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, March 20

SONG OF THE DAY: Delphine


the full (fool) moon (glowing orb) has tag teamed 
our collective psyche with vernal equinox 
the crows have begun to caw with more force 
announcing the return of getting some shit done 
red buds of tree (not the purple of redbud official) 
are popping up high on the mountain above my basement apt. 
as well as along the interstate I pretend to move upon 
yellow forsythia flashing me sexily 
contemplation upon finally building 
that pyramid of creeping phlox 
angled towards the sky 
an altar of earthen work 
dedicated to nothing 
except the power 
of lounge 

UPCOMING HAIKU SLAMS

I have been remiss in updating this blog with upcoming haiku slams, because the digital experience has been microfissured into a giant mall where everybody only goes to the same five stores, so the notion of coming to my weird ass website blog at the margins of respectable civilization is unheard of. But because some of you are back roads loungers, let me post this shit up here for you.

  • FRIDAY MARCH 29, RICHMOND VA - ELECTRIC NOMAD DANCE STUDIO



  • WEDNESDAY APRIL 10, CHARLOTTESVILLE VA - TWISTED BRANCH TEA BAZAAR


I have peeps working on helping me find sponsors in order to have cash prizes for competitors, but nothing is set in stone. Excited to come back to Richmond, where the death match opponent will be the amazing poet Celina Nicole. No death match set up for Cville yet. But come out and support the southern gothic futurism movement, and come make new kinfolk in the righteousness of lounge.
I do also have an official (lol) website now, with a page on haiku slams there as well - check it out - and book me to come do one of these things in your neck of the woods.

CH34P M3T4L BV1LD1NGS FVLL 0F

cheap metal buildings full of
slow dying American
dreams, bound for chapter sevens

Tuesday, March 19

PR4CT1C3 0F S4NCTV4RY...

practice of sanctuary
lost in recent translations
of them books people thump hard

SONG OF THE DAY: Braggin' Writes Revisited


The wonderful aspect of a true and living sub-culture as opposed to one just manufactured by capitalist based materialism, is there's so many sediments and layers to the true and living sub-culture. I'm currently involved in helping with organizing a local community hip hop festival, and as part of it last year, they had a panel talk discussing the history of hip hop shows and groups and endeavors locally. It was amazing to watch that, and piece together the history of this one small southern city's hip hop. It's like that everywhere too - an art form (always with the dream of becoming business) where all these people, at generations level now, got to express themselves in this thing that blossomed from the South Bronx in the 1970s. Shit man, writing raps and freestyling carried me through the '80s as a rural kid, and in retrospect it's amazing to me that little ass Farmville, Virginia, had an AM radio station that played hip hop back then, which a lot of cities didn't even have. It's amazing that the club which had been Ernie's Disco, owned by my first grade teacher's husband, which we took a field trip to back in the day, just to dance and shit. Fevers has seen a ton of touring acts come through over the years, and has a pretty crazy reputation, but fuck it you know, people need places to go.
With all that in mind - the layers and sediments of hip hop culture - it's crazy to think of all the legends, absolute geniuses who exist in these tendrils of that culture, who are probably hardly known at mainstream level. J-Live is one such legend, just a beast of a lyricist and MC, and also public school teacher in Washington, DC (last I knew). I go through lyricist fetish periods, as all semi-educated white males who love hip hop tend towards (lol), and whenever that happens, J-Live usually pops up. An absolute legend, whether people know of him or not.

Monday, March 18

TH3 S1LH0V3TT3 0F B34CHFR0NT...

the silhouette of beachfront
hotels on a cold winter
night, but still partially lit

SONG OF THE DAY: Ex Girl to the Next Girl


Damn did I love Gang Starr at one point, personally thought of Guru as one of the top five MCs of all-time. One thing that's lost in modern hip hop is that MC/producer tag teamsmanship, with producer generally also being a DJ in those days. I guess it's sort of come back around because we do get all these pretty interesting projects where an MC does a whole project with a single producer. I don't know, I feel like Illmatic tricked people into thinking having a multitude of producers over a project was a good idea all the time, but not every project does it like Illmatic did.
Anyways, Guru's end of life where he was sick and all caught up in an abusive friendship/relationship with MC Solar, that's some wild shit, but also not wild because it happens to way more people than we realize. But at one point I remember constantly thinking how the sign of a dope MC was when they get snippets of their lines sampled for hook for someone else's song. That was gonna be Guru at one point - like on par with some of the all-time greats. But the wheels came off that shit. He got separated from Premier, lost that hot tag teamsmanship, and ended up paired with MC Solar, which ultimately ruined the last years of his life.
This song carried me through a bad relationship or two. I still got the 12-inch single in fact. In the old heads arguing about classics, I put Gang Starr's Daily Operation up there with almost anything. RIP Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal.

