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, June 30

TOP TEN DIGITAL SONGS OF INNOCENCE & EXPERIENCE











#1: s0ngz 0f 1nn0c3nc3/spVn thrV d1g1t4l f1lt3rz/'t1l m0r4lz l4Vnd3r3d
#2: pVr1tY 3x1stz/0nlY 1n mYth1c g0db00kz/w0rld 1z f4r t00 r34l
#3: m0n0-l1th1c w0rld/crVsh3s h0l1st1c sp1r1t/b3n34th 1ndVstrY
#4: 3ntr3pr3n3Vr/m4k3r cl4ss c4rt00n 34gl3/vVltVr3 pr0gr3ss1v3z
#5: d0n't b3 trVst1n' th3s3/4d-v3ntVr3 c4p1t4l1st/v1c3-sh4r1ng g3ntrY
#6: 3xp3r13nc3 s0ngz/- gr1mY & t0rtVr3d - s4mpl3d/f0r sh1n3f4c3 r3m1x
#7: 1n r34l l1f3 Vnr34l/3nt3r Vn r34l l1f3 1nt0/s4f3tY n3t s34rch b4rz
#8: sh1n3f4c3 bVrnz thrV 4ll/c0-0pt3d w1ld stYl3z s1nc3 y'4ll/r3m41n s4f3 & s0ft
#9: p4r4d1s3 c1tY/l0st t0 k1tsch & qV1rk - w03 1z/th0z3 n0t d3v1l b0rn
#10: r0m4nt1c 4ng3lz/r3m41n fr4nt1c w1th scr1ptVr3z/scr1bbl1ng 1n l0st sp4c3

TOP TEN MEANDERS THRU THE RECLAIMED WILDERNESS FACTORY











#1: WALKiNG THRU WiLD WOODZ/WHERE MANMADE RETURNZ TO EARTH/THRU RUST JUNK SCiENCE
#2: STRiCT ORDER MAiNTAiNED/ONLY SO LONG AS GRiD HOLDZ/THRU APPLiED TENSiON
#3: TENSiON'Z ATTENTiON/SPAN REDUCED AS LiFE'Z FERAL/FRACTALZ BLOSSOM FRESH
#4: WALK THRU RUST TO BUiLD/BAREFOOT NOMAD CALLOUSES/GAZE WiTH iMMUNE EYEZ
#5: ViNEZ FiRST LiNE RECLAiM/HOLD MANMADE THiNGZ DOWN ALLOW/NATURE TAKE iTS COURSE
#6: PURiFYiNG RUST/- OXiDATiON BAPTiSM/BACK TO SiMPLEST SHiT
#7: SiMPLE MEN MiGHT SEEK/SHELTER AMiDST DETRiTUS/THRU POWER OF LOUNGE
#8: CLERiC’Z PURE WHiTE ROBEZ/ONCE iMMERSED iN REAL LiFE SHiT/BECOME DiRTGOD-STAiNED
#9: ONE MAN'Z STAiNZ EQUALZ/ANOTHER (SiMPLER) MAN'Z PURE/- PURiTY OF SOUL
#10: THRU POWER OF LOUNGE/DiRTGOD THEORiEZ OXiDiZE/GRiDLOCK DOWN TO EARTH

