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.

Saturday, July 20

Nagoya Basho 2019 Honour Tanka Day Four: TERUTUYOSHI (4-0)


during my sumo 
watching absence, some major 
players promoted 

Hakuho's small disciple, 
Enho, arrived on the scene 

also however 
young Terutsuyoshi tries 
to establish name 

not the heralded future 
star like Enho, pre-ordained 

both men low on the 
banzuke scroll unbeaten 
going into fourth day 

both men wanting to stake claim 
further up sumo rankings 

tiny Enho's wiles 
were manhandled on this day, 
by other youngster 

both men only twenty-four, 
with growing shine this basho 

perhaps a battle 
to be seen played over and 
over? time will tell 

young Terutsuyoshi made 
his claim to be known day four 

Nagoya Basho 2019 Honour Tanka Day Three: HOKUTOFUJI (0-3)


sometimes victory 
or loss alone doesn't tell 
the larger story 

Hokutofuji had yet 
to win, facing Hakuho 

facing the greatest 
sumo rikishi ever, 
all of history 

Hokutofuji destined 
to be crushed, without a doubt 

and yes, Hakuho 
beat him, as was expected, 
but what a battle 

Hokutofuji, despite 
no wins, showed fighting spirit 

lots of us stupid 
motherfuckers on this Earth 
are destined to lose 

the spirit with which innate 
doom is carried means so much 

at end of the day, 
left with our faces smudged with 
our innate failures 

we wipe it off, say fuck it, 
hope to stand tall tomorrow 

1MP0SS1BL3 T0 3SC4P3...

impossible to escape
the digital-based discourse,
nor the pointless self-branding

TH3 LYR1CS T0 L1TTL3 F34T'S...

the lyrics to Little Feat's
"Willin'" tattooed on inside
of my left thigh, in cursive

Thursday, July 18

STVMBL1NG THR0VGH L1F3 L1K3 4 F00L...

stumbling through life like a fool,
but fool still thinking more with
heart than brain when possible

Nagoya Basho 2019 Honour Tanka Day Two: RYUDEN (1-1)


Nagoya day two 
reminded me of what I love 
about sumo world 

multiple top quality 
bouts, with drama and intrigue 

but young Ryuden
a personal favorite - 
attempting to grow 

only way up banzuke 
scroll is to beat someone else 

Ryuden's highest 
ranking ever carries weight 
of expectation 

Takayasu - stoic and 
imposing - faced him day two 

Ryuden was pushed 
to edge, but never beaten, 
long spirited bout 

leaning in for better grips, 
breathing heavily, resting 

upon starting back 
up, Ryuden spins same time 
Takayasu falls 

gyoji calls Ryuden 
the winner - INSTANT REPLAY 

ringside congress of 
judges determine it's too 
close to call clearly 

thus a replay, which meant I 
expected a quick finish 

both men must have been 
exhausted already; yet 
it was a repeat 

more spirited combat, with 
Takayasu in control 

but again, Ryuden 
spun at the edge of ring as 
Takayasu fell 

the big ozeki thudded 
against raised ring's harsh risers 

Ryuden scored a 
huge victory for himself - 
at his highest rank 

Takayasu looked damaged, 
walking stiffly to the back 

Nagoya Basho 2019 Honour Tanka Day One: KAGAYAKI (1-0)


neglected sumo 
appreciation for near 
full calendar flip 

no reason other than life 
is always full of drama 

the time to consume 
foreign-to-me sub-cultures 
not always easy 

but here I am, back on the 
youtube sumo playlists 

Kisenosato 
was shamed into retirement; 
Hakuho still rules 

no one ever seems to be 
able to remain healthy 

Nagoya day one, 
I am reminded of the 
sumo body type 

chankonabe center of 
gravity, rooted to earth 

quickly though, I am 
reminded of the other 
side to this physique 

Kagayaki, with his most 
perfect feminine breasts, wins 

objectifying 
proud Japanese sport with crude 
jokes of body shapes 

also writing somewhat bad 
poetry while watching it 

4R3 TH3S3 ST4T3S ST1LL VN1T3D...

are these states still "united"?
perhaps America's best
days will happen afterwards

Wednesday, July 17

Tuesday, July 16

WR3TCH3D 0F TH3 34RTH R3M41N...

wretched of the Earth remain
constant; promises always
made about progress, unseen

SONG OF THE DAY: Thank you



Always good to give thanks to everybody actively trying to stomp you down. What a wonderful mutually supportive world we have built! [Click like to passively and performatively support this!]

