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.

Wednesday, June 26

compound decor gambleraku

all of these things still exist,
just in a more mangled state;
Bird Tribe is rough on plastic

Whiteboy X

sniffs of the morning commute’s
exhaust fumes of progress
chasing dreams planted inside a wild mind
that could care less
but was trained how
and now concern warps to worry
morphs into paralysis
trapped between abstract numbers
that fence in my every action
threatening barbs poking at my brain
to recognize the boundaries
of domestication

the industrial plumes of progress flower along the river
progress manufactured
by any means
progress hydraulically fractured if
necessary
progress lifelong tenure tractored by
fine-tailored grandfathers who were painted not drafted

my born destiny is
as a mineral resource at best
avoiding white trashing, recycled
harvested and marketed as skilled
and compliant, never defiant
by any means
necessary

cover the world gambleraku

domesticated work beasts
slurp caffeine whips to proudly
please master supervisors

Monday, June 24

railroad haiku spikes

So that magic jukebox video I did - THIS THING - got me like two subscriptions. And yet I continue screaming into the void, for whatever reason, as I am compelled to share these pieces of actual fact with you...
#1: I have two new One Thousand Feathers pamphlets to print (#7, which is a Recession Proof II; and #8, which is a new flavor called Pissing In Babylon's Wind I). This costs me at the printer about $130, then at the post office about $45.
#2: In my real life, I have no extra income. Shit I don't even have like "gas money" income by the time I get close to my next paycheck.
#3: I do have railroad haiku spikes galore, which you can see here - HAIKU RAILROAD SPIKES . Each of those has a link to my Workingman Etsy that you can purchase them through. But if you just straight up pick one and paypal me direct $70 (mark it as a gift so paypal takes less if you can), pick one out, and I'll mail that bama to you, along with a stack of back issues of One Thousand Feathers. If I can slang two or three of these spikes, then I can print two more of these pamphlets.

It fucking sucks to be asking this shit, feels like I'm begging the fucking internet all the time. But what I do is valid, whether it's validated by any official taste-maker externally or not. Fact of the matter is I have a family to support and can't embezzle that much money from our hand-to-mouth bi-weekly existence. If I can sell two spikes, I can embezzle the difference. If I can sell three spikes, I don't have to embezzle shit. And I'll just ignore the money spent in the past on fucking drill bits and shit for doing the railroad spikes, or the cancer I'm probably giving myself breathing in railroad spike dust. We'll let those things just percolate in the periphery. Hand-to-mouth is hand-to-mouth, periphery facts are not present.

Paypal is ravenmack at gmail dot com. If you do it, be sure to specify which spike you want so I can take it off the Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts page.

more like fathers of anarchy gambleraku amirite

david mann mantras spiral through
my brain as the soul slow drains
through another forty hours

Wednesday, June 19

Tuesday, June 18

what I read in bed last night

So I totally read some things on my robot newspaper doohickey last night...

SILENT WAR from Vanity Fair
This was one of those long-winded in-depth exposes of cyber warfare being conducted between the United States (and Israel) against Iran, and vice versa. Obviously, as Vanity Fair is a western magazine, it takes on a favorable position towards US operations, and also talks a lot about how all this crap affects business. Everything is always about how shit affects business. Business is so goddamned important all the time. Business business business.
The whole NSA spying crap, and our beloved dear leaders stepping in line to tell us how we should not be worried, everything's cool, and then spy dudes being like, "Yeah but we totally stopped like 19 more 9/11s from happening. Like every other child in America would have been exploded by crazy terrorists if we hadn't been able to check their yahoo mail. So I'm thankful for that." Which is of course all bullshit, and of course all our leaders would try to ease our mind about this. However, I have a completely different question for you? Did you in all seriousness think they weren't doing that stuff? Do you think a Department of Defense project like an internet would be rolled out to the world and not utilized as a means for watching everybody and everything, both here and abroad? I saw a snippet of Obama on with Charlie Rose this morning where he was like, "We don't use this on Americans, only foreigners, and you have to do bad shit." That was what they used to say about drones too, but we now know there's been a ton of collateral damage with drones. So basically the same people who don't give a fuck about that are being responsible with this? Whatever bro.
But also, why would you think otherwise? If the technology is there, and all wired transmissions of information which would require a warrant to physically tap into that wire have now moved to wireless transmission, which legally is regarded the same as radio frequencies and open, why would you not assume they do watch that shit? I mean you have to be pretty naive to think that, and yet many people are that naive, as I saw an online petition circulating about being indignant about the NSA program that got leaked. As if you are going to call attention to these people that this somehow compromises the basic principles of America so they will just stop. Again, whatever bro.
What freaks me out though (and doesn't really freak me out, just something I noticed) is that since this all got whistleblowed, the internet is behaving differently. File sharing site cookies don't seem to be re-registering. Tor is acting funny. The entire speed of the internet is sketchier than it was, and sometimes this is specific to chrome sometimes to firefox. In other words, there are things going on you don't know. And you won't. Usually with programs like this, regardless of whistle being blown, what we find out about is already done and things are probably way more severe than what we see. This has always historically been the case. I know it's nice to pretend we live in some bold new age where information will be shared freely and ideas will spring forth and create a wonderful new world for all, but that's not literally the way the world spins for a majority of human beings, who struggle with continuing the "being" part of human being on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. However, we do get things like this...