TOP TEN NEW-FANGLED STICK & POKES AT THE FUN PARK











#1: b0ld n0 fVxxx g1v3n/n0-br0w t4tt00 sp3ct4cl3z/4t 4mVs3m3nt p4rkz
#2: s0 m4nY d14m0nd ch3st/t4t cl34v4g3 t34s3z p33k1ng/0Vt b1k1n1 t0pz
#3: fVll b0dy l1z4rd/sk1n 4ll-0v3r c0v3r4g3/fr0m ch34p t4tt00 sh0pz
#4: cVrs1v3 n3ck t4tt00/m3m0r1Vmz - R.1.P.z/1n m4ss 4bVnd4nc3
#5: bVt th3m th1ck th1gh fr0nt/4rtz - l4wd h4v3 m3rcY - c4v3m4n/m0l3cVl3z g3t l1t
#6: r41nb0w d0lph1nz p33k/0Vt b4ck 0f sp4gh3tt1 str4pz/f4d3d bY r34l l1f3
#7: n3v3r n0 p3rf3ct/th1s w1d3 0p3n mVs3Vm/0f f0r-r34l fVck3rz
#8: 3xp3ns1v3 w3ll-pl4nn3d/t4tt00z 1s f0r pr1v1l3g3d/p30pl3z 0f l31sVr3
#9: p30pl3 0f c0l0r/f00l l1v3z t3nd t0w4rdz bl4ck 1nk/wh1ch spl0tch-f4d3z t0 j4d3
#10: fl4Vnt th3m crVd3 m4rk1ngz/b3l0w cl4zz 4m3r1c4/st4y g1v1ng n0 fVxxx

TOP TEN REMEMBRANCES OF THE ASH FOREST











#1: 0nc3 c0mm0n f0r3sts/0f 4sh t0w3r3d 4s 3ld3rs/0f s4cr3d n4tVr3
#2: w34k-m1nd3d m3n s4t/1n th31r sh4d3, c0nt3mpl4t1ng/Vnr00t3d m4n th1ngs
#3: 4l0ng c0m3s j1h4d/0f 3m3r4ld 4sh b0r3 c3lls/1nf1ltr4t1ng c0r3
#4: tr33 bY tr33, 4nc13nt/s4cr3d c0nn3ct10n t0 34rth/r3nd3r3d d1sc0nn3ct
#5: 3m3r4ld 4sh b0r3/l4rv43 l34v3 c4ll1gr4phY/0f d34th thr0Vgh b0r3d0m
#6: d1sc0nn3ct3d tr33s/d0n't r3-gr33n, r0t wh1l3 st4nd1ng/tVmbl1ng b4ck t0 34rth
#7: d1sc4rd3d b4rksk1ns/r3v34l j1h4d p03trY/1n l4rv43 b0rn p4ths
#8: th3 w4y 0f n4tVr3/- 3v3n 1n d34th, 4sh f0r3sts/l34v3 b3h1nd l3ss0ns
#9: d3c1m4t3d 4sh/l1tt3rs th3 f0r3st fl00rs f0r/fr3sh mYc3l1Vm
#10: 1t b3g1ns 4g41n/th3 pr3s3nt 1s 4lw4Ys h3r3/wh4t's p4ss3d 1s jVst p4st

45s on 33 – #68: “Puerto de Amor”

I was back at the picnic table when I heard the Space Espanol, so I figured I’d drive to the time tunnels for the fuck of it, by myself. Rey-Rey has such a better sense of direction in that expansive void, I wanted to do a little in real life recon mental mapping on my own. But as I walked through the yard, my youngest boogie chillen was playing by the calf-hutch she’s turned into some sort of self-universe. She was sing-songing some relevant but strange words, too:

“Watch out railroad time, don’t miss the right switch/or find yourself yourself, yourself caught in a glitch.”

“What are you singing?” I asked her.

“Oh, if you hear me talking, it’s just part of my game.” She always said this as she babbled unexplainable prophecies from the oracle of child’s play. “By the way, Ellabell was in the field. She asked where you were?”

“Wait, what? Is that part of your game?” Even my real world tends to be confusing.

“No, of course not. Ellabell really is in the field. I’m not lying.” She never stopped whatever it was she was playing, and shifted right back into sing-songing, “Watch out railroad time, don’t miss the left switch/or find yourself yourself, yourself stuck in a ditch.”

I walked down into the field where my rock altar was, and the magic broken jukebox was plugged into the red maple dirt foundation, and sure enough the lime green orbs were floating like dollar store bubbles. I sat by the rock altar, made sure the orgone generator’s wiry tip was still pointed in the best possible direction, and waited to see if Ellabell was actually there. Quick enough, a bigger, bolder, brighter lime green aura bubble of Other Realmsy realness manifested and enveloped my sensory perceptions. And of course, there was Ellabell. But she looked worried, not chill at all.