SP4C3 0TH3RW1S3 W4ST3D BL3SS3D...

space otherwise wasted blessed
with colorful blasts of latex
messages, spoken in tongues

Monday, July 15

S1TT1N' 0N S0M3TH1NG FL4T, W1TH...

sittin' on something flat, with
inspection sticker long dead;
candyflake dreams just idling

SONG OF THE DAY: Run Through It



Random ass bandcamp label called Placenta Recordings released a compilation of a bunch of random ass hip hop acts they’d released over a period of time from Detroit called Up North Trips Volume 1. But there’s like nine asterisks from that statement I just wrote, because first off I love any compilation ambitiously titled “volume one”. But also none of this is random. Hip hop, and music itself in all genres and genre hybrids, exists every fucking where. Hip hop scenes have existed in so many places for decades, and Detroit has a deep history, which we know the popular portions of this – the Eminem/Royce music industry Illuminati piece, as well as some of the horrorcore pioneers like Esham. But every scene is just chock full of dreaming ass local rappers and producers, who make piles of music that remains obscure but wonderful. Shit man, I was involved in helping organize a local hip hop festival in Charlottesville this past year, and just that has introduced me to so many amazing fucking jams and people who live and breathe this shit, even if the larger world has no idea. The track on this comp right before this 7 Mile Clee jam has a pair of lines right at the beginning that goes, “Had a dream I got signed to go rap out of state, but then I woke up and scraped crack off the plate.” The international struggling ass hustler’s dream – which I literally just saw a local rapper post yesterday on his Instagram as “I just want to change the world and live comfortably.” I’d love to dig through the shit more and post it up in an organized faux-scientific fashion, but to be honest, you can’t keep up. That’s the shortcomings of science – real life moves too fast for our human sciences to dissect it all. You just gotta focus out to the big picture view, accept the fact I was blessed for somebody to tweet the Up North Trips onto my timeline, which I happened to click, and 7 Mile Clee’s northern no fucks given drawl got stuck in my brain, unlocking brief blasts of dopamine which allowed me to enjoy the mundane life of struggle that human existence remains, even in this allegedly more free than ever society.

P1CTVR3S 0F W1NT3R P0ST3D...

pictures of winter posted
in summer; a reminder
that we are not calendars

Sunday, July 14

SONG OF THE DAY: Tahoultine


contemplating the concept of only a half-life has passed 
with a six-pack's worth of decades (after the drive home) 
to still be a life 
writing prayerpoemraps about basically fuckthat 
in its entirety, attempting to not think 
with poison culture brain, trying to see 
if I can still hear my heart 
find a mountain to machete the kudzu 
and an AR15 to keep clean enough 
for when the devils come from the crossroads 
the four-leaf clovers of progressive avoidance 
interstates and highways intersecting 
with intersectional theory ignored completely 
except for the homeless camped in the woods 
that VDOT can't afford to contract immigrant labor 
to weed eat and gather the trash 
climate change blew the budget during Aquarius season 

contemplating the concept that these legs and ankles and hips 
which all ache from the suicide expressed as self-destruction 
expressed as ridiculous recklessness which makes for 
good tales and better scars 
that I can keep walking rightleftrightleft 
chipping away towards whatever horizon is enticing 
me to not climb into the graves dug for me everywhere 
made it through southside virginia mine fields 
where so many I've loved suffer self-inflicted wounds 
because the devils teach you from the freshest age 
it's all your own fault it's all your own fault 
it's all your own fault 
so we end up trying to kill that voice inside our head 
repeating what we was toldtaughtshown to be a type of true 
which consumes
trying to silence them voices with bullets bowls pills 
chemical fogs and digital distractions 
vodka shots at lunchtime from the bottle behind the seat 

born dead broke deadbroke and miserable for multiple generations 
so that life liberty and happiness carrot don't mean shit any more 
so bring out your sticks and stones 
chanting la ilaha illallah while my machete swings 
through kudzu and blackberry clusters gone too far right 
when the devils finally decide to come for me too 
no problem dying because been half-dead already 
contemplating how the half-life is possible 
when I been half-dead the whole time 

