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, July 17

Friday Love/Hate

I love how much dumpster vegetables I've been hauling in for my flock of chickens every week. There's a store that I don't think too many people hit and it's chock full of shit every day when I hit it at the perfect time coordinated with one of their produce dudes. Seriously, I throw anywhere from five to ten gallons of food in the back of my truck every time I check it. Them chickens of mine be getting fat off some watermelons and cantaloupes and they love that corn, which I used to cut off the cob until my wife was all laughing at me about it, so now I toss the whole thing in there. All the chickens have names now too. The americauna pair, which are the oldest, and now not the biggest, are Erishkagol (rooster) and Innana (hen), but Erishkagol is a pretty ass rooster, all speckled with green ass feathers. I like to get him out and stroll the yard carrying him around. That type of shit apparently helps keep a rooster from being an asshole, which they are prone to be. The three RIRs ended up being named Lounger, Luna, and Katya. Honestly, I can’t tell them fuckers apart to this day, but I do know there’s one of them that always rolled with our youngest chicks who were the outcast of the flock once they moved into the big pen, so that one red is Lounger. All you have to do is watch them for a few minutes and the Lounger will work the flock, kicking it everybody, and you know to yourself, “Oh yeah, that’s the Lounger.” The two white leghorns are still called Gwen and Cheap, and I can’t tell them apart either, and white leghorns are some ornery birds that I can never catch when I go into full-blown Rocky training mode inside the pen trying to get a bird. Plus my walls are only like four feet tall with bird netting over that, so I can’t do more than squat run after them. The buff orpingtons are the tight one though, yellow with fluffy ass legs, but one of them's a rooster. We call him Dixie and his girl is Daisy. That shit's funny to me. And then the austrolorps, I thought at once were a rooster and hen, but looks more like two hens, and Dixie runs that little crew of Daisy and the two austrolorps, who got named Fancypants and Swaggerbritches. And really the whole point of all this was to tell you those two chicken names, which are absolutely ridiculous. No, I didn't make them up
I hate the Bruno movie already, just because without it actually having crossed my eyeballs, I have bore witness or read far too many egghead cultural dissections of society at large in relations to this stupid fucking movie. You know what? Borat wasn't nearly as funny as the TV show was, especially since a good bit of it was recycled schtick. And really the only thing left for holmes to do would be Ali G goes to Africa, but he won't do that, because you're not supposed to make fun of the helpless, only the ignorant, except for the fact that many of the ignorant were helpless in their achievement of that ignorance. So when you make fun of them and feel good about yourself with your liberal, do-good judgements, your thoughts are logging chains and you are dragging them mentally behind your Prius pick-up. Racist fuckers. Go back to Wholefoodsica.

Thursday, July 16

100 VINYLZ: #70 - The Best of John Coltrane: His Greatest Years 2xLP by John Coltrane


(1971, Impulse Records)
Man, I had a hard ass time finding the info for this double LP online, so I'm guessing it's not that common. It wasn't fetching fat dollars on ebay or anything, but it wasn't showing up all that often or easily in google searches for Coltrane discographies.
When it comes to the jazz music, I like freaked out skychasers like Coltrane and Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra more than the other standard classic stuff that whiteboy music experts tend to like (although that might be exactly what they like and I'm just playing myself). This is a nice collection of stuff from some of Coltrane's better years, and honestly is the only Coltrane I have on LP. I had like 7 or 8 tapes as well that I bought back then, but shit, tapes are obsolete even to me, Mr. Anti-technocracy. And I don't really think I'd need anything more, although if I could Coltrane's Sound on LP, I'd jump at that.
One time, me and Boomer were wandering around North Carolina, looking for some piece of shit armory building to watch some piece of shit wrestling show featuring Buddy Landell vs. Ricky Morton, where we'd most likely get drunk in the parking lot, stumble in, and soak in the sociological mayhem of multicultural underclass Carolina. But we couldn't find the place, and there were burned out buildings along semi-back roads, like they had riots but in the country. So we go up to this convenience store for me to go in and ask directions and buy another 12-pack, and the lady behind the counter gives me some half-assed bullshit, going right back where we were, but just deeper into the muck. Boomer figured we should ride through town and see what else was going on, maybe get a hotel room beforehand if we can find one, and some pimped out Cutlass cuts into the parking lot quickly as we're trying to pull out, Boomer stops, I look up, and there's one of those roadside markers saying "John Coltrane was born a block from this spot in..." with all the rest of the pertinents. I had no idea he was from Shittown, North Carolina, but it explained a lot.

