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.

Sunday, September 23

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Fourteen: TAKANOSHO (8-6)


[MOMENT OF SUCCESS] 

Takanosho got 
kachikoshi in his first 
top level basho 

this means more wins than losses, 
if you’re a sumo novice 

the opposite is 
makekoshi, and either 
means rankings movements 

up or down the overall 
rankings, released each basho 

there’s a banzuke 
scroll, where every rikishi 
is written in ink 

at the top, largest letters, 
are current yokozuna 

the names get smaller 
the further down banzuke 
scroll, to the bottom 

at the very bottom are 
those young men new to sumo 

thus, Takanosho, 
in first basho at sumo’s 
top level, did well 

promising young rikishi, 
increasing their scroll ink size 

personally, I 
find this so fascinating - 
worth displayed by size 

if there was an all-time scroll, 
Hakuho’s name’d be biggest 

day fourteen, he locked 
down another yusho win - 
his seventy-first 

no rikishi - or even 
yokozuna - matches that 

the young and the old, 
and how their trajectories 
intersect - sumo 

daily bouts for fifteen days, 
six bashos a year - sumo 

a sporting culture 
thick with ceremony, and 
corruption - sumo 

stories unfolding slowly 
like nature itself - sumo 

S1GNS W3 C4N'T 4FF0RD T0 K33P...

signs we can't afford to keep
up no more, in places we
still live since nowhere to go

Saturday, September 22

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Thirteen: HOKUTOFUJI (8-5)


[ee see dubyoo! ee see dubyoo!] 

after seven days, 
Hokutofuji was tied 
with the unbeatens 

since that day, he’s struggled to 
maintain that unblemished pace 

after couple days 
of losses, he finally 
got kachikoshi 

he’s struggled to get further 
into the winning column 

Nishikigi and 
he had a stubborn battle, 
with a trick ending 

Hokutofuji tried to 
twist at dohyo’s edge for win 

gyoji pointed 
his way at first - monoii 
called by ringside crew 

Nishikigi pretty slow 
to get up, arm dangling limp 

four feet clinging to 
permitted area, two 
bodies crush sideways 

original decision 
reversed with further review 

Hokutofuji’s 
first seven bouts fought perfect; 
momentum shifts quick 

and yet Hokutofuji 
fights with every last step 

sumo continues 
to be an unforgiving sport 
for these rikishi 

trajectories dissipate 
before one has chance to think 

(later day thirteen, 
battle of yokozunas 
got the crowd hyped up) 

(Hakuho easily beat 
Kisenosato, with flair) 

(Hakuho’s lock on 
winning this basho appears 
unavoidable) 

(two ozeki two losses 
back with only two days left) 

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Twelve: GOIEDO (10-2)


[rookie mistake charge] 

ozeki master 
busting out psychology 
to psyche out Abi 

young Abi never even 
got his hands down it felt like 

multiple matta, 
couple stand-back-up stare downs, 
got Abi back heeled 

when they finally started, 
Goiedo got him on jump 

Abi's energy 
burst pushed back, but Goiedo 
stepped aside to left 

helpful swat, and Abi's down; 
Goiedo remains top-notch 

W0RK1NG CL4SS M4SS3S CH4S1NG...

working class masses chasing
weekend trophy achievements
where no permission's needed

Thursday, September 20

S1MPL3 BRVSH STR0K3S 0N V3LV3T...

simple brush strokes on velvet
make immaculate aura
accessible by all us

SONG OF THE DAY: It's All Bad


Never really listened to a bunch of E-40, because he’s always come across as one of those “slang for slang’s sake” people, where you pretend everybody on Earth is saying some crazy shit you just thought up while walking to the bus stop. While I respect such ambition in destroying conventional linguistics, it gets annoying when you overdo it. That sort of became E-40’s thing. But DJ Screw subconsciously poisoned me into E-40 tolerance, so lately I revisited some of that classic ‘90s era Charlie Hustle, and it’s hard as fuck not to relate to this song, given current personal life conditions. It is all bad. People will be like “it’s going to get better” or “keep going” but honestly, sometimes shit doesn’t get better. Doesn’t mean you give up, because it only gets worse if you do, but instead of lying to people and continually saying “oh, it’s gonna get better, keep trying,” you should just go “yeah everything is fucked, but it’ll be even more fucked if you stop.” It’s like riptide, and culturally we live in a shit storm of a riptide as American empire crumbles while simultaneously everybody comfortable keeps telling you “hey, it’s not falling apart, it’s just a little blip in the exceptional ride.” Like with riptides, you’re doomed perhaps, but have to keep fighting sideways, to keep the shore in sight. Stop fighting, you’re definitely fucked; keep fighting, you’re only about 50% fucked. I guess I’ll accept those odds. (But y’all fuckers on the shore who keep saying everything’s alright better hope we the rest of us don’t have much energy left by the time we got to the shore, if we do, because we gonna stomp y’all one day.)