SEASTEADING from N+1 magazine
This is an article about government-free floating nation-states as a possibility, and of course the people in charge are libertarian tech elite types who can afford such nonsense. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd love to have my own houseboat homeland. But that's not realistic for most people struggling, nor are most libertarian philosophies which for whatever reason have been hijacked by this bullshit free market entrepreneur attitude that somehow people trying to make a business of everything is going to benefit humanity. All of this is built on the notion that business is good for everybody. I think that might be a faulty foundation.
I honestly would move my family from America tomorrow if I had the money. I mean this is the only country I've known, and where I was born, so I'm not exactly schooled on alternatives or know in my heart that something else is better. But I do know when I'm being bullshitted, and I've been heavily bullshitted in recent years. I may not be able to prove in a court of law someone is bullshitting me, but guess what? Courts of law are bullshit too. Legal/illegal does not necessarily directly correlate to right/wrong.
And then I get to the question is a country its laws and leaders, or is it its people? Is America our growing police state trying to protect us from constantly fed fear of things that may or may not be real but we have to trust the police state itself when it tells us it is real, or is it the population of people? I mean that's a chicken and egg type question, because American media starts to coax the population certain ways, not to mention our collective diet and activity levels and so on and so forth, so it becomes this self-perpetuating crisis. So I don't know what makes America what it is - the government or the people. I like to say that we get the leaders we deserve, but damn, I'd like to believe we deserve better. I'd also like to believe the naive notion that if there is something wrong here, then damn it I can make it better if I try hard enough and get enough people rolling along with me in the same direction.
But again, why? What am I answering to? Why should there be a higher cause? Why should I give a fuck if my government is a corporate kleptocracy and corrupt as fuck and spying on my every word? Just live my life, right? When I am sitting in the field, thinking my thoughts, fuck them. They could take that away, put me in jail, but I still have my thoughts. Well, they could put me in solitary confinement, do the things man knows how to do to people now, and alter the way my brain is processing reality, to change the way I am thinking. But it's still me, right?
The problem I have with these libertarian seasteaders is that they assume all humans are allowed this great potential to open source brilliance their way into utopia. A huge majority of us breathing oxygen and eating corn on this earth are not allowed that, and we live in a sort of feedlot existential space where we are mostly a tool. That's all we are. We are baboons trained to be productive instead of hanging around trees all day trying to fuck each other. We are a domesticated animal, nothing more nothing less. So saying something is legal or allowed by law or creating a new way of law or whatever seems almost irrelevant. Especially in light of this...

THE AMISH ARE GETTING FRACKED from New Republic magazine
Basically the Amish don't believe in suing people, so energy companies are fucking over the Amish in their rush to frack the world for profit. I can't even begin to tell you how much fracking bothers me, not because I'm some environmentalist or some green shit like that, but because we literally as humans have no clue what the long-term effect of this is going to be on the way the earth's ecosytem works. We are releasing large amounts of interior gases, just to chase a dollar essentially, and it's being justified in the name of business. I wonder if we'll ever get to a point where we, in large groups of us humans, can come to terms with the notion that business does not have to be the be-all, end-all of justifying how we live. The fact we have to earn money to pay a bill does not mean we should justify whatever the fuck we are doing to make that money. But because of the power systems in place, to one extent or another we're all trapped on that money grid, so we all think the way to escape is financial freedom. Get rich, and live the good life. Again though, this is assuming that business is good and the great benefactor of humanity. I'm not buying that, as these energy assholes fucking over Amish farmers show. Being human is the great benefactor of humanity. But we're only allowed smaller and smaller portions of our day to be human, more of it being channeled into being a tool for some sort of greater business good. And if we aren't being a useful tool towards a greater business good? Then we are made to feel like a failure, like we haven't tried hard enough, that we're a drain on humanity, although essentially we are only a drain on business, not humanity. We're still human.
I am not sure what all is going on in this world right now but it's a whole hell of a lot of shit, way more than we see or are made aware of. That's one reason my One Thousand Feathers video talks about being truth-free, because so many people offer their own truths, and all of it is cut with their own experiences and biases. There is no truth, no great ultimate goal to achieve. There is life, and you live it, and then you die. Try to have fun with it some, and try your best not to be an asshole to other humans, because they'd like to enjoy their lives too. Really, that's all I hope for, but as long as business has hijacked human consciousness I'm not sure we'll ever get there, and domesticated us into fucking tools working towards something completely removed from greater human good. I don't know man, sometimes I look around and it all seems so silly. We have been trained to psychologically justify so much bullshit. I doubt I could escape that anywhere on earth, so I guess carving it out secretly in the shadows of where I already am makes more sense than starting over elsewhere. So that's what I'll do. But it makes me sad to sometimes think about what we could be doing with ourselves.