“Don’t be distracted by trying to explain all the unexplainable things you are finding out about the larger universe,” she said. “You have a destiny, even within the confusion of destinies that is this larger truth you’ve been exposed to. You’ve been shown all this for the purposes of your destiny. Do not get caught up in sidetracks involving emotion attached to this one realm you call reality.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I don’t mean anything. My words are clear. It is only your filtering of them into understanding that needs clarifying.”

And then the bubble burst. But the Space Espanol was still playing, very low, background noise level, so I jumped in my 4-cylinder 1993 Toyota pick-up inherited indirectly from my grandfather, and pointed that raggedy machine towards Buckingham, specifically Dillwyn, more specifically the playground behind the elementary school, to see if there was access to the time tunnels there, being that’s where Railroad Time had brought us out when he changed into a wolf.

Sadly, this is an uneventful chapter to this ongoing saga, as I stopped off at Ali’s country store on the ride to Dillwyn, wondered if Rey-Rey might show up there by chance, but he didn’t, so I got a styrofoam cup of country store coffee and headed on further south. By the time I got to Dillwyn though, the Space Espanol was gone completely. I poked around at the playground for a few minutes, as there was nobody else there, but honestly the external sense of awareness that I looked weird as fuck, a 43-year-old man staring up a sliding board tunnel at a small town playground, all by myself, that was a little too weird. So I went home. But I stopped at the dollar store that ends up being a grocery store in the future, and bought a bunch of scotch tape for making zines, transparent not invisible, because it is clearer and makes strange diffusions of photocopier light sometimes. Also I got thousands of index cards, because one can never have too many index cards in a reality like mine.

old juice barrels which never
made it under gutters plus
leftover beadboard, at rest

Wednesday, June 29

perfect white blotter clouds drift
aimlessly through baptismal
blue sky; depression eases

45s on 33 – #69: “Get Back Baby”

A main issue with In Real Life is its refusal to acknowledge Other Realm impact on daily existence. Every baby is born not necessarily the complete clean slate we assume with scientifically-validated mind. It’s easy for you, the reader of this, to comprehend the time tunnels of this recollection of events as futuristic Other Realms, and you likely assume this is from an imagination of reality that I – in this physical existence – own somehow. But past Other Realms weight fairly heavily, on me, on all of us. Perhaps some have had relatively smooth Other Realm tunnels from their past burrow into their present – I cannot make that assumption, but I know plenty of people trying not to be broken by these unexplainable Other Realms, not possessed in any “I created this” way whatsoever.

This goes back to self-medication again. Folks like this (like me) self-medicate to become functional In Real Life (as in “functional alcoholic”). Often times the medication we choose though might get too strong as we attempt to be functional in Other Realms existence that we lose functionality In Real Life. Then we are judged as negative participants In Real Life, generally jailed, at the very least prohibited. Even in the realm of therapeutic care, this ends up crossing over into official-medicated (not by self). This does nothing to address the Other Realm realities, and only works to make us functional In Real Life.

I am struck by the somewhat opposing forces of being functional versus actually healing. Is the goal to be functional, or heal? And if it’s only to function, what are we functioning for? When the Heart Stars start floating around me, when I am home at the Bird Tribe Sanctuary compound, indulging in Other Realms exploration, it seems observationally to be as close to healing from Other Realms from the past as I get. But these are only my observations. The problem becomes a conflict of time, in that a majority of my daily allotment of actual existence if dedicated to being functional, not healing. Thus healing is squeezed in around the edges of function. If too much trauma affects an individual, they then become “dysfunctional”, or unable to function. They are, in that moment, worthless to the functioning system. And it seems the goal is to get them functioning first, without healing a secondary objective.

This seems completely fucked up to me. I am sitting at the far back picnic table in my yard, contemplating the time tunnels, contemplating what Heart Stars of inspiration mean to me, what they mean to Rey-Rey, and wondering how this all relates to the future version of both of us that is somehow fucking that up. Rey-Rey and me are healing in our different ways, recovering from the same shared time tunnels of the past, in our fragmented tendrils of the multiverse. That’s not functional to any future financial benefit – it’s just growth, no different than a vine growing up a wall or tree aging some fresh roots off-shooting from the thick ones already holding dirt tight.

