RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, February 27

Solitary Confinement

So hey, I was gonna share some articles that showed up this morning in my reader feed, because they related to each other and also related to what I was babbling about in my sermon portion of the Hand-to-Hand Haiku in Cville the other week talking about prisoner class/political class. In a nutshell, what I said was if you have a dog in the fight - if you give a fuck about Obama/Ted Cruz type shit, then you are political class. God bless you, you have a voice in this shit. But for many, most of us, that shit is irrelevant. We don't know what stocks are, we don't have bank, we battle daily, weekly to keep from being a prisoner, literally or financially. It's a constant fucking struggle. Now I'm lucky enough that I've avoided the hardest ends of prisoner class - and make no mistake about it, it's a lot of luck involved in that. There's no merit to this shit, no you earn your way out of what you're born into. It's a lot of luck, and good timing, and shit man I don't know. But contrary to the constant proclamations on the flat screens, shit is not getting better for the American empire. Well, check that, for the Imperials, it probably is better, and data supports that. But for the mass amount of people living underneath the imperials, it is getting worse, and all the economic shit they talk on the flat screen is, again, irrelevant to real life shit. Thus, more people are going to find themselves doing dirt to survive (as in Duke freshman student convincing herself that doing porn is somehow financially empowering her family), and because of that more people will find themselves into the deeper realms of the American prison state.
Which brings me to the articles to share, both about solitary confinement. I was reading the Outlaw Bible of American Essays the other night in bed, and it had this Iceberg Slim piece talking about getting out of the pimp game finally, and how solitary had completely fucked his head up, made him crazy. (And interestingly enough, I was discussing with my wife how probably the reason the pimp character is so respected in lower classes is because it's the closest thing to indiscriminant successful capitalist that socio-economic level sees - manipulating others into making him profit.) That was 40 years ago Iceberg Slim wrote that. And the use of solitary confinement has done nothing but expand as the prison industry has expanded (and privatized and been monetized). Anyone step out of line? Lock them away. Rehab is not even considered a viable option, or communicating or teaching people to learn to value themselves so that they can value others. But hey, I'm going off on some grandiose humanistic bullshit with all that. Let's just talk about what solitary does in a real sense. And these two articles contain that info.

What Solitary Confinement Doest to the Brain (from Aeon Magazine)
Aeon is one of my internet favorites, but this is an article outlining the actual neuroscience studies being done about solitary confinement. I can tell you from my own dirty work in the field of science that a lot of what has long been considered psychological manipulation - both in terms of criminal punishment as well as most of our western advertising - is not a simple psychological trigger but an actual manipulation of the brain with negative consequences. Unfortunately, this type of advertising or punishment/reward system is a major foundation to our western capitalist society, so it'll never be admitted as morally wrong without suggesting our way of life is immoral. I'm here to tell you that I believe what American advertising does constantly, what solitary confinement does to prisoners, these things should be seen as morally wrong a hundred years from now. However, morals are not decided by any universal code of right and wrong so much as they are by the mightiest hand which inscribes the history book. Morality is decided by whoever ends up being judge, not by the masses as a whole. This is true for dictatorships, democracies, and everything in between (including corporate kleptocracies like we have in America 2014).
Now take all this info with a caveat - that science thinks it can explain everything. It can't. But at least sometimes like with these studies in this article, it's at least still trying to challenge the common beliefs put forth by the corporate kleptocracy. I would imagine though, that once too much info is found out, whoever's behind the research will get quieted down through lack of funding or support.

The Plot from Solitary from New York Magazine
California has been one to use solitary more aggressively than anywhere else, in an attempt to squelch gang violence inside (and outside) of the penal system. The story of how sworn enemies in Pelican Bay's solitary housing unit were still able to plan out and stage a huge hunger strike, statewide, is fairly amazing, and also testament to the outlaw spirit. Oddly enough, as negative as all this "corporate kleptocracy" "prison state" shit might sound, I don't feel overwhelmed by it personally. People are people, and people will always resist bullshit oppression. We've done it since the beginning of time, and regardless of initial intent, every government known to man has always become corrupted by special interests hijacking its once pure intentions. People are people - those few at the top and the masses beneath them in the pyramid scheme that civilization has always been. Leadership cartels get run the fuck off, and old ways become new taboos all the time. All the fucking time. No matter what anyone does to try and stop it.
That's actually a part of why I don't do so much online any more. It's a means of exposing creative spark to light, immediately, but without the real life tinder to help that spark explode into something huge and warming and cleansing and that can burn bullshit the fuck up into ash. This medium called the internet is promised as a revolutionary tool that connects blah blah blah but that's already been hijacked to a large extent by corrupted intentions. And who can even say the entire point was not for that hijack to take place anyways? Keep it street, face to face. You can make connections through this medium, but unless you build them in real life, it's not a solid connection. That is true whether it's one person who shares your same special interests, or one hundred thousand people you want to occupy public space with in frustration. Build in your physical life. The Revolution will not be digitized, but the commercials will.

Monday, February 3


Look, I will be honest, I don't give a fuck about the internet right now. In fact, my new book of tanka poetry which is pictured below has a lot of that sentiment. Here is the Amazon page but you can also purchase it in the flesh at upcoming Hand-to-Hand Haiku tournaments. Those will be happening on the 3rd Thursday of every month in Charlottesville at BON, on the 4th Wednesday of each month (March thru May for now) in Richmond at Balliceaux, and some assorted shows scheduled for Farmville and perhaps Blacksburg. Talk to me there. Check my twitter. I'm sure there's face(snitch)book event pages for these things too. But fuck the internet. I guess I may re-design my page at some point and have all my assorted sites just to point to the same place but that also means investing further time into the internet presence of Raven Mack, which seems like a fucking waste. Get the book. Get the real deal. (Note: it is also available for your robot reading machines.)