a gambleraku about disappearing

free bird tribes will disappear
time to time across oceans
to escape apocalypse


Sunday, June 16

Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournament in Charlottesville this Thursday evening

THIS THURSDAY NIGHT at 7:00 PM at BON coffee event performing house center of underground greatness, we will be having a Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournament. Details as to how that works are below, but basically you show up with 20-some haiku, which can either be 5-7-5 syllable structure or just short poems 17 syllables or under, and you trade off one-on-one against others, until one is defeated, on and on until a single person is standing, who is crowned the Haiku Spirit Warrior of the evening, and gets a one-of-a-kind motherfuckin' railroad haiku spike of my own creation. The one I've hand-selected for this even is about shineface people, because I often wonder if Charlottesville is not simply full of shineface people, looking to gentrify rusty styles into something they can live vicariously through. I realize this is partially my own pre-conceptions, but experience here has not exactly countered that internal bias. But we are brining the Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts Hand-to-Hand Haiku Tournament to the public, in the hopes that the shinefaces who gentrify the earth and commodify trash do not ruin our good time this one evening. SO I AM CALLING ALL FREAKS, FOOLS, FIENDS, FUCKERS, FREESTYLE PHILOSOPHERS, HOMELESS BUKOWSKIS, BABYLONIAN RESISTANCE FIGHTERS, SLAM STARS, MILLENNIAL FALCONS, WHITE WALKERS, ONLINE PERSONAL BRAND DEVELOPERS, DESIGNERS, FINE ARTS PAINTERS, HOUSEPAINTERS, SKYLINE PAINTERS, LEAVES CHANGING COLORS IN THE AUTUMN FAIRY PAINTERS, GLITTERATI, LITERATI, HIPSTERATI, BUGATI RIDERS, BOX CHEVY DRIVERS, DIP DIP DIVERS, EASYRIDERS, FORMER EASYRIDER OL' LADIES OF THE MONTH FROM THE 1970S, FORMER EASYRIDER OL' LADIES OF THE MONTH FROM THE 1980S, BEAVER HUNT PARTICIPANTS PRE-1983, COFFEE AFICIONADOS, SELF-PUBLISHING EXPERTS, ZINESTERS, SCENESTERS, BIG DREAM BELIEVERS, SMALL TOWN BELIEBERS, DON'T FIGHT THE FEELERS, YEEZUS FREAKS, FAMILY MEMBERS, VW MICROBUS PROPHETS, RAINBOW FAMILY MEMBERS, ASTRAL TRAVELERS, ACOUSTIC GUITAR BUSKERS, MONSANTO CORN HUSKERS, CATCHIN FIREFLIES IN JARS AT DUSKERS, VISIONARY ARTISTS, OUTSIDER POETS, STREET GENIUSES, WORDSMITHS, BLACKSMITHS, TRAMPS, HOBOES, BUMS, EMPERORS OF THE NORTH POLE, KINGS, QUEENS, GODS, EARTHS, KNIGHTS, DAZE, BISHOPS, ANTI-BISHOPS, CARDINALS, ROOKS, RAVENS, WOLFDOORS, WOLF SHAMAN, COYWOLVE AFICIONADOS, SPIRIT ANIMALS IN HUMAN FORM, SPIRIT PLANTS IN ANIMAL FORM, SPIRIT MATTER IN EARTHLY FORM, MCS, DJS, DANCERS, ROMANCERS, STONES, DREAMLESS FLESH AND BONES, DRUNKARDS, HOP-HEADS, AND ANYTHING ELSE to come on out, it might be cool and shit.

Hand-to-hand haiku is an actual thing that has existed in various forms as an offshoot of poetry slams for over a decade, but I am bringing it to the here and now wherever my chaos tornado spins because it is a thing I wish was happening all the time on every street corner around barrel and pallet fires so that I could take part. So I guess I will emcee the affair and create its existence locally.
WHAT HAND-TO-HAND HAIKU ENTAILS
A hand-to-hand haiku battle works as a single-elimination tournament, meaning eight people start out in one-on-one matches, where one winner advances to the next round, with eight going down to four, then four down to two, and so on. Thus, there will be four first round battles, two semifinal battles between first round winners, then a final showdown between the two semifinal winners. For our purposes, the first round will be a best of 5, semifinals will be a best of 7, and the finals will be a best of 11.
What does that “best of” mean, and how does that work? Well, that’s easy. There will be three judges pre-selected for the evening’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 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 first round competitors wins 3 rounds. At most this would need 5 rounds to decide, thus it is called a best-of-5. 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 23 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 23 haiku, although if you are eliminated early or win rounds quickly, most likely very few of you will actually use 23 haiku, perhaps even using as few as 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.
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, we are going to go with this. Now somebody may say, “Wait, counting syllables goes against what haiku actually is, Raven Mack!” Well, let me tell 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 fucked 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.
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 is 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 eternal creativity of 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 I'm sure I'll find something from the Bird Tribe compound to show my gratitude to you as well. But don't expect anything in particular, or at all, because one never can predict what I'll do.
Speaking of which, as part of hosting the festivities, I'll share some of my own writing, or unique perspective, or perhaps just talk 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 rojonekku at gmail dot com. Even though this is a 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.

