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.

Tuesday, December 31

new Workingman Book - LIFE IN CHAOTIC STATE... THEN SILENCE


So I dropped a new book called Life in Chaotic State... Then Silence, which is a collection of renga poetry I wrote in monthly batches on twitter. The feature renga was done October of 2018 during a three-week period where I rode the Amtrak from the east coast down south, out to California, had a week-long residency there, did a haiku slam in Oregon, then rode the rain back through the upper midwest and Chicago, back down to Charlottesville. It's a pretty great book in my opinion, as are the other ones. All are available on Amazon, or from me in person.
Additionally, I'm offering up signed copies of the new book (along with a few select older titles), where you can purchase it directly from me, received it signed, with a tanka poem inscribed in it as well (since I'm doing those on postcards as part of my patreon as well), and I'll tuck a recent copy of Sovthern Gothicc Fvtvrist zine in the envelope as well. Cost for this is $12 (plus $3 shipping).


TITLES
Who is signed copy for?


Monday, November 4

TH3 M1L1T4R1Z4T10N...

the militarization
of American culture
ain't new; only the guns changed

SONG OF THE DAY: Nothing Compares 2 U



I never really cared for listening to Sinead O’Connor, it just never spoke to me. I remember when she ripped up the Pope picture on TV and everybody had faux outrage, which seemed weird to me because the pope meant nothing to my godless rural American ass, but thankfully the whole world is nihilistic and jaded now, so something like that wouldn’t register a blip. By now we know all our institutions have failed us generally, and everything is doomed in the institutional sense, but fuck it, we can still carve out marginal autonomy somehow, I guess. Anyways, hearing Prince do this song himself really drove home how thankful I am I didn’t fuck around with Sinead O’Connor, because wasn’t this like her only good song? If that’s not true, tell me in the comments, and I’ll get in rectifying my opinion, BECAUSE NONE OF ON THE INTERNET ARE ANYTHING EXCEPT ARCHIVAL CURATORS OF ALL OF POP CULTURE. IT IS THE POINT OF OUR EXISTENCE, TO BURDEN OURSELVES WITH OPINIONS ON ALL THIS MEANINGLESS GARBAGE CONSUMERIST FAUX ART. So help me waste my life, further, because I’m not dead yet. At least not physically.

W33K3ND W4ND3RS 4L0NG TH3...

weekend wanders along the
James River, tapping railroad
ties with my thrift store Nikes

Saturday, November 2

Thursday, October 31

S3V3N G4LL0NS 0F 01L C00K3D...

seven gallons of oil cooked
inside of each tire, rendered
useless by worn away tread

SONG OF THE DAY: Soulmate

[I ain't really feel like writing about no damn Lizzo, so instead 
I wrote a freestyle sonnet I guess triggered by this song, but idk tbh] 

Cyborg self-marketers claiming soul, screaming "SOUL!" 
through digital fog of polluted innerstates. 
We all so fragmented from birth from feeling whole, 
chasing love-based serotonin to lighten the weights 
of physical dread. This world's hard, can take its toll 
on simple folks focused on heart first, trusting fate's 
gonna follow what you sow, despite seeing hole 
in that thinking daily... far more multiple hates 
indulged by too many, poisoned brains trumping heart, 
mushroom clouds of toxic thought pushed upon "time" lines 
no longer chronological. We're pushed apart 
by our own alleged progress, these strange designs 
of how to most deeply connect... divisive art 
of our entered nets as collective care declines. 

Tuesday, October 29

W4S G0NN4 WR1T3 4 H41KV...

was gonna write a haiku
with "the thin black line" and "blue
skies matter" but then didn't

SONG OF THE DAY: Tamaditine


The checklists of basic human desire - to find a home, and love, and feel the freedom to seek both those things, free of obstacles and fences and razor wire so on and so forth. This is the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" trinity, which is not the intellectual property of the United States, cannot be patented or trademarked as an exceptionally American quality unseen in the rest of history. This is innate to being a live, and wandering this confusing existence seeking shelter. One wants a home to rest, and to recognize the geography as a space they understand and understands them and in fact are like symbiotic in relations. And one wants to feel the spark of blood pumping with tingle from heart muscle because there are others of the same creation who share those feelings and you all shelter each other to continue to generate that buzz, the dopamine and serotonin of sustained emotions in generally-speaking safe space, or if those things are not entirely stable, being able to wander further to find it. That's all the fuck anybody wants. Being a human is not nearly as complicated as we make it with all our damn rules and regulations and hoarding of abstract signifiers of more.

