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.

Monday, July 31

freestyle sonnet #092: SHIP OF FOOLS CHARTING A DISCOURSE TO ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(how many ship of fools woodcuts would a woodcut cut if a woodcut could cut wood {& had read a lot of Kaczynski}?)

All words meaningless, pointless, unnecessary 
as artificial intelligence poisoned well 
meaning minds, Pavlov's bell meme-ing minds feel very 
confident in their content - scrolling people swell 

with manufactured buzzwords and concepts until 
they regurgitate nutritionless info like 
pre-programmed egg (perhaps so) hoping to instill 
uniform unicode universe third eye reich. 

Buzzbots swarming... buzzbots swarming... speaking in tongues 
sensibles can't understand, denying raw power 
of fire, pretending progressive air fills their lungs 
(right and left), steady building digital tower 

of babble, dysfunctional discourse multiplied 
googol times by timelines refreshed (real shit denied). 

C4M0VFL4G3 1S 4 S0C14L...

camouflage is a social
construct; I prefer not to
identify as human

D3PL3T3D SP1R1T L34KS THR0VGH...

depleted spirit leaks through
hacked stream of consciousness, plus
no fresh serotonin flows

Friday, July 28

TH3 3R4 0F F1X1NG TH1NGS...

the era of fixing things
replaced by constant newness,
unsustainable maxed out

[2k=0] The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized (At Least I Think)

(U.S. political spectrum diagram, circa 2017)

