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.

Thursday, May 30

what I read in bed last night

So I got a Kindle for Consumermass last year, and though I still don't dig reading actual books on it (because they don't seem "actual"), Kindle plus Instapaper has been a wonderful thing. I get those long ass articles in my reader feed online, and instead of reading them bitches online where I'm distracted by large-breasted Russian girls looking for boyfriends or animated gifs featuring goats, I can read them on my Kindle, laying in the bed naked, just as our learned elders once did. So what I figured I'd do sporadically (meaning maybe never again) is just share the interesting things I read with you here, although who the fuck is you? Who the fuck am I talking to? Man, the internet is fucked up because it makes us think we have an audience and we have to present shit. Fuck that. Scratch that whole first part because that sounds like asshole talk.
I got a Kindle, and I use it with Instapaper and that shit is tight. Here's some shit I read last night...

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CHICAGO from New York Times

The on-the-surface subject of this article is about activists reclaiming foreclosed homes for homeless families. But very obviously it brings to mind for me a lot of shit about how capitalism is a failed model of freedom, because these free market motherfuckers fail to point out that shit that has no value gets ignored. That's why these alleged free market motherfuckers act like people getting food stamps or having a place to live is considered an "entitlement" as if that's a bad thing. Look, I would like to think if America is half as fuckin' great as it acts like it is, that just by being born an American, you are entitled to eat a fuckin' meal and sleep in some sort of structure that mostly shelters you from natural disasters and inclement weather. And the descriptions of Rahm Emanuel in this article jibes with that pretty well. It's kind of important to realize that endless production of wealth assumes we have endless amounts of materials, which is not exactly a sustainable philosophy. And when you factor in that mostly this endless production is not done so we all have a bunch of really useful shit that will last us our lifetime but a bunch of crap that will break and is mostly unfixable so that we have to buy another, all so a corporate kleptocracy can accumulate abstract wealth at the expense of everyone else and the condition of the fuckin' PLANET WE ARE TRAPPED ON CURRENTLY, it seems even more fucked up.
On top of this, for whatever reason, Cabrini Greens in Chicago has always fascinated me. There was some 48 Hours program when I was a kid about it, and good lord, it was so shocking and somehow exciting to realize that was America too. I don't mean exciting like "Yo, I wish I lived in big shitty projects in Chicago," but the human experience is fucking weird. Many of us (like most) are born into really fucked up circumstances, which we have no choice in, and we have to struggle physically to do something with ourselves, and more often than not struggle mentally (aka psychologically but more actually neurologically) to make things okay. This of course means shit gets hooey in our brains, just because we can't handle the sensory input being put in.
The thing is, and what I take away from this article and this J.R. cat, is we can control that shit ourselves. Government doesn't give a fuck. Like I said, it's a corporate kleptocracy. We're not changing that. We're not. Most of the infrastructure and laws and all that shit is built for enabling creation of wealth, not creation of providing for people. And though the free market motherfuckers are like, "But hey, the creation of more wealth means we provide for more people," there's nothing that backs that up with hard data. There's no science to that shit; it's just a quote from the Bible you're supposed to believe or else you gonna get sent to the Hell of Hating Freedom boy.
I don't know man. I used to give a fuck about thinking things should improve and people should be taken care of by whatever government infrastructure is in place, but the older I get, the more anarchist I get. And not flash anarchism where you smash a window, but life anarchism where you just don't give a fuck about laws unless they make sense. There will be more of that. We've been domesticated pretty hard, and had our human goods milk production increased and increased and increased in America. They tell us Americans are lazier and won't do the jobs for the wages that illegals will do or other countries will do. They don't tell you America is the only country where there is no legal minimum for days off in a year. They don't tell you a bunch of shit that shows how fucked it is. Make more stuff, make more money. If you have creative ways about you, figure out a way to make money off it. Are you really good at something? Make money off it. Everything goes to money. Fuck money. I just want to live my life.

HECTOR CAMACHO'S MACHO VIDA from Men's Journal

Hector "Macho" Camacho was a world champion boxer from the '80s, who turned into kind of a showy freak (a forebearer to Money Mayweather to some extent). He died last year in standard boxer fashion - getting murdered with a blood stream full of coke. But this article sort of encapsulates his life, and just how crazy it all was. I mean fucking crazy. It's hard to feel bad for a guy who got to experience the craziness he got to experience. I mean, sure, you might read this article with an empathetic heart and be like, "How sad," but I can't do it. Like I mentioned in the above article, many are born fucked. And considering how fucked Macho Camacho was born, he lived a life full of hilarious stories. I'm sure it was full of hollow sadness too, which he filled with the obvious ways of human self-medication - sex with sluts and lots of drugs. And sure, we could hope that humanity could expand and be something more, but shit man, look around you, the infrastructure for human progress is not in place at all. It's about wealth progress, and for all those millions Camacho frittered away, I bet there's ten times as much tucked away by groups that made money off him. So if you get all sad and are like, "We could be so much more," go talk to those motherfuckers, not me. Camacho lived a bold life, and it's crazy to read about.