TRY T0 K33P MYS3LF GR0VND3D...

try to keep myself grounded,
but still got dreams that transcend
this corner I'm living in

Monday, October 28

SONG OF THE DAY: What Am I Afraid Of



BlackLiq’s been dropping a mixtape from his archives of freestyles every month this year. He just dropped Volume 10 last night. I ain’t even processed all the earlier ones. This track is off the one from all the way back in May. I love crazy prolific creative types, that ain’t even fucking around with waiting on you to catch up. It’s very inspirational. BlackLiq’s actually inspiring me to try and fuck around and make more music in 2020. But seriously, check out his fuckin bandcamp – it’s full of great shit.

SPR34DSH33TS 0F HVM4N1TY...

spreadsheets of humanity,
each windowed cell full of lives
concatenating events

Sunday, October 27

R04M TH3 34RTH WH3R3V3R...

roam the Earth wherever
my path accidentally
takes me, ain't yet found a home

SONG OF THE DAY: I Choose You



Tobe Nwigwe been dropping a video a week for a thousand weeks in a row, straight lineage to Houston style, just like Rap-a-Lot having a thousand tapes in a row, just like DJ Screw doing a thousand mixtapes in a row, the endless productivity of creative lane that nobody can fuck with because everybody else is afraid to even occupy it. Tobe was a D-1 football player (North Texas, just like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mean Joe Greene), but had that lane roadblocked by injury, and found himself accidentally switching into this lane. First generation Nigerian-American as well, so culturally, though steeped in Houston, has a larger global flavor to what makes him uniquely him. But damn, Houston always seems to pop out these amazing forces in hip hop over the decades, and absolute game-changing things. Is Tobe a game changer? I don't know, because the current modus operandi of music industry is something ferments locally, the lactofermented bacteria blossoms on a larger scale, usually through the internet petri dish circulation, and then gets signed somewhere and has that natural energy pasteurized into something not quite so tingly. So enjoy this Tobe Nwigwe run for as long as it lasts. He's already blessed us.

S3TT1NG MY 4W4Y 3M41L...

setting my away email
message for vacation at
work to the shrug emoji

Saturday, October 26

W4ND3R1NG THR0VGH W4SH1NGT0N...

wandering through Washington,
feeling dissociative,
with phone battery dying

SONG OF THE DAY: Trill Burr



There’s so many creative geniuses operating out here in the wild that the majority of people have no idea about. Richmond remains a breeding ground for that energy, and I’ve never been able to figure out why exactly (and hopefully they don’t gentrify/pasteurize it away) but it remains an incubator of wild ass spirits. I still feel more connection to Richmond than Charlottesville, even after all this time since I moved. Lately I’ve been listening to Nickelus F like crazy. Dude is just straight brilliant, wandering through infinite styles, left and right (and all directions otherwise). It’s very inspiring to just hear a dude going off on incredible tangents constantly, and it makes you wanna do your own shit. You know there’s a ton of hard work, practice, and raw intelligence involved in doing that, but honestly man, if you feel inspired by a wild ass artist, that’s good, and part of what’s supposed to happen. Lockdown and make a thousand mixtapes.
I ain’t really trying to crush dreams, because we all gotta dream in this shitty cold ass world, but too many rappers (and really all artists) get attached to hyping themselves up and building online marketing buzz, without putting in the constant practice and work. You build a large volume of work, it’s like dandelion seeds, it’s gonna start sprouting somewhere, in the cracks over here, in a vacant lot over there… if you’re scattering your creative seeds enough, they can’t be stopped from blossoming. I feel like too many folks think there’s a shortcut to success (which there is – be born rich, so you can buy access to everything), but it’s not.

And the beauty of wild ass artists is that when you finally stop sleeping on somebody like Nickelus F, fuck there’s like this whole giant catalog of amazing shit to dig into. Your art you consuming ain’t got to be brand new. We’re not on no time-table here. None of us have to be pop culture curators of the newest hottest shit. In fact, you go find Nickelus F on bandcamp and there’s two Gold Mine releases of shit he found on a hard drive that you can pay what you want, and that shit all fuckin’ rocks as well.
I don’t know if people still read websites like this anymore. Hit up the comments with some unknown brilliance you’re aware of… let’s start connecting to this wild ass geniuses running around in semi-obscurity out here.