D33P GR33N R3S1ST4NC3 T0 WH1T3...

deep green resistance to white
people's persistence that they
really are bout it bout it

Saturday, March 16

SONG OF THE DAY: Cali-Tex Connect


I am not afraid to listen to some really horrible music from time to time. In fact, nobody should be. Everybody acts like they're a cultural critic online, that you are curating for eternity only the most important things to be consumed (as if any of this pop culture we make is strong enough to stand the test of even a decade much less eternity), but we are not. We are people who are consuming things. If it makes you feel good, and is not poisoning you, then fine. (When you figure in the subconscious, and how much of our pop culture is poison for the subconscious, it becomes more complicated, but that is a conversation for a Tuesday morning, not a Saturday afternoon.)

VND3R TH3 SH4D0WS 0F N1GHT...

under the shadows of night,
wandering this small city
in couple hour increments

Friday, March 15

SW1MM1NG B3F0R3 4 L1GHTN1NG...

swimming before a lightning
storm, after eating at a
Chinese buffet, 'cause fuck it

SONG OF THE DAY: Jacob's Ladder


I think I'm finally coming out my latest Rush phase, which doesn't happen all that often, and usually in colder months. It doesn't necessarily feel all that great, but there is a certain cleansing nature to it. I guess it's like getting a really shitty flu every now and then, and simultaneously vomiting and shitting a bunch of toxins out of your body accidentally as the virus momentarily seizes control of your system. And you're a little wore out afterwards, but a week later, you actually might feel better than before, plus you're immune to that strain for now. Until it mutates and shows up again somewhere down the road. So thankful I'm over it now. My apologies if I've accidentally infected you with Rush in the process.

TH3 TR41N TR4CKS N34R WH3R3 ST31NB3CK...

the train tracks near where Steinbeck
once wandered had makeshift homes
along the edge; ain't shit changed

Thursday, March 14

4 W00DSH3D BV1LT FR0M P4LL3TS...

a woodshed built from pallets;
a palace built from skull bones;
a skeleton built from dust

SONG OF THE DAY: Rip That Beat


Turntablism as a genre is fuckin' weird. I saw that Kid Koala dude open for somebody one time live, and there was one part of it that was absolutely amazing, but also I'm not sure I'd ever need to see him again. It's trick shit a lot of times, so once you seen it, you seen it. Kind of like watching Battlestar Galactica, being it relies on surprises and shit, once the surprises have been revealed, no real reason to return to the thing again.

Wednesday, March 13

GR4FF1T1 4RT1STS G0T PR1D3...

graffiti artists got pride
in can control, but spray drip's
pretty sick to be honest

SONG OF THE DAY: Once Upon a Driveby


An original album from my collection, that I bought upon first release back as a teenager, at Carrington's Records & Tapes in shithole Farmville, VA. Allegedly at the time, the owner didn't like white people and charged white kids a dollar more to buy albums or tapes (no CDs yet? not locally maybe) than black kids. Is this true? I don't care. I've gone through like three phases of loving the Boo-Yaa Tribe again during the course of time since I first bought this record, and also periods of not really caring. And somehow the album has survived it all, and still sits in my collection, having lived in trailer parks and milk crates I stored at somebody else's house, now sitting on some near free Ikea shelves off Craigslist in a damp basement apartment. Materialism as identity fucking rules!

F33L L1K3 1'M G3TT1NG CL0S3R...

feel like I'm getting closer
but it's impossible to
tell; horizon keeps shifting

Tuesday, March 12

SM1L3Y F4C3S W1TH TW0 X3S...

smiley faces with two Xes
for eyeballs on the back side
of camper at old compound

SONG OF THE DAY: Back Roads


Big Country has you brainwashed into thinking back roads are real 
they're not, nothing within 25 miles of an interstate is back road 
nothing within 10 miles of US highway is back road 
there are no back roads in America 
this is all a trick played by Big Country 
to make you think a new truck loan 
and going to Wal-Mart is a rural identity 
but it's not, you don't grow things, you don't build things, 
America is a giant plot, completely plotted out 
everything on-the-grid, nary a back road to be found 
google mapped into tax plats 
we are living a fraud 
WAKE UP SHEEPLE 
your guns are just more materialism 
all your points are hollow 
all your dirt roads have had gravel laid down by the state 
your mud bogging is performative faux-freebird wildness 
you are not even a cog in a machine any more 
not even a column in a spreadsheet 
you are just a single cell 
to be concatenated 
into submission 