L3G3NDS 0F TH3 1LL3G1T...

legends of the illegit
arts creep past sometimes without
the gatekeepers realizing

Friday, July 12

PR0GR3SS SL0WLY CL1MBS VPW4RD...

progress slowly climbs upward;
then you wake up one day and
realize we've long passed our peak

SONG OF THE DAY: Dirt Boys



My eldest offspring has been in South Asia all summer, getting involved with the hip hop scenes over there, and has been feeding me music suggestions since they were old enough to do so. It’s interesting when your kid becomes grown and then you see them posting IG pics wearing fucking Nikes on a roof somewhere in Singapore or Malaysia or idek. Anyways, I’ve always been interested in hip hop’s global spread, and the twin roots of that – both as organic artistic outlet at localized level, as well as larger entrepreneurial dream for those local artists who transcend being local. I mean fuck man, my actual local people social media feed is full of Charlottesville rappers still chasing dreams, making videos and posts and hoping to blow up to an economically abundant life none of us have ever known. Same thing with Richmond. Same thing everywhere. We all want to escape the struggle, it is a universal human desire. I think they even wrote something about that shit in the Declaration of Independence, essentially founding father old white dude semantics for “WE TIRED OF STRUGGLING, FUCK Y’ALL”. I’ve always wanted to have a website that had more international hip hop coverage, not from consumer perspective but from an artistic perspective, hyping up the good shit from all these various corners of the Earth where those tendrils of what blossomed in the cracks of 1970s South Bronx depression has spread. It’s amazing actually.
Anyways, KOHH’s “Dirt Boys” is a fuckin’ anthem. This shit has gotten stuck in my head at least 69 times over the past year.

Thursday, July 11

N1H1L1SM SVGG3STS TH1S...

nihilism suggests this
is end of the line, climate
speaking... more wishful thinking

SONG OF THE DAY: Your Kiss Stole Me Away



primordial backdrop of amphibian choruses
wandering thru the tended wilds
of southern gothic futures
where junkyard meets curation
but the kudzu is creeping in fast
and the four-lane traffic is out of sight
but a growling air brake can still silence the symphony
of spring peepers and cricket frogs and assorted other toads
but in the middle of this chaotic solitude
sitting on rusting swaying bench
stealing a moment from the world
feeling at peace briefly
and hoping it sows
throughout the rest
of my life

S4M3 GL0W1NG 0RB 1N TH3 SKY...

same glowing orb in the sky,
on other side of land mass
happened to be born upon

Wednesday, July 10

3C0N0M1C C0ND1T10NS...