Friday, October 25

SM4LL T0WNS WH3R3 TH0S3 F0RG0TT3N...

small towns where those forgotten
by flyover know-it-alls
still build most meaningful lives

SONG OF THE DAY: g01n' d0wn sl0w



The act of screwing previously recognizable music is an intentional act of sabotage upon the defining shackles of accepted time management. The concept of time is taught to us at a very young age in order to stifle our innate desire to play and wander and roam and explore life, and is the beginning of tethering our human existence to the mechanistic expectations of productivity. The creative act of song composition, as originally done, was potentially a shot at breaking free of these confines, but generally speaking if you’ve heard a song from back in the day, it was already compromised and perverted by the materialistic and exploitative actions of the music industry. Why would anyone make an “industry” of music? What a horrible idea.
Taking this original composition and then further fucking it up, altering the speeds at which it is heard adds nuance, and also resists the notion that an accepted standardized length is the only one acceptable. The single beginning length can be altered longer or shorter (longer is always better in my opinion, it jibes with my personality which has been baked into loving sloth by the southern humidity for over four decades). It is often argued that the human mind won’t be able to handle time travel, because we are three-dimensional creatures (x-axis, y-axis, z-axis… so firm in this belief we make them the end of our alphabet) and time travel is a fourth-dimension, where you exist along multiple points on the time continuum. I’d suggest even further that true transcendence of three-dimensional slavery is to accept there are no longer even points on that space-time continuum, to be charted like a colonizer’s map, but instead just the full oneness of time itself. This is the abolition of time, and true freedom. Fuck your clocks, and fuck your appointments, and fuck your expectations that I be “on time”. I am always on time, simply by being alive.

DR0PP1NG 4 T3SL4 3NG1N3...

dropping a Tesla engine
in a classic Chevrolet
body, then getting some Daytons

Wednesday, October 23

SONG OF THE DAY: Tip On In (Part 1)


Motherfuckers don't say "sock it to me, baby" nearly as often as they should anymore. And yet people still say "motherfuckers" all the time. Like me. I am the people, and also problematic af still. Part of being people is being problematic. If somebody's perfect, they ain't real people. And there's a lot of that type around. Motherfuckers.

TH3 PR1V1L3G3D D0N'T R34L1Z3...

the privileged don't realize
that when things get ugly, their
blood will be the first to flow

Tuesday, October 22

SH4R3D QV4L1TY 0F L1F3'S SL0W...

shared quality of life's slow
decline not always mentioned,
even though it's obvious

SONG OF THE DAY: I Did


Woke up this rainy morning imagining what if I operated a food truck except it'd be a food winnebago, and I know I'd have to sell chicken gizzards, and it'd be an anti-hipster spot, and I'd be bumping Choosey & Exile this morning most likely. But of course being anti-hipster ends up becoming hipster because in this day and age of self-loathing, where few things are whiter than white people making fun of white folks, and nobody decolonizes so much as recolonizes in a different more exciting way, and I'd hate my own creation and set it on fire one night, by accident on purpose, to save me having to interact with the filthy self-important privileged human beings that one is required to interact with to have a successful business in late stage capitalism.
But I'd definitely have chicken gizzards, because nowhere makes good gizzards. There was even a soul food spot in the gentrified portion of Belmont, and they had gizzards, and I got them, thinking they'd be great, but they wasn't. Most places don't even fuck with them. My favorite gizzard spot right now is a gas station outside of Dillwyn, true Southside Virginia, where the last time I stopped they still had peach Perriers a dollar each if you got two, and the lady working the food counter was talking shit to a logging trucker who stopped in for lunch and threatening him with the butcher knife, and he was like "You see how she do me?" to me, and then I got involved, and we all talked shit together like a bunch of bumpkin ass multi-racial hicks in true and living southside Virginia style, while she filled up styrofoam clamshells with gizzards and livers for the both of us. That's my five-star review, but I ain't telling you what gas station outside Dillwyn, or where Dillwyn is. Find it, then try all the gas stations that got gizzards. Do your own research, bitch.
My dad's favorite meal was fried chicken livers, made them on his birthday every year, big heaping plate full of livers with onions and mustard. I always preferred the gizzards but looking back I wonder if that was one of those trickle down things, like I knew he was gonna eat all the damn livers so I trained myself to love the gizzards. Although I guess nowadays livers are sold separately, and gizzards and hearts come in packs together.
I love chicken hearts too, from when I was younger at a big ass drunken cookout as a kid, and one of my dad's friends put the hearts on the grill (which was an old grate from a long gone kitchen stove sitting on cinderblocks over a fire), and at first I was like "eww, hearts," but then I had them and loved them.
The process of writing is always beneficial because some barbaric shit will make itself obvious when you type it out. Reading "I love the hearts of chickens grilled over a fire on an old stove grate" is kinda shocking to the cultured ass word typing side of me. But then again both sides aren't really sides, and it's all 69ing inside of me - big ol' spiraling ball of dirtgod energy. All of this is who I am, and I love it.

