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, March 29

March the Five

 
I think so many exclamation points they appear on walls around me as I pass.
 
My prayers have withered and mildewed and hang like past hopes mocking me.
I have an idea! Let me waste my life!

Thursday, March 28

March the Four

 
I have been crazy lately, unfocused and scatter-brained, and it's completely technology (aka tricknology) related, and the presence of constant wave bombardments at work and in my own home through wi-fi router/satellite receiver/etc. But here's the thing I realized this week: my brain is not being re-wired, as I've said before and is often suggested with regards to modern tech toys/tools. Saying your brain is being "re-wired" follows that tricknological philosophy that man is a machine, made of parts that can be replaced and improved. We are not a machine; we are a holistic entity. Sure, you can pinpoint one part of the brain that lights up when someone looks at pornography or reads Jane Austen or whatever, but that does not mean that one part of the brain does that one thing. It is spread out throughout the entire mind, through the entire body, through everything. We are not fucking machines, and that's the biggest mistake we've made in the past thousand years as a western culture is assuming - even when liberal and all crazified with the philosophies - that man is machine-like and a collection of organic cogs and wheels and bells and whistles and shit like that.
 
So if I don't find "re-wired" as appropriate, what would be the best way to describe it. Very easy - polluted. Our bodies, our minds, our holistic existence is being polluted, which on the grand scale can be attributed to "humans" but on a more direct level is corporate entities acting on behalf of collection of financial wealth. This has nothing to do with improving the human condition, and no explanation of economic theory will every justify that any form of finance - capitalist or communist or otherwise - is going to benefit every human being. If there is finite wealth, if one 0.1% section accumulates a large amount, then the other 99.9% to varying degrees will have less. If there is finite resources, if one little 0.1% group utilizes those resources, then the other 99.9% will suffer the lesser. You can suggest that reasonable, intelligent people be put in charge to decide how those resources can best serve the larger population, but you won't be able to show me where that's successfully happening, in America, in Russia, China, anywhere. Because it's false.
Here's the thing I've come to painfully realize lately - there is no freedom, no grand protection of inalienable human rights. Our world governments are run by individual interest groups, and even those groups don't represent the entire nation they represent. If men, acting as corporate entities or government bodies, can justify the poisoning of segments of the environment, or exploitation of resources that destroy segments of the environment, they are obviously not using the holistic approach. Nature is a machine too, with pieces and parts, and you might mess up these 9 parts over here, but that's to benefit this one part here, where everything is peaches and cream. If these men think that way about nature, why would you assume they'd think any differently about humans? We're sort of pimped by this belief still that man is somehow special and more developed than everything else, and that there's some sort of inalienable kinship between fellow members of humanity. Not so, bro. If men who make decisions for the larger population have no qualms about strip-mining West Virginia mountains, they most likely have no qualms about strip-mining West Virginia minds. So even by saying "re-wiring" with regards to our brain, we are falling prey to that industrial overlord's thinking, to where people actually exist that are like, "Hey man, I'm stoked to be having my brain re-wired, can't wait for Google glass to come out, I'm gonna be right on the front edge of this." You, effectively to these decision makers, are not a human being with rights, but a tool or a resource. You literally are a tool in a box, that as long as you are useful, will be kept somewhat polished and stored nicely. If you become less useful, but might be needed again at some point in the near future, you will be stored and kept on the fringes of things. If you become no longer deemed beneficial, you are then expendable. You can live where expendable parts of nature are left, and maybe they'll eventually find a new resource underneath of you or inside your brain and you'll be re-introduced or gentrified back into the "civilized" world.