Bots be built in abundance, swirling behind the wireless infrastructure, bouncing data to new highs, all of which is of course meaningless. Except it’s not. Because humans are tribal/social creatures, so as bots swarm off information superhighway down all the rabbithole side sites, humans become inclined to believe the bots, and start to think as the bots encourage. Mis- and disinformation becomes the new information, and real live IRL motherfuckers start to not only believe the bot streams of thought, but actually become militant about it, applying the hate which was once reserved for the relative anonymity of the digital realm onto the real world. Real world hate and immediate dismissal of other human beings as worthless and vile, because they think differently than you, and with the foundational thinking often encouraged or engineered or outright manufactured by bots.
The data on this page has spiked lately, but all of this ultimately means nothing in any real sense. When I am walking naked in the woods behind my house attempting to understand the crows, data graphs full of bounce sessions to a made up place with a made up name Rojonekku means nothing. And yet I will think about it. This seems weird. Even stranger I will think-tweet, which seems to be an abbreviated and less thought about form of what used to be when I think-rhymed or think-poemed. The converted humans who believe in digital salvation speak highly of one day being able to transmit our thoughts immediately into the digital realm. I think (even in think-tweet stage of fractured stream of consciousness) that this is gonna be fucked if-when it happens. In this advanced (regressive) age of people free speeching their innermost fucked thoughts a little too quickly, it’s already uncomfortable at times. Just like you’re expected to not walk around buck ass naked in the middle of public because it may not be appropriate for all other members of the public, you shouldn’t share your thoughts like that either. But just thinking and then shooting them into existence? With the lack of self-control that has been an inadvertent psychological (neurological) development after 40 years of unchecked capitalism? It’d be fucked.
The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized is a tag here. I put five tags per post and have done so since some time point in the past that I decided three was not enough so I started doing five. Over the course of thousands and thousands of posts, this creates a labyrinth that can be wandered through, simply by clicking tags. I enjoy in fact LOVE the organized chaos of the slowly created tag labyrinth. Try it… go to the bottom and click a tag that appeals to you, open it a new window so you can come back to this, or don’t, fuck it I don’t really care. I’m not trying to trick you into running up my page views to team with the bots to increase my meaningless data for some end goal that involves either money or ego. But that tag labyrinth is there. And The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized is one of them, because that shit remains true.
People think like bots now, hiding subliminal search optimizers into their shit, embedding their own little culturally acceptable cookie bots, all to boost their data. The basic philosophy here has nothing to do with actual cultural value but basically is if you increase your data, slide up into the algorithms as smoothly as possible, you increase your deliveries out the other side of the algorithm, increasing the number of eyeballs that look at it, and if you increase eyeballs looking at it, you increase your odds of someone putting money into you. That’s it. Cultural value is a somewhat disinterested side product in this philosophy. And we’ve seen this spread like wildfire… well no, more like bots, as wildfire spreads very organically and jumps from burning bush to tree, but we’ve seen this spread throughout our various cultures, through music, social media charitable activism (where going viral means success, like people pouring ice water over they selves two years ago), and on into most all forms of our life. Look at news now… There is little regard for slow build or story arc, it’s BOOM everything is BREAKING NEWS without confirmation or any real societal metric attached to whether it’s important or not. And it was this news culture that gave us our current Trump times, the pinnacle of immediate news without depth and bot engineering and IRL humans tribalized according to their online sources.
It goes without saying (I hope) that these times, in terms of politics and government, in the United States, are fucked. Remember what I said about not wanting your thoughts immediately shot out into existence? We basically have a President who does just that, and this is angled as “bold new access to the President”. So what is the philosophy of resistance to this, to counter this perfect storm of too much bot bullshit cybertronning our souls into A) electing chumps, and B) passively watching it all unfold on digital streams while adding quirky comments and somehow thinking this is activism? To copy the method. To be a different brand of the same bullshit. The last 40 years of our politics has effectively ingrained the two brands of bullshit – pick your favored brand – political tribalism, so that any other flavor, or even one that steps off the U.S. political spectrum entirely, is seen as a wasted action. This assumes the form of Constitutional government has attained perfection already, and at this point, 200-plus years into this empirical experiment, we’re just fine-tuning the process.
I hate using the word “tribalism” for this type of stuff though, and ironically that relates directly to mention of the Constitution, which our wonderful amazing God-blessed all-white founding fathers gave the world, which was (at least through Benjamin Franklin) influenced by the Iroquois Confederacy’s oral constitution of that time. The direct linear influence is disputed in academic circles, but it should be noted that despite whatever unbiased objective angle it claims to take, academia is in fact a product of this U.S. culture, so is going to look at shit from its angle, whether it realizes it or not. So I think it’s safe to say the writers of the U.S. Constitution borrowed from the Iroquois Confederacy. BUT WAS IT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION?