P3RF0RM4T1V3 1NST4GR4M...

performative instagram
accounts which allegedly
are rural and socialist

Monday, March 11

SONG OF THE DAY: Loser


my back tattoo is only half a back 
the purity of natural born loser's poor choices 
was gonna get outlaw Jack of Diamonds 
representing myself - outlaw jack of all words 
and then Suicide King to signify 
paternal blood lines - reckless king of all dives 
then at the top in garishly beautiful script 
STANDING PAT - a blackjack hand not destined 
to win automatically but 
fuck it, still pretty good 

got the jack done, third eye activated 
small side street in Scottsville tattoo parlor 
operated by a dude from down the road 
but then he was gone, to Germany or Arizona 
and his style was too unique plus affordable 
being a small town and shit 
so never got the suicide king 
just half a back tattoo, holding a jack of diamonds 
waiting for life to deal me the other card 

every now and then my youngest child 
walks by as I'm shirtless (naturally) 
and she slaps my back, yelling 
SLAPJACK! and runs off laughing 
one of my blessings to remember since it feels like 
some folks lose so hard 
they never even finish getting their hand dealt 
before life folds up on top of them 
like metaphysical tangle of blackberry bushes 
fruitless to fight 

C0NT3MPL4T3 TH3 DR1V1NG SK1LLS...

contemplate the driving skills
required to plant mobile homes
in the poorest of corners

Sunday, March 10

P1NK1SH PVRPL3 P4SS10NS ST41N...

pinkish purple passions stain
the mundane boxes I'm trapped
inside of with touch of lounge

SONG OF THE DAY: Me vs. Me


my own worst enemy
although also the greatest trick
these devils ever played was 
convincing me they don't exist
and I'm my own worst enemy

my own best friend too
which maybe isn't entirely healthy
but what is entirely healthy
and does entirely healthy
even exist any
more

PR1V4T3 PR0P3RTY K33P 0VT...

"private property - keep out"
sign combined with old "born in
the U.S.A." graffiti

Saturday, March 9

N0 L0NG3R R3CR34T10N...

no longer recreation
if your vehicle becomes
late capital mobile home

SONG OF THE DAY: You Know I'm No Good


A recent classic of those afflicted by poor choices and failure demons. Some of us are just meant to embrace the wrong step, and in fact somehow turn it into an impressive swagger of reckless doom. A lot of times with famous people who do amazing shit and die quickly, there is a normie tradition of being like "gone too young" about them. But imagine if Amy Winehouse had been alive, and doing Toyota commercials or some shit. I always think of this as the Cliff Burton rule - if Cliff Burton had remained alive, it wouldn't have kept Metallica pure; he likely would've fallen under the same evil wizard spell everybody else fell under after Lars Ulrich dabbled in his father's black magic arts. Sometimes the universe knows we have done what we need to do, and also knows the weight of struggle which we squeezed our art from, and decides it's all good, time to go. Can't question that shit or assume if Amy Winehouse had not succumbed to failure demons, that she miraculously would have ended up being something other than what Amy Winehouse is. Sometimes poor choices live forever.

Friday, March 8

0VR C0NC3PTS 0F PR0P3RTY...