Wednesday, September 19

C0VNTRY ST0R3 D1SPL4Y C4S3S...

country store display cases
left to fade into past times
for future kids to picture

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Eleven: TOCHINOSHIN (7-4)


[sometimes Tochinoshin's technique is "fuck you"] 

this basho's third act 
begins with two unbeaten 
yokozuna left 

below that, many stories 
still unfold with fine texture 

one such story has 
been our man Tochinoshin, 
the Bulgarian 

the past year has seen no one 
else be quite as dominant 

our Bulgarian 
hero was makekoshi 
last basho, injured 

with Mitakeumi breathing 
down his neck, he needs eight wins 

bull Tochinoshin's 
(he who lifts ev'rything and 
throws it) been missing 

and facing undefeated 
yokozuna's always tough 

Kakuryu's wiley 
grace as yokozuna has 
been underrated 

I say this as casual 
dude who has overlooked him 

he seemed to be the 
third Mongolian before 
sumo scandals broke 

with Harumafuji gone, 
Kakuryu stood out stronger 

he and Hakuho 
were the lone unbeaten men 
left when day started 

Tochinoshin was fighting 
to keep ozeki status 

he hadn't been straight 
up lifting fools this basho, 
until yesterday 

against yokozuna though? 
surely, he'd become humbled 

nah, fam… the brutal 
beast from Bulgaria was 
full of spirit war 

Kakuryu's master tactics 
meant nothing lifted off ground 

he literally 
got carried the fuck away 
by Tochinoshin 

our Bulgarian hero 
one win away from safety 

"Tochi" shikona 
remains most honorable - 
three yokozunas 

Tochinoshin continues 
their tradition, with brute strength 

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Ten: KISENOSATO (8-2)


[ya boy dirtgod needs a fat stack of them envelopes like that] 

Kisenosato's 
return as yokozuna 
has been eventful 

he's hardly looked dominant, 
but he made kachikoshi 

it's been a year since 
he's accomplished such a feat - 
bad look for sumo 

gyoji called multple 
mattas (false starts) on Endo 

poor sad Endo - he's 
having an ugly basho, 
struggling entirely 

still a threat though, except when 
matta policing happens 

few bouts have true two 
hands down - it's performative 
motion in action 

but Kisenosato shall 
get all the help he can get 

official sumo 
federation wants their star 
to shine (for money) 

sumo federation wants 
Japanese yokozuna 

Kisenosato 
brings about a fat stack of 
sponsor envelopes 

thus after three false starts, we 
finally have some sumo 

Endo easily 
pushed backwards out the ring, 
a potential "work" 

"was Endo working hard, or 
hardly working?" as they say 

Kisenosato 
got his kachikoshi, and 
still only two back 

but let's be real - this is not 
the same Kisenosato 

B4L4NC3 B3TW33N L1GHT 4ND D4RK...

balance between light and dark
in times which feel too much like
twilight of humanity

Monday, September 17

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Nine: HAKUHO (9-0)


[Hakuho manhandling last basho champion] 

had a nice tanka 
about Hakuho's return, 
but lost that shit 

fuck it though, suffice to to 
say Hakuho's the greatest 

Mitakeumi may 
win basho when the bigger 
stars are laying out 

but Hakuho proved he's still 
the fucking man when healthy 

stood patiently as 
Mitakeumi thought about 
how to finish this 

but ultimately for naught, 
since Hakuho's the greatest 

Aki Basho 2018 Honour Tanka Day Eight: RYUDEN (7-1)


[young Ryuden flexing a little] 

Hokutofuji 
entered day eight as one of 
four unbeaten dudes 

across the way - Ryuden 
the young hopeful rikishi 

Ryuden showed mad 
promise at first, coming up 
same time as Abi 

but that boy Ryuden has 
been little inconsistent 

consistency at 
upper sumo echolon 
never that easy 

big fuckers smashing you, two knees 
carrying weight like peasants 

upon this eighth day 
of autumn aki basho, 
Ryuden stepped up 

too many dudes still ain't lost, 
leaderboard tightens daily 

Hokutofuji, low on 
banzuke scroll, dreaming of 
potential title 

but Ryuden ruined them 
hopes, putting first X on sheet 

Hokutofuji 
held at edge, resisting his 
first basho defeat 

but Ryuden was like "fuck 
that" - tossed my man to the floor 

is Ryuden real? 
has he found inspiration 
to perform sikkly? 