Tuesday, June 11

Monday, June 10

field jukebox gambleraku number four

this used to be my ipod,
it held two hundred songs max
and was always recharging

One Thousand Feathers


One Thousand Feathers is a pamphlet zine, that comes out as my muse dictates. Here is how it works - in the field behind my house I’ve built a viking altar made of white quartz rocks. I’ve also added railroad spikes with various messages carved into them. At one point, I was building and scattering orgone generators (according to Wilhelm Reich’s research) and made a really nice conical one that sits on top of my viking rock altar, pointed towards my house. Additionally there is a white oak in the woods, an oak over top the house itself, and a red maple down in the field that form a trinity of old ass trees on my property. There is a force field between them. My wife and her Owlcraft Healing Ways herbal school have created a walking path through the woods around the white oak back there. We live in a dilapidated but beautiful house underneath the front oak. And my viking altar sits in the shade of the red maple down in the field. Additionally, I stored a broken jukebox on the front porch of the house for about six years, which recently I moved down underneath the red maple in the field, in fact plugging the electrical cord into a root of the tree. What this has created is a situation where I can walk our woodsland path, think things, sit in the house, think things, and go to my viking altar, and think things. They circulate between the three trees forming a psychic protectorate over our Bird Tribe Compound, and get absorbed into the orgone generator down in the field. Then I put blank 11x17 sheets of cardstock into the broken jukebox plugged into the red maple tree down in the field. Usually, after a few days, a new One Thousand Feathers zine will be in the jukebox. Lately though, the field has been hyper-charged, and I am finding more of them than ever (four in the last ten days). This means two things: one, there is awesome shit to read all of a sudden, and two, I have to print them. I print them at limited runs of 500 per pamphlet (and also don’t give a fuck if you print thousands - these are ideas wild harvested from the sky that my thoughts fermented - no one owns them, only assholes “own” things). But I figured I should offer people the chance to get these things mailed to them without hassle (unless you consider the government monitoring the fact you’re on a mailing list from me a hassle... lol). So here is a thing - for a $20 subscription, you will get 12 issues of One Thousand Feathers. They are mailed in pairs, and your subscription will start with the next printed ones. Old issues are available at THIS PAGE (as well as distribution boxes for people who distribute zines and shit). That is America pricing. If you not in America, it is $30. If you already receive the pamphlets as part of original kickstarter funding, don’t sweat it, you’re already getting zines. But consider buying my shit for your friends if you enjoy it. Or honestly, like I said, copy it for them. But I’m having a hard time keeping up with funneling funds out of my family’s dwindling budget for all the new shit showing up in the magic jukebox down in the field.
FOR ONE THOUSAND FEATHERS SUBSCRIPTIONS CLICK BELOW DONATE BUTTON

At this point I have the following ready to print, fresh out the jukebox:
ONE THOUSAND FEATHERS THE FIVE aka FREESTYLE SONNETS I
ONE THOUSAND FEATHERS THE SIX aka NAKED POLAROIDS I
ONE THOUSAND FEATHERS THE SEVEN aka RECESSION PROOF II
ONE THOUSAND FEATHERS THE EIGHT aka RECESSION PROOF III
And pretty much anything you buy art of zine-wise on THIS SITE is gonna go right back into me doing more art or zines. I ain't making no money, only crazy shit.
Actually, let's get blunted here. I need to sell 16 MORE SUBSCRIPTIONS (out of 20) to do this current printing batch that is stacked up from the magic jukebox, so I'm gonna just randomly select 2 of those 20 to get a haiku railroad spike. Just for the fuck of it.

Sunday, June 9

Friday, June 7

tatted up and draped out and dripped out gambleraku know what I'm talkin bout

owlcraft tattoo signature
upon workingman forearms
with blemish from stray grinder

what I read in bed last night

With World Cup qualifying going strong, I've had that on my mind. I've been compiling a ridiculous amount of nonsense over the past year in anticipation of a Football Metaphysics style preview book for next year's World Cup once the field of 32 is set (currently still 117 national teams eligible), and basically with the injury of RG3 last year, so was destroyed my interest in the NFL. I already had a hard time giving a fuck about Dan Snyder's Redskins, once I realized they were his and not mine, but RG3's charisma and excitement pulled me in. However, seeing that young man be allowed to go out and potentially destroy himself like that, it was inhumane. And to know he is recovering ahead of schedule, likely the recipient of questionable medicinal techniques that will probably be outlawed by the NFL in a couple of years, if they are not already technically illegal, I don't know man, I can't really get down with the NFL any more.
So I turn to the world's football, which is beautifully chaotic, and everywhere, like crabgrass. So here are a pair of articles basically related to the sport...