THE DARK ARTS: HOW TO APPROACH BLACK METAL from The New Yorker

My friend KS hipped me to it, and he is a great dude and a fan of both The New Yorker and metal music, like even that weird synthy metal stuff that kinda freaks me out because it makes no sense to the molecular parts of me that sat on milk crates getting half-high on dirtweed in the woods behind the grocery store listening to Slayer. Still though, the most important takeaway from this article is "Death to False Metal". I don't even listen to metal all that much, but still think that constantly, mostly because of the hipster metal factor in our world now. I was paying my Best Buy bill the other week and there were fucking Ride the Lightning t-shirts there. I thought to myself, "Oh, so that's why there's so many promotional photos of bands now where some chick is wearing a Ride the Lightning t-shirt." But this also got me to thinking on what I said above about what you were born into. Why do I hate what I deem as false metal, or poseurs? They can't help they were born sheltered inside the walls of privilege? Don't they have a human right to explore whatever is there for them, including shitty metal music?
Here's the thing though, and where the resentment comes from. Certain things get built around the notion, "We are the fucked and forgotten, and nobody gives a fuck about us, so this is our thing." And that's what metal was when I was 13-years-old, getting high with my best friend metalhead back then (whose born again now, by the way), listening to Slayer. And it actually relates to the first article because it's gentrification of art. It's taking this thing that has zero value to anybody, and these go-nowhere born-nothings make something of it that is fucking wonderful and nice, and then it gains value. Once it gains value, once a neighborhood has been cleaned up and a retail development can afford to invest in building two blocks away, or once an art form has been built and nurtured by a little sub-culture of freaks and losers to where a label can invest in pushing a few acts from that genre, then outsiders start coming in. You can't really blame them, because it looks awesome and is cheaper (housing) or neater (art) than whatever they're used to. So they start joining it. And eventually they become the old heads of these things, like the gay couple that first moved into an overly gentrified neighborhood who complain about how there's no Puerto Ricans around any more, or the metalhead who was into metal in the late '80s after And Justice For All came out. You really can't blame these people.
But the problem is, then it prices out the go-nowhere born-nothings, who are still going nowhere and born to be nothing, who no longer can afford either the property taxes on the neighborhood they re-built, or can't afford the ticket price to the 3-day music festival built on their music, or even if they can afford either of those, maybe they just can't stomach the new neighbors. Maybe the new neighbors fucking suck, and aren't familiar enough with the ways and methods of the old neighborhood or scene. And yeah, that's weird and shitty, because fuck scenes, but it's the truth. So that's why when I see some cutesy chick in a indie folk rock band wearing a Ride the Lightning shirt, I am like, "what the fuck?" And that's why I understand the whole Death to False Metal concept, because fuck man, death to all false metal, whether it be metal or hip hop or seedy neighborhoods suddenly having high end "consignment" thrift stores or fracking boomtowns in North Dakota or taking jobs in North Dakota or fucking whatever man thinking you are changing the fucking world by voting for a kleptocratic corporate motherfucker... all of that shit. Death to all these false metals.

Monday, May 27

an update of sorts

So I've built what was to be my main and only site at ROJONEKKU which has all my various books and zines and art and pictures and haiku spikes and whatever the fuck else I'm trying to get by with. I think the internet is a failed promise at this point, so had anticipated having all my shit just fold into that site, which is exactly what most of my web names (rojonekku.com, workingmanbooks.net, confederatemack.com) all point at.
For whatever reason though, I've decided to keep this, mostly as an archive, perhaps as a source for new shit, or whatever. Some old shit may disappear as I move it to something else. But for now, I plan on putting up simple homepix again, with a gambleraku, perhaps daily, perhaps not even close to daily. This blog has existed in various forms for a number of years, and it's a good introduction to what I do, although it's deep and thick enough that it's probably hard to actually delve into. I'm not really of the belief that people are actually looking for shit online though. It's more of a distraction. But I'll leave something here because I'm one of you, and will start fucking around online too, and will want somewhere to put dumb shit. So this is that somewhere.

