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.

Thursday, September 12

B33 B4LM B4CKDR0P 4S W3 DVG...

bee balm backdrop as we dug
almost six feet deep in the
thick southern humidity

SONG OF THE DAY: Allah Hoo Allah Hoo



Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is basically the King Diamond of Sufi devotional music. Tons of qawwali music inside the cybervoids, tons by this dude, but I prefer to just listen to ALLAH HOO ALLAH HOO ALLAH HOO ALLAH HOO on loop, in the woods, chanting with the crows. I wasn’t gonna say nothing smart about music but then I accidentally explained who he was a little. Pretend I didn’t. Pretend none of this happened.

P3RS0N4L L1M1T4T10NS...

personal limitations
of vision finally reached
with these shitty cameras

Wednesday, September 11

CVTT1NG THR0VGH 0LD C04L Y4RD FR0M...

cutting through old coal yard from
Belmont to downtown, watching
gentrification's tendrils

SONG OF THE DAY: Suburbia


I have never understood suburbia, having not experienced it other than as an outsider, and still am confused by it. I’ve always been alien to the Northern Virginia style progressive suburbs, which produced most of the people I met in college, and felt like it was missing something. I used to think of it as fake, but tbh it’s probably more real in our American culture than what I think of as real. But something wasn’t there which made me comfortable, and I always distrusted it as well as products of those environments.
Strangely, even worse is where I’ve lived the past two decades, which is a strange faux-country basic communities suburbia best expressed by radio country music, full of dudes who drive jacked up trucks they’re still making payments on, that are never dirty, and American flags on the front lawn, with mad blue lives matter-esque apparel. I’m even more confused by this fake country suburbia, especially since one of my children seems fascinated with this as the basis for reality, due to public schooling. In fact, we were talking about this on the long ride into school on a week she was with me, and how our views of what “country” was were so different. And again, I guess it goes back to my notion of what is real is likely not as real in the American experience sense as what she thinks real country is, because there’s a fuck ton of dudes driving around in shiny new pick-up trucks who have two-story houses with basements and attached garages, and nobody seems to be struggling with payments because they stay the fuck there. How do they do it?

I’ve come to speculate that lifestyle remains foreign to you if it began as foreign because there’s gotta be some familial wealth built in somehow, even if it’s as simple as down payments or land or I don’t fuckin’ know. But I stay wondering how people have paid for the life they’re living, and act like this is the foundation of the American experience. And these are all the people that voted for Trump or were with her in resisting Trump – those with vested interests in empire because their foundation is one of stability, and a certain level of comfort that comes with that. I ain’t feeling it, because despite being better off than I’ve ever been in my life, it’s all still unstable as fuck, and I’m more likely to be homeless than retire.

But my youngest is always talking about when I get a house, when I buy a house, and how we’ll get a golden retriever or a dachshund, and everybody will have their own bedroom instead of her and her sibling sharing the second room, and if their oldest sibling comes home for a visit, somebody has to sleep on the couch, and that shit eats me up when she’s talking about a house because lolol I’m 46 man, I don’t have enough years of making money left in me to have a mortgage, nor am I even close to having shit together to afford a house in the area I live. It’s stacked against you, and I’ve got it better than so many people I know of too! It’s like this riptide that’s tearing many of us off into oblivion, and you fight constantly sideways, hoping to get closer to the shore where you see these illusions of others just frolicking around, having houses they renovate and shit, going on vacations to actual destinations, two car payments (or more), but you don’t get any closer. You get frustrated and quit fighting for like one month, and you’re ripped further out by the riptide. And even though all you can focus on is the people on shore, enjoying the good life promised in the brochure that you got handed in public school growing up, there’s a ton of people even further out into the sea of oblivion. And that’s our system.

People at work talking leisure life things eating another purchased lunch in the break room, one woman mocking a friend for not having furniture set up in the bottom floor of her renovated house yet, not Air-Bnb’ing that shit right, and how her friend should just go get some furniture at Ikea and get it set up right. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about how people like that further drive up rents, because their maximizing what they own’s output economically, but also the people who started out with access to wealth end up acquiring wealth more easily, so it’s a self-perpetuating system, and between the allegedly progressive faux-urban Air-Bnb gentrifiers, and the allegedly conservative faux-country new F150 drivers flying Blue Lives Matter flags beneath American flags on their manicured front lawn, it fills me with confusion and rage and wanting to smash everything into fucking dust, while also wishing I could hit the lottery and disappear the fuck off to a mountain somewhere in Peru forever. But then I remember I have to call creditors to try and get my minimum payments a little lower because I’ve got too many minimum payments running into conflict with each other because I haven’t hit the maximum out-of-pocket just yet even though hit the deductible again for the fourth year running, and I just concentrate on swimming sideways a little harder. You get too focused on those frolicking on the shore for too long, you’ll get yourself sucked further out into oblivion, so you gotta stay focused on swimming against the current sideways and keep praying you hit land before you drown.

