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.

Sunday, August 26

Manifestation Sonnet #0812

books are outer space in places I come from
working minds draped up in sweat and flat screen's fog
we breathe deep the soul glue and let our glow go dumb
perfect storm of still bodies and electrosmog
but I wander these roads with words for my long lost
armed with wild man's beard face and workingman's handshake
uncle sam's goddamn bastard 'cause I can't be bossed
understand self-medication, still I stand straight
this crooked world don't want straight words in a child's head
they want us drunk on dumb when we need sober truth
so old ways ain't forgotten when old folks is dead
want my words to spark a desire for fire in youth
     all day we're kicked in the head and yet still we stand
     when mind matches body's strength, we'll be workingman

Friday, August 17

WEEKLY FRYBREAD: unfuck the world

Feeling pretty good this Friday, because the past three or four weekends I’ve madly been working on the Football Metaphysics book, and this one, I’m done, I can finally fix the stupid riding mower and cut the grass and wrestle my goats and carve hobo graffiti into the backyard picnic table with my children using old railroad spikes. Everything feels pretty easy, like my Lionel Ritchie jheri curl-sized aura is solidly lime green, and solidly growing.
Seems like some wacky shit going on worldwide, what with the Israeli build-up towards war with Iran, and the Julian Assange asylum brouhaha, not to mention all the crazy surveillance state shit like Trapwire and the indeterminate detention of American citizens without charges as authorized by NDAA. And it’s all inter-related too. Seems like the United States and its two main homeboys in the U.K. and Israel are really making a grand stand grab at things, which I think the rest of the world may stand against. Hard to say, and I am not geo-political expert by any means, though I did play the fuck out of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. Strange times lay ahead, probably full of conflict and war, and perhaps that starts trickling into our American life a little more. Perhaps not. I’m not entirely concerned.
It can be easy to get caught up in fear and worry, which is exactly what tends to happen during recent American Presidential election years, where both sides fear the cataclysmic catastrophes that await should the other side win. Guess what? They’re both right. And yet, they’re both wrong at the same time, because I’ve come to realize America is not this Great Ominous Evil power I used to think it was. It is a giant self-important bureaucracy, and basically operated like a corporation to a certain extent. And like any self-important bureaucratic corporate entity, it is becoming dilapidated, weakened, eaten from within by cancerous philosophies, and will eventually cave in on itself. That is not a bad thing. All governments should cave in on themselves every hundred years or so, because nothing works forever. Though it will be chaotic for who knows how long, we’d all be better off with a new infusion of ideas and ways of running things in our taxed and strained American system.
Oddly enough, I feel more clear-headed than ever, and have actually been reading a lot of economic theory type bullshit, as I’ve always been the standard contrarian who is like, “Capitalism is bad,” but never really had any science. Watching a number of Slavoj Zizek speeches, where he says some things but seems also to just try to rile people up in pure contrarian manner, it made me want to better understand the source of things and less trust what someone tells me. So I did some reading.
Guess what? Capitalism is on some bullshit. You take normal hunt and gather survival, add the abstract concept of money (which is a good idea usually, to create a standard for trade), and then tweak the system to that each little part of the overall culture produces constantly in order to consume constantly items outside of their microcosm, and allegedly we are made wealthier because we have more shit. The problem is, we don’t need all that shit; we just have this desire to want all that shit. Getting it does not solve the want, because automatically there is a new want. We are not wanting what we buy, we are wanting the moment of buying it, thus we’re never happy. It’s like the people who are hungry for McDonalds and eat it but get no nutrition so keep eating and eating and eating. I know the internet be making fun of people like that, but we’re all like that, whether our McDonald’s is smart phones or downloading music or eating at restaurants or whatever. It’s been bred into our psychology.
That is another thing that bothers me, is that I don’t think it is bred so much as it is a natural chemical reaction in our brains. Thus, a lot of advertising triggers for purchasing goods are not so much great campaigns at convincing you to buy something as they are great experimental activations of chemical reactions inside your body. Psychology, we will find, is something we can heal and repair but not something we can control as much as we think. That’s not to say shit like therapy is not helpful in repairing broken physical mechanisms in our brain, but it’s not the way we think.
So as you might be able to tell I’ve been reading a lot of neurophilosophy bullshit as well, as there are a lot of studies relying on functional MRI to prove some of the things I mention above, and yet fMRI assumes that brain functions are limited to parts of the brain, rather than the whole, and that the part that lights up in an fMRI is the one being used for certain tasks.
This brings me to why I feel so excited and am not afraid, because just like that misleading functional MRI, so goes people. If a man steals a loaf of bread, that is obvious, and he can be caught and punished. If a group through the cyberwebs shares music and books and such through a torrent, it is not one basic act that is obvious, but a multitude of tiny parts of the act that is split upon a myriad of separate computers. That is an action of the collective, or whole, and that is how many neurophilosophers feel the human brain probably works, not in individual parts like a machine. After all we are not machines, we are complex organic matter. That is like a torrent.