Thursday, May 16

freestyle sonnets


religion
believe what you want, do what you will, find reasons
to affirm what you believe, whether spirit-based
or built on scientific trial, but seasons
shall pass and all things change; new tribulations faced
will challenge your thought patterns; how will you adapt
for survival, conquering an altered landscape
littered with altars and lab space where wisdom trapped
itself in tradition, and yet changes take shape
daily in all moments, our world is forever
shifting truth, with man dragged along by tooth and nail,
clutching at his heartworn ways, which seemed so clever
and permanent, though permanence is doomed to fail
time and time again, yet we learn not this lesson -
our dominion to exist is still a question

beethoven
the Beethoven principle is plenty present
in current writing, meticulously crafted
creations of heavy-handed brilliance, pleasant
to high-minded, academically drafted
individuals born inside the gates of Smart,
accepted as standard method for writing words;
in fact if you’re not tortured, you’re not doing art
worthy of furrowed brow scrutiny; sure, the herds
will never hear (much less feel) your contributions
to civilization’s secret progress behind
the sheltered closed walls of ivy institutions,
but without such hidden dedication, man’s mind
will not be properly inclined to serve Self first;
without ego, the western art bubble would burst

Wednesday, May 8

May the Three

freestyle sonnet on bench seats (word to Matt C.)
smooth masculine maneuvers sideways in parked cars
were made easier across long leather bench seat,
but we live in a time of cupholders as change jars
not man and woman (or whatever) making sweet
beneath the stars; in fact where the fuck went the stars
clouded out by overcast reflections from street
lights clustered all civilized around homes and bars
and stores and shit and filth but cleaned to neon neat
beacons of sustenance but quickly falls apart,
much like the vehicles of today, buckets dumped
full of failed humanity, lacking unclogged heart
yet full of self-importance, flabby chests well-thumped
with pride for the slide into decline and despair,
in a clean plastic ride, where only eagles dare

freestyle sonnet on New Coke (word to David D.)
the old traditional ways are classic, never
forget them (nor end your support) but the greatest
thing ever created throughout our endeavor
to bring you some great shit is also the latest,
and it’s certainly mostly the same, so it seems,
but also totally different completely,
trust us, see we’re splitting one game into two teams,
and maybe more, so that any choice discreetly
goes back to one source, one sole provider of shit,
and you’ll be so stoked to ingest our crap you’ll brand
yourself unable to accept alternates, lit
in the brain with identity attached to stand
proudly with one debilitating choice above
another, two (or more) the same, one hate, one love
freestyle sonnet on Grampage (word to Chelsea M.)
old man of Chernobyl, after eating homegrown
vegetables for twenty years, developed powers
magnified by internal fission of his own
molecules, altered by the iodine showers,
thyroid devoid of standard man limitations
until he stormed like a tornado through locales
across east Europe, creating devastations
across multiple borders, destroying morales,
disgusted by modern morals, or lack thereof,
waving his radioactive cane he’d hand-hewn
from a twisted juniper bush his life-long love
had planted, before tumors took her far too soon
for his liking; in his anguish, he decided
to smash all cultures where atoms are collided

freestyle sonnet on moonflower vines/luna moths (word to Nathan S. & Sean T.)
moonflower vines intertwined with wrought iron where
I recline as sunshine goes dark while the earth turns;
moonrises are less regular, I sit and stare
at stars’ bright light, which through “heavenly” fabric burns
navigational maps for both man’s heart and mind,
whether crossing oceans or making decisions
of more personal natures, yet also inclined
to follow lunar calls once the moon has risen
is the perfect white blooms of the vines on my porch,
attracting the attentions of magic, large-eyed
moths flocking to these blossoms as if a fire’s torch;
the scene pollinates my thoughts, with truth I commune;
glorious vine, moth, and I, all slaves to the moon
freestyle sonnet on M.C. learning to drive a stick shift (word to Matt C.)
restricted license afternoon crawl in Datsun
late model, longhaired driver not wearing seat belt,
fuck that, tortured rock-n-roll genius rides shotgun,
they pass fat-gut cop fishing for citations dealt,
blue lights flashing, pull over into loose gravel,
“license and registration,” “sure, here you go sir,”
cruiser snitchbot reports back that driver’s travel
is legally limited to work and back, “your
aware of blah blah blah Mr. Mack?” “yes, of course,
can my friend drive us home?” “well... I guess that’s okay,
but if I catch you again, you’re fucked with full force,
get out of here, consider this your lucky day;”
I’m back in passenger seat, saying, “let’s go... quick,”
my friend looks to me and says, “I can’t drive a stick.”

