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, October 17

Monday, October 15

Wednesday, October 10

Thursday, October 4

CR34T1V3 PR0J3CTS VND0N3...

creative projects undone,
life an abusive shitstorm
never allowing me peace

SONG OF THE DAY: Nothin' To Lose


Nothin’ to lose, nowhere to go, circle a prayer around the largesse land mass I inhabit. Nothin’ to lose, everywhere to go, meander my shit all over, scatter thought seeds in hopes something takes root somewhere, bears fruit in different environment that gives me sustenance I ain’t getting in this depleted soil. Humans don’t physically have roots, just metaphysical ones we make for ourselves, slowly over time, over generations, sometimes with more traumas and shocks than comfort and cultivation. Nothin’ to lose except what you’ve got, which when it don’t feel like much, fuck it, go for it.

GR3W VP 4L0NG R41LR04D TR4CKS...

grew up along railroad tracks,
so it tinged my natural
inclinations to be gone

Wednesday, October 3

M3T4L CH34P3R TH4N ST1CK-BV1LT...

metal cheaper than stick-built;
fossil cheaper than solar;
climate change cheaper than change

SONG OF THE DAY: The Cut Off


I am no J Cole apologist as is seen upon these internet lands, who assumes the contrarian position that J Cole is the supreme rapper of his time. But I also ain’t gonna lie, I don’t mind J Cole at all, and actively enjoy him if I’m being honest. Also, there is no doubting he is likely the most prominent rapper of this Piedmont Virginia/North Carolina land I’ve always felt was home. Often I look at old indigenous tribal maps (roughly drawn by western scholars) to see how those non-existent delineations of tribal lands often seem to coincide with the metaphysical feel places have. Although even in the context of indigenous history, the entire swath of Virginia and the Carolinas which was many other things will be marked as Powhatan lands, likely because the Powhatan worked with the colonists to an extent. And also, back to J Cole, is there nothing more perfectly Piedmont than a bi-racial kid coming up with dreams that straddle cultural worlds? And I guess there’s nothing more American than kid born on military base in Germany who grew up in Fayetteville which itself is off-shoot or supported by major military base itself. Culture is such a complex, layered thing, anywhere really but very much so in these strange and terrible times of the United States experience. Escape feels necessary, except there are limited means for those who desire escape the most to actually achieve it. We are stuck. So there are two sedentary routes of escape – through the arts, or the substances. Both essentially work to solve the immediate issue of I AM DOOMED. Currently I am of the belief that the substances treat the symptoms (standards western cultural practices tbh) while art attempts to untangle the source. But that’s also likely a self-supporting mentality not really based in reality. Life’s fucking hard. So I can’t fault anyone for self-medicating (unless they’re stealing shit out my house to support their habits, should they develop them), but I’d also enjoy your art more (I hope). And I enjoy J Cole’s music art, without having to get caught up in the superlative argumentative-laden mindset of the internet, where everything and body has to either be a greatest of all time, or its trash. (Also, I will always refuse the acronym for greatest of all time, because real goats are way better, in every instance.)

L00K CL0S3 T0 S33 C4D1LL4C...

look close to see Cadillac
reflection in door panels
(good art always has layers)

Tuesday, October 2

SONG OF THE DAY: Astral Weeks



Van Morrison pops up as that classic soothing country soul shit, due to past memories. My youngest sibling recently sent me a Van Morrison link, which means it runs deep in our memories. When my folks split up when I was a kid, my dad moved into a trailer down the road from our house, and I stayed up there a lot, because he had his demons and I ain’t want him to be alone with them. He played a ton of Van Morrison in that period, and I remember just kicking it, door always open, small ass old trailer so the living room was basically the front yard too, sitting there while my dad, my uncle, dudes from up and down the road, all came and went. Both my folks had their issues but I love ‘em because fuck it, without them, no me. And I love me, finally.
The other day we was riding somewhere in my given-to-me Honda Civic with the slipping clutch that I can’t afford to fix, and the kids were talking about funny nicknames and one of them said “Tuna”. I told them how that was their grandfather’s nickname, how more people knew him as Tuna than Charles. Anyways, my family is fucked up but it’s okay, so is everybody else’s. Life’s been hard the past year or so, but it’s okay, so has everybody else’s. But it’s weird how some simple shit like Van Morrison just sneaks right into that eye of the storm chillness – recapturing those tender calm moments even though life’s a fucking chaotic blur most all the time. I’m not sure there’s any musician I can think of more than Van Morrison that captures those snapshots throughout the entirety of my life better. Always makes me want to leave the door open and prop the screen door with the fisherman concrete statue I got and let the bugs come in and let the man go out, all of us freely.