When I saw that future me, writing in what appeared to be a successful manner, that definition of success was financial. He was a functional writer, existing as that entity. But very little economically-rewarded writing is done for healing purposes, because there’s no coin in healing. There is coin, however, in perpetually functioning, always working, buying, consuming, exchanging abstractions of wealth. Most of the writing that succeeds in accumulating these abstractions of wealth is a momentary escape from function’s mundane existence, a complete and total distraction. Rarely does it address any healing, on individual or massive scale.

I don’t know, this chapter ain’t really got nothing happening, other than me sitting at the picnic table contemplating the purpose of all this. Rey-Rey and me are gonna have to go back in the time tunnels, and address whatever the fuck it was Ellabell was talking about with regards to the future version of us fucking up the main Heart Star transmission, dissipating those moments of creativity into darkness. I guess I’m feeling existential as fuck today though, and meditating on the differences between functioning and healing, and wondering if it’s enough to just function. I mean, is that lowering the goal? Is that accepting a lesser reward to benefit somebody other than yourself? I don’t know. But I hope the fucking Space Espanol comes out the jukebox, because I could use a new adventure to distract me from functioning far too far into my head, when I’d rather be burrowing into my heart, trying to better connect past Other Realms with the present and those future ones, let that shit heal together a little (or a lot).

navigating planned gridlock
over old bridges which span
rivers more ancient than men

Tuesday, June 28

45s on 33 – #70: “Too High”

Got a couple dudes I play dominos with on Friday evenings, and I’ve found it becomes difficult to talk about these recent endeavors with them. Before I can even get to the realities of time tunnels and shape shifting, even something as simple in the beginning of this story as music coming out of an old weather-beaten jukebox in the field gets them tripping, being like, “Damn, you must’ve got too high!” or looking at me side-eyed with the judgmental gaze of devil scientific knowledge born deep in the infertile fissures of mind. So I’ve learned to keep it to myself.

This creates a new dilemma in that In Real Life friends start to suffer, those relationship are not nurtured, because they negatively judge and are generally dismissive of these Other Realm friends and realities, seeing them as not real. The conflict between In Real Life and Other Realm gets too much, because honestly I am far more comfortable in the Other Realms. In Real Life is mundane and repetitive and many days, for ten hours of it, I feel like one of those genetically engineered white chickens stuffed into the cages on the tractor and trailers rolling west on I-64 to the slaughterhouses. I’m just riding along, stuffed into my little work pen, administratively tasking after the tasks that are most pressing, pushing the others aside, not invested emotionally at all – in fact deeply detached from feeling anything because to let feeling in would be painful.

There was already enough pain embedded in my existence already, perhaps from born DNA clusters, perhaps environmental, likely a combo deal of both (with a free super-size by society), and I come from clans who are adept at self-medication. This I understand all too well – the desire to numb the pain, to let the dark unexplainable hurt be swallowed by opioid or alcoholic fog. The sharp edges of suffering are not gone, but you don’t see them so clearly, and don’t feel them nearly as much. Thankfully, I recognized that as a cycle going nowhere, and stepped off it, not without a lot of struggle, which continues to this day.

In Real Life seems to be getting more pokey, sharper, shivs and shanks and broken glass from all directions, and yet the civilized fog seems to be pumping harder, probably to dull our sightline on all those painful realities which should be obvious. And when I look around at others In Real Life, it seems to be working. They don’t seem to be freaking out, many of them are shinefaced and successful, able to buy things. Often I am not able to buy simple things like more groceries, so comprehending how to get the complex things like houses built in the past twenty years or vehicles less than nine years old is almost like reading Urdu, in that it certainly looks great but I got no idea what the fuck.