economic conditions
reduce quality of life,
as well as destroy the Earth

SONG OF THE DAY: Ritmo Sabroso



Global diaspora of various beginnings combined with digital communications has made the world smaller while also not acknowledging the digital gaps that still exist and how there are always going to be shadows for the forgotten. Been thinking on what I am as a human, accepting my status as white male in America, yet also realizing I’m not entirely like a lot of other white males. Been thinking of myself as unwhite lately, because I’m externally identified as white, most certainly, but I try my best to not perpetuate a lot of that shit with my own actions. It’s impossible to detach yourself from how others identify you, including systems built on biases which benefit you, but it’s also very possible to actively not embrace that shit, and definitely you can do the work to not perpetuate the ugly side of that.
And yet I went to a home funeral yesterday, where we stood around the grave that the family dug, and they played a couple old bluegrass songs at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, and there’s a cultural context to all this for me – greater Appalachian roots which came from Scottish highlands… a common theme in the eastern half of the U.S. But also I’m a product of various immigrant diasporas – one quarter Polish with a variation on “fisher” surname, a quarter Scandinavian, part German-ish as filtered through Pennsylvania mountains… but standing at home-cooked funeral, outside, old folks playing old instruments, singing old songs about finally being free, it’s all cultural at molecular and unexplainable level that’s not evil. The history of globalization and empire and dominant cultures, even within the framework of racial divisions, is one where dominant cultures consumed and suppressed even other cultures within what we now see as the same.
It will be interesting to see how this shifts in the near future, now that we have these handheld devices that educate as well as delude us, and so many cultural things are cross-pollinating each other. And yet also, we’re experiencing a vast superficial knowledge of more, while knowing deeply less. Someone once told me about the difference between knowing one square inch a mile deep, and one square mile an inch deep, and how superficial knowledge doesn’t actually allow for root knowledge, and can easily be washed away. As I helped dig a grave this past week, I thought about that, as we dug shovelful by shovelful, down through the silt, luckily not too red clay, far deeper than one normally digs, because that’s how deep you have to go for safe eternal resting space. I don’t come from high and mighty people, despite the privilege I do have, and there’s a lot of cultural pieces that were lost because of that. I knew drug culture better than people playing banjos, although there was crossover, like an old dude called Rocky Top who had drank himself out of Nashville who sat around the poker table at Tank’s house where my folks went every weekend, picking songs. But I do know piecing it together, and how to get shit done when it needs to be done, rather than planning and talking and thinking about it forever.
Humanity is no more fucked now than it’s ever been. But there’s a lot of hard work that needs to be done. Not discussed and delegated and argued and talked over and hashed out and endless circles of discourse and spirals of power hierarchies that destroy actual collective work ever getting done. There’s enough work for all of us to just get to doing in our own lives, daily. And that helps establish new cultures, new cross-pollinations that aren’t appropriation or assimilation or suppression and oppression, but actual shared physical acts of working together. The arts falls into this as well, because the arts is the fun work you do after the hard work is done. And fuck man, nobody wants to just do the hard work seven days a week without doing the fun work too. Every somber Sunday morning needs a feral Saturday night. Life needs contrast in order to not be mundane to the point of just sitting around waiting for death. It feels a lot of times like our one inch deep knowledge of the square mile of today’s existence is severely lacking, at least to me. But ain’t shit to do about it except get to work going deeper.

MY C0LL3CT10N 0F H0M13S...

my collection of homies
has dwindled down over the
years - metaphor or real life?

Monday, July 8

B0RN 1N 4 PL4C3 C4LL3D F4RMV1LL3...

born in a place called Farmville,
which iphone autocorrect
capitalizes wrongly

SONG OF THE DAY: Going Home



Notions of home we’re often born into, without stability, to where general geographic areas become home more than specific piece of land – a neighborhood or more expansive area we bounced around while developing our human roots. Often times we’re uprooted, perhaps by economics, perhaps by traumas, maybe weather… who knows, but shit happens, regularly, that blasts stability sideways. I consider myself from southside Virginia in very general sense because my sense of home has taken a couple of body shots over the years, to where the two actual places that are buildings I slept in the most amount of nights of my life aren’t really my legitimate home any more. One I don’t ever want to go back to, to be honest, not that specific house, and I won’t unless somebody dies and familial obligation will force me back. The other, I still have access to, and my not being there is on friendly terms, but it’s also not my home any more because home requires that constant exchange of energy with a place where you see the subtle changes in it and it sees the subtle changes in you. Where I live now does not feel like home, and in fact is even outside that general feeling of home relationship I have with southside Virginia. The shape of things is different, and the culture is close but not the same, and I don’t know, it just don’t feel like home.
So many humans end up living in places that are not home. It’s a fairly common thing actually, and it’s perfectly easy to accept living in a non-home place and make the most of it, but you’re also not home. I thought on this a lot over the course of two events this weekend. First, I helped dig a grave, for a woman being buried at home, next to one of her favorite gardens, and that deep connection to home so impressed me. I’ve attended a couple home burials in the past, and in fact always joke about how, being from southside Virginia, I’ve been to two funerals in junkyards. This is a factual statement, and both were beautiful and completely appropriate events. But digging a grave for a home burial where home was still known, to such a deep level… it impressed me greatly. There is a strength in having a lifetime of connection with a place, one that transcends economics in a lot of ways, which is why when experts tell people from economically depressed places that they need to move to where there are better opportunities, and not everybody jumps at the chance, I can understand that. If you have deep cultural roots to a place, separate from economics, it is not easy to just assume getting a paycheck is enough to tear those roots out and try somewhere else, where there’s no guarantee of financial success.
I also thought about this notion of home during the Mexico/U.S. Gold Cup final, because that was held in Chicago, and essentially any U.S. men’s team match against a Latin American country that is not held in ultra-white spaces like Columbus or Salt Lake City is going to be a road match for the home team. That was the case in Chicago, where the crowd was predominately pro-Mexican team, far more than visible support for the U.S. team. And it got me to thinking of immigration and the political discourse about that, and all the Mexicans and Salvadorans and Hondurans and others who traveled so far from their notion of home, simply to find a decent life. And how you can find that community elsewhere, if there’s enough of you from back home, to build a little slightly stable slice of that back home in a completely different place. I don’t see how anybody could be mad at that. That’s really all any of us want, is to have a home, and feel complete there, and safe, and know there’s a community acting like family to help us when crisis comes up.
Most spiritual mythologies talk about helping strangers, and making them feel at home. That’s a deep concept which seems to be lost upon too many humans these days. To act with compassion, and not just let somebody into your space to sleep on the floor, but to welcome them, make them feel as if it is their home too. It won’t, because home is deeper than one day’s worth of actions – it is woven slowly through time, through many days’ worth of actions, years, even generations. But simply helping somebody to feel at home shows at heart level, not brain level, not politics level – but right-thinking heart level that you understand home cannot be manufactured out of nothing, but you want them to know they are welcome.
It’s a weird feeling not having a strong sense of specific home any more, and there’s a strange restlessness I get sometimes that I think comes from that lack of roots. Like I said, it’s not uncommon, but damn if it doesn’t feel weird, especially on those weird moments where I don’t even realize I don’t feel at home, but then I roll into the general part of the Earth that does feel like home, on a perfectly home-like day that activates all these cellular memories, and it’s just some fucked up moment riding down an old road, and my body and being is like “ahhh, home” beyond my ability to rationalize or understand in intelligent scientific way. True home.