It’s something I’ve thought about a lot as I’ve chunked this first book called Football Metaphysics into the internet’s great vagina of nonsense, is how do I feel about what I have written being considered my work, in a sense no one else should ever be able to see it without paying me a fee. And honestly, I’m still working through this, because I have been trained culturally to feel I deserve to be rewarded for my ideas put into words, and there is some truth to it. I physically did the work. But at the same time, I cannot be attached to ownership of my ideas. Most all ideas have been thought somewhere by somebody in this post-modern world, and ultimately a sort of “open source” exchange of these works seems like it might not be a direction we should ignore completely. I mean, I want to be able to provide for my stupid bills through my writing, and not have to pretend to care about the other jobs that have filled my working life, but at the same time, I want to share my mad way of putting words together just as much. And if I am only selling my work, especially in an e-publishing format, I’m eliminating a big part of what I would hope to be my community.
And just as the individual thief can be punished, but the collective acting anonymously cannot, the individual activist or revolutionary (god that word fucking sucks now) or let’s just say the individual person trying to enact unapproved change, he can easily be assassinated or jailed or disappeared by authorities. Make no mistake about it, the authorities have the legal ability to do that according to many things brought into law by our last two Presidents of these American states, and legal has jackshit to do with right or wrong. Anybody who thinks the law is a matter of right and wrong has not lived enough in real life. But the group acting collectively, they can accomplish more than the individual, especially if the power structure is lacking traditional power structure that can easily be beheaded.
That’s why I’ve been loving the activity of Anonymous, gathering at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and gathering at the U.K. embassy in New York, just being witness to the whole affair. We don’t even realize our own power most times and most days, because we are so stuck in our little over-dramatized daily lives. But we have power, when we build communities. At one point that was the excitement of the internet, that we could build “communities” with people who liked the same dumb shit we did, and feel empowered. But we can take that to our non-digital lives as well, and build community in that sense.
So with that, although it has nothing to do with any of this world-changing, I ask you to go preview my book Football Metaphysics for Enlightened Degenerates. It is entertaining as fuck, but also deeply peppered with real shit, with secret positives and thick tangents that “undermine the social order” as the Russian judge told Pussy Riot in court. And I want you to buy it, because if I could do this shit from home, I could grow pigs and goats and a garden and fuck around with my kids and build a more fulfilling crazier life for myself. But that ain’t crazy at all, because that’s what I was wired to do, how I was born to live. And I can tell you this about the book, it’s more than worth $4 for what you’ll get out of it. You’ve spent $4 on much dumber shit in the past week, guaranteed. But it’s also the first book in the Workingman Books attempt at something, which is not meant to be a business at all. I could give a fuck about building a business. I’ve had my own business before – businesses suck. I want freedom, not business. And the idea behind Workingman Books is to just throw these things out there. On the surface, a football book is just a stupid football book. But anybody who’s ever read more than a little of my writing knows that what I write about is not often what it looks like I’m writing about. You can’t undermine social orders by being obvious, or you end up like the bread thief. I hope Workingman grows into a thousand authors doing a thousand crazy things, all for the financial benefit of themselves, but more importantly for the larger benefit of their communities. Seriously, fuck money. I mean I feel I deserve $4 for what you’d get, but if you didn’t want to pay it because you’re like, “whatever,” I ain’t gonna get all indignant. Fuck the entitlement of the creative class, that feels the capitalist system somehow needs to reward them for their creativity. Your creativity rewards what feels the benefits from it, and that bounces back on you. So if you find a way to bootleg my book, go ahead. You’re only taking a potential $4 from me, and if you ain’t got that $4, fine. In fact, if you don’t have that $4 and want the book and are a Rojonekku fan and are reading this, email me and let me know. Seriously. I’ll give you the book. Just tell me what’s up. I’m not looking ever in my life to be some strict asshole ruling the value of my words with an iron legal fist. Fuck that. Anybody can do what I do. I am not saying what I do is not done in a very special way, but shit man, any kid could sink into his brain like I did and end up right here, mixing and matching the same grand ideas and obscure references and a thousand tangents into a solar burst of creativity. I see my own children already developing this. But they develop this because they are exposed to it.
So yeah, it’s crazy times in this world, but it’s also exciting. New things are going to take place of the old, and it’s not going to be the End of the World, as the Mayan calendar (and them dudes were tapped into them alien motherfuckers with the pyramids) predicted a great change. There’s going to be a big shift in thinking. The few who are still pushing this ownership idea to the max, because they sit at the top of that legal “right” (which again, has nothing to do with actual right in a moral sense), they’ll fight change until the whole thing caves in on them like earthquake rubble. They will. And it’s gonna suck.
But within that, we can build our own shit, anywhere we want, figuratively and literally. That’s what Workingman is already, and will continue to be. That’s what Football Metaphysics is about. Shit man, that’s what my every day is about. I want this shit to make it so we can be together better, me and you, all over the place. I want this to enable us sitting together in strange places, sharing our wild ideas. Because the world is fucked. And we ain’t go no other worlds, so we might as well unfuck this one. And in a world where almost anything you can think of has already been done three times over, all that’s left to be done is undoing what’s been done wrong. So fuck it, let’s unfuck the world.

