).
  • Composing post-narrative resumes for a career-less world.
  • Increasing your personal brand’s worldwide presence through guerrilla means that are not necessarily cool or necessary, then feeling bad about it but being stuck with what you’ve done, and learning how to come to grips with what a piece of shit you were. And selling related t-shirts.
  • Squatting on, developing, and sharing intellectual property wasting its true potential because people are assholes who think they own every fucking thing they ever thought of in their lives.
  • Raising chickens, including proper hen-to-rooster ratios as it relates to egg productivity and quality of life, as well as further explications of gamecock vs. peacock cultural differences, and how the guinea hen sort of bridges those differences, which is why guinea hens are so goddamned annoying.
  • Where to find the least toxic blunt wrappers in the hood.
  • Living discreetly in interstate median strips, and how to get EBT benefits with no known address.
  • Counting to 666 by 7s, using only whole numbers.
  • Illegal emigration, and which South American rural area might be best for you.
  • How “WHOO!”ing like “Nature Boy” Ric Flair can benefit you in your everyday life, and figuring your way out of four common locks on our psychic energies.
  • Making your own stencil that says GENTRIFIED to spray all over everything every where.
  • How impact font is the comic sans of pretend-seriousness.
  • Creating effective memes and hashtags through the use of memes and hashtags.
  • How to write better books that will get published and sell a bazillion copies to everybody on earth and then you’ll be rich as fuck and never have to hear another person tell you how to write better because it’ll totally finally be done, like magic, FTW.
  • Culturing buttermilk at home, and using this as a basis to eat from-scratch buttermilk cornbread at least three mornings a week, thus increasing your ability to use a cast iron skillet which justifies the continued existence of cast iron skillets, which ultimately will become more important than smart phones, again. Also building cast iron skillet apps (aka recipes).
  • Whether yarrow tincture is actually the tinfoil hat people always joke about, and whether tinfoil hats may actually increase the damage done to your neuronal composition.
  • Monster catfish of the James River, and they symbolic relevance to our human struggle for equality worldwide, but specifically 85 miles in both directions off the river throughout Virginia.
  • Turning personal demons of self-destruction into dragon slayers what which you unleash upon the unlounging aspects of this crooked world.
  • How to successfully pretend you care about unimportant bullshit both online and in the post-modern workplace, so as to not call attention to what you’re really working on in life.
  • Making yourself more upworthy, by speaking pure truth at 1:32 mark, but literally blowing people’s minds into a thousand shards of newfound awareness at 3:48.
  • Plus assorted other recipes, anecdotes, and creation myths from my family’s 4.45 acre Bird Tribe Compound, currently co-spirited by the trickster nature of ravens and the healing nature of owls.
  • None of the above. Always none of the above. Perhaps. Who knows?

After the “talk” there will be a short break I guess, where we talk at each other on a more personal level, then we’ll have a Rojonekku W.F.A. Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournament for all who choose to take part. If you aim to compete, bring yourself 20-some haiku. If you aim to watch, aim away. I hope you hit the target.

Monday, October 7

Hand-to-Hand Haiku for October

Sigh... I am feeling downtrodden, fresh kid turned rotten lately, but still pounding away at the cracks that are exposed to me, wiggling my middle finger inside of them to try and make it all come tumbling down in my grandchildren's lifetime hopefully. Crazy shit going on in this world, and I've felt more compelled than normal to disconnect as much as possible, because not sure what we're connecting to is healthy for us as individuals. That being said, perhaps let's discuss upcoming Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournaments.

I have said the theme for this one, being it's October, is Fighting Monsters. This means if one so feels compelled, they can come dressed to impress in a costume to further their haiku swordsmanship, or perhaps even create a character specifically for the event. Do what feels right/write. The above graphic, though haphazard and hand-scribbled while in a moonlit fit of frenzy, does speak truths, such as the dragon being an obtuse motherfucker, and how you must slay the dragon. There have been many dragons in my lifetime, though I came to realize how they were all tentacles of the same dragon, and I hope to share a story about the dragon's effect on my life and how I've done battle in my own personal life. The tentacles of the dragon are exerting themselves in abundance right now, and learning how to positively do battle with these dragon assholes is important for survival.
It should be noted that BON recently got themselves an ABC license, which means they now offer local microbrews in abundance to go along with their already fresh ass selection of caffeinated beverages. It is a wonderful spot, and this has been a wonderful event these previous months, and I hope that Charlottesville will continue to grow its support for whatever the fuck it is we're doing.
As always, come equipped with 20-some haiku to take part in the tournament, or just come with lounge in your heart to enjoy the festivities. It's always some sort of a thing or another. And do not be shy if you are like, "Well I don't know about stepping up and sharing haiku with other people in a public place," because I keep it chill, keep it safe to share, and if anyone's gonna look stupid at these things, that will only be me. Trust me.