Tuesday, September 3

SONG OF THE DAY: It G Ma



post-colonial identity in collapsing world
once the global borders dissolve and
semi-autonomous zones blossom like dandelions
committing treason upon whiteness
shedding it like snake’s skin
rubbed off between a fissure in the slate
as the grid collapses more and more
off the grid gardens of what’s next
get built
no sharing no soft snitching no socializing media
just getting back to the basics
of life being lived

this is not living
what we are doing now
though we get constant performance reviews
which facilitate the facade
and reinforce the false
but it ain’t living
not like an organic being is meant
to be doing
to be moving
to be walking
to be wandering
physical steps not digital imagined movements
arguing about red blue black white green pills
manufactured pharmacology of belief systems
transplanted thinking
a mind that feels the vibrations of fruiting plants
but it’s only a mechanical simulation

and still I write too many words
inside this grid instead of
out in the wild
ignoring the lesson
of the dandelion
like a goddamned fool

Friday, August 30

SONG OF THE DAY: Terroir


THE 99 WAVES OF AN EXTENDED REMIX TO LAST SUMMER WEEKEND 
laborwave callouswave 
brokewave serfwave peasantwave 
rainbowgadsenflagwave 
beebalmwave creepingphloxwave forsythiawave 
synthiawave synthwave mystwave 
starrcadewave royalrumblewave 
brazodeplatawave doubledropkickwave 
heelwave sheikhwave fireballwave 
scrappymcgowanwave 
vistawave vaporwave mistwave 
chincoteaguewave ocracokewave lordsburgwave chillicothewave 
thegreatwillieyungwave catchemslippinwave 
halfpricethighswave 8piecewave alldarkmeatwave 
gothiccwave fvtvrismwave 
skynyrdwave freebirdwave 
pawgwave dawgwave 
gaspwave okiewave 
backroadswave twofingerwave nodwave 
crowwave vulturewave 
tendrilwave melatoninwave 
metastasiswave saviourwave 
thriftwave fleawave junkwave floatwave driftwave 
globalsouthernwave newearthwave oceanraftwave 
thorheyerdahlwave joyharjowave 
terrorwave 
rustwave phosphoricacidwave omega3wave reishiwave 
supportticketwave 
paintfumewave huffwave courtorderwave 
recoverywave harddrivewave 
slawwave purplecabbagewave 
purplehazewave beezlewave bezelwisdomwave 
loungerwave 
dhikrwave tasbihwave martyrwave 
zincwave cubiczirconiumwave blavatskywave 
snakewave adrianstreetwave welshminewave 
hustlewave strugglewave jihadwave 
validwarrantsonlywave marginallyinnocentwave acabwave dornerwave doomerwave 
segundavaporwave maradonawave chivowave gringowave 
alhamdulillahwave subhanallahwave 

Wednesday, August 28

SONG OF THE DAY: Scuffle Town



Thankful people don’t actually read websites any more so that nobody actually sees this and either gets mad at me or has their feelings hurt. Punk music has always seemed like bourgeoisie bullshit to me, a performance of rebellion before slowly leaking back into the cul-de-sac futures your parents envisioned for you all along. Richmond in the ‘90s built that perception for me. The punk scene was insular, self-important, and progressively misogynistic, not to mention mostly afforded to folks to at a higher class status level. For as much posturing of slumming it up that punk does, there’s still a basic financial investment in wardrobe and constant shows that an actual poor can’t do.
The local scene was dominated by one group, and I dealt with all those dudes to one extent or another at some point in my time. Some were more chill than others. They had a set of reunion shows recently, and it was very weird to see the old class hierarchies back in effect, people clamoring for elusive tickets and making a high school reunion-like weekend of it. I’ve never been one to really understand the notion of being like “oh 20 years ago was the shit!” because shouldn’t your creative drive continue throughout life? But what struck me most was the level of economic comfort how many old punks had achieved. Having access to wealth, even through family, even if it’s tacitly, to get down payments on homes in cheaper neighborhoods you swear you’re not gentrifying, or to be able to support self-employment efforts that wouldn’t be sustainable without that adjacency to wealth from time to time… I don’t know, it’s weird, and it again confirmed all my suspicions about the class issues inherent to punk rock. Back then, a lot of the punks felt like assholes, and not in a fun “let’s be contrarian to the system” sorta way, but just in a regular old white guy asshole type way, juts with tattoos and patched hoodies instead of normal white guy asshole attire. Age has probably mellowed that outward expression of asshole, but that’s also because a certain level of comfort has afforded them that.
Clique-y scenes will always be bullshit, and just extensions of the existing status quo bullshit, but done through the act of being different. It is far easier to assimilate and appear counter to mainstream culture when you have access to the safety nets to make your daring countercultural jumps not a danger to your existence. There’s a lot of old punks, in Richmond as well as many other cities, that have been part of older gentrifying waves of urban spaces, and somehow consider themselves a voice of everyday people, or the poor and marginalized, or at least feeling sympathetic to those causes. I don’t know man, you’d think I’d not be shocked at people’s hypocrisy in this pyramid scam of wealth that is American existence, but I still am shocked by it.