bonus freestyle sonnet on self-publishing I guess I don't know (word to Raven Mack)
self-published sucker existing on the edges
of respectable decisions, not knowing when
to clutch at safety’s comfort, pull back from ledges,
“you don’t what’s too far ‘til you’ve gone there,” I’ve been
motivated by madmen, both by blood as well
as environment, born cheap beer-bent and hell-bound
except hell ain’t real, just fairy tales old folks tell
to keep my wild ass in order, calm the sound
of fury internal, I’d burn the whole world down
if I could - scorched earth, start over, reset caveman
molecules back to the essence, when life was brown
not green, not a falsely sustainable gameplan
where “righteous” fuckers decide what constitutes health;
y’all can wait to be told, I’m doing it for self.

Thursday, May 2

May the Two

I struggle with the locale I live at, feeling the allegedly artistic and intelligent and creative are deficient in those qualities yet abundant of confidence that what they do is important. The problem with this is I struggle with those feelings as well. It's hard not to wish you were recognized for your talents more, especially when you literally struggle to maintain status quo in your financial life and are pretty much doing the slowly sinking tread water thing that pretty much everybody is doing from $13K a year up to $87K a year. It's our culture; that's what's been built, and what holds us in place.
Also with everyone being able to circulate their thoughts/art/creations online to what is potentially an audience of EVERY FUCKING PERSON ON EARTH, you start to feel like there should be some sort of acknowledgement of what you are doing, some affirmation that what you do is worth it not just to you but someone else, and you are having an affect on the world. I know I have been paralyzed by wishing for that at times (not literally paralyzed, but my thoughts are too often attached to the fruits of creative actions as opposed to just doing shit for the sake of doing it). And there are people who are successful with the things they do, meaning they seem to be doing it for their job, and that confuses me as I'm not even sure how you do shit like that. I guess I fall back on my assumption you have to be born with a certain amount of shelter to afford yourselves psychic luxuries like "doing what you love" with your life, but that's only partially true and also partially a cop-out on my part.
One thing my wife and I jibber-jabber about is cutting ties, which has direct visual relation to being attached to the fruits of our actions. For us, it's in relation to bad relationships in our lives, visualizing a rope physically being cut between yourself and that person, to have no attachment to them, which doesn't mean you are like "fuck you" but does mean you are not controlled by their emotional tugs and pulls and nonsense. I am trying to be better about visualizing that with regards to my creative business on this earth. It's my job to blather nonsense constantly, that's what I'm supposed to do. And whether self-publishing or internet posting or haiku tweeting or zine making or traditional publishing or whatever, I have to cut the ties that attach me doing these things to some sort of end acknowledgement by others, whether that mean people wearing a t-shirt of mine or I get paid and pay my monthly bills with words essentially. I have to cut loose of that. In fact, to be honest, we all do. Shifts are happening, and honestly everybody is online right now feeling like they are sharing their special ways with the world, waiting for the world to acknowledge how special they are. Guess what though? We're all special. Everybody has fucking art in their head; whether you let it out or not, it's there. Also guess what though? With the globalization of culture through internet (which is still heavily segregated believe it or not... I know we like to think we see the entire world better now but seriously, any google search has a filter bubble over it, and it's not like if you search "soccer results" they show you shit from the African Champions League) we've all become more homogenized, more like each other. That actually makes it even more important we all let our individual crazy art out of our head, to fight the homogenization of bullshit, because nine times out of ten, when something is homogenized, there's somebody looking to make a dollar at the far end of the homogenization process. All the googles/facebooks/apples are not just kicking it trying to improve humanity; they are trying to improve profit. If they can make you think they are "doing good" and making life better, then you'll buy in.
Essentially that's the problem too - always buying in. I just self-published a book of haiku which actually is a pretty neat fucking collection of haiku. I have sold like 12. I didn't expect to sell more than that, but that gives you an idea of how things translate into reality. And one day when I sold two copies the same day, the book was like in the top 20 of poetry on Amazon's American site. Seriously, with only two copies sold. So no matter how skewed the algorithms are, there's not a lot of actual financial gain involved if I can jump into the top 20 and clear like $5.50 profit. What I'm saying here is the big pay-off is not imminent, no matter how wildly creative and talented and special genius you are. Perhaps you have the financial backing behind you to push yourself hard in the internet paint, and start to turn a nice profit, but having financial backing/promotional support does not directly correlate with artistic genius, ever. In taking a fiction workshop with an author dude who won the National Book Award before this semester, he told me there are two things required to become a successful author - you have to be good, and you have to have the right person notice you are good. That's the way our culture is built.
So here's the thing though... I don't want to support that. I don't want to be made into some asshole who looks like an asshole doing asshole things as a self-proclaimed writer. I just want to make shit. So many ideas and so few hours. Once you unleash the creative inside you, that's how it gets, and that's how it should be. You should be struggling to keep up with your artistic productivity, everybody should. Fuck making money, fuck being recognized, because all that is going to crumble under its own greed like a Bangladeshi garment factory. Creative processes are supposed to help us see the bullshit in our own lives, and to beautify the ugly. That's the whole point of it, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to graffiti on freight trains - it beautifies the ugliness. It doesn't take a genius to want to make something ugly look pretty, so no matter how wildly creative you or I am, we are not unacknowledged geniuses or artists yet to be discovered. We should be taking the pressure and turning it into gold and diamonds and leaving it all around us, fuck whether somebody knows about it or not. It's important to do so, leave it everywhere, hidden in letters to prisoners or lost tweets or left on benches and stapled to telephone poles. Too often in our culture, especially where everybody feels like they are "marketing" to EVERY FUCKING PERSON ON EARTH through the cyberbot machines, we do our thing and see it as gold and diamonds and automatically are like, "Man, I wish I could get paid for all these gold and diamonds I created." But that's not how it works. You leave it in the world, and then some other asshole will come along and mine it and make the money, and then it will be gone and hidden behind locked doors. That's how this culture works. Don't feed that; do your thing and do it fucking everywhere and don't be attached to that meaning this or that should happen and most of all, don't ever give a fuck about what happens after you do it. If you unlock that creative onslaught, let the miners come along and exploit it or the assholes steal it, because as long as you stay in that solid creative space, you'll do it forever. It'll be like breathing or eating, just something that has to happen daily. And if it's happening daily, why the fuck would you be so attached to what you did three months ago? Leave it there. Cut the ropes. Cut the fucking ropes.

