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, July 13

45s on 33 – #66: “Take Me”

On the back part of our half-feral pasture, near where I used to raise pigs, blackberry vines spread to an immensity of pokey fruit yin-yang. (I consider good solid wild blackberry vines to be nature’s razor wire, and have done plenty of self-scientific studies on how much blackberry thorn poison can be tolerated by person who is normally highly resistant to bee and poison ivy poisons. Blackberry thorns give off an entirely different type of sting, almost vibratory and painful in a way similar to high-pitched noises, but for your skin not your ears.) They are ripe about now, so I’ve been spending time each day just picking, with last year’s popcorn bucket from the movie theater looped through my belt, pick and drop into bucket, pick and drop into bucket. You learn (at least when your brain is efficiency driven) how to hold with one hand the vine by fat part and pick off handful of berries, two at a time, with second hand, thump them into bucket, and move to another part. Blackberries grown in such large clusters vary their ripening stages too, so you have all these green and just barely red ones sitting there still, waiting to soak up more sun, and be ready next week.

The blackberry cluster we have is crazy large though, and if you’re picking each day, you’ll “cherry-pick” the easy ones on the outer loop, just like the deer and maybe even stray bears do, but you’ll also see these fat clusters of nice thick dark black berries not yet marked by insect effects just teasing you from further in the vine clusters, saying “take me, take me!” I am not one to ignore the near-sexual pleadings of ripe fruiting plants, so I tend to go in further.

Inside the blackberry clusters, you’ll find open spots to stand without having thorns rip at your flesh (I never pick fruit with a shirt on, ever; trust me, the trees appreciate this, regardless of your sex; they want you to be more naked, and perhaps this was the source of the Adam and Eve and accursed apple myth), and you’ll pick away, filling your plastic bucket higher and higher, but then you have to get back out. Except there are no more blackberries on the way out, and there are plenty more further in. This leads you (if you are like me) deeper into the viney chaos with plenty thorns to poke you into thinking you should’ve thought better (like “maybe I should’ve worn a shirt” but then you know that’s bullshit thinking from your brain, not your heart).

Eventually though, you gotta stop. You’re never gonna pick all those berries, ever. And if your feral berry clusterfuck has gotten as big as the one on our pasture overlooking the rock altar and field jukebox nestled underneath the red maple tree, you’re unlikely to work your way all the way through to the other side. You won’t reach the end of it – berries or clusterfuck of thorns, so you have to work your way back out.

I was in there yesterday picking berries meditatively, and I wondered if maybe the time tunnels underneath Buckingham might not be similar to that, especially factoring in the huge variable of timelessness’s fourth dimension to the grid of it all. Maybe this was an existential crisis within the larger existential crisis of there being a multiverse level of Raven Macks scattered outside the exits of those tunnels, where I’m not sure (meaning this Raven Mack, the dirtgod one, 1000 Feathers, me writing this – I think) it’s wise to keep pushing further into all those tunnels, into all that mess. Maybe I should recognize when I’ve gotten enough of a taste and just pull back out.

Not sure though, but all these blackberries of course reminded me of the wizened old leader of the elven people who lived on the Seven Islands scattered in the middle of the James River – Chief Blackberry Blossoms. I hadn’t thought of him originally until I questioned whether I should continue these time tunnel explorations with Rey-Rey and Railroad Time and all, but like a flash, in the middle of a bunch of blackberry fruit born from blossoms, I was like, “Oh yeah, Chief Blackberry Blossoms,” and figured I should pay my man a visit on the morrow.

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