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, November 14

CVR10VS G4WKS FR0M B3H1ND...

curious gawks from behind
piecemeal fences, I stand tall
on wrong side of this order

SONG OF THE DAY: Footsteps in the Dark (screwed)


It is cold now but also I do not live in a country house with woodpile and stove this year, but instead in a city basement apartment, the shameful existence of a separated male lacking in financial security net, living in someone else’s mother’s basement. It is not as cold because I bought an $8 blanket from Roses the other week, a salmon pink color to challenge masculinity stereotypes, but my city basement apartment has gas heater, hooked up unseen connectors to city supply, and it will be silence in the apartment, and cold, and then the machine will start snortling with preparations and finally roar to life, filling my humble rented partial home with warmth.

I often feel the presence of footsteps in the hallway at night, and my children are horribly afraid of the laundry room door being open when they are with me. It is obviously some sort of portal, or there are spirits afoot. I have burned sage, and spoken the “THERE’S NOTHING LEFT FOR YOU HERE!” mantra of supernatural release, but unfortunately it looks like I have a bureaucratic ghost. Most ghosts in popular culture are malevolent or heavily involved in interfering with your life in some bizarre and reality-challenging way. I apparently am affected by a mundane ghost, one who just walks around the hall, looks around, and doesn’t really do shit. In fact, usually when I have said the mantra of supernatural release, which normally works, I can tell they just hide in the laundry room, pretending to not be there, until I forget, and then they start walking around in the hallway at night again.
With winter comes the roar of the furnace, which drowns out these ghostly footsteps in the dark, and it means I sleep better. Except I don’t, because it goes from cold and cuddled under blankets to painfully hot, and it seems difficult to find the sweet spot in between with the clunky gas furnace and decades-old thermostat. Also, I am haunted internally by my own ghosts, and failure demons, and worries and fears. So I will wake up, not sleep, pace to the kitchen down the hall, then back to bed, then back to the bathroom, then back to the kitchen, then bedroom again. I sometimes wonder if I am not already dead and I am the ghost pattering down someone else’s hallway, someone who is living an actual life, full of realized dreams and ambitions that are achievable. I’m probably not but it’s impossible to tell. Reality is never as real as people try to make you believe it is.

Sunday, November 11

SONG OF THE DAY: Liberation



Was reading the words of Rammellzee again the other day, as I often do, and got to thinking about intellectual property, philosophical consciousness, and “gothic futurism”. I’ve been babbling for a while now (maybe a year? I’m not good with calendars when it comes to art, as I shall always remain) about “southern gothic futurism” and in fact renamed the haiku slams I hold space for under that phrase. This was born from being deeply fascinated by Rammellzee’s gothic futurism philosophies, about how American racism goes back to medieval cultural forces, how language is used to hold us back and has been weaponized. I honestly can’t stop thinking about it, because (all this is a “it seems to me” scenario) America, as in United States (not original twin continents), seems to be Earthly realization of western European cultural progress, English colonialism (here, but Spanish colonialism just as strong a force through the Americas historically) coming to full culmination, or at least trying to. Thinking about the way Roman letters are broken up from natural continuation makes it hard to accept concepts like “linguistic revolutions” because they’re mostly done in English still. We (all of us) are of course forced to do this though, because most people with any connection to an earlier cultural tribe have likely lost that connection, and the language associated with that culture, many white people included. (This is not a bullshit “Irish people weren’t white” post lolol, but the English subjugated and assimilated a lot of people who never would’ve considered themselves English, who now proudly – and sadly – consider themselves white brethren. This is key part of how racism works, tricking peasants into thinking their kingly because they are the same X as their rulers. But that’s a whole ‘nother essay...)
My recent trip by train around the county reminded me with very clear examples of why I love the American South so much, where black and white have been forced to co-exist by historical atrocity, and in the socio-economic margins of American life, the ones who have co-existed have to a certain extent realized how the same they are along many roads of the American Empire’s intersectional experience. Of course, not all, because poor whites are still white, and males are still male. And an added plus to the southern experience has been the influx of Latinx culture (lol “latinx” is perfect example of a linguistic revolution which doesn’t necessarily make sense to me because it’s still anglo in foundation). Last weekend went to a high school dudes reunion hangout, and was talking about how in tiny ass Keysville, VA, there’s a tienda now, and I can stop and get a coconut boi water if I want to. No pupusa stand in the back, as of yet, but one can only hope that’s an eventuality. Tobacco farms which used to employ slave labor moved to cheaper undocumented labor, which is not the fault of the workers at all, because it’s the employers who are breaking the law imo. They are the ones with power; punishing the workers is wrong-headed (as the United States tends to be though). But for me, the concept of “southern gothic futurism” is that mix of cultures, which creates a beautiful survival mode environment, but also harkens back to all those “tri-racial isolates” cultures which existed in the margins, swamps, and deep mountains of history – where runaway/freed slaves and disillusioned/escapist whites and indigenous peoples lived and bred together into smatterings of mixed culture that confuse the racial philosophies that make the United States be the way it is. People recognizing their shared and similar humanity by living among each other instead of putting up walls and barbed wire differences which aren’t based in natural reality, only in enculturated indoctrination.