This gets back into the militant translations of culture as applied in this hyper-digital age, and also is good example of why the Revolution Will Not Be Digitized. Appropriation assumes ownership, because an entity is clocking their grip off some other entity’s creation. But if no grip is being clocked, and the creation is being used to re-create, can that be appropriation entirely? And if the creation itself has no notion of ownership, how can you apply post-colonial notions of ownership to some shit and give it intellectual property where no fences existed previously? It reminds me a lot of how national borders in many parts of the world were drawn up arbitrarily by colonial powers after world wars with little or no regard for the cultures that existed there previously, sometimes for centuries. The entirety of Africa is a good example of this, as is most Middle Eastern nations currently embroiled in civil wars.
Two writers than have the byline on books that frequently plop down beside my bed as I finally doze off at night recently are Frantz Fanon and Eduardo Galeano. (I do not name drop them to pretend I am smart; I am lucky if I get through 20 pages a night. I am a horribly slow reader and if I realize I didn’t pay attention to a paragraph, I go back and read it again usually starting with the one before it.) Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth is one of the world’s great revolutionary texts. One of the key takeaways (for me at least) from it is to not recreate the colonial power structure. In other words, do not resist, then imitate, or even imitate while resisting (as is the standard procedure in the United States). I currently have Fanon’s A Dying Colonialism by the bed, about the revolution in Algeria, and how in order to truly throw off the shackles of colonial rule, the Algerian people had to go back to the roots of their land and who they were, pre-colonially speaking.
Which brings me to Galeano’s influence on my outlook – that thinking of the United States as the entity called “America” does not do justice to all the other cultures which pre-existed “New World” discovery. America is two continents as well as scattered islands and in fact nearly an entire hemisphere with thousands of years of culture and history, much of it destroyed, but the shards are still in the Earth, both literal and psychic shards. Both Galeano and Fanon share a trust in the people as a collective, always having the power to throw off oppressive shackles, whether bureaucratic or dictatorial (or both).
The digital is data. It breaks music down to 0s and 1s, infinitesimal chunks which connect at rate that human ear can’t consciously distinguish from more organic analog. And it breaks humans down by labels, into microcosmic splinter groups broken off of larger ones, fracturing us into immense divisions that have put so many data point labels between us we no longer see our shared humanity. It doesn’t even exist in our eyes at times IRL anymore. “Those people” are worthless. This is done by both political binaries in our current U.S. discourse, deeply and without relent. We are fucked.
Digital will never easily build collective, as that’s not the philosophy behind it. Digital breaks the collective into microscopic parts, in order to squeeze them through tiny wires or invisible wavelengths throughout the world faster and more efficiently. The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized.
How do we solve this? Well first off I go no fucking clue. Being I am fractured consciously by the digital realm, I do not want you to think I am attempting to mansplain or talk down or know-it-all on you. I am aware of the wide array of pre-emptive dismissals available to negate all my words before they’re even seen. But then again, probably 90% of the people seeing this are bots. Not robotic humans, but actual cybertron bots, scanning through the internet, scanning through these words with efficient speed, never running it through a consciousness at all, seeing if it can find exploitable access points in the 0s and 1s to be used for its pre-programmed purposes.
America had a lot of deeply established culture before the United States came to be, long before a Constitution was even rough drafted at the club by a bunch of bros feeling lit off the possibilities. With Galeano and Fanon’s words in my mind, it seems we look to that for a real revolution. The etymology of the word itself does not mean a flat chronological timeline with binary ends pushing further and further apart as the years stack sideways, but an actual circular revolution. Why not go back instead of continuing to push forward, continue to progress further into splintered madness? And why wouldn’t conservative or traditional, if it was really going back (Jimmy Castor’s oft-scratched voice saying “what we’re gonna do right here is go back… way back…” should pop into your head right now if you and I are synchronized) would go beyond the United States and Constitution and the discovery of the new world, which already existed, a long ass time?
Of course, the ironic futility of me throwing all these words in this order into the digital intestines of current world culture, which pollutes so many intuitions, is not lost on me. If I was really bout it bout it, I would not be sitting in this stifling ass cubicle right now, and I’d be naked in the woods behind my house (which I have not been able to decolonize from ownership of in my mind), whispering at all the little mycelium mosques that have likely popped up due to proper conditions, saying “fuck the constitution, fuck the constitution” and sowing new (old) american prayers (poems) and meditations (prose) into the ground (Earth).