0BSCVR3 L3G3NDS N3V3R D13...

obscure legends never die,
though never that well-known in
first place - dandelion folks

Monday, October 1

R3TR4C1NG MY P4TH T0 TRY...

retracing my path to try
and find stack of index cards
ripe with nonsense gibberish

SONG OF THE DAY: Stay Woke


Been contemplating killing off all forms of social media because it continues to trip me out how gentrified internet stream of consciousness poisons our collective thinking wells. As if recent major elections in the world shouldn’t be enough to show that effect, recently there was a surge in white rapper beef news, all because Eminem dropped an album that allegedly dissed a bunch of other white rappers, so the world was forced against its will to discuss white rappers endlessly for about a week, because the internet stuffed it into all our brains. The whole thing was weird, because I never even listened to a Machine Gun Kelly song before, and all it did was make me google him and remember what shitty tattoos he has. Like, I’m a man that loves shitty tattoos, but his are not that for-real shitty style – they are the heavy coverage of someone with money who gets them all at once. But also the best hip hop related Machine Gun Kelly is the ill beat my man Boogie Brown made from James Taylor’s “Machine Gun Kelly” song, built off a sick sample from the first couple measures.
I listened to like two songs off the Eminem shit but it sounded exactly like every Eminem song of the past 15 years, but shittier, like Jimmy Iovine and the music illuminati built an Eminem song machine at the turn of the century, which they also used pieces of for their 50 Cent song machine, both machines Dr. Dre helped to engineer as he is very much key member of music illuminati now. But the Eminem machine hasn’t had any new parts in all that time, so it still spits out the same things it’s programmed to spit out, and sure it fits the criteria of “good” rapping, but it’s predictable and boring and ultimately worthless. Plus the machine is aging so it’s ever so slightly not as crisp in the edges it creates, so the edges are soft and pliable and it feels like a waste of time, which it is.
The fucked up thing is, Royce da 5’9”, who is mostly considered Eminem’s sidekick, dropped a pretty fuckin’ great album called Book of Ryan earlier this year, which has actually stayed in heavy rotation in the Dirtgod Abode. Whereas Eminem is mechanically manufacturing polysyllabic predictability, Royce is digging into familial traumas, to a pretty raw level, including calling out his own brother. While Eminem is like “my mom sucks” in his predictable cadence, with stale pop culture celebrity references interspersed, Royce is digging into a specific incidence of his dad knocking the shit out of his brother on Christmas. It’s very much the difference between these two MCs offerings as it is with commodity and art. In our culture, commodity very often masquerades as art, in order to make us believe we’re not wasting our time. And emotional triggers of adrenaline, like a bunch of high school kids crowding around yelling “FIGHT! FIGHT!”, are woven in as well with these fake ass beefs. But Eminem wasn’t saying shit, while Royce was, but the internet just ignored Royce entirely for the most part, while it went crazy over “best white rapper” conversations for a whole week. It’s hard for me to believe that there’s not some sort of underlying racism concealed in the music illuminati that causes all this. Or possibly (probably) the algorithm itself is racist. I’d say that’s likely, which also means the information you’re being fed – seemingly in a meritocratic way – is not based on actual merit at all. That leads back to the first sentence about how elections can be manipulated simply by engineering human consciousness, through these mechanisms now in place which we consider altruistic, and being more connected.
Of course, the immediate irony of all this is the title of the song of the day by Royce – “Stay Woke”. That phrase went from a call for awareness to cliché pretty fast, due to the internet blowing it up, so that it lost its meaning once grandmas and the very obviously unwoke would say “stay woke”. In fact, I’d say more online acts of wokeness are performative than of substance. Online personal brand signaling. (A twitter friend, Eric Nelson, once made a tweet saying “performative acts of wokeness” and that phrase has been etched into my head ever since, because of how often I see it happening.)
Anyways, sleep remains the cousin of death, and most of us are dying slowly, 24 hours a day. So stay woke (by hitting snooze).