1MM0B1L3 C4MP3R TR41L3RS...

immobile camper trailers
a cornerstone of any
half-respectable compound

Sunday, July 7

W4W4 H4Z3LNVT C0FF33...

Wawa hazelnut coffee
for me, big ass cup, and some
mac-n-cheese sides for the kids

SONG OF THE DAY: TV Mama


I am old, so I remember when "fat" as positive slang came into vogue. And to be honest, I never saw at first, nor supported when it did show up the "phat" version of spelling fat. Mostly it was spoken for a long time, as actual oral language before I ever saw it written. And it was a complimentary term that turned the negative orientation of the foundational word around. The use of "phat" always felt like it was not turning the negative connotation of the word around so much as distancing itself from being perceived as the same as the traditional interpretation. There's a key difference there - if you are recreating what something means, you are destroying the negative within it. But if you are creating an alternative word which positions itself as related yet still accepting the implied truth of the foundational word, you ain't recreating shit. You're still living off that original meaning.
I've seen the same thing in recent years with "thick" and "thicc". A lot of humans appreciate thick humans, in terms of attraction as well as sexually. That's fine. I mean, we want to not overly objectify anybody ideally, but if everybody's a willing party to what's going on, then love on some thick people. But I guess other people wanted to associate themselves with thickness while still hating mainstream notions of fatness, which ultimately is what we're trying to fuck up, or people don't care for. So they started saying "skinny thick" meaning they were (allegedly) thick but still skinny, which really creates some unattainable and unhealthy body goals, to look like a 1970s Barbie doll. But then "thicc" came along to just straight up pretend to be thick all while still being skinny. I don't support any of this.
I think about nine times a week I think in my head how Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth warned us all to not recreate the power structures of our institutions we want to replace (colonial thinking, which most of us still possess to a startling degree when you actually look into it) with those same power structures. Our human way of thinking in the era of world exploration/colonization was one of conquest and domination and subjugation. Seems like so often we see these same violent and subjugating ways of thinking applied in our current discourse. Shit, the discourse itself is opposing paramilitaries of colonial thinking attempting to out-dominate each other. It's gross and disgusting and we really could use more transformative thinking.
How does this relate to an old blue song about having a fat ol' lady? Well, Big Joe Turner was probably fat himself, judging by his descriptive nickname, and thus I can assume as a person who listens to music then writes blasts of prose from that trigger, that this is a couple of people who are overweight by mainstream standards, but they're loving on each other still. According to society, they are unattractive, and ugly, and yet here they are, loving the fuck all up on each other. That is more transformative and revolutionary than any hot take tweet that became a viral meme.