3L GR4N J3F3 T13N3...

el gran jefe tiene
una polla pequeña;
"chinga tu madre, cabron"

Thursday, July 27

C3NTR4L1Z3 4LL 0FF1C3S...

centralize all offices,
unemploy all outliers -
progress without benefits

[2k=0] Navigating the Mine Fields

(Worsham school, after years of dis-use. That door on the bottom right was the back entrance we used to sneak in as teens, with the room to the left our base of lounge where we had dragged in a few couches.)

As is normal when forced to accept dysfunction as integral part to what made you how you are, I’ve been contemplating the psychic mine field traversed, and wondering “why me?” in terms of survival. Been thinking a lot about a dude I grew up with who died almost two years ago, who I was close with in youth, but wandered apart as adults, as everybody who got through that mine field went their own ways to some extent. I guess a lot of them are more in touch with each other than I am, but my method has been to cross bridges and never go back. But this dude – SAH we’ll say – was public school kid like me. At the time we both started (late ‘70s?), Prince Edward County had three elementary schools active: a private one called Prince Edward Academy (open only to whites, and opened as response to forced desegregation in the 1960s), the Campus school (I think related to Longwood College training teachers, and most of the college – now university – staff who had kids sent their kids there because it wasn’t racist but also not public), and then whoever was left went to the public school. I’m not sure how the white demographics broke down, if that was class-based (the Academy cost a lot of money) or my folks ran with a mixed crowd or what, but I went to the public school.
SAH and I were not in the same kindergarten class, but from 1st grade through graduation, we literally had the exact same class schedule all the way up. We were inseparable best of friends during chunks of elementary school, and at least solid bros throughout, despite normal youthful conflicts from time to time which resulted in a couple of fistfights here or there. There were times where teachers would call us by each other’s name by accident, partially because of us being friends, but also (this is hard to explain) in certain ways we carried ourselves similarly metaphysically. I guess.
Anyways, the Campus school closed when we were in 3rd grade, so a new influx of white (and other) kids showed up to the public schools in 4th grade, an immigration of children whose parents didn’t support the white supremacist vision of the Academy school (which sat on the hill just above the trailer park my grandmother lived in then; used to go shoot basketball on their elementary school courts every day, with a mix of ratty white kids from the trailer park and black kids from across the creek in the old houses bordering the housing projects). This batch of new kids gave me and SAH a good chunk of who we rolled with the rest of our publicly schooled years.
SAH stayed at my house at times, and one weekend he was there, my folks had decided to go out to a party (which was not uncommon, nor necessarily an actual party in the noun form of the word, but more likely just the general verb form which was weekend mainstay of the mine field) so they dropped me and SAH off at my grandmother’s trailer for the evening. This caused a bit of stern discussion because SAH was black (which is more an enculturated way to describe him than reality, because he was light-skinned, like his grandmother – a wonderful, no nonsense old lady who raised a handful of her grandchildren).
[There’s an inadvertent theme – the hand grandparents, grandmothers in particular, have in raising children who come from the mine fields. They, by default a lot of times, become the elders who instill values in the kids, although often times that missing generational bridge causes the message to get lost, or ignored, or I don’t know. I was at my grandmother’s trailer a lot as a kid, and my younger sisters even more so. But the result of me and my wife attempting to recover from inherent dysfunction means my kids don’t even have grandmothers around, though both are still alive.]
By the time we all got to high school, due to my environmental exposures, I was synchronized to drugs and alcohol at an earlier age than most of those kids SAH and I ran with, from (I’m assuming) more stable homes. But I didn’t know no better, and I introduced my “good” friends to all the things I did with my “bad” friends, and inadvertently did my part at a young age to scatter more mine into the mine fields. Sterling was one of those folks. He didn’t drink, or smoke, or do harder drugs, but in the small circle I was part of, he was introduced to it. The first time he got high was in the shed behind my house, because we could all skip school and get fucked up there and there was a certain amount of lack of oversight by my folks that gave us the space.
Once we got to college, our paths split. SAH went to the local prestigious private school on full scholarship, part of their largest freshman minority class ever (it was 7), and I headed off to Richmond’s wonky public art school to get lost down fresh paths of self-induced chaos. I probably saw SAH less than a dozen times after that, but word had gotten to me through others about his bouts with alcoholism and other drug problems. I want to clarify here before I mention all this that SAH was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He loved to read, loved to learn, loved figuring shit out, and loved to do it faster than anyone else. He had a sports-like competitiveness to his intelligence, which I guess I actually have as well, and perhaps that’s something that comes to smart kids who come from less-than-stable backgrounds who constantly feel like they have to prove their mental worth.
But SAH had those problems, which apparently was a multi-generational problem, and part of the reason his grandmother had raised him. One time, after I’d quit drinking already, I was down visiting my mom with my middle child, and we stopped at the gas station towards that end of the county. A dude that looked enough like SAH was in front of me, buying beer, so I called out to him on the way out the door. It was SAH, who was riding with him mom, and had been visiting. We talked for ten minutes, he got to see one of my kids, he asked about my dad (who’d been dead for a number of years, which bummed SAH out because my dad loved SAH in paternal ways), and I told him I was sorry about his grandma (I had heard she died a few years earlier).
Somehow, even though he was one of the smartest people I ever knew, SAH ended up back where his mom was from, in New Jersey, and whether due to personal demons or economics or racism or combination of all, SAH was unemployed for some time. When I google his name now, a linkedin page shows up that says he’s working in scrap metal due to long-term unemployment. Knowing SAH, he wouldn’t have been happy about that, and put that on his linkedin page as an aggressive call-out message to those who knew him. In that perfect storm of instability, it sounds like his demons were allowed to flourish, and drinking became a bigger problem. His younger sister was murdered, and then he was found dead a few months later, health issues. I can speculate it was related to drinking, but who the fuck cares? Specifics are not important in my opinion. The mine field got him.