Wednesday, July 15

100 VINYLZ: #71 - 21 & Over LP by Tha Alkaholiks


(1993, Loud Records)
I had for a long minute lived with a crazy girl in college we still refer to as The Bi-yotch, and she had a stereo that I used for the records I would play and the tapes I would buy. Well then I finally slid away and moved in with some dudes, including my man Boogie Brown, and it was your normal shitty Richmond house with one dude per room and overpriced rent and lots of weed smoking and beer drinking. When first living there, I hadn't shifted out of buying records, because I already had such a large collection, you had to be constantly adding something to it, because a record collection lives and breaths on shelves and inside of milk crates and wants to be fed and trimmed down and shuffled and fingered and all that. The first time I heard Tha Alkaholiks was on a King Tee single (which I think is on this list later actually), and it was some good shit. Their first group single, with Tash finally on it (he was in "Club County" at the time of the King Tee recording), so I had to have this shit when the full-length LP was at Willie's. But I didn't even have a record player. My wacked-out super-brain roommate Crazy Jai had gotten one of those little kids record players, a Sesame Street one, no shit, with a Big Bird head on the arm with the needle. So there I was, in my shitty room, mattress on the floor (eventually to rest inside a 2x4 frame on some milk crates in lounger fashion, till I broke that shit fucking a chick one night... yeah, that's how I roll), with my brand new Tha Alkaholiks full-length LP playing on a Sesame Street turntable. It was one of those moments too goddamned retarded to really imagine correctly in a visual way, which I seem to get a lot of in my life. But Tha Liks were the shit.
Looking back, amazing to think that Loud Records started out with only two groups - these guys and Wu-Tang, making it automatically better than pretty much any rap label in existence nowadays. I mean seriously, everybody has mixtapes or myspaces now and gets hyped up as some real flavor. But here was Loud, actually finding acts that had something to do that was original, and doing it. Even Tha Liks, the whole concept of being drunk asses, that would be a song concept to a modern allegedly great rapper. They took it as a whole schtick, but it didn't get played out (at least not on this first record).
Secondly of note, this album contains "Turn the Party Out" featuring The Lootpack, which was the first song that came out produced by Madlib (who I think might've produced another track or two as well, maybe "Mary Jane" off this LP). It's just crazy to think how much smaller hip hop was then, with Tha Alkaholiks being brought out by King Tee - a west coast legend, on the same label as the Wu-Tang - an impending shapeshifter of hip hop, and getting production from a friend in Madlib who'd become underground rap deity. But at the same time, I doubt hip hop was all that much smaller back then, so much as it was more discriminating. Every fucking wack ass 15-year-old couldn't just pop open the laptop and set up a myspace and start throwing shit at the world until something magically sticks, often times due to its retardedness not its greatness.
But I digress. Suffice it to explain my personal hip hop preferences in that when I used to make mixtapes and would use "It's My Thang" by EPMD with that bassline, I'd follow it up with "Only When I'm Drunk" by Tha Alkaholiks and not that stupid assed Jay-Z song with the bitch singing the corny R&B hook. Which one? Exactly.