twitter renga #0918

[love too write twitter renga, one tanka at a time, 
at my @_raven_mack_ twit acct] 

love too be buried 
in the junkyard, next to cars, 
rusting back to earth 

love too breathe that red clay mud, 
returning from where I came 

love too be archived 
in ash, like an old box of 
faded photographs 

love too be scattered next to 
that sixty-ninth mile marker 

love too feel constant 
exhaustion, without the time 
or space for shelter 

love too squander energy 
in support of other's dreams 

love too be doomed, though 
deny inevitable 
on daily basis 

love too flatfoot through psychic 
minefields, grinning like possum 

love too cast prayers 
made of poor english words out 
into cyber void 

love too pretend art will save 
me, and that dreams get realized 

love too be alone, 
lonely, longing, old and grey, 
broke and undesired 

love too be tricked into some 
conventional bitch thinking 

love too see people 
transform into normalcy, 
but be mad at me 

love too feel marginalized 
while being judged as the cause 

love too pretend this 
is living as death keeps on 
creeping in on me 

love too pretend all this "work" 
is better than getting high 

love too cuddle up 
in quilted opioid fog 
on living room couch 

love too be numb to the pain, 
love too treat symptons not source 

love too pray to gods 
which stopped listening, sitting 
at river temple 

love too imagine where those 
rippling rapids might take me 

love too get lost deep 
down digital rabbit holes; 
sleep is for the dead 

love too blow dirt mist at the 
shinefaces faking their ways 

love too sell the angle, 
love too cut promos looking 
at first light mirror 

love too eat mythologies 
of freedom and realized dreams 

love too have children 
in constant crisis, running 
out of hours of leave 

love too balance family 
amidst capitalism 

love too pretend I'm 
making a living, not just 
losing grip of hope 

love too drop my kids off at 
dream-crushing schools before work 

love too tell children 
"wish I could make it better" 
as if we had choice 

love too have too choose working 
over loving and caring 

love too have people 
blow up at me because they 
project their own shit 

love too have suicidal 
children and social workers 

love too have to block 
the basement apartment door 
while people freak out 

love too be unsupported, 
yet somehow still strong as fuck 

love too share more than 
I should so that strangers can 
consume misery 

love too feel strongly alone 
while surrounded by so much 

love too wish there was 
happy ending, but there's not; 
more stanzas 'til death 

love to text "ok" despite all 
previous experience 

love too disappear 
into plain sight, people be 
like "where'd Raven go?" 

love too take internet back 
roads, avoiding interstates 

love too be obscure, 
anonymous, unnoticed, 
operating wild 

love too walk ten miles at night 
in lime green basketball shorts 

love too love to much, 
finding beauty in every 
broken ass human 

love too enjoy dopamine 
and serotonin rushes 

love too imagine 
mutual attraction with 
someone I don't know 

random train rides creating 
a new life's sidetrack tendrils 

love too have my needs 
ignored by those closest to 
me (supposedly) 

love to make legal mistakes 
in terms of relationships 

love too be somewhat 
consistent secondary 
concern for someone 

love too be separated 
from self-centered thought patterns 

love too not give a 
fuck any more; love too stop 
putting others first 

(which is not to say "don't care" 
but to say I deserve good) 

love too be Raven 
Mack - a good motherfucker 
with heart full of truth 

twin dimples of positive 
thought, and blackberry bush beard 

love too inshallah 
another day; thankful to still 
be alive (I guess) 

got cursed genetics but blessed 
electromagnetic flows 

love too be seen as 
piece of the problem, like I’m 
perpetuating

I’ll be here to help tear all 
this shit apart, if you want 

this country hasn’t 
ever given half a fuck 
about me (or mine) 

y’all wanna dismantle it? 
more down than y’all even know 

but if y’all trying 
to re-create that same shit? 
fuck it then, I’ll pass 

this United States model 
is done, no room for repair 

fresh coat of blue paint 
can’t hide rotten foundation 
which is now exposed 

burn it down now, or wait for 
it to fall in on us all 

I’m good either way; 
life spent in the shadows shows 
one how to survive 

semi-autonomous zones 
as America declines 

love too disappear 
from American myths 
of being special 

can’t settle for this empire, 
won’t settle for this empire