Tuesday, August 14

My Football Metaphysics book

For the past two months, I have been working diligently and deliriously on this preview of the upcoming NFL season, built off the Spiritual Warrior philosophy that has secretly been fermenting at the Armchair Linebacker site, and it sort of spiraled out of control into this book – Football Metaphysics for Enlightened Degenerates. On the surface, the book is very simply a preview of the upcoming season, with in-depth coverage of important players, games, and trends for all 32 teams. But anyone who is familiar with my Raven Mack styles knows that it’s also so much more than that (or less than that, depending on your outlook). The subject matter is not the only subject matter, as football and the players who play the game are used as a springboard for all sorts of philosophical meanderings, and I can honestly say to you that this book, if read even partially, will make you explode in “WTF?!?!” laughter. Seriously. There is nothing covering pro football that is anything like this preview manual, and for the price of a fauntleroy cup of coffee, you will be entertained for hours and hours and hours. Again, that is no lie. This shit is as thick as a Hemingway novel, but with all the gonzo insanities of a Hunter S. Thompson/Oscar Zeta Acosta tract, except it’s neither. It’s me – Raven Mack aka Raven McMillian aka 1000 Feathers aka The Confederate Mack aka Dr. Lounge aka the guy who wrote a ridiculously insane preview for an NFL season and is telling you that you will enjoy it but you probably are hemming and hawing and like “whatever, I’m just gonna go look at some other dumb crap on Facebook” when you should be loading this into your favorite robot device and turning on, zooming in, and cropping out.

FOOTBALL METAPHYSICS FOR ENLIGHTENED DEGENERATES at Amazon
FOOTBALL METAPHYSICS FOR ENLIGHTENED DEGENERATES at Smashwords

Amazon will have the necessary apps to make it work on all your devices of time waste, not just a kindle. There are versions available that work for your kindles and nooks and crannies and Sonybots and tabloids and even your iPads and iPhones (with the Stanza app), but you can even get a pdf at the Smashwords link and look at it on your computer or print to old-fashioned rolling papyrus if you’d like to put a fat binder clip on it and leave it on the peach crate by the toilet. It’s a good 140-pages printed out single-spaced in 10-point font though, so there’s no lack of content. Aside from a long-winded overview of the project where I explain how the NFL has only about ten years at most of actual awesomeness left in it, for each and every team, I cover the following items: an overview of the team, pertinent data regarding last season and this one, most important games, each team’s individual trendsetter and spirit warrior, the coach/QB situation, their team elders, and scrappy Rudy, and assorted other player info, which includes but is not limited to historical information on the team and the city they are located in. Additionally, you’ll get psychic analysis as to the metaphysical force of each team in relation to the NFL’s entire history, as well as the past decade, and I’ve deduced not only each team’s best case scenario, but have a solid finger on what will go down this coming season.
And yet, even if you don’t like football, even if you are a woman who thinks pro football is the dumbest crap that ever existed, you will find immense joy in this offering of mine. This is because of my traditional Rojonekku style of writing, which is designed as a decoy, where beautiful life truths are buried in what looks to be just some dumb football shit. If we revealed the truths about the society around us out and in the open, those who monitor our interactions would stifle the real talk. That’s why I affectionately call it “nonsense gibberish” because it is akin to speaking in tongues that the devils don’t understand, like when I was a little boy in a snake-handling Pentecostal church in rural Rice, Virginia. This Rojonekku style is a lol-heavy sugar-coating on deep spiritual truths, so that we can feel like we are moving in a better direction as a group, without being some super-serious asshole about it. You know what is serious business? Nothing, because business is a joke and money is an abstraction and how can you expect me to take an abstraction seriously when it can’t bite or burn me? Wait, I’m getting sidetracked here…
This Football Metaphysic for Enlightened Degenerates is also my first offering from the Workingman Books collective press chaos factory doohickey/donthickey thing that I have chopped together in the crock pot of various co-conspirators minds, and it is fermenting away as we speak, into something that will give us greater gut intuition to enjoy the world around us, and be healthier on the inside, where are brain funks and chest clenches are. That is the hope. And this is the first offering, and I hope that you will support it, and that you will find it abundant in bringing you joy and spirit inside a dark and crooked world.

