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.

Wednesday, August 10

45s on 33 – #64: “Sugar On Sunday”

After Chief Blackberry Blossoms walking lesson, I kinda disappeared for a minute. (Minute is slang for period, because actually I was gone a few weeks, decades even when factoring in what I was doing.) I wouldn’t say I was depressed necessarily, but the realities of my real world (the one I know) as well as the whole universe (all real worlds combined) left me feeling heavily introspective, lost in thought deep inside the rib cage, far removed from the brain. At one point during Rey-Rey and me exploring the time tunnels, we found an exit that was in the late ‘70s, so I took during this period to weekend round trip bus rides through the 1970s rural south. At first this was mostly contained to Virginia – back and forth to Roanoke or Richmond or Norfolk, but it expanded to all the other cities I remember from Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling as a kid: Greensboro, Asheville, Charleston West Virginia, Charleston South Carolina, and then went beyond that down to Atlanta, Birmingham, Biloxi, New Orleans. I didn’t do shit but ride the bus and talk to people. A lot of the areas were mostly shutdown on Sundays, so it was slow, and stops would be next to closed stores, but you could see all the people coming and going from church – black folks and white folks, and the deeper the South the brighter the church clothes it seemed.

It got complicated getting old money to use to buy bus tickets, but older stores were far less secure than ones nowadays, so I cashed out a few grocery store registers from time to time, just enough to have plenty of old money to not raise eyebrows by buying 1970s bus tickets entirely in quarters. (Old change is far easier to come by than old dollar bills. Dollar bills cycle out of existence pretty fast it seems, once you become attuned to noticing the date on them.) But I kept it handled.

What was far less easy to handle was my place in my own real world. Having access to this multiverse escapism made it too convenient to self-medicate in a way off into another world not my own, not attached to my realities and responsibilities and hard ugly truths. Real worlds are all about ugly truths – you do not ever stereotypically hear of the extremely wealthy having real talk Come To Prophet moments about “the real world”, unless they are attempting to scare an offspring into more corrected behavior.

I don’t have it bad as a human – I am entirely unfulfilled by my work for pay, but the pay is enough to keep my family fed and two-thirds of our bills paid before final notice. We are able to juggle credit and hustling to cover the rest. But after the Chief Blackberry Blossoms lesson, when I realize I am metaphorically treading water in literally toxic water, how am I making the world or collective of worlds known as the universe a better place? Ultimately, how am I improving the health of the whole? Or am I just slowing down my own individual part in the metastasis of humane death, in a way to pretend I’m not part of the problem because I’m not as glaringly wretched as other more obvious examples?

That’s what I was thinking on looking out the passenger side window of Greyhounds, about halfway back on the bus (the far back of the long trip bus has always been a hellish sketchy place at times, thus not good for introspection, as you may be thrown into someone else’s fire), staring at past towns passing by, sipping on throwback Pepsis, which weren’t throwback but mainstream then.

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