Look Up At The Stars & Analyze The Skies

Full of hate and stifling self-paralysis half the damned time, like moving through thick southern humidity except mentally. Feels like I've turned a corner, but then again feels like I've turned the same corner 38 times already and I just keep running around the same damned piece of shit plot of land while the grass grows taller around the edges of everything, making it harder to see an actual escape. We are in some trifling assed times, but not really at the same time. I'm not in a shanty. My kids don't have flies on their eyeballs. Sitting full-bellied on food stamps, which gives me a complex (but the radio noise the other day was all like, "1 in 9 Americans clocking their food stamp grip so Congress blah blah blahzay blahzay..." through another day, riding around in a truck that's three months late on payments between jobs that run too long because fuck man, how'd I get here? Someone point out like three forks in the road I took that I could swerve the other way and make it less a fucking frustration to hear the alarm clock boop at me in the goddamned morning.
But really, just keep going. Honestly, no victim talk or anything, but shit man, I'm not equipped to understand how to navigate this world. Grew up in a shit assed place with a shit assed education where it was coastable easy to be big fish in a small pond, and didn't have the foundation to respect the extras to learn how to succeed. If anything, I was taught from an early age that there's some twisted nobility in poverty, that success breeds betrayal to your true self, which of course is just someone else's bullshit that got slipped into my cerebrum. But seriously, it's hard for me to navigate this world, especially the financial aspect of it that gets so heavy lately. Not much old work out there, not much new work out there, not much switching of jobs to be doing either. That's just how it is right now, hold pat with the shitty hand, wait for the dealer to dole out a few more cards, and hope to break even by the time they kick me off the table.
And at the same time, all that's such bullshit. Full grown men should take full grown responsbility. Even if the fucking work sucks and is slow and tedious and soul-crushing and unable to make the ends meet, I should've pecked 20,000 words out today by supper, and then revised 10,000 from yesterday tonight while watching another crappy movie distract me from another wasted night before they finally figure out the date behind the dash on my inevitable grave marker. I went to where my dad and uncle are buried the other week because I was in the area. My dad's grave has a chainsaw on it, no shit, and actually has "Tuna" on it as well, which always impresses me. Nicknames don't often become so overbearing in life to make it on the grave. The chainsaw's on there because he worked small engines most of his life. (In fact, the motherfucking place he worked at, formerly a family business of my second cousin, has had my goddamned riding mower for like two months now, trying to fix some simple shit that I was afraid I was gonna just bend into place half-assedly, which apparently, I should've done, being I fixed my push mower on my own so I could push that slow ass thing around the two acres and keep from losing the baby.) My uncle has a drag car doing a burnout, and like you'd expect with such an image, he died young. I often times condemn myself wondering what'd be the token life image on mine. A 5-in-1, for all the years begrudgingly spent painting? A fucking computer box?
I don't know. A man shouldn't wrestle so hard with mortality, but that's what we do when we feel the coolness of a rock against our back and see the hard place closing in faster than we'd like. Just keep going. Things need to be done, and they occupy the body hard enough to distract the mind, and you end up feeling much better than having it distracted by another crappy movie where the body doesn't move and all the stress and frustration digs into your stomach and lungs and builds up around where your umbilical cord first tugged you out into this mess. Stick and move. Wednesday is Mr. Mom day with the kids, so we'll probably go hiking at the natural area in the morning, build another quartz statue for whatever reason, let the girls soak their feet in the creek, come home, and slug at it all a little more, hopefully a little fresher. Motherfuckers everywhere are struggling, and far worse than me or mine, but it feels like a pile-on at times. I can sit here and wish this or that about not having been equipped with the proper navigational tools to chart my way through the life storms, but fuck it man. I've got stars overhead, ground underneath that's as mine as a regular man can actually own land in this country, and I've got a solid family in this house. There's a world in my head I want to toss at the world outside like throwing knives and cold beers (or a bowl of rice), and it would rather cloud and confuse and delude me against such a notion. I need to move to embrace the perseverance of the demented wandered who, no matter how much they lock the doors and try to keep them contained, just stares at the gate, waiting for no one to pay attention. I need to sludge through the shitty days, dust down my lungs, fumes up my nose, silica through my skin, and let it all percolate up top inside, and stare at the gate, wait for everyone to go to sleep, no one paying attention, and run like a motherfucker, six or seven hours. Sleep is the cousin of death. So is sitting on the couch or in a chair staring at screens.

Friday, July 3

Friday Love/Hate

I love packing 40 hours of work into the first part of the week, taking Wednesday off as usual since my ol' lady works on that day, and then being done by Thursday night at midnight. Three long ass days don't really suck when you got ig'nant radio moments like "Simple Man" or NPR talk radio speaking upon opioids or even just working downtown Charlottesville where there was a rooftop outside the door I painted upon and you could hear a railroad WHOO-HOOOOOO and walk outside, hop the rail and stand on the rubber roof looking for graffiti on the CSX. Good shit. A long ways (like a decade-plus) from hearing Flip the Biker talk about man-pussy while we re-glazed Civil War era windows by railroad tracks while the Marshall Tucker Band was on the radio. Now those tracks are grassy and a bike path, and not the type of bike like Flip rode. But I guy dress.
I hate how that one Dr. Seuss book about The Lortabs has caused everybody to hate Snitches to this very day. I always thought Snitches were cute, with those droopy ears and long blue hair.

100 VINYLZ: #72 - Burnin' LP by The Wailers


(1973, Tuff Gong Records)
Admittedly, after having dated a few hippie girls, and marrying a wonderful buxom bulbous-personalitied woman who be loving some Marley as well, I get burned out on the Marley, to the point, yeah, I hate it. But if I were forced to pick one album by him and his cohorts, which I apparently did when making this list, Burnin' is the one I'd pick. "Small Axe" be my song y'all. It's like me, but in a reggae song made before they saw me even grow into being me. That's why Bob Marley is so great, he could see the future, which he did, and also why the CIA injected him with futuristic cancer cells before they knew how to decimate underclasses with the AIDS coots.