I'm sort of rambling here (as usual), but my point is this - you are being polluted, right fucking now. And you are probably like, "lol I know" because what the fuck else can we do about it? Who the fuck knows? But we are not cogs and wheels that sit around until the larger "civilization" finds need for our tiny little fucking usefulness, and that's how we earn money, and that's how we buy sustenance, but the money has less and less value and is harder to come by, and the food has less and less sustenance and is harder to trust. You know why safely grown food is so expensive? That's the design. You are expendable.
If you think you can change this system, you are wrong. This system is perverted and always will be. If new people took over the entire system, within 40 years they too would be perverted. That's just how it is. But you can change your life. I can change mine. I am not a tool, not a machine, so I'm not going to act like one. I'm not doing shit today, not as a tool, not as a resource. I am going to sit here, in my little windowless work spot, and fucking doodle haiku all day. Fuck work. Fuck being a tool. I will never merit wealth, I will never be hired for a dream job. That's just what I was born into, namely being outside those walls. I was born expendable, and have tried to pretend I could weasel my way with intelligence and problem-solving and good people skills into being part of that 0.1%. It's not going to happen though. I am painfully expendable.
The thing is, I'm only expendable to the machine industrial mind. As part of the holistic whole, I'm neither expendable nor necessary. I just am. I am going to daydream aka manifest in my mind all day long how all of us who are expendable realize we are not even part of that, we are not being re-wired, we are not a tool for industry or should ever consider ourselves "industrious" even fucking slightly. We just are.
There's a lot of shit being deemed expendable nowadays, as the western system slowly crumbles. They are almost out of freedom duct tape, and the freedom duct tape factory is closed. I know; I passed it the other weekend, just south of Roanoke. There's a COMMERCIAL SPACE FOR RENT sign out front, and packs of hobos building pallet fires behind the place, where the delivery docks used to be filled with freight trucks, loading up on the freedom duct tape to hold this system all together. It will all get swallowed back up by the wild if no one finds use for it. And that's the beauty of accepting yourself as expendable, and removing yourself from the industrial psychology where you are a machine to be industrious or re-wired - we all very easily get swallowed back up by the over-ruling all-encompassing holistic nature of all shit. All we have to do is nothing. Fuck changing a broken system and replacing one corrupt pervert with another corrupt pervert. I'm doing nothing. I suggest you do nothing. At work, don't do shit. Fuck work. And eventually if all the do-nothing expendable aspects of our world - both human and land mass and buildings and plants and animals and really all of nature including man because fuck we are not separate from it please stop fucking putting that in your head - it all goes wild again, goes feral. And the feral will swallow up "civilization" little by little, and eventually instead of "civilization" controlling the wild, the wild will control "civilization", except it won't be controlling it all because it won't even be concerned with the concept of "control" as that's not what true wild is about. Wild just takes over.
So dear friends and random internet eyeballs and spambots and DHS monitors and everyone else, don't do more, do less. Don't try to force broken things to start working again, and don't think switching parts out of a broken thing like government or civilization is going to fix it. You'll be jamming new philosophical cogs into broken machines for the rest of your family tree's existence. Do less, warp back into the wild. Stop pretending you are a machine. Stop pretending you are anything at all necessary or expendable to this civilization. Embrace the wild, and remember that nothing is also everything once you shake that "civilized" industrial psychology. The wild nothing looks like nothing to civilized mind because it has to be mined and harvested and re-manufactured and improved upon. That's the pollution of civilized thought. It pollutes mountains and roadsides, very obviously, but it also pollutes you. It pollutes me. The pollution is thick inside all of us, and we will start to get wilder and wilder thoughts. That's good. Embrace those wild thoughts, because they might very well be more right than all that "civilization" promises.