WHEN THE BEAUTIFUL GAME TURNS UGLY from ESPN
A long-winded piece from ESPN's Wright Thompson came out this week regarding Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng of AC Milan, and them dealing with racist Italian football fans. First off, before you click the link, let me warn you about this piece. You know how when you watch a movie and sometimes it's great acting, but sometimes it's just an actor acting great? Like, he's doing what would stereotypically be regarded as great acting, but it's not really great on its own? That's what type of writing you have in this article. It's not great writing, but it's a writer writing great. He does some forced cornball shit that probably seems like pretty great writing, but it kinda pissed me off. Most notably like this is everything relating to the character Wright Thompson refers to as The Hooligan. Horrible stuff. And the reason it pisses me off is if you are given this wealth of material, this story to write, and you don't execute, you have wasted it. Anybody else who tries to do it will not be considered the guy who first wrote the article, thus later attempts to get it write and dig at this in an actual meaningful way will be tainted by not being the first one. That sucks.
Nonetheless, there are some interesting things I took away from this. First off, I'd just like to say, regardless of racist assholes doing monkey sounds at him, beyond this article Kevin-Prince Boateng has never seemed like anything other than a complete asshole to me. I tend to root for African squads in the World Cup, so his German national ass fouling up the Ghanaian team in 2010 with his asshole bullshit sucked to an extent. But still, he is obviously the victim of racist taunting, which seems to be way more common than you'd expect in southern and eastern Europe right now.
The weird thing about this article is how it so easily just does the Mussolini thing. But the same thing is happening in Greece right now. How do you explain that? Same thing is happening in eastern Europe. No Mussolinis in their history. So what is it causing this? Pure racism?
That's part of it, for sure. But there's something more going on here that I was thinking about. When you have this push for global multi-culturalism, to some extent it's not so much an appreciation for all cultures as it is an assimilation of all cultures into this one sort of United Colors of Benetton ad. And I can understand why people would think that sucks. If everybody ends up being a watered down version of everything else, we lose the histories and cultural individuality that makes every foreign place so wonderful in the first place - it is foreign to us. So I can understand people being resentful of that.
Of course, crossing over into taunting people as monkeys (which seems ridiculous, but shit man, I can believe it happening), that's not chill at all. That will never be chill. But using that as a reason to just force mass assimilation onto the world is not chill either. The whole this-or-that, black-or-white argument gets tired anyways. "If you are not for this, you are obviously against it." No man, there are shades of grey everywhere (stupid book), and we should be able to have discussions about what points on this spectrum of greys are best for people.
The Balotelli part of this is interesting to me too, because he's not of Italian blood, which seems to be the biggest gripe against him, even though he was adopted and raised as Italian. No one chooses where they were born. This is why borders and immigration seems so weird to me sometimes, because as a baby you are just accidentally birthed inside of some arbitrary political boundaries. And this binds you from that point on. It goes to the old nature vs. nurture argument too, because Balotelli was nurtured as an Italian, from age 3, but was not naturally an Italian. Is it nature or nurture that creates the individual's identity?
Oddly enough, years ago I did a bunch of reading on psychological profiles of Siamese twins, who share nature and nurture completely, and those motherfuckers were always way different. So again, perhaps it's not black-or-white, nature vs. nurture, but shades of grey.
Of course, nowhere does the ridiculousness of arbitrary political boundaries play out more amazingly than the World Cup, which is going to be in Brazil next year. Speaking of which...