Monday, August 26

freestyle sonnet #103: RECESSION IS COMING...


Recession is coming, but I'm already broke, 
duct taping my minimum payments together, 
economic vegan when it comes to making 

ends meet, plus completely paralyzed by too woke 
timelines streaming my consciousness into whether 
my children will survive in-real-life Earth shaking 

with more climactic extremes turning dreams to dust, 
no gods left to entrust; plus, feeling my own age 
and knowing I can't fend off the wolves like once could. 

Feeling the heat, while knowing this cold world's unjust, 
unsure of whether to grab white sage or 12-gauge - 
through techno logic, they've even gentrified "good", 

so that ev'rything feels bad, poisoned, and polluted... 
deep breaths to keep heart unmuted, mind heart-rooted. 

Sunday, August 25

SONG OF THE DAY: Buddies


I suffer from lack of a circle, where most of my brainstorming is done solo style. The place I live has a conflated sense of self due to the large university here that's listed as a public ivy, but a lot of the shit I see coming out of here artistically lacks a certain possessed spirit. Maybe I expect too much. Maybe I'm full of shit. I don't know. But I know most of the ramping up of my self, the inspiring of self, unfortunately has to come from myself. That shit is tiring, and also leads to being too secluded without outside shit being funneled in.
Couple years back I was reaching out to various folks, seeking mentors so to speak. I've been very lucky to have navigated the self-destructive minefields I have without fucking myself up so far, but also realize I never had access to mentors, to people to guide me through the shit I don't understand culturally coming from the direction I came from. None of them really worked out. It left me feeling unmoored.
Fuck it though. Do what I can even if as lonely nomad without elder guidance. That makes me weaker, especially as I get older, but this world is poisoned by a culture of possession, where folks are either monetizing their elder knowledge, or their charging for lesser knowledge when they're not even elder status because everyone's so desperate to have better understanding. We've got no lineage of culture, no chains of deep knowledge. The older I get, the more lost I feel, and the more times I make a big circle around this American land mass, the more I realize the only real solution to most of what is fucking up everything is a return to ways more akin to what existed pre-Columbian, albeit complemented by modern technology. But fuck, I wish I had somebody other than the mirror to give me guidance.

Thursday, August 22

SONG OF THE DAY: Washing



There shall be a cosmic space jam/southern gothic futurist haiku slam in about a week in Blacksburg, featuring my man Boogie Brown and his Blue Globe Beats, as well as me doing whatever the hell it is I do. I am hopeful we have competitors. I don’t recruit people hard enough, but all this shit I do is a lot of work sometimes, and I’m fucking wore out. All I wanna do is sleep, like for 29 days straight, catch up on my lifetime loss of sleep partially. I’m excited about the event in Blacksburg though, mostly because it’s beautiful people that I know are involved. I hope to connect with more beautiful people too.
Everything feels fucked up in this world right now if you focus on the information you’re being fed, but if you walk around outside, talk to actual people, there’s still a ton of beauty to this world. It’s not as bad as it seems. Even the animosity humans feel for each other, it’s all magnified by these digital splitting mauls we get channeled with. People are people, and that remains a natural fact.
Too many manmade facts today are not natural facts. We need more natural facts. Also, yesterday I thought about giving myself a “takin’ care of business” tattoo, like throwback trash ‘70s style. Why? Because even if I don’t recruit competitors for slams like I should, or contact local media, or do all the normal people shit that normal people would do, I’m takin’ care of business. It’s just my business is more loungin’ than all that other stuff.

Monday, August 19

SONG OF THE DAY: Beautiful Mistake



(ten beautiful mistake haiku)

beautiful mistake
walking this bizarre life path
entrusting magic

beautiful mistake
broken brain whole-heartedly
still moving forward

beautiful mistake
of existing while brainwashed
that bootstraps are real

beautiful mistake
car won’t start by the river
forced to sit idle

beautiful mistake
fading tattoos which record
heart on piecemeal sleeve

beautiful mistake
considering nation-state
perfect, without fail

beautiful mistake
wasting time at work (meaning
indulge self instead)