Tuesday, March 26

March the Three

 
Our brains have become fragmented by electrosmognetic impulses, to where we collect the pieces of detritus and consider it art. Our brains have been industrialized, yet are still tainted by the beautiful perversions of natural existence. This conflict ultimately will be our demise.
 
I saw the Spring Breakers movie this past weekend, actually spent $21 on it for me and the ol' lady to go, because I had read reviews that it was some sort of intelligent dissection of our modern broken culture. It was not. It was broken itself, but we are so fragmented intellectually that you can just pretend you are making a grand statement even when you are basically stumbling along haphazardly with no purpose, and nobody can really question that. We are post- post-modern, where everything has been done already and everything is completely fucked. There's really nothing left to do except unfuck what little bits of your individual life you can.
As for the Spring Breakers movie, it is horrible. Harmony Korine has done what I thought nobody would ever be able to do - he has surpassed Fred Durst on my internal list of People I'm Going To Smash With A Bottle When I Become Famous. Because I am (going to become famous, and also smash Harmony Korine with a bottle). Often times in our post- post-modern culture of the allegedly intellectual, we think violence is a bad thing. But the largest impediment to humanity's continued survival is the fact we have somehow enabled lesser aspects of humanity to not only survive but thrive. It is important to physically take things to task sometimes, to stay strong, and keep humanity's herd thin. Conflict causes weight loss, trust me.
The cheapest con in our post- post-modern culture is the "Y U Mad?" suggestion that anyone dismissing what you do as trivial bullshit is somehow a hater. I am sure this is the defense used for Spring Breakers. But I am a hater - a hater of hodge-podged crap masquerading as high art. It all just reaffirmed my belief we've wasted the last thousand years as a species. After the movie my wife and I walked the downtown pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, and everybody had this hallucinogenic tweak to them, where I was freaked out by their lack of humanity. This happens to me at times when I am tuned into it, very much like that scene from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas where everybody is a lizard. Everybody on the mall was fucked up and polluted and poison animals and my wife was seeing it too so we made a sharp right to a neglected side street and settled ourselves to escape back out to the Bird Tribe Compound before any of the floating surveillance drone eyeballs discovered our human emotion and human intelligence and marked us for DHS confinement in the coming Austerity Wars.
 
I was born from trash, so to speak - a giant tangled mess of copper wires and acrylic yarn and twisted metal clotheshangers. I've worked very hard in my life to untangle as much of that as possible, but I fully realize I am still a huge fucking mess, and always will be. That's the beauty of my existence though - I am struggling to make the most unentangled psyche as I can. I have these images of each person's brain as a universe I've been writing about for my One Thousand Feathers project, in an attempt to keep myself less judgmental of others, but it can be very difficult. I am from working class people, and blessed with great internal combustion of mindframe, but this has not truly made me more financially beneficial to myself at all. That's probably good, to keep it pure. I have been struggling with this lately - why do I write? What should I write? I am taking a fiction class under a dude who won the National Book Award in the 1990s, and his attitude is a story should have catharsis, a very clear ending where combustion has happened. Problem is most of the stories I write end where it's just another day and tomorrow you scrape, struggle, and strive to survive another. Seems to me - and this could be personal prejudice, I'm sure - that for the literary academic world, stories do need to have nice clear endings, because that's how life should be. But for many - meaning the working class - there is no end, no retirement, no dream vacation home, no nothing but work work work work work die. Life is a constant struggle.
There is a guy who has a book out now named Frank Bill who wrote this piece in the Daily Beast about masculine writing, and I agree with a lot of what he says in this piece. His first novel is coming out right now called Donnybrook, which if you google reviews of it, you'll find all sorts of terrible stereotypical metaphors used by reviewers for poor white people. And ultimately this is my problem with writing, on my level. I got Frank Bill's collection of stories Crimes in Southern Indiana, and honestly didn't finish it. It's too negative, although I didn't find it dark at all. Darkness is struggling to survive. Having nice tidy rapes and murders and crime is not darkness, because all of those things are very clearly marcated endings. This does not match the constant struggle of the workingman.
And it seems to me that if one is a Frank Bill - who is a warehouse worker in Indiana - or a Raven Mack or any piece of shit born from trash who takes up writing, your best bet towards receiving mass accolades (or reviews where reviewers use horrible white trash metaphors galore) is to write exploitative type pieces that flatten the working class you come from into somewhat stereotypical fantasies for the reading public, which skews wealthier. For me, this is difficult to accept, because I would prefer to empower working class types. I live with these people and come from them, and rather than think, "Wow, what a crazy story this is this former pill-addicted person who is about to have a baby, I bet that baby is cursed and will have a horrible life, let's go with that," I think, "Hey, what a chance to find meaning in the daily struggle, to find power and build strength and become a motherfucking modern day viking who conquers all the poisons laid out in front of you, or at least enough of them to where you continue to exist." I need hope, not noir, because my life is a daily fucking struggle. Escapism is self-medication, ignoring the reality, and it's not until you face this shit that you figure out how to make it better.
And let me be clear about one more thing. I don't fault Frank Bill for this at all. Here is Donnybrook, and if you are one who reads a lot of books, I would hope you buy it and support the guy. In my heart, I want a warehouse worker from southern Indiana to succeed so badly in the literary world, so that it's not such a fucked up anomaly where reviewers do the standard "grit lit" "working class writer" bullshit. I want this warehouse worker from Indiana to be successful so that some daydreaming mechanic from Georgia, or ebay hustler/independent wrestler from Alabama, or air conditioner repairman from east Texas, or nutjob chicken/goat farmer/housepainter/haphazard piece of blessed trash from Southside Virginia can have their works read by a larger audience, that's not expecting the same old crap that the literary world gives you. The working class, who often times aren't actually working in an official sense, so let's call it the struggling class from now on - the struggling class needs their voice too. And you motherfuckers need to start hearing it.
And while we're at it, let's reappropriate that term "trash" too, because I use it too often to describe where I come from. This mess of tangled copper wires and clotheshangers and yarn and whatnot is being recycled. I don't know what it'll end up being, and what it'll be useful for, but it ain't right to consider it trash, because it's too goddamned beautiful.