P00R CH01C3S 1S MY M1DDL3...

"poor choices is my middle
name," I once told a woman
outside Nashville bus station

Monday, October 21

1 C4LL TH1S MY 4B0VT T0...

I call this my "about to
play dominoes with Tupac
in Malaysia" ensemble

SONG OF THE DAY: Gimme a Pigfoot (and a Bottle of Beer)



This “Gimme a Pigfoot” song was made famous at first by Bessie Smith, but this LaVern Baker version ain’t really fucking around none. The song was originally written by Kid Wilson and Coot Grant, a husband and wife songwriting team who performed on the southern black vaudeville circuit, and DID NOT GIVE A FUCK. Kid Wilson was really named Wesley Wilson, but went by Kid, although also had the nickname Sox so that he was more often than not billed as Kid “Sox” Wilson. He had previously been in a duo with another dude, billed as Pigmeat Pete and Catjuice Charlie. (Wilson was Catjuice.) There is never any lack of need for more songs about FUCK Y’ALLS BULLSHIT LET’S JUST LOUNGE, OKAY, because with microbreweries and the gentrification of the entire Earth, and establishments making themselves only available to the segment of society with the most discretionary income, places of great indiscretion are fewer and farther between. And while I don’t eat pork, so ain’t trying to gnaw on no pigfoot, plus am almost nine years sober, I WOULD GLADLY TRADE ALL THESE FUCKIN’ LAME ASS PLACES PEOPLE GO TO FOR A SPOT THAT HAD CHEAP ASS BEER AND PIGFEET, READY TO ROLL. We’ve progressed beyond being able to fuckin’ chill.
There’s a great lesson from the survival mode of rural juke joints and the Chitlin’ Circuit, that despite the prevailing rules of the larger finer society, you can create these autonomous zones to get wild and happy within. I’m not sure people realize that any more. Everybody seems so keen on getting a seat at the table, that nobody thinks, “man, fuck y’all’s table” and does their own damn thing out where the assholes ain’t bothering to look. AND NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE ASSHOLES GET INTO YOUR HEAD, TRYING TO CONVINCE YOU HOW POWERFUL THEY ARE, THEY CAN’T LOOK EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, October 20

TH3 TW1ST3D G30M3TRY...

the twisted geometry
of master planners high off
their own lack of innate chill

SONG OF THE DAY: Baby Makin' Beats



rainy sunday bumpin beats 
drankin corny ass coffee w/the hazlenut drip 
thinkin about how I miss the rain on the tin roof 
and the leak on the front porch 
but it's alright 
the laundry room light went out 
in this moldy basement apartment 
and I ain't gonna bother the landlord to fix it 
bc they assholes anyways 

everybody is strugglin 
everybody feels doomed 
everybody is one tragedy away from contemplating suicide 
to a deeper level than they'd publicly admit 
none of us alone right now 
though the ways we been trained to connect 
make us feel more disconnected than ever 
that's by design 
them devils know the divide & conquer trick
and it's multiple forces of devils using it
devils every goddamned where

but so is good
shit's embedded in our heart
just gotta pay attention to it
start calculating more heart math
listen to the rain
put a pen in your hand and write shit down
scribble words pictures truths
don't share it where these devils can see it
with their self-ordained all-seeing eyes
which ain't really everywhere

pass notes
we're all strugglin
we all feel doomed
that's by design
so let's pass notes
draw up something new
for after this falls down
they say this way is cancelled
we gonna hit the end
it's gone too far and gotten too old
I say fuck it
let's make a new baby
and keep growing
like mycelium not economy
keep it underground
connecting tendrils of real life people
who help each other feel safe
to admit all the shit troubling us all
to one degree
or another

TR4D3R J03'S P0T ST1CK3RS F0R...