CITY OF FEAR from Vanity Fair in April 2007
This is the story of P.C.C. - a prison gang that grew from a football team inside one prison - causing massive disruptions to Brazilian society, operating in the so-called "feral zones" of our modern world. For one, this is interesting because well the World Cup is going to be happening there next year, and there's a crazy element to Brazil (which I guess is no worse than South Africa in 2010), but also because no matter how hard governments of the wealthy attempt to keep everything in line, or at least limit the unprivileged into accepted zones of self-destruction, it spirals beyond the government of the wealthy's control. It always does. That's sort of what we're seeing play out in America right now, which is really exciting to see. You can force a grid of order over top a map of humanity, but humanity is a wild crabgrass, a dandelion springing from cracks in the asphalt, and the grid never holds. It might work for a while, and this current digital shackle we've all been operating under without being forced to acknowledge, it might hold things in place for a few more years or decades or whatever. But it never holds forever. Look at any empire in the history of man upon the surface of the earth. It never holds.
As someone who does not trust authority, locally or globally, this is a great thing to realize.
But also, within the organization of the P.C.C., it's interesting to note how these semi-autonomous groups lack the standard pyramid of corporate hierarchy, which we've been led to believe is the way things work. This swarm mentality has been evident with hacker groups too, as well as something as simple as downloading Game of Thrones through a torrent. When a swarm of hornets stings you, you don't know where the queen (or king, or leader or whatever the fuck) is at. This will become important as we move further into history, because they've got that pyramid with the all-seeing eyeball tip ironed the fuck out pretty good. But through the use of black block tactics and swarm mentalities or leaderless movements, you can circumvent this shit.
It's all very exciting to be honest. I know a lot of people are bummed about the NSA spying shit, but honestly, to think a Department of Defense developed technology like the internet was not being used in such manners is naive. It's also naive to think that just by these things being outed publicly through an inside leak that the American government is gonna be like, "Oh yeah, sorry about that. We will remain true to American principles and go back to not being dicks about everything using some vague threat of terrorism as the excuse." This is American government at this point. It is a corporate kleptocracy, and it's going to keep being that for as long as it can because never in history - not one single time - has some group that has been in power been motivated by the greater common good of all of humanity to step down from power and share it with everybody else.
And yet this article about Brazilian prisons shows two things - you can't maintain control when you basically make a majority of the population outsiders without access. And if you literally cut them off - which we are in the early stages of in America with cuts to alleged entitlement programs - you then make these large swaths of humanity foreigners to you, and potentially your enemy, especially if you're hoarding all the good shit.
Also interesting is how even when the P.C.C. controlled neighborhoods or jails, crime went down, as P.C.C. became the new pseudo-government that, though not providing certain normal governmental services, decided who was allowed to be killed or punished or whatever, through the means they had in place. This is something that has been seen in criminally-controlled communities everywhere, something that was glossed as the romantic side to the Mafia in old Hollywood movies like The Godfather - the code of the streets, so to speak. People are chaotic, but they want to be allowed to thrive. They want to not be fucked with, and just be allowed to live a chill life. Usually if you have a full belly and are not sitting outside in the rain and nobody's gonna come into your space and fuck up those things or infringe upon you in the moment, people will be good. They don't need the world - just a little fucking piece of it to live chilly.
What's going on right now on our earth is attempting to justify ensuring that right to a chill life, by disrupting that chill life. It's a weird thing to do, but shit man, it's happened over and over again during human history. We are dumb animals a lot of times, far dumber than we give ourselves credit for. But we have potential. We always have potential. We will constantly fuck ourselves up, and then constantly find a way to carve out something better within that mess. And we'll probably keep on doing that until we can't any more.
So yeah, the World Cup next year is exciting. What will our world political landscape be like? What about in 2018 when it happens in Russia? What countries will have new shapes, or new leaderships? And really, I think this is what has ended up drawing me to international football more than anything - it is this weird fabric woven into the background of the chaotic orderliness of human existence, all over the globe, far deeper than any other sport. That in fact makes it even more interesting that America doesn't dominate football, like it has been able to with most every other sport after a dedicated two decade effort. Good fun craziness.
And oddly enough, as much as the American government freaks me out nowadays, through no choice of my own, I was born here. And though my natural bloodlines have tastes of other countries running throughout me, I'm an American. So I'll be rooting for those fuckers. But there's only so far Clint Dempsey can take us, I fear. Maybe he should start stealing good players from other teams against their will, in order to protect us against the terror of America not winning.

Tuesday, June 4

this is not farming gambleraku number one

glyphosate corn grows after
date raping the earth to yield
food stuffs from depleted soil

what I read in bed last night

I read some shit last night, though I wasn't naked for once. I was wearing camo cargo shorts and a Tim Barry t-shirt.

COCAINE INCORPORATED from the New York Times sometime last year
Strangely enough I had Mexican drug cartels on my google news feed years ago, so I've been following these fuckers since before it became a more mainstream story. And this profile is specifically of the Sinaloa Cartel and their leader, Chapo Guzman. The cartels themselves are all over the place, with scary sociopaths of an organization like the Zetas, and weird hippie cult-like groups like La Familia (my personal favorite drug cartel). Sinaloa is sort of the chosen cartel, meaning they've either bought their way into favor with the Mexican government or have been selected as the most desirable of the cartels to thrive over top the others. This is the cartel that was involved in the ATF's gun-running scheme (which oddly enough, has sort of been buried). This is also the cartel that very openly ran a drug distribution hub in Chicago, and had a higher-up who was arrested claim he was immune from prosecution because he had a working relationship with U.S. government agencies. Of note to all this is how Chicago's murder rate has been astronomical in recent years, although it is generally poor black men killing and dying, and not people directly tied to the Mexican drug cartels. The thing is, there is no direct tie to Mexican drug cartels top to bottom. It's not like McDonald's where when you are selling hamburgers you are very obviously an employee of McDonalds. The entire process is broken down to sub-contractors essentially, over and over, so that no intricate pyramid exists, which is necessary for any illicit activity. The less people involved, the less likely somebody fucks it up.
There are a lot of things about the Sinaloa Cartel and Chapo Guzman that are smoke that may or may not be indicative of fire. He's lived in a mountain region that everybody pretty much knows he has holed up at, and yet no one has stormed into get him. There have been so many hints of U.S. government involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel, not necessarily in some obvious conspiracy to import drugs, but tacitly implicated in certain aspects, like CIA men in Mexico purposely targeting Zetas members at the behest of Sinaloa. I don't think there's any large conspiracy going on here, because I don't really believe in conspiracies like that any more as it gives too much credit to conspirators to be intelligent about their dastardly plans. Humans in general, and American humans specifically, lack a strong sense of deep thinking and critical planning and are overruled by ego and desire, which would cause most conspiracies to fail. It's mostly just sketchy fuckers doing sketchy shit as fast as possible, to stack fat cash and then disappear before they die. So essentially the cartel system is how most larger endeavors operate. One of the faults of modern American crony capitalism is these corporations are attempting to legalize their extortions of resources and wealth, attempting to get in and stay in. That will bring them death, meaning this system won't exist in fifty years, at all. It can't. But I digress...
The thing that struck me most about this article is the fact Sinaloa is now making more than Pablo Escobar was making in his prime, because Pablo was making a fucking shit-ton of money. Escobar and the Cali and Medellin cartels permanently changed Colombia. So to realize Mexico is now being changed to an even larger extent, I don't know, it's crazy because I've known it's a failed state in that "let's pretend governments do good and protect people" false image of government we're supposed to believe, but that simple amount of money involved made me wonder just how failed it is. And with all the smoke around our current U.S. government and the Sinaloa cartel (not just the gun-running scheme, but you have THE major hub for distribution of drugs located in the same American city whose political machine created our current President), and I expect shit might be about a thousand times more fucked up than any of us realize. But again, the great thing about stuff like this is that no conspiracy can actually survive because humans are fickle and ruled by ego and desire, and it will all come unraveled. It's just a shame so much bullshit and pain has to be thrust into so many lives while it all plays out. Then again, that's sort of the nature of being human. We do this to ourselves, consistently throughout history, and it's as much a part of being man as opposing thumbs.