Thus, as I am forced by circumstance to navigate In Real Life more and more, it becomes more painful, and I want to disappear into the Other Realms. But In Real Life won’t let me. In Real Life has timely demands that require timely response and expect timely reactions. Flux time Other Realm nonsense only gets in the way of In Real Life demands. So I am forced to ignore the Other Realms, and take care of business, so to speak. Take care of business. Taking care, of “business”.

That shit is painful, a clenched fist of a heart painful that sometimes becomes unbearable, and you want to actually go ahead and get too high. But you know you shouldn’t, because that repeats failures you saw as a kid, as an adult, through both sides of the family tree. So you suffer it, and try to keep going, without giving up and laying down on the train tracks and hoping to sleep forever, no more In Real Life to fucking judge you.

Thus, I am thankful for the Other Realms. Without them, all I’d have is In Real Life.

twisted tendrils spiraling
upwards, looking like impulse
charges striking at blue sky

freestyle sonnet #049: EIGHTEEN WEEKS 'TIL THE MUCH-BALLYHOOED AMERICAN ELECTION OF PRESIDENT 2016

Clinton co-opting Sanders support with well-thunk
Senator Warren, who seems bit too happy to
suddenly be spotlighted; egos become drunk
with historical power's potential. States blue

stay blue; states red remain red. Trump still remains Trump -
political dumpster fire, yet many folks still
ready to burn all bridges; frustration's quick jump
into "fuck it". Don't underestimate the will

of "fuck it" demographic. It may seem like coast
to victory for Clinton from both coasts, but mass
of flyover country's passed over people host
much resentment for establishment, whether ass

or elephant. But inelegant bridge burning
through ballot box won't keep our small worlds from turning.

45s on 33 – #71: “Fireflies”

After we got back, Rey-Rey and me went home, meaning our realm homes. After stopping off at the store for butter and milk and bread and contact lens solution, I got to the house. It’d only been about two hours since I left, though it felt like I’d been gone for weeks. Time is fucked up enough when it’s normal, but this off-the-grid fluctuating fourth dimension shit was going to be hard to configure to keep a personal schedule.

We had fried rice and chicken and tofu (separate skillets) cooked in tamari for dinner, and then I went out to the main looping path meandering through the woods behind our cultivated Bird Tribe property. Once you circle halfway around the main loop, there’s a secondary loop I built following animal paths that cuts back near a debris pile from decades ago. I’ve got various rock altars and hidden Buddha figurines all around back there, so I like to walk those non-circular circles to scope out the always-changing advanced mushroom technologies, and try to get my mind to settle.

On that secondary loop, right at the beginning, in fall and winter it is brown and angular, and the winter freeze squeezes up a fresh batch of trash quartz for harvesting in the spring. Whenever I pick up a quartz rock, I gently touch and tug at first, to feel whether it’s ready to come with or not. It’ll usually tell you. But in summer, once everything’s gotten bright green, by that debris pile on an angle it looks luscious with the sun filtering down into the ground-level green, giving everything a lime aura. Crows are usually back there in the distance, over at the wizard-looking neighbor’s land, dropping crow freestyles into the sky. It’s often times my favorite place on earth that I’ve found thus far. (This earth, meaning my specific earth – not all earths.)

As I was out there, summertime was official because the fireflies and lightning bugs were flickering up out of the green undergrowth as twilight started to get lit. Fireflies and lightning bugs are almost exactly the same, excepting fireflies possess a slightly higher upward mobility. So I sat there by one of my Buddha stumps (one in which the Buddha had long since left… I think sometimes maybe they come alive, or perhaps the crows took him, because I used to leave them peanuts at this same stump altar) and contemplated the fireflies and time and all this that had been going on.

A good exercise against the anxiousness is deep breathing, and I’d had a lot to be anxious about in my normal existence before all this other realm foolishness injected itself into complexifying being. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths, at first concentrating on the breathing but then unconcentrating on it. The best way to think of it is that old Taoist mantra often seen in kung fu flicks about how you have to first know something, and then secondarily not know it, meaning it goes from conscious to unconscious. Once I get my deep breaths washing through my rib cage, I try to detach from thinking about it, or anything, always with my eyes closed to decrease the sensory distractions which always threaten to lead us astray. It’s fun to do this for a while and then open your eyes and see the world with supernatural crispness.