Wednesday, March 13

March the Two

Hi, I'm Raven Mack, and I'm always up to something even if it's not cybernetted for your eyeballs. It is March and as you can tell by the rotten basketball from my pig pen above, basketball is not my favorite sport. My favorite sport is actually word fighting arts aka writing.
The wires above will have you pretend the cyberbot machines are a newfound way of expressing yourself. This is a lie, friend, trust me, I have seen the internal panopticon. The future is fire, not wifi-er.
With that in mind, I am looking for two willing people to co-author book projects with. A raw development of Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts is this New Writing that has started to volunteer blossom within the compost pile that is the internet. I have recently started a project with a longtime comrade, which will be a secret obviously other than me teasing you with that. But if you are a writerly person who can do a back-and-forth writing style and want to brainstorm a project, hit me up at ravenmack at gmail dotcom. We can do this under fake names, a combined fake name (like that O.U. Levon book from Ken Kesey teaching writing at Oregon), or go by our real names. We can even mix and match that. But here is what I'm looking for:

1) A person who is serious as fuck about writing, but not one of those serious writers. In other words, all you think about is writing, yet you don't really have fucking time to talk about how to write to other assholes inside the asshole machine.
2) A person with prolific creativity who works well with others and also embraces chaos.
3) Sliding scale here with three parts that go to 50 each: be strong with words (like no asshole writers please), be strong with spirit (even the mundane), be strong with brain wildfire (and able to let it loose rather than contain it). If on a sliding scale of 1 to 50 on those three categories you score above 123 total, we might be a good match.

If you are having asshole writer thoughts about what we will do with it when done, man I don't know. We can sell it as ebooks or put it on pastebin for free or mimeograph with the blood of albino pygmies and leave it on the painfully bouncy backseat of every Megabus from here to Chicago. We can cross that bridge once we've finished building it, Cochise.
But when we are done, we will have built word versions of Vollis Simpson's whirligigs, hidden along the back roads of the information superhighway. And we will have done something real.
So all interested parties holler at your boy Raven Mack aka 1000 Feathers.

Tuesday, March 5

March the One

I have struggled mightily lately, coming to terms with the fact there is no dream to be realized. Money blessings are from a false god, thus never really happen. All I can really do is do what I do, meaning with regards to art, separate from any notion anybody will ever give me money for what I do. Working towards money seems to compromise the integrity of work, whether you are talking about writing, building a house, sewing Old Navy jeans, whatever.
And yet at the same time I feel good with the fact our Bird Tribe children live in an environment that encourages artistic growth. What it took my ol' lady and me 25 years to accomplish, they'll already be at by 15. As humans, we build our culture slowly over generations. We are building our desired culture, even in the midst of a poison culture civilization we were born into. That's all we can do. I am content with that.
A lot of rocks have been stacked in the process of building our western civilization, and now we don't even stack rocks with permanence. We have embraced the capitalist fallacy of renewal a little too much, to where everything is seen as temporary - and we can just tear it all down and start over. Nobody stamps their concrete no more with their name.
Still though, I throw my horseshoes into the sky. My dreams of getting shaded under a money tree are dead, but money ain't real anyways, so I can still dream - dream of all this bullshit falling apart and when we build something new next time we actually fucking build it, no facades no personal brands no corporate citizens no whatever the fuck it is that has made us America. The spices and fertility of ground found in America are still grounds for something big; it's just we've had shitty "freedom" cooking for too long, and rather than mix up the menu, we've been told to double down on the "freedom" cooking, so motherfuckers are starting to get hungry for some real nutrition of soul.