our concepts of property
manifesting destiny
dark and full of armed conflict

SONG OF THE DAY: Run Joe


Was wearing classic cheaply printed grey tee with pink LET'S RUN AWAY on it last night because honestly felt like running away, except nowhere to run to that I'm aware of. Don't have no passport, and America is the source of my failure demons. Plotted today's direct deposit, debited all the bills, contemplated needing my oil changed and a tank of gas and some groceries to feed the kids and I was tinkering with negative balance again, so couldn't even shift into the counting down the days to paycheck because it was tomorrow. Already counting down the days to the next one, even plotting ahead to one of those two months where you get three Fridays timed just so right so it's like an extra paycheck, which you pay your medical debt and back taxes and whatever garnishments and fuck man, is this living? Is this life? Can't afford a passport, much less a ticket, but staying put not gonna get anywhere either. America is a failed experiment, and not even an experiment, more like a project, which didn't fail at all to be honest - shit worked out exactly as master planned.
Music allows brief escape, as does all arts. I don't get to do what I see inside my heart creatively, though I appear prolific to outside eyeballs, this is just tiny little slivers of what I'd actually do were I truly enabled by life. Instead I'm usually getting choked out by it all, struggling to breath beneath the weight of it, poking creative projects into the chokehold and getting just a quick breath of life here or there. But there's not much living to these lives we got right now. The boots have come down harder, and the bootlickers don't even think they're bootlickers. Tapping a beat on the table with a pen, beating on the bottom of a pan like go-go drums. The police are at all of our doors, inside already, self-snitch devices in hand, acting like we being clever but snitching on ourselves hourly, up to the minute reports. "Run Joe! Run Joe!" refrains in my head, wishing to disappear from this life sometimes.
The fat homeless dude who talks too goddamn much and used to always wear Redskins gear was at the bus stop with me yesterday, downing a tallboy of Natural Ice, "need it to calm my nerves before sleeping in a big ass room with 65 other dudes." The bus showed up before he was finished though so he waited for the next one while I got on, the slow roll home after another day pretending to be productive, pretending work has meaning, while all the real work gets ignored. And I just hear "Run Joe Run Joe" in my head, talking to me, but there's nowhere to run, and there's no worse feeling than running in that moment of choking, that anxiety-ridden panic point, and you are off and running, and then the realization hits you that there's nowhere to stop, nowhere to land, nowhere to ever be safe again now that you're off and running. And you also know you weren't really truly safe in the first place either.
To be honest, I think that's the political awakening a lot of allegedly woke people haven't made yet - it was never as good as you thought, and you not gonna make it better by clicking the right buttons. It's a carnival game, not meant to work for the marks like me, just another American rube trapped in his cube, waiting around to die.

BVNCH3S 0F HVM4N TR4FF1C...

bunches of human traffic
patterns intersect at south
end of town, always popping

Thursday, March 7

TH3 CVRV4TVR3S 0F VRB4N...

the curvatures of urban
civilization given
free space and wealth to fuck off

SONG OF THE DAY: Roots and Culture


It is suggested often times that culture moves fast with today's technology, but it appears to be a superficial viral-like culture that very rarely takes root. If Google were a human, it would not even be old enough to legally drink in America yet. So much of what we call culture is wishful thinking that it's actually cultural. That's not to say it's not cultural, but how much will actually take root? This is a strange age. Oh well, fuck it.

M1DDL3-4G3D M4N PVBL1CLY...

middle-aged man publicly
practicing his free throws by
his self on Sunday mornings

Monday, March 4

4N 1NDVSTR14L 4G3 WH1CH...

an industrial age which
enabled traveling the
globe, collapsing back inwards

SONG OF THE DAY: Poison


[verse one] 
friend, I must WARN YOU 
I sense something strange in my mind 
situation is SERIOUS 
let's cure it 'cause we're running out of time

it's oh so BEAUTIFUL 
symbiotic relationships with the Earth 
they seem from the start 
it's all so DEADLY 
when not thinking with our heart 

it's driving me out of my mind! 
that's why it's hard for me to find 
can't get it out of my head! 
miss her, kiss her, love her 
WRONG MOVE WITH REGARDS TO LIVING IN ACCORDANCE 
WITH THE EARTH YOU'RE DEAD 

[hook]
that culture is POISON
never trust a big wallet and smile
that culture is POISON
POISON!! 

Sunday, March 3

SVP3RF1C14L D0LL4R ST0R3...

superficial dollar store
action figure with worried
look - hollow on the back end

SONG OF THE DAY: It's A Mean World


the blues have been gentrified
I know you’ve seen it, oldboys noodling on their guitar
at the local microbreweries Saturday afternoon
blues are universal, struggle is universal
nobody owns that, our poison culture creates it
constantly endlessly relentlessly
but goddammit please be real
about it

anyways
Sunday afternoon rainy and dreary
and life remains life remains real
a struggle, oftentimes poisoned
but still beautiful as fuck
always potentially beautiful

3XT3NS1V3 H0L1D4Y L1GHT...

extensive holiday light
variety - ironies
of late capitalism

Saturday, March 2

SH33TS HVNG 0V3R TH3 W1ND0WS...