As I kept breathing, I imagined the fireflies floating up, and started to feel like I was floating up physically, just a touch. I’d like to think I’d be more lightning bug than firefly, but the floating sensation started to cease as I thought like that, so I went back to just breathing. Just breathing. Just. Breathing.

It felt as if I was floating for a good while before I finally opened my eyes, and there I was at tree levels, higher than human feet could know, and luckily my brain didn’t become startled and look back at my body like had happened when I was a teenager. I felt higher than a firefly so kept floating forward through the trees, towards the crow calls in the distance.

One translucent black grimy crow was nearby, who I didn’t see until he squawked at me, “Who the fuck are you?” He spoke crow, but I heard him say that specifically.

“Raven,” I answered.

“You’re not no fucking raven!” he squawked back, then flew off, zipping in the direction of the symphony of other crows further off. I thought about being Raven, and saw my body sitting by the debris pile back in the woods, and felt the umbilical cord of consciousness pull me back into that body.
I opened my eyes – my Raven the human dude eyes – and got really excited. I think I had actually turned into a crow. I know for sure I did, but still, I wasn’t quite confident in my thinking so.

Monday, June 27

June 27th Mix 2016

In honor of June 27 - DJ Screw Day, I had meant to do a write up about how much screwed music has been part of my life the past decade-plus, and how that spirit is influential on why I bother to listen to and rip old 45s at 33 speed and write convoluted serialized tales of time travel and bastard overlords and such (45s on 33 – daily operation all through the summer, last year and this and hopefully beyond), but then life became overwhelmingly depressing, and it’s been all I could do to keep moving through the sludge. But here is a mix of the 45s on 33 from last year’s list of 100 that have been the most played, according to iTunes data analysis. Please enjoy responsibly.

track listicle
1. tR0GL0DYT3
2. fLy l1K3 4n 34GL3
3. dR34Mz t0 r3M3MB3r
4. s4m sT0N3
5. cRYST4l bLV3 p3RSV4S10n
6. b0Rn p00r
7. r4MBL1n g4MBL1n m4n
8. sT4GG0L33
9. tVSh
10. c4LL1Ng d0CT0r l0V3
11. m1ST3r sP33d
12. y34h y34h y34h
13. d0Wn 0n tH3 c0RN3r
14. gH0St w4Lk

15. tH3 r4p

"the freedom to exist without
fences" I wrote on birch bark
for a nice lady in Maine

45s on 33 – #72: “El Contrabando del Paso”

The Space Espanol kicked off again, reverberating through the tunnels, but also my skull (tunnels as bass, my head as tweeter). Rey-Rey and me must’ve had the same thought, because he struck first with, “Yo, Time, why don’t you take us on a run while the music’s playing? We don’t have to get nothing, just show us what it’s like.”

Railroad Time hollered out again, “You sure we don’t need nothing, Woodie? Seems weird the Space Espanol keeps playin’.” Woodie yelled back that they were still good, no worries for another month at least.

“Maybe the music keeps playing because you’re supposed to take us,” suggested Rey-Rey.

Railroad Time laughed his old man of middle-aged years laugh. “Alright, we can run out. Ain’t takin’ nothing though, just going for looks.”

The three of us got up and Railroad Time led the way with his red-green gaze to the appropriate tunnel exit for entering Dillwyn where he and the runaways normally stole supplies. The Space Espanol got louder on the high end as we got closer, meaning the cavernous bass remained at the same level but inside my head, the notes were more piercing, in an almost slightly unpleasant way, yet still entirely bearable. The actual exit was just a half-dollar sized point of light, pelvis height, but having gone in and out various tunnels, I knew most of them were just circular openings like wombs of various dilation, but with immense elasticity.

We were about to go through when I grabbed Railroad Time’s work thick arm. “Will you be a wolf? Show us how you wolf it up.”