Sunday, August 12

Football Metaphysics for Enlightened Degenerates

I have been working like a deranged madman on this project for a good part of the summer but also fairly insanely the past two weeks. It should be available for purchase in the next 48 hours, and I will put it to you very simply... In regards to written words about professional football, first there was SNAKE by Kenny Stabler. And then there was FOOTBALL METAPHYSICS FOR ENLIGHTENED DEGENERATES. Even though on the surface it's just a full bore preview of the upcoming NFL season, it speaks to truths that will last a lifetime. I look forward to you being like, "Whoa... Holy shit," when you actually read it.

Friday, August 3

WEEKLY FRYBREAD: football metaphysics on my mind

This week has been a busy one for your homeboy Raven Mack aka Wildbird Johnson aka The Confederate Mack aka Ruben Omega Tercera Acosta aka one thousand aliases. I am diligently whipping myself into psychic frenzies to continue work on the Football Metaphysics for the Enlightened Degenerate e-book, which hopefully should be finalized, formatted, and available for that ass by next Friday. It is fairly insane, and for football fans will be the second greatest text on the NFL ever written since ever, second only to Kenny Stabler’s autobiography. I know that may sound like hyperbole, especially for what is only a preview for a single season of professional football in America, but I’m not lying. If you are not a football fan even, there will be so much great stuff in it that seemingly has nothing to do with football, that you’ll get your money’s worth. I mean, it’s basically metaphysics, which translates from football to making homemade pizza to replacing the alternator on a ’92 Subaru Legacy, if you really think about it.
“Your money’s worth?” you may ask, thinking why would you pay for an e-book when you can read all types of free jibber-jabber on the internet for free? Well, basically fuck you first off. Secondly, nothing on the internet is free because they are trading your data for ads and making money off you. You are the product. And yet also the target audience. Basically, you’re pimped the fuck out online, so I advise you to buy far many more long rambling metaphysical texts to read offline on your personal robot devices. Sure there is the question of what will the poor read, and what will any of us do if the power grid crumbles like it did in India this past week? I don’t know, we can cross those bridges after we’ve burned them.
But make no mistake about it, my Football Metaphysics for the Enlightened Degenerate will be available for you in the near future. Obviously, being it is an NFL preview, there is a short shelf life on it, or so you’d think. I mean there is, but also it’ll be relevant regardless. I’ll probably hype it incessantly for like 10 days, then forget about it, as that is my writing plan at this point, to treat it more like an outsider artist just doing shit and leaving it on the side of the road – The Information Superhighway (remember that?) in this case – for whoever passes along to maybe take interest. I am excited to get to work on my next book as well which will be Raven Mack’s First Book by Raven McMillian. And to start digging into the Confederate Mack collection. And to help teach my 13-year-old daughter typing so we can release her first novel she’s written into a stack of composition books either at the end of this year or beginning of next.
Also performed my first wedding ceremony this week, which went well, I guess. I put such a high expectation on everything that I’m never as good as I hope to be. It’s a double-edge sword, because that relentless drives is pretty good for the creative process when it comes to pushing yourself hard as fuck; but it also can be defeating because you’re never as good as you hoped for, which can easily shift into self-loathing. But whatever.
Basically, not much more to say – no long-winded philosophical meanderings on this or that, as I’m busy at stupid work today and also trying to stay focused on the football stuff in free moments, chipping away in five-minute increments during the day time. But mad shit is cooking. And I actually have already gotten my crap together for the August J.J. Krupert, I just haven’t uploaded the songs to the cyberwebs yet. Does anybody download those songs still? Is anybody here? I guess if I am going to take the outsider artist perspective I shouldn’t ask. I doubt James Harold Jennings was asking people if they were there. But how do you make a blog look like an abandoned schoolbus? Perhaps I should let that percolate in the dark corners of my mind…