Trader Joe's pot stickers for
breakfast before sun rises,
long day of meandering

Friday, October 18

SONG OF THE DAY: Flag of Hate



WAS CONTEMPLATING FRIDAY IN FALL FEELINGS OF FUCK-IT-NESS, WITH A PERSONAL HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.
40 YRS AGO I WOULD’VE BEEN 6, SO PROBABLY JUST COMING HOME FROM SCHOOL, FUCKING OFF, HOPING THINGS WEREN’T CRAZY.
30 YRS AGO I WOULD’VE BEEN AMPED UP FOR DRUNKEN AND DRUGGED DEBAUCHERY. FALL WAS ALWAYS A GREAT TIME TO DROP ACID, AND HIDE OUT ON LOGGING TRAILS WITH FRIENDS, BEING YOUNG AND STUPID AND BEAUTIFUL AND TRYING TO RUSH AGE EVEN DEATH.
20 YRS AGO WOULD’VE HAD A BABY AND ALSO WORKED AT THE COPY SHOP HALF A DAY ON SATURDAYS SO LIKELY STILL DRANK TO GET DRUNK BUT NOT SO MUCH I WAS A NON-FUNCTIONING ALCOHOLIC.
10 YRS AGO WOULD’VE BEEN SELF-EMPLOYED THUS MOSTLY UNEMPLOYED AND ALSO VERY MUCH A POUNDER OF A 12-PACK A DAY, LIKELY AT HOME, WITH THREE CHILDREN NOW, AND MAN I’M SO FUCKING THANKFUL I AM WHO I AM NOW NOT WHAT I WAS ALL OF THOSE OTHER THENS, ALTHOUGH ALL OF THAT MADE ME WHAT THIS IS NOW.
I WONDER WHAT WILL BE TEN YEARS FROM NOW?

RVNN1NG B3TW33N TW0 L1N3S 0F...

running between two lines of
bed sheets drying outside, like
a space portal for children

Wednesday, October 16

W4LK1NG P4ST WH0L3 C1TY BL0CKS...

walking past whole city blocks
that's two generations out
of my possible price range

SONG OF THE DAY: Anti



We had a War Games rap battle event this past weekend, our third, and it went down pretty well. Solid DJs plus solid direction plan helped. We’ve got a Brass Knuck title for the illest MC who controls the stage, everybody else get the fuck off, and that battle had both people do two songs (challenger first/champion second) then perform a third knockout song. The challenge was a female MC, Shamika Shard’e, and she absolutely fucked up the third song, like there was no doubt she was gonna win that shit. The way we run these is with a homemade cage, like MMA or wrestling, and three judges who score the competitors. Shamika won on unanimous decision.
The main event was a battle rap, featuring hometown hood battle rap legend Versity Rell vs. our champion Fellowman. Crowd was in Rell’s corner, but he did slip up in second round a little, and still got off some of the hottest lines. Fellowman won on judges scorecards, split decision, and there was a couple folks in the crowd heated about that. I mean Rell had his mama at the show to watch.

BlackLiq was one of our judges, and the thing I love about this dude is he’s always straight up, even if what he’s got to say ain’t what you was hoping to hear. Our host (my brother Remy St. Clair) had the judges speak on why they scored it the way they did, and BlackLiq was straight up with the crowd, no sugar coating. Then he hung out for a while, rode back to Richmond and hosted his radio hip hop show later that night. The dude is putting in work constantly. He’s put out a freestyle mixtape every month this year from his vast radio show archives, in anticipation of dropping a new album project in 2020. “Anti” comes off his last album project, which is slamming as fuck. I appreciate people who don’t necessarily slap that “creative” noun on their own ass, as an identity, and instead are just out here doing the work every damn day, building worlds. The rest of civilization notices little by little, and might not notice at all sometimes, but you’re still putting in that constant grinding work to build those worlds you need to see, need to express, want to make bigger. I respect artists like that so much more than self-identified creatives or people gaming the system with the same shit some other dude two neighborhoods over is doing.

Bonus footage of our 9 Pillars War Games heavyweight title battle rap below...

Monday, October 14

M34ND3R1NG BLV3 H1GHW4YS...

meandering blue highways
between midnight and sunrise,
watching America fade

UPCOMING HAIKU SLAMS

The 411 on upcoming Sovthern Gothic Fvtvrist Haiku Slams.
  • SATURDAY NOVEMBER 23 - CHARLOTTESVILLE VA - TWISTED BRANCH TEA BAZAAR


OUR YEAR END EVENT! Featuring a Tournament of Haiku Death Matches, plus two open battle royals between tournament rounds. The 8 competitors for the final tournament championship of 2019 will be announced on social media.

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.

1M4G1N4RY T0VRN4M3NTS...

imaginary tournaments
in my head, early Sunday
morning, at quiet Rives Park

Saturday, October 12