“What for? We ain’t stealin’ nothing.”

“So I can see, so I can try to figure out if I got bird in me or not.”

“How’m I gonna tell y’all what to do then?”

“Well, if we’re not stealing anything, Rey-Rey and me can just promise to follow you the whole time. It’s not like we want to get lost in another realm.”

Railroad Time said, “Fuck it.” I expected him to spasm and have some horror movie special effect-style metamorphosis, but all he did was sit down and close his eyes, and start deep focused breaths. After a six-pack or so, he asked, “Can y’all stand behind me? I can feel y’all lookin’ too hard.” So Rey-Rey and I moved behind him. I could still tell his breathing was very deep, very intent, and there wasn’t any real visual metamorphosis, just all of a sudden I realized he was a wolf. I think Rey-Rey might’ve realized this a step ahead of me, because he went, “Wow” again right before I was conscious what was just a man was now a wolf.

Railroad Time in wolf form jumped through the light hole, and Rey-Rey and me followed. It looked just like the Dillwyn I mostly knew, us coming out near the playground back behind the elementary school. The convenience store I knew from my time had a different name, but the McDonalds was still there, just older and grubbier looking. What was a Family Dollar in my realm was now a grocery store, looked to be operated as a small food outlet branch of a larger store from my time, who I won’t mention by corporate name because I’m not sure of this, but it had the same blue stylings and smiley face dropping prices bullshit.

Route 15 there is fairly busy, and traffic appeared normal, so I was a little hesitant about crossing so easily. But the Space Espanol was still playing in my head, just soft and soothing, like elevator music almost. I hadn’t noticed the piercing effect going down and the bass disappearing consciously until we got to the road and the sounds of the cars took over my attention. The reason for this was it was not constant, nor was their movement. There were glitches, where the sound and visual appearance of the vehicles would bounce back twenty feet. It seemed to happen with a regularity, but it was disturbing to me and Rey-Rey nonetheless, because we were used to time being smooth, even in the tunnels. But Railroad Time in wolf form led us across the street to the grocery store outlet, and he walked to the front door entrance, looked back at us – his gaze still red and green, oddly exactly like his human peer, down to the eyeball – and led us through, where we stood a couple feet inside.
The same physical glitch kept happening, and the cashier closest to us turned upon seeing us, glitched back, turned to see us again, and this kept on. He said, “What’re…” then glitched, “What’re you do…” and so on until after about five minutes, he had asked us “What’re you doing?” and others turned to look, and eventually one lady screamed. In real time, all of that would’ve taken about five seconds, but with the glitches it dragged out dramatically. I can see why it would be easy to grab and go with whatever one needed in that distorted confusion.

Suddenly the Space Espanol bass kicked back in. Immediately, Railroad Time turned back out the exit door, Rey-Rey and me following. He was a decent gait, not speeding but no leisurely, and we crossed back through traffic back towards the playground we’d come through the portal at. The piercing nature of the high end of the Space Espanol gradually got more pronounced. At the bottom end of the tunnel of the playground slide, there was a dark hole floating, half-dollar size.

Railroad Time was a man again, without me noticing when, or how, and he said, “So that’s what it’s like when we go. When the music gets louder, it’s winding down, which means real time is winding back up, so it’s best to get the fuck on out. It’s still got twenty minutes of wind-up probably, but the longer you wait, the louder it gets, which can give you a headache. And we ain’t actually takin’ nothing, so I figured we oughta just get back.” And he turned and climbed up the sliding board back into the time tunnels beneath Buckingham County. Rey-Rey followed him, and I looked around for a quick second at this world I completely recognized but was also not my own at all, and then climbed up too.

empty farm building attics,
always with hardwood floor you
can see through, and elder crows

Sunday, June 26

45s on 33 – #73: “Heaven or Hell”

Railroad Time explained shapeshifting into a wolf like so: “First time I done it was like meditation. I was trapped in some blackberry bushes along an L&N line, hiding from sheriffs after that one sheriff done shot himself and they pinned it on me. My heart was beating like bongos and I was worried the sheriffs was gonna hear it, so I tried to calm myself down. Just focused on my breathing slow and deep, thought about how all the shit going on right then was just the moment but in the big picture of all this shit, I was connected to it all more than I was just to that one spot.”