THE INFORMANT from Washingtonian Magazine
COMPLETE BMF SERIES from Creative Loafing Atlanta
Both of these are just gory street tales of street violence. The first one is about a series of murders that happened in D.C. a few years back. I remember following the story in the Washington Post as it happened, and being really struck by one of the victim's grandmothers - Patricia Jefferies - who was so young but full of proud opinions on how this was all such bullshit. A triggerman who became the informant of this story, Nate Simms, stuck an AK-47 out the sliding door of a minivan and just started squeezing shots out at a group of people. Can't tell you how fucked up that is, having shot both AR-15s and AK-47s. I could not imagine just shooting that off into clusters of people. Still though, a lot of murder in this article over some dumb shit.
Second story is about the Black Mafia Family from Atlanta, and also has plenty of murder over dumb shit, except with ridiculous wasting of money involved in this one, like buying $500 bottles of champagne for every member of Big Meech's crew on Monday night at the club. So fucking stupid. But if you liked The Wire and crap like that, I'm sure you'll enjoy these vicarious articles.
The thing is, why is there not longform journalism infiltrating financial scams with snitch sources to expose those dastardly acts? Why do we get fed this street-level criminal shit in such intricate detail, but not hedge fund scams or mortgage bubble bullshit? I've got the latest Rolling Stone on the peach crate by the toilet at home, and that Matt Taibbi guy is highly-touted as some sort of smart fucker about exposing that type of shit, but his article on the deficit is basically - and I'm not kidding here - condescending lolols at what everybody thinks is going on with the deficit, then not much more. So we get deep level recreation of a bunch of poor motherfuckers murdering each other in Any-inner-city, America, but when it comes to for real crimes that are fucking up everybody on earth, literally, we just get some wise ass mocking common opinions on what's going on, and then some pseudo-gonzo shitty-Hunter Thompson without drugs derivative commentary. But hey, I will say this - at least I'm in a position to live a comfortable enough life I can get fed the lies instead of existing in conditions where I get fed the bullets. But as the lies start stifling the hunger for real freedom by more people, the bullets will start feeding more of them. Watch and see.

NEW YORK IS KILLING ME from the New Yorker magazine
Finally, a long profile of Gil Scott-Heron as his CD came out last year, done in New Yorker fashion, meaning boring as fuck and for a class of people about five rungs higher on the socio-economic ladder than me. I think the basic premise of smoking crack in this article is not to go any deeper into that aspect of Scott-Heron's life other than to assume anybody reading it is like, "OMG! Crack!" I'm not like that so the article felt kinda short on saying something. But I'm not the biggest Gil Scott-Heron fan anyways. I mean, like anybody, I like that "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" bit, especially the part about liberation jumpsuits, as I've always wanted one. But Scott-Heron's music is that sort of light jazz, light revolution, light on the ears muzak that plays well in upwardly mobile restaurants that serve "soul food" like barbecue tofu. And I get the sense that Gil Scott-Heron feels that bullshit too, which is probably part of the reason he was so drawn to crack.
I would've liked to know more about the falling out between him and Brian Jackson, because basically if you have to listen to Gil Scott-Heron, you should only listen to albums he made with Brian Jackson. They are the only good ones, and even those you can filter out about half the songs. Of course, their's is just another standard one-dude-in-the-group-got-all-old-school-record-company-ish-and-ripped-the-other-guy-off, like almost every old school New York musician (google Paul Simon and Los Lobos for reference). Still though, this article was bland and vanilla, considering you had two old friends ripping each other off, and one of them on crack. These New Yorker motherfuckers don't know how to let a story tell itself a lot of times.