SAH lived on the southern end of Prince Edward County, down the dirt road by where we all went to 5th grade, which had been a high school at one time – Worsham School. It was a white school until 1963, when, after Prince Edward was forced to desegregate, the school was one of four in the county that taught African-American kids. They were called black then, as black and white were the terms used, with white as the norm and black as the “color”. I still struggle with how to type those classifications because they feel clunky and I don’t want to perpetuate them, but they are an important part of what makes us who we are, adding or removing mines to our individual paths through the mine field. By the time we were in high school ourselves, Worsham had been closed down due to being outdated and falling apart, and we often broke into it on weekends to party (verb form) there. Many of the windows got busted out one night while a member of our entourage was tripping in destructive ways, and we did our best to add to the graffiti and trash inside, while not trying to bust too much shit up so we didn’t ruin a good party spot. Only in the mine fields do you eventually get to get fucked up and trash the abandoned building where you used to go to school at.
I lived on that end of the county too, and when we were in 5th grade, there were about ten of us maybe who arrived by schoolbus a good 45 minutes earlier than everyone else. The rest of the kids came in on shuttle buses from the centralized public school compound. The main school wouldn’t be unlocked, so we’d hang out in the cafeteria (an external sort of pre-fab building/doublewide trailer), where the old lady who ran the cafeteria who lived nearby would give us free breakfast on the down low. This was appreciated because all of us from that end of the county tended to be some hungry ass kids. At the end of the day, after all the other kids had been shuttled back to the central school compound, we again spent another 45 minutes in our little ragged clique. Paper folding arts were big back then, making ninja stars and footballs, so some fairly intense paper football games happened in this evening period across not-necessarily-heavily used math book covers on the floor. One of the other white kids in that little ragged clique came across my social media feeds recently because I almost bought some firewood from his cousin. That dude – my end of the county, same little group there at Worsham – has had pretty steady series of drug and alcohol arrests – heroin and cocaine, and social media pics show a heavily tatted up dude with the glazed eyes of one who gives very little fuck about the rest of the world. He grew up not far from where my youngest sister (and little nephew) lives now. Granted, this dude was a lot more out of control than me back then, in fact I got kicked out a high school football game one time covering for an act of setting off fireworks that he actually did. But I got blamed by my bus driver (who hated me… I was the only white boy on the bus, thus stuck out, and I guess earned his ire due to that, but I honestly don’t know why that dude didn’t like me) who doubled as sheriff security at football games, and one of the things my dad was adamant about teaching me was don’t snitch.
SAH lived right there but didn’t get there early with the rest of us kids. I think he probably walked there when the shuttle buses came in. That other kid with the ongoing adult legal and drug issues who played a thousand games of paper football with me, the mine field obviously got him too. But why not me? That other kid was as white as me, and he’s straight fucked (by society’s judgment). SAH was smarter than me, and way harder of a worker in school, and he’s dead. Why did I survive the mine field and they didn’t? Intelligence, privilege, skill… that can’t explain it, because there’s contrary examples to each.
I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a combination of all that, and a complicated storm of reasons with blind luck being a pretty big ingredient as well. You can consider that blessings if you believe in spirituality, or chance if you believe in scientific method. But I had a lot less to do with it than standard American meritocracy theories would lead you to believe. That’s not to say I didn’t have to work to survive, but I used a lot more luck than work the first thirty-some years of my life.