don't fuckin' know bro; I'm just 
watching some good ass sumo 

SONG OF THE DAY: Iblis Amghar


Mdou Moctar infamously became internet famous when he starred in the movie “Rain the Colour of Blue with a Little Red in it” which was a Tuareg re-envisioning of Purple Rain. Normally, one would be wary of Prince comparisons or positioning a dude next to culturally certified legend like that, but Mdou Moctar delivers. Nothing has been in higher rotation for ya boy dirtgod the past year.
It got me to thinking though, what would I do for personal vehicle as remake of classic movie? Perhaps a a redo of Cockfighter called Haikufighter where I refuse to speak again until I’ve trained in the mountains to truly conquer all haiku opponents and win a tiny little award. It’d be perfect metaphysical vehicle for me too, as I have a highly problematic history (because human, and also born trash), and not sure the post-pata-modern woke internet world could even handle trying to unpack Cockfighter the movie. Of course cockfighting is barbaric and horrible and inhumane. But it’s also a strange subculture, and they got a lot of sick t-shirts at the Latinx flea market featuring that as motif.

For clarity, I spent years raising chickens, and I’d never train them to fight. It’s a shitty thing, especially when made extra inhumane in those ways only humans are actually good at, where you strap on steel gaffes because roosters just naturally fighting like they always do wasn’t entertaining enough. But in those times I had more than one roosters (which happens a lot when you have chickens), it was strangely fascinating to watch them ruffle out their feathers and fly at each other, leg gaffes first. Unfortunately, too many roosters usually leads to them battering all your hens as well, so too many roosters means somebody has to go. I used to leave them by the river sometimes, which might sound horrible but is that worse than giving them away for free on Craigslist so you kick your problem down the road to some other unsuspecting person? I hoped that maybe the elven tribe down by the James River at Seven Islands would adopt the roosters too, but I don’t know. Been thinking about the elves with all the rain and potential flooding. I hope they’re okay. I hope the roosters I left there have bred with idling freight trains and are okay and their giant industrial steelcock offspring are okay. I hope Mdou Moctar is okay, wherever he is. And I hope I am okay. Am I?

twitter renga #0818

[twitter renga done one tanka at a time, 
at my @_raven_mack_ twit acct] 

one year after "bad 
people on both sides" comments, 
bad energies rise 

life in America feels 
more fascist than not most days 

I sit at bus stop 
right where people were beaten 
most days of the week 

walk through that intersection 
multiple times every week 

information shared 
through digital means is not 
real information 

educating yourself by 
clicking links is false knowledge 

then again, nothing's 
real; all's a conspiracy; 
life has no meaning 

grasping for explanations 
like drowning fingers at air 

already declared 
state of emergency for 
downtown Charlottesville 

one thousand geared-up cops shall 
arrive, but for what purpose? 

community on 
edge pushed closer to edge, with 
no explanation 

we're left to dwell on hearsay, 
rumors, and filtered info 

the past week felt more 
like a month to be honest - 
your boy's exhausted

proud of my community 
though, surviving together 

psychic exhaustion 
hard to sleep off - can't unsee 
stealth panopticon 

"sharing openly" online 
means self-snitching - DON'T FORGET 

community cares 
for themselves when/wherever 
institutions fail 

the quality of this care 
is also vastly improved 

world continuing 
to cave inward, withdrawing 
to only safe space 

withdrawn, and lacking support, 
navigating the darkness 

why are so many 
others' needs tethered to me? 
what about raven? 

how the fuck do I escape 
this heartless plough horse feeling? 

"it will get better" 
people assure, but nothing 
suggests this is true 

the tethers become further 
tangled, more complicated 

anxiety and 
anger, anxiety and 
anger... on repeat 

remind myself to breathe deep; 
one day I'll breathe red clay 

my inheritance 
is addiction, depression, 
and self-destruction 

the privilege to destroy 
self in unobserved margins 

how much of whiteness 
is feudal servitude to 
lords, and not brothers? 

I'd rather slit golden throats 
than bemoan broken borders 

el jefe es un 
bastardo, this has always 
been true, from day one 

his father is greed, thus none 
of us seen as his equal 

patriarchal hymns 
and western civ progresses 
sown into young minds 

those who take pride in settling 
are denying themselves growth 

a universe grows 
in ways antithetical 
to economics 

hoarding resources with armed 
fist is not actual growth 

fearmongerers might 
control the digital fog 
machines, but not me 

tear down all the fences and 
your "both sides" argument dies