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Monday, June 3

ol' lady gambleraku number one thousand probably

womenfolks has energies
that man taps and sometimes saps -
sour men stealing sweetener

what I read in bed last night

Even though I abandoned what I was doing with Armchair Linebacker, I'm still more of a football (soccer) fan than American football fan at this point. I have many opinions for you on this subject that I don't really share online because I've been building source material for a World Cup preview I'll release next spring that'll be sort of like the Football Metaphysics NFL preview ebook I did, but for real football when the World Cup happens in Brazil. I am still trying to convince myself that somebody will pay me to go cover that, but as capitalism crumbles slowly before our eyes, it's hard to see that necessarily happening.
There are sociopolitical undertones to the world's football more than any other sport, and I know most of you are Eurocentric assholes who are probably like, "The Champions League just finished. It was that game between the two German clubs at Wembley." Well, you are right but also wrong, you colonial fuckface. The African Champions League has just entered group stage (two groups of four clubs, and unfortunately my team - TP Mazembe - were eliminated by the stupid Orlando Pirates, probably using albino witchcraft of some sort). And even more exciting, in South America, the Copa Libertadores just last week got itself narrowed down to the final four. Unfortunately, Tijuana - the last Mexican team, got eliminated on away goals by Atletico Mineiro, who have Ronaldhino and are probably the favorites, though hell man, who can be the sole favorite in a tourney like this? Copa Libertadores has been very different than the UEFA Champions League, as there have been deaths in the crowd from fireworks, melees at the end of games, and fights between players and police. And to the Eurocentric/Americanized eyeballs, this may seem like chaos and horrid backwards lack of economic development, but honestly, fuck economic development. Fuck capitalism. Fuck money. That shit is not sustainable. Anyways, last night I read this about Argentine soccer...

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME from Outside Magazine

In short, Argentine football is ruled by gangs, literally. It's not a stadium scenario friendly to women and children. All of this is bad in one sense, yes, but also refreshing because honestly, do women and children really give a fuck about football? Also, for me - and I will be perfectly honest and admit I am being biased - the European industrial model of football is not nearly as great to watch as the South American artistic flourish style. And I know Lionel Messi is touted by everybody as the greatest, but he is someone born from that artistic style who has been industrialized into a Euro-machine. I feel sad for him actually, because he has grown into a man without a home. He's not truly embraced by Argentines, because he is so European now. But he'll never be completely embraced by Europeans, because he's not one. They will love him as long as he scores goals, then turn on him once he becomes old. Look at Diego Maradona though - with all his abundance of faults and fissures - he is a God in Argentina (with the hand to prove it). There is a beauty in that which behaving properly according to these civilized standards can never achieve. Sure, Lionel Messi will sell a lot more corporate boxes and have a fatter endorsement check (although realize that the endorsers make tenfold what the endorsee does - Nike will be wealthy beyond belief long after Michael Jordan's riches have been frittered away either by himself or his heirs), but what does that matter? Seriously, why is that better? And I'd actually compare that to actually winning games as well. I think we're seeing the last decades of capitalist industrialism, as people are realizing it's unsustainable, and are also spiritually hungry for something that an endless parade of cheap crap and flashy gadgetry is not fulfilling. I would imagine in the coming decades this will mean more quality African football teams hopefully snagging a couple more of the World Cup spots. South America is already maximizing its potential with regards to that. Maybe Asia continues to improve, and really what's going on in the Middle East with crazy football academies and super leagues popping up, that combined with the spiritual sustenance of Islam may ferment into the next fifty year's biggest football surprises. But this upcoming World Cup, I expect, will still belong to the industrialists, and some sort of machine like Germany or perhaps Spain with its liberal application of the artistic flourish within the industrial gamesmanship will still reign supreme. I'd like to see Brazil or Argentina or oh man an African team win the whole thing, but I'm not sure it'll happen.
However, even the concept of keeping score and having clear winners and losers is somewhat a capitalist industrialist notion, chasing superior numbers. And football is the one sport where a draw is allowable, so that the industrial notion that one must be superior can sometimes get sidestepped. That's the thing a lot of Westerners hate about football, but it's also a little seedling of revolt against Western culture. I imagine I will enjoy the Brazilian and Argentine teams more than Germany or Italy in next year's World Cup.
Anyways, this is an interesting article about the craziness surrounding top club football in Argentina. Get yourself footballed  up in preparation for the 89 World Cup qualifiers that'll be happening over the course of the next two-and-a-half weeks starting tomorrow. And while I am rooting for the United States, because it is my home, I also hope for failure of our industrial capital ways, along with the European teams which have claimed colonial dominion over the World Cup.