sheets hung over the windows, 
to enable hiding from 
outside world's realities 

SONG OF THE DAY: China Doll


another plodding saturday afternoon
doodling through life's rare free moments
hallucinations of hope
because not at work
this must be what it feels like
to retire
imagine that reality
retirement
not unemployment not homelessness
but retiring still in a home
still eating food you like
and doing what you want to
with your days
because you "earned" it

I am a mark
because I still hope
for a life full of sundays sometimes
but monday always comes

ST1LL TRY1NG T0 F1GVR3 0VT...

still trying to figure out
what ain't been figured out yet;
it all works out how it should

Friday, March 1

SONG OF THE DAY: I'm Glad to Have What He Didn't Want


I got doogh yesterday because I had to take half a day off work for hustling children around between appointments, and decided to go ahead and take the half day instead of working part of it, so walked home most of the way, and went by the Afghan Market for that sweet mint doogh. It was cool but today begun the March month, meaning spring is near, and the daffodandillies already been popping, plus I seen some crocuses at my girlfriend’s compound. This all means not long before that most blessed of universally screwed and chopped times when the purple redbuds and forsythia and all the various creeping creeping creeping phloxes come out to shine. I love that shit, and celebrate days of heart overwhelmed by love with doogh. This is my tradition.
I still want to build a retaining wall about a foot in the air somewhere, maybe two, fill it with dirt in a nice 10’ by 10’ square, or maybe not a square at all fuck squares, maybe just a jagged weird shape, or circle, or oval, or better yet fuck it just build it how it feels without planning shape, then filling it with dirt (because I am a dirtgod) and planting the entirety of it with phlox, bright purple-pink phlox. I had thought about it being a pyramid or hill shape, which has its appeal too, but then I figured what better place to play dominoes or spades than an elevated bright purple-pink phlox zone in the yard for one month out the year? The rest of the year it’s green, which also is nice, but that spring session of dominoes or spades where you kicking it at a fold-out table on purple carpet as made by nature, that’d be some quality lounge. And I guess really there’s nothing stopping me from building a dominoes/spades purple phlox pavilion AND a phlox pyramid, maybe multiple pyramids. Why limit ourselves? It’s only one life we got, sure, but there’s a bunch of great shit we can do with it.

[this has been a simul-post with my patreon - plz consider supporting me there]

TH3 34GL3S D3SP3R4D0...

the Eagles "Desperado"
but about an old Chevy
Silverado leaking oil

Thursday, February 28

S1LH0V3TT3S 0F 1NDVSTRY...

silhouettes of industry
casting ominous shadows
over collective future

SONG OF THE DAY: High 'n Dry


county fair cocaine mirrors
quiet riot pyromania
kill ‘em all let god sort ‘em out t-shirt
young & ignorant dreaming of a carney life
escaping the inescapable
thirty years later here I sit
still not dead, I guess alive
but damn if it ain’t boring af most days

34CH S1MPL3 H0M3 Y0V P4SS BY...

each simple home you pass by
full of real lives exploding
with life-or-death emotion

Wednesday, February 27

1NDVSTR14L PL4NTS SPR0VT1NG...

industrial plants sprouting
along riverbanks, smoky
clusters of man's faux progress

SONG OF THE DAY: Mary Jane


So hey, I took some weed gummies while I was out west last fall, and I’ll be honest I don’t even like getting high like that any more. My mind races too much and I just turn into metaphysical fetal position thought swirls which don’t stop, not even bad just constant, like a washing machine stuck on super spin cycle and it’s just spinning and spinning and spinning and fuck man, I’m constantly busy where there’s no down time. I don’t want to spin harder. They even told me the one kind was great for anxiety but it’s not even anxiety just constant brain/mind crunch of the demands of self-expression (which I never have enough time to do all the shit I want to work on) and obligations (fuckin’ real life is an asshole) and then to have mind spinning super fast while body is in bumble bumble mode, it’s more like torture than joy. Give me the fog, the deep heavenly grandmother quilted fog that wraps around your whole body and shuts down all sensation of pain and frustration and feels like you were reborn in clouds, floating on the couch, watching South American futbol, hoping for a riot that inadvertently triggers global order collapse.

Monday, February 25

S0VTHS1D3 V1RG1N14 B4CK R04DS...

Southside Virginia back roads -
red bricks hewn from tobacco
profits, now gone back to seed

SONG OF THE DAY: Amherst Station



More happy nihilism from the Griselda Crew. We are all for the most part doomed, so might as well enjoy the ride.