Anyways, with all that in mind, and this explanation of what southern gothic futurism means to me at philosophical core, this Outkast song is most definitely the southern gothic futurist (un)national anthem. And a cold ass Sunday where the sun still shines like a thousand poetries in one blast is the perfect day to bump the southern gothic futurism (un)national anthem, imo. Much love to you all.

C0L0RFVL C0NTR4ST T0 WH4T...

colorful contrast to what
we know the rest of the year,
before the shit falls apart

Friday, November 9

Y0V C4N'T R3SP3CT TH3 P0L1C3...

you can't respect the police
and be true to guerrilla
principles of real freedom

SONG OF THE DAY: Anar


[today's song blurb is also a freestyle sonnet, because I am a dirtgod who does such things] 

Traveling the vacated wasteland of what's known, 
innate desire to roam denied by days' trifles, 
but bound to explode with gone mode, love chances blown 
and bridges burned - back tracking consciousness stifles 

disappearance; dystopia ended up far 
more mundane than expected, wasting most my time 
distracted by digital poisons, psychic scar 
tissue thickens into metaphysical slime 

and sludge; fog so thick you think you're woke while broken, 
clear-headed while ripped by septic tide lacking sand 
beneath barefeet; end times ancient texts had spoken 
of remain horizon only; still though, well-planned  

peeps stockpile milk crates, machetes, pallets, and tarps; 
soundtracks for disappearance like angelic harps. 

Thursday, November 8

G0NN4 B3 MY F1RST W1NT3R...

gonna be my first winter
without woodpile to worry
over in like twenty years

SONG OF THE DAY: Nomento


The shadows of good and bad, what’s acceptable and not, margins and mainstreams. I struggle with the concept of marginalization a lot of the times, because a lot of what is considered mainstream (white male) privilege is me, and yet there’s a certain level of marginalization I still feel (outsider, looking in). And at the same time, I honestly feel like the margins might be preferable in some instances, because not being marginalized means assimilation and acceptance, and this assumes the system itself is good and just, which of course it’s not. My twit homie the psychotic philosopher T-2 billions often throws the meme-itation “always choose marginalization” (which oddly enough I think I made a meme of at some point that he throws back at me, showing that working circles of philosophy are spirals, which can go upward or downward). Margins are only margins when the mainstream is still the dominant force. In those shadows though, autonomous zones can be created, which I guess also goes back to how my boy Boogie Brown and me always talked about the Shadow Dwellers, living at the edges where nobody is looking too hard.
It is obvious we live in a fucked up sliding-towards-fascist state, perhaps already there and no slide left other than deeper into the abyss. But they don’t have the ability to watch everything, at every angle. Even if they build their walls around everything, the walls get neglected, and cracks appear. I mean that’s the whole justification of this racist, fear-mongering about the border – that it’s neglected and people sneak through. That has always been the case, and always will, no matter what anyone believes or says. The enforcement of imaginary arbitrary lines that were grown on a master-planned map, which aren’t seen in the real world, until built and maintained, by the mainstream. But cracks appear, then gaps, then the whole sections of that wall. Margins become alternate streams, and sneakily acquire autonomy. A true open society would of course accept everybody, but also fuck acceptance from a fake ass meritocracy mythological bullshit society.