The Worsham school, after we helped tear it up in our teen years, and after it was left to rot for a few more, got renovated in a weird example of rural gentrification. It’s loft apartments now, and the website highlights the one year it was an African-American only school instead of the previous 40 as all-white, or following 25 as singular 5th grade building in overcrowded and underfunded rural school system. One of the insulting aspects of gentrification is how derelict buildings are seen as salvageable and worthy of repackaging as an entity normal society could appreciate, with the right amount of investment. That other white kid who may or may not be in jail again right now, and if not is likely battling the same demons on the outside that will inevitably put him back in, does not have that benefit. He is just a derelict human, unsalvageable in the eyes of normal society. SAH, despite his natural intelligence, was not a good enough human resource, left to fester in under- and unemployment. He wasn’t worthy of investment either. That’s the culture we live in, and I don’t feel comfortable with it. I think that’s the hardest part of the “why me?” when you’ve gotten through the mine field with your dumb luck and ever-adjusting survivalism… I don’t feel comfortable coming out on the other side. These people don’t feel like me or think like me. But allegedly, I’ve made progress, just like that Worsham school that’s now expensive (by that rural end of Prince Edward County’s standards) lofts. Every time I drive by that place I want to burn it down. I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away.

S1BL1NG S1LH0V3TT3S 4G41NST...

sibling silhouettes against
setting sun backdrop, stupid
father snaps crappy pictures

4S M4CH1N3S B3C0M3 SM4RT3R...

"as machines become smarter,
people become weaker," said
guy beside me on Greyhound

Wednesday, July 26

freestyle sonnet #091: DROWNING IN NORMALCY


Drowning in normalcy, surrounded by dadbods 
and soccer moms rocking one-pieces, minivans 
retaining resale value, sad lack of dirtgods 
and Earth bitches; life switches quick from wild-wayed plans, 

find yourself choking on responsibility, 
too much indoors life congealing inside stalled heart, 
psychic walls planting patents of futility, 
putting doom inside your dome; no escape through art 

after while since dopamine receptors too taxed; 
try to do right but wrong feels better, makes more sense 
(even if it ain’t common), manufactured waxed 
and waned drama implanted in brain; chain link fence 

enforcing the grid - locked, loaded, too much to unpack, 
got lost deeper in lying ass labyrinth’s track. 

PH0T0GR4PH1C 3D1T1NG...

photographic editing
through frame manufactures one's
desired results by what's gone

TR4PP3D D0WN H3R3 B3N34TH 4LL...

trapped down here beneath all
these bricks and blocks and facts stacked
into stifling labyrinth

Sunday, July 23

Nagoya Basho 2017 Honour Tanka Day 14: TAKEKAZE (8-6)

(lololol, classic sumo gifage)

sumo (it appears 
at times) is engineered to 
produce grand drama 

some of Kisenosato’s 
wins appear questionable 

sports entertainment 
principles applied perhaps, 
but not acknowledged 

to achieve desired results 
requires complicit parties 

not everyone, 
necessarily, but key 
participants yes 

who better than an elder 
old school Japanese native? 

thus, mathematics 
allows for Aoiyama 
still has yusho shot 

somehow, on penultimate 
day, he has Takekaze 

he’s makuuchi’s 
elder rikishi, yet not 
near top of standings 

as mid-ranked maegashira, 
Aoiyama draws “equals” 

yet as his record 
in this basho got better, 
where’s the ozeki? 

he is allowed to appear 
dominant to keep the math 

Aoiyama bowls 
Takekaze backwards fast, 
little battle had 

Takekaze’s aging face 
flattened further with palm thrusts 

sumo’s high drama 
has all the fixings with one 
day left to decide 

Takekaze continues 
as sumo’s elder statesman 

politics appears 
anywhere money’s involved, 
anywhere on Earth 

thus Aoiyama’s challenge 
been well-crafted, discreetly 

(full match, courtesy of Jason's sumo channel)

Nagoya Basho 2017 Honour Tanka Day 13: HARUMAFUJI (10-3)

(Mongolian freight train)