beautiful mistake
honeysuckle and kudzu
reclaims factory

beautiful mistake
of “fuck it” thoughts triggering
greyhound destinies

beautiful mistake
created by accident
blossomed as dirtgod

Saturday, August 17

SONG OF THE DAY: Blikka Bam


Went to a demolition derby at a country ass fair last night, in the borderlands blue ridge areas that make up a certain dynamic of VA/WV/KY/TN/NC - that central Greater Appalachia area. I consider myself culturally a greater appalachian, because I read the relevant parts of that academic dork book, and that shit all made sense and applied to me. Demo derbies have always been big part of trash culture (lol as I explained to my gf's friend last night assorted nonsense about demolition derbies, I remembered to say I was a "trash culture anthropologist"), but in the feature event, the big body welded classics, there was a fuckin' car flying an Army flag and a goddamn Blue Lives Matter flag. This disgusted me, and I was actively and openly rooting against this fucker (unsettling the people I was with, as they looked around at our budding fascist footsoldier environs) because the act of wrecking up fucking cars is a desperate art built from fucked circumstances, and in no way whatsoever should somebody from that environment be flying a goddamned Blue Lives Matter flag (which is thinly veiled racism, and not even veiled fascism). Fuck that.
I'm often thankful my dad died when he did because sometimes I'm afraid if he was still alive he'd be pro-Trump and talking to me about Q Anon shit. As it stands, he was frozen in time and I can hold him as a good-hearted addiction/alcoholism-inclined man who disliked government and cops, which is how it should be. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU LIKE COPS?
Anyways, the stupid blue lives matter car was painted nicer than all the rest, and barely got smashed before breaking down along the way and just sitting there, looking nice to the undiscerning eye, but ultimately fucking useless during actual conflict, so I guess it ended up being a good metaphorical representation of cops. But the abundance of boot-licking foot soldiers for fascist ass military police states who have had their thin suppressed racism be switched into outward expression of lack of tolerance because somehow they feel like they're the ones who have been oppressed because they can't say dumb shit to everybody, the sheer abundance of these types that have been fermented in rural America really has started to freak me out. On a personal sense, I'm not into having guns, because of personal history and shit that has happened, but I've never been against them in principle, although I think the way people's brains are broken as fuck today, we probably don't need everybody having assault rifles.
And yet, these blue lives matter fascist adjacent fuckers who somehow think they are about god and freedom even though they're thinking is full of judgment and hate and fear, the preponderance of them, and how armed up some of them are, it has me worried about the immediate future. It's just dumbass message board people going wild with these shootings so far, who fell down rabbitholes and broke their brain too hard to think straight. But wait until something happens (or some bullshit leader like the one we got dog whistles people into action, around an election or something) and all these militia wannabe fuckers with blank gazes go wild. They are the fuckin' police, or at least cousins with the police, so it's not like any public officers gonna stop that shit right away.
Thus I'm re-evaluating my guns stance, on personal level. I think more folks need to have better critical thinking skills (to reduce the blank gazes) as well as weaponry skills (to reduce the sitting ducks I see on the horizon). Writing poetry and practicing shooting - draw up that venn diagram, and where it intersects you'll find your real soldiers.

Thursday, August 15

SONG OF THE DAY: Dankasa


Been seeing way too many white dudes in that weird pseudo-para-military gear of black shirts with blacked out American flags, always some military blue lives matter adjacent bullshit. Y'all gonna end up being Amerikkkan Death Squads, I know it. Fuck y'all. Fuck America if that's what America is. You suburban redneck clean new truck two-story house with a basement asses didn't get enough chicken grease on your shirts growing up. Chik-Fil-A ass eating bitches.

Tuesday, August 13

UPCOMING HAIKU SLAMS

The 411 on upcoming Sovthern Gothic Fvtvrist Haiku Slams.
  • WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14 - CHARLOTTESVILLE VA - TWISTED BRANCH TEA BAZAAR

Our regular gig at Tea Bazaar for August. Always a spectacle. Don't forget to check out the monthly open mic at the Tea Bazaar as well, on the first Monday of each month (except in July, which will be on the 8th instead), hosted by your boy Raven Mack.

  • SATURDAY AUGUST 31 - BLACKSBURG VA - ODD FELLOWS HALL

We're gonna have a Sovthern Gothic Fvtvrist Haiku Slam in Blacksburg on Labor Day weekend, along with my friends at Workingman Wreckchords, so it'll be some sort of creative nonsense gibberish shape-shifting jam/slam. Also hoping to set up a writing workshop earlier in the day with local homeschooler/unschooler/oldschoolers.
  • FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 13 - RICHMOND VA - ELECTRIC NOMAD DANCE STUDIO
  • WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 9 - CHARLOTTESVILLE VA - TWISTED BRANCH TEA BAZAAR
  • FRIDAY OCTOBER 11 - RICHMOND VA - ELECTRIC NOMAD DANCE STUDIO (RVA ZINEFEST!)
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.