The context of this rant relating to this song is the sample at the end, about living in the shadow of the White House, in DC, in what would feel like an entirely different world. That has always been the case in DC. Inequality, oppression, and the fucked up state of affairs in this county is nothing new under Trump. The elder Bush infamously held up crack he said was gotten across the street from the White House, and this was supposed to shock everybody. The fact crack decimated DC before and after that time, and the only help those communities got was the prison industrial system driving deeper dysfunctional wedges into an already traumatized family structure, didn’t matter to the mainstream. It still doesn’t. No blue wave is going to wash that mainstream into a better direction. Always choose marginalization. Fuck the bullshit.

GH0ST M4K1NG N01S3, W4LK1NG D0WN...

ghost making noise, walking down
hallways again; "nothing left
for you here," I say again

Wednesday, November 7

4N0TH3R GR33N S34S0N G0N3...

another green season gone,
looking ahead past winter
(which will soon be obsolete)

SONG OF THE DAY: Santeria


Most of Virginia’s most notable contributions to hip hop have come from the Hampton Roads area, and have been pop-based. Neptunes, Pharrell, Missy Elliott, Timbaland… that whole slew, which to be honest doesn’t feel much like the Virginia I know, so has never been something I’ve been hyped about. Virginia itself is kinda fucked up and like five different states – Northern Virginia (all suburbs of DC, almost a separate state tbh), Blue Ridge/southwest Virginia (beautiful, but fucked, kind of like a less doomed West Virginia), Southside Virginia (forgotten, my homeland, like squashed flat Appalachia), Tidewater Hampton Roads (which itself is sort of segregated into a military industrial/affluent white pseudo-NoVa and then non-white Hampton/Norfolk/etc), and central Virginia/Richmond (which likely just contains southside VA as well but I am overglorifying my homeland’s importance). The entirety of Virginia’s hip hop influence on the larger world has come from one portion of the state, and a portion that’s highly segregated culturally as well.
This is why almost every head from Virginia still has some level of love for Pusha. He’s remained in the middle of shit, and remained with an edge, despite being all wrapped up with the aforementioned pop shit, and being implicated in Kanye’s existence, and all sorts of other fake world shit. When his tape dropped, I bumped the fuck out of it, and still do to be honest, some tracks like this one. Also I took the Drake diss to try and lobby my children to stop giving Drake a pass.
The music industry is so fucked up. A guy like Pusha somehow is pulled through by Pharrell, and passed onto Kanye. A guy like Drake, buttersoft pop as they come, somehow got filtered through Rap-a-Lot Records and Baby. I’m sure each executive entity takes their percentage, and fuck, when you think about the fact Drake is a manufactured sound with team of ghostwriters, I wonder what the overhead is on a Drake album? I wonder how much it has to sell to break even? What a sketchy ass industry? Anyways, despite my recent trip causing me to want to disappear to Salinas, California, or Montevideo, Uruguay, I’m still from Virginia, where ain’t shit to do but cook. I’m making saffron rice and red beans tonight actually, maybe sautee up some baby bok choy too.

B0N J0V1'S W4NT3D D34D 0R...

Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or
Alive" lyrics tattooed on
my torso in Arabic

Tuesday, November 6

Monday, November 5

TH3 CL34N H1GH 0F GVMMY W33D...

the clean high of gummy weed,
minimized anxiety,
just lounging, reading Steinbeck

SONG OF THE DAY: Nar Djenetbouba


Tinariwen music makes me want to walk the earth. I have a step counting app on my robot phone now, which is really dumb because my best walks are done when I have left my phone at home. My bestest best walks are when I have left my phone at home and the battery is dead on it already. My ever bestest best walks are when I have left my phone at home because the battery is dead and the power grid has failed and no one’s sure when it’s coming back. And then I walk. Tinariwen makes great music for such walks, walking the earth like that, in fact I’d say their sound is innate to the nomadic spirit of people who seek. I am a seeker. Work is frustrating because work is not it. My creative life is great because it is scratching at it, but I don’t get to scratch nearly as much as my heart wants to, nor nearly enough to express all the creative itches the universe shoots into my heart on a constant basis. But Tinariwen is great for walking from here to the third horizon while thinking about who would be on your post-societal collapse team of 144, and plotting out where you’re gonna stash the caches of milk crates, machetes, pallets, and tarps. I’ve been contemplating pretty heavily the past few days a Wild Thing Philosophy, which leans heavily upon milk crates, machetes, pallets, and tarps. In fact, a key tenet of Wild Thing Philosophy, at least in the physical realm, is that principle of MCMPaT (milk crates, machetes, pallets, and tarps). But ultimately, as is the way of seekers, the metaphysical realm is like a million physical realms, all layered on top of each other, into a giant wash of truth. Tinariwen is great for thinking about that shit.

L00K1NG T0 TR33S F0R GV1D4NC3...

looking to trees for guidance,
except now I'm living where
buildings overshadow trees

Sunday, November 4

Saturday, November 3

Friday, November 2

H0M0G3N1Z3D 1NT3RST4T3...

homogenized interstate
exits full of exact same chain
stores, from sea to shining sea

SONG OF THE DAY: Turtle Van


IT’S FRIDAY AND WARM AND MY SEROTONIN FEELIN’ RIGHT AND THE REVOLUTION STILL WON’T BE TELEVISED NOT EVEN ON TINY HANDHELD SCREENS, AND EVEN THOUGH THE WORLD IS FALLING APART IT’S NOT REALLY FALLING APART, JUST LAST GASPS OF EMPIRE WHICH MIGHT TAKE 2 YEARS MIGHT TAKE 20, HARD TO KNOW. BUT YA GOTTA STAY RIGHT, BE HYPE NOT DOWN, GET YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY RIGHT, KEEP PEP TO YOUR HEART, FIGHTING THESE DEVILS MEANS FEELING GOOD WHEN THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO SOMETIMES, PUMP THAT MUSIC WITH THE WINDOWS OPEN, SIT ON THE STOOP OUTSIDE, SAY “what’s up brother” TO THAT DUDE WALKING PAST, MAKE DISARMING PLEASANT EYE CONTACT WITH THAT WOMAN WITHOUT FORCING CONVERSATION ON HER, JUST BE A FUCKIN’ RIPPLE OF POSITIVE CHANGE ON THIS CROOKED ASS EARTH, Y’ALL.
For me personally, Stalley helps, at least today. Turtle Van to cross Turtle Island aka Abya Yala aka the Americas. Make 'em great again like the 1300s.


CH3VY ST31NB3CK F4NT4S13S...

Chevy Steinbeck fantasies,
puttering along lost streets
where American dreams die

Thursday, November 1

SONG OF THE DAY: Tennessee Jed



Fuck it, I listen to the Grateful Dead still sometimes. Specifically this song triggers loving memories of barely remembered times. Shit, I sing in my head “honey come quick with the iodine” like once a month, and I imagine the iodine is actually an overthrow of our two-party kleptocracy, which is run like a good cop/bad cop, where the bad cop is currently just fucking shit up left and right, and the good cop turns to me and says, “See? The only way you’re going to get him to stop fucking shit up is to start talking to me.” Fuck I hate cops. BUT DON'T FORGET TO PICK YOUR FAVORITE COP NEXT WEEK! VOTE FOR ALL THE GOOD COPS! Some of them are even brown, and they do cool lip sync challenges on their social media accounts.

PR4CT1C1NG P0L1T1C4L...

practicing political
nihilism in rural
America - "fuck 'em all"