And after our first very fun haiku event at the RVA Zinefest benefit at Gallery Two Three last month, we come back to Richmond on a Tuesday night to get wild at Balliceaux. I'm very excited about this, because Charlottesville is a very calculating place, where it has to think about doing something for a long minute before it jumps in and does it, whereas the vibe of Richmond has always been very much, "Fuck it, let's do this." I saw that at the first one, and am hopeful to see that again at Balliceaux, where we can hopefully build a regular home. We're throwing out the theme of Exercising/Exorcising Demons at this one, which means that you can come decked in costume if you want, to further signify your haiku style or exorcise/exercise some demons. I have exercised a ton of personal demons in Richmond over my lifetime, and only exorcised them once I was outside the city limits, having walked backwards down Monument Avenue smeared in catfish blood to conquer the native curse put upon the city. I am looking forward to this one a lot. One of the main goals of these Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournaments is to have different styles of writers/people/human come together and inject each other with their different flavors, cross-pollinate each other, and hopefully not only respect the diversity of motherfuckers but cause it to become more diverse due to the cross-pollination of personalities. At least that's what I hope. But if we just have people show up and share and bring a little hope to all our jaded black hearts for a few hours one night, that'll be more than enough.
Again, bring 20-some haiku to compete, or just bring your self with lounge in your heart to enjoy the festivities.

Both of these events have a Facebook event page which should be publicly viewable, so share that shit with your robot friends inside the Snitchbook net. Also, I am hopeful I will hustle together the money somehow to have some new One Thousand Feathers pamphlets for both of these events. If you are so inclined, please visit my Workingman Shop and get something or other, which will enable me to print pamphlets to give away at these events. My business model is fuck business.
Also, I'll always have copies of my Beerbox Haiku book on hand for sale for $10, should have a new book called Vehicular Tankacide available next month as well. Plus, there's always other shit in the works. I am always working. I don't put it out here inside the cyberweb any more, at least not in one collected space, but I'm always fucking working. Life is work. And that's what's real.

Thursday, September 12

Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts Calendar of What What

I have a pair of Hand-to-Hand Haiku events upcoming that I guess I should sweep the dust off the website and let you know about, in the off chance anybody actually still peruses the internet in this traditional (relatively speaking) fashion.
Next Thursday, Sept. 19, at BON Coffee on South Street in Charlottesville, we will be having our monthly hoo-ha. Bring yourself. If you want to participate, come along with like 20 or so haiku (or short poems) and throwdown at the hoedown. As usual, part of this event is me - Raven Mack - doing a sort of ramble/read thing testifying upon the Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts. I'm not usually sure what the fuck that means, and honestly what I talk about sometimes comes to me like right before the event. I am open to the universe's suggestions, but try to keep it positive, try to keep it entertaining, and definitely try to keep it empowering. Event is free, but bring a few dollars to get yourself a damn drink and remember to tip the barista.
Also, the following Monday, on Sept. 23, at Gallery Two Three on Main Street in Richmond, we'll be conducting our first Hand-to-Hand Haiku hooha back in RVA, as a benefit for the Richmond Zine Fest 2013. This event runs along the same lines as what I say above - bring yourself, plus haiku if you want to get involved, expect rambling musings from your host, and bring a few dollars to kick in to the Zine Fest because buildings don't rent themselves. I'm excited about coming to Richmond for the first time, as I spent a long ass time living and growing in Richmond, and still love that place a whole fuckin' lot.
Here is a google doc what which explains how the actual Hand-to-Hand Haiku event goes down - GOOGLE DOC EXPLAINING THE THING.

As for me, with regards to writing, or what I talk about, I don't know. Life has been kind of a big fat piece of shit lately, and I haven't had a lot of time to write the things I'd like. I'm also not entirely sure the world needs more writing. I've been enjoying having oral stories and just tweeting gibberish (@SSVa_Raven), though I can't really say I've been "enjoying" anything. Strange times we live in right now, and an overload of written words by thousands maybe millions of individuals who don't really put much thought into their words is sort of overwhelming. There's this belief that somehow with all this information at our hands via the digital revolution, we are allowing ourselves to be more informed and intelligent. I think the opposite might actually be the case, where - much like you can always find a quote from the bible to back up whatever point you're trying to prove - we can always find examples that affirm what we already believe. Thus we've become more insular in our beliefs, more firmly entrenched in what we already assume is true, without any real fresh input to challenge ourselves. Basically, we're cheating natural selection at this point, and minimizing whatever benefit might come from cultural evolution (although of course, this is our evolution; it's just that "evolution" doesn't necessarily mean "for the better").
I would expect me to ramble on that subject in Cville next Thursday, and probably speak on self-publishing in a world that's self-important as fuck in Richmond, but I might have a relapse, spend the weekend in a hotel in Waynesboro getting high with stabbitty types, and have something completely different to talk about. It's a week away. That's a lot of life between here and there still.
Anyways, hope to see your faces and hear your words in real life.

Oh yeah, also worth mentioning if you are within travelling distance of Scottsville, Virginia, on Sept. 29th all afternoon there will be the James River Artisan Festival at the Farmer's Market Pavilion, what which I will be vending my junkyard photographies and haiku railroad spikes as seen at WORKINGMAN ETSY and probably some books too. There is a James River Brewery in town where you can have a couple localized craft beers, enjoy our little town, then go the fuck on home. You can come by my table at the Festival and holler at your boy Raven Mack, too. Like literally holler. I want at least fifty people to come by yelling at me during the course of the day, because I think that would be funny, and make everybody else uncomfortable, but also liven up the atmosphere.