“That’s kind of like meditation, Railroad Time.” I’d not called him by his name before. He laughed.


“You can just call me ‘Time’. That’s what most folks does. But yeah, I don’t know a whole lot ‘bout no meditations, but if that’s what it is then that’s what I was doing. But it started to feel like I was floated out my body, like I won’t connected to this body no more.”

I thought of my own time where I had that out-of-body experience after sleep deprivation and meditation behind my mom’s house when I was a teenager. “Were you still connected to your body at all?”

“Well, I knew I had a body but I ain’t think about it. I just felt like running. And I won’t afraid of them sheriffs. So I popped out the brush and took off running. Some of them sheriffs shined their lights at me, and they said, ‘Wolf!’ and pulled they guns but none of ‘em shot. And I seent where my body would’ve been back there, and they was gonna look there, but I want to go back and see if I was still there. So I ran like a motherfucker, ain’t stop runnin’ ‘til I was halfway to Georgia.”

“So look, Time, I had a thing one time where I felt like I was out of my body like that, but I was floating up above myself, and when I saw my body down there, it freaked me out and got sucked back down into my body.”

“You was probably almost there, I don’t know. I done had it happened where I be thinkin’ too hard about it all, and I’ll be a wolf but still thinkin’ ‘bout being a man, and it’s like a rope pulls me back into being a man. That was in the beginning though. I got it down now. If I wanna be a wolf, I can be a wolf, no man thoughts in the way.”

“So it might’ve been the same thing?” I asked, as if he would know. He didn’t even know what I experienced.

He laughed again. “Yeah, could’ve been. You named fuckin’ Raven, maybe you a bird or some shit. Where you get that name anyways?”

“From my folks.”

I thought about Railroad Time’s shape shifting abilities, and what he said about how it worked, how that felt familiar to the one time I had. But how do you just make yourself do something like that?

“The thing is, when I say I can be a wolf,” Railroad Time said, as if reading my mind, “I ain’t make myself do it. Kinda hard to explain but I have to unmake myself do it. As a man, all we do is make things do shit, force this into that. That ain’t how wolf does, or bird, or anything else in nature for the most part. Most things just is, without forcing anything. They just is. So you can’t make yourself. All that making forces all the broken shit, all the blacks and whites and heavens and hells and norths and souths, and ain’t no wolf or bird or nothing thinkin’ about all that shit. They ain’t even thinkin’ like we think. But they ain’t thinkin’ in a lesser way. Plenty times I feel like they might be thinkin’ smarter the whole time, like they think with their heart instead of their goddamned head.”

“Our goddamned heads,” I thought, ironically enough in my head. I tried to think it with my heart, just that three-word phrase. “Head” translated easy enough, and I could get “our” to make sense to my heart, but “goddamn” I just couldn’t squeeze into heart thinking.

“When we get out of here, I’m gonna go back to my mom’s house and try that shit again,” I made my head promise to my heart.

each orange railroad spike buried
with 14-line intention
iambic pentagrammar

TOP TEN MAD MAXIMUMS OF UNDERDRIVEN REALITIES











#1: very excited/about the end of the world/to see what comes next
#2: rogue dystopian/blockbuster movies made with/privilege in mind
#3: real dystopia/gonna be lots of broke cars/plus junk mechanics
#4: real armageddon/gonna be hot as fuck, no/more conditioned air
#5: people will survive/- not many but enough to/complicate nature
#6: we'll nomad by foot/so plan your accidental/end times location
#7: rapture marathon/- sixty-nine miles maximum/life circumference
#8: airplanes rocketships/smartphones computer tablets/- useless detritus
#9: we'll compose new lives/from the scraps, shards, & fractures/- piecemeal genesis
#10: hominids adapt/satellite earth keeps spinning/solar star stays lit