Harumafuji 
overshadowed by fellow 
Mongol Hakuho 

now also overshadowed 
by young Kisenosato 

Harumafuji 
losting luster in crowded 
yokozuna field 

and yet, Harumafuji 
remains consistently great 

started shakily 
in Nagoya, seemed destined 
to withdraw early 

yet heading into final 
weekend, he remains, unfazed 

Harumafuji 
may not be popular like 
Kisenosato 

Harumafuji may not 
be the best like Hakuho 

but what he does is 
remain, perhaps Hakuho’s 
second, to this day 

ozeki Goeido 
faces him on day thirteen 

but early hiccup 
aside, Harumufuji 
is unstoppable 

dialed in like freight train, he 
overpowers helpless foe 

all Goeido 
can do is be the car in 
front of bullet train 

Harumafuji destroys 
another weak opponent 

Harumafuji 
outlasts two yokozuna 
who have gone fusen 

the grizzled Mongol remains - 
no fusen, no fucks given 

B1BL3-STVDY GR4FF1T1...

bible-study graffiti
scrawled along ungentrified
edge of old southern city

Nagoya Basho 2017 Honour Tanka Day 12: TAMAWASHI (6-6)

(Tamawashi slapped around)

someone has to get 
slapped around by Hakuho 
in all-time wins quest 

day twelve - Tamawashi’s turn 
to feel Hakuho’s anger 

vicious palm slaps in 
abundance - Tamawashi’s 
jowls rattle from strikes 

Hakuho hoping to set 
all-time record speedily 

Tamawashi has 
little chance to fight back with 
any real power 

beaten into submission 
by greatest sumo ever 

except there is no 
submission in sumo, so 
Hakuho stalks in 

Tamawashi stunned along 
edge, quickly pushed out-of-bounds 

there is no shame in 
losing to metaphysic 
Hakuho steamroll 

Tamawashi’s no coward, 
cowered not at Hakuho 

little can be done 
to stop what is happening, 
what Hakuho does 

Tamawashi did what he 
could against history’s march 

(the full bout below)


Nagoya Basho 2017 Honour Tanka Day 11: NISHIKIGI (6-5)

(Aoiyama's championship hopes tumble)

juryo demotion 
becomes extended remix 
to oblivion 

reaching makuuchi (top 
level) defining moment 

but maintaining good 
win-loss record the only 
key to survival 

very simply, one will drop 
or rise by wins and losses 

thus, Nishikigi’s 
rise to makuuchi was 
challenged recently 

three losing bashos in a 
row saw him get demoted 

at Natsu Basho 
in May, back in juryo, he 
had to start over 

he ended up champion 
at juryo level in May 

thus, Nishikigi’s 
back in makuuchi as 
low maegashira 

this means wins-losses very 
important to maintain status 

Nishikigi came 
out strong, won five of first six, 
then started struggling 

day eleven, he 
was even five-and-five, to 
face Aoiyama 

the big Bulgarian sat 
one bout behind Hakuho 

having easily 
his best basho ever, stepped 
in Aoiyama 

as low-rank maegashira 
Nishikigi needs more wins 

makekoshi might 
mean another demotion 
back down to juryo 

how many months spent struggling 
to get back up? no one knows 

some get demoted 
and spend years attempting to 
regain top status 

some never get back, not just 
old rikishi, young ones too 

a very simple 
merit-based formula 
can be hard to crack 

today, Aoiyama seems 
poised to maintain his force 

Nishikigi’s heels 
being tested, resisting 
Aoiyama’s girth 

it looks to be another 
Aoiyama victory 

a loss meant trending 
towards makekoshi for 
poor Nishikigi 

a loss meant demotion might 
appear on the horizon 

the last five days could 
unravel into succession 
of failure demons 

five wins, ten losses would man 
definite return below 

that destiny teased 
itself as reality 
at dohyo’s far edge 

inches between failure and 
survivor’s perseverance 

Nishikigi’s heels
pivoted, Aoiyama 
chasing afterwards 

for first time, Aoiyama 
seems not in control of girth 

Nishikigi pushed 
big Aoiyama down, both 
men falling closely 

Nishikigi is declared 
winner, surviving the day 

each bout becoming 
microscopic fault line 
in his destiny 

metaphysical maintenance 
of position in sumo 

(the full match, should you care)