Friday, July 5

BL3W 0FF 4 W0RK C0NF3R3NC3...

blew off a work conference
to walk a thousand miles in
alien Florida land

SONG OF THE DAY: Smooth Operator (Chopped Not Slopped)



I know y’all all got little fancy blue tooth speakers that look like friendly robot scat which are convenient and easy to carry about out of doors and easily connect your wirelessly transmitted cybertron devices to, but please don’t forget about the importance of yard speakers. When I say yard speakers, I don’t mean specifically designed outdoor sound systems on some fancy assed rich white people who live in Florida ass patio area with them speakers attached to buildings all up high, which usually also has outside grill that’s essentially just exterior gas-controlled shit that people heat up pre-made patties and sausages and call this “grilling” in the most basic yet consumptive possible fashion. I mean straight up yard speakers – old ass 25 pound wood cabinet speakers that used to be your inside speakers but you got better bigger louder inside speakers now, or maybe not louder because these old ass wood speakers were just too damn powerful inside wherever you rent or live and was turning your entire inside existence into a subwoofer just too damn much to peaceably enjoy. Or maybe you got a baby now and the ol’ lady gets pissed when the baby gets woke up so you relegated the good speakers to yard speakers for the sake of still being able to blast them. Or maybe you got enough speaker cable your indoor powerful ass speakers get transitioned into yard speakers. But the purpose of the yard speaker is to go the fuck outside, and boom music throughout the yard and hopefully beyond. If you’re close to neighbors, either have good taste in music or point the yard speaker in the least offensive direction (or most offensive if you hate your neighbors, which is not uncommon either, because there’s a lot of assholes out there). Obviously a yard speaker needs a source of sound, and that’s what makes all the little robot shit speakers so exciting to new-fangled-minded people, because there’s less work involved. But really if you got a stereo, it’s not that hard to run speaker wire out through a window, back into your yard speakers which are resting on a milk crate off the ground or maybe on a wooden chair you keep for yard speaker pedestal. My best set-up ever was permanent yard speakers (meaning they didn’t go inside any more), sitting on milk crates, with little tarps to cover them up. Eventually the tarps got weathered and wore out, but I wanted to see how tough these yard speakers were – old 1970s thickness tested by legit weather. They lasted a long while, long enough to get new tarps once or twice, but eventually even they gave out. The cool thing is we live in an abundance of old shit in America, at least until they stopped making good shit, but we are still in the closing window of there being tons of extra yard speaker sets available at thrift stores/junk shops/online for cheap and even free. So I got more yard speakers, in my case at the too good to throw away carport at the local rural dump, where I found three sets of yard speakers over the years. Sadly we live in an era of diminishing returns on America’s greatest period of yard speaker production, which it should be noted coincides with the historical birth of hip hop, and that DJ Kool Herc as well as other early DJs were essentially carrying around yard speakers to build loud sound systems that ran off public park power to create early hip hop shows. The communal nature of the yard speaker as well as the historical importance in American hip hop sub-culture cannot be overlooked. Having yard speakers that you’ve sort of stumbled upon, yet cared enough to make loud as fuck and only for playing the best taste levels of music, this is important shit to a true lounger. That’s why the commodity of installing exterior sound systems around your expensive patio set-up at your mortgaged home is not the same. Most loungers don’t own homes, and in fact it is testament to one’s power to lounge that they can build a high quality lounging environment even without the privilege of ownership.
The basic starter pack for any resistant human not about the mundane stagnant normal American existence is tarps, milk crates, and machetes. But if you are forced to remain in place, without accepting stagnancy, a good set of yard speakers is a wonderful addition to your (always) temporary environment, and proves this by still touching on two of those three basics of tarp and milk crate. And as summer yard loungin’ season is now in full effect, and many are in fact enjoying a long weekend right now, I cannot encourage you enough to blast some nice screwed and chopped music through your yard speakers. We’ll save discussing the merits of dominoes vs. Spades vs. small stakes poker next time.

H0T3L H4LLW4Y C4RP3T1NG...

hotel hallway carpeting
triggering '70s porn
thinking - sex will happen here

Thursday, July 4