May the One

polysyllabic motherfuckers think they smart
flaunting they over-education like big dicks,
acting like logic be straight brain acts with no heart
involved, no regular ass dude skill to see tricks
as they played out; these cats think they got extra-wise
analytical abilities through degrees
obtained as they daddy’s money gets recognized
into next layer of MDs and PhDs,
then they learn to forget privilege pre-ordained
and explain they success as hard work diligence,
but bitch, dig a ditch for dollars then come complain
about how people be lacking intelligence;
talk big word solutions to all the shit you want,
but you ain’t solved shit for real, just talking to flaunt.


dumb done got dumber, ain’t no doubt about that fact,
but smart done gone downhill too at a steeper dip;
we all internetted up, let like minds attract,
full of self-import like we genius for the hip,
properly inclined, tuned in through the constant buzz,
mocking ignorant ass others as lesser ass bitches
without physical flesh finger on what we was
getting done other than distractions, thick riches
of mindless clever memes, severing us from “they”,
trusting in a day of scientific rapture
where non-believing beliebers will lead the way
with like button witticisms, plus screen capture
cum animated gif of our gift to the earth -
that we so damn “best.evar” since our online birth


stack o’ books by the bed collect dust to the head
never read as I tread barely above waters
struggle to juggle financial chains until dead
while simultaneously trying to raise three daughters
without the same environmental ill effects
which had polluted me; but made me see the art
in every piece of shit I passed as paychecks
slipped through loose grips, I chased after words in my heart
after hours, in the dark, brain-lit by half-witted
delusions that them books might get etched with my name,
but you’re either born a success or pre-fitted
for failure as birthright regardless of your game;
but real deal wordsmith shapes swords from the suffering,
real grime never shines through library buffering



big ass manifesto, poor man blessed to see through
stick figure representations of attractive
images, bitches tricked into trying to do
impossible bullshit, build radioactive
hips unable to birth chilling ass children much
less wiggle from sexual friction as we pass
time in the ancient ways, buck naked caveman clutch
activating molecules excited by ass
that got power, that got force, that got mountain curves
creating earthquake motion buried inside us deep,
going deeper when stimulating them wild nerves
what which first caused man and woman to dark cave creep
and make babies for the future as eras pass,
but you can’t procreate truth with a skinny ass