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, July 31

TH3 F1N4L D3C0R4T10NS...

the final decorations
of an abandoned strip
mall on Jeff Davis Highway

SONG OF THE DAY: Down With the Clique



no clique, riding solo
no mentors, navigating metaphysical warzones
without guidance, trusting my own blind faith
in universal blessings
no disciples, refusing leadership of anything
because leaders don’t do enough (too busy
listening to themselves talk)
just fucking poking along
stabbing around with homemade divining rod
trying to find a dream 

F1ND1NG S0L1TVD3 4M1DST...

finding solitude amidst
Sunday freight trains abandoned
in honor of the sabbath

Saturday, July 27

Wednesday, July 24

SONG OF THE DAY: Grinding All My Life


The historical complaint against history was that the winners tell the story, thus we get a one-sided view of what happened. This is true in all contexts of culture. I say this related to “grinding all my life” because I got to thinking about the etymology of slang grinding, and how the act of slowly wearing something down in laborious act was turned into hustler mantra, as in “rise and grind”  or “grind pray” or all the uses of grinding now used more than people actually use power tool grinders. Here’s the weird thing though – online there was no real solid etymological slang site, just normal dictionaries which would barely mention the slang version. However, there was a significant amount of explanation, including a FUCKING WIKIPEDIA PAGE about grinding as it relates to using this slang in playing video games. At the Wikipedia page, there was actually discussion about how some viewed this as poor game design, while others considered a natural aspect of any quality game, to have a repetitive laborious task to complete certain achievements. And yet, no fucking etymology of the slang use in terms of hustling after dreams through perhaps not entirely legal methods.
This is further example of the gentrification of the internet, and how a certain comfort class knowledge is deeply explored in this medium that claims to be full of all information, when actually it’s just a wide expanse of narrow knowledge. Call it the Genius Syndrome, as in that genius website, which has nerd ass people explicating lyrics to verses, often times in hilariously ridiculous ways. But anyways, shout out to you if you remain grinding towards your dreams – this poison culture is like building sand castles and if you don’t tend that shit daily they gonna wipe you down with heavy tides of bullshit, so you gotta stay grinding at that shit constantly, or else you get swept out to normalcy’s sea, and next thing you know you’re sitting around playing video games, pretending you are active not passive in life, and arguing about shit online because you’re sheltered ass domesticated livestock existence feels more important to you than outside perspectives. Son of Boomer Sports Car White Male is Incel With Sikk Gaming Setup. Poison culture grinds larger than any individual, still, so props to everybody attempting to beat that shit back with various creative and/or illegal hustles. Fuck these devils.

TH3 B1Z4RR3 C0NT0VR1NG 0F...

the bizarre contouring of
old school quarter-panels; now
it's all robot jellybeans

Tuesday, July 23

Monday, July 22

F33L1NG S0M3WH4T 3XH4VST3D...

feeling somewhat exhausted,
wandering through this only
life I've got, without a plan

SONG OF THE DAY: Holiday (45s on 33)


exhausted and in need of an escape
not just a temporary break to convince one’s self
everything is not a lie
but a real escape
everything feels too much too heavy
too difficult to navigate
I guess holidays in true etymological sense
require belief in something spiritual
to honor on this imaginary day free from labor
there’s nothing real to believe in any more
just different brands of lies to choose from
to consume an identity
which consumes you
and leaves you exhausted
and in need
of escape 

Saturday, July 20

Nagoya Basho 2019 Honour Tanka Day Five: ENHO (4-1)


Enho so tiny, 
yet the great one Hakuho's 
main understudy 

impossible to think this 
little man could dominate 

and yet here I am, 
watching young Enho outsmart 
and overpower 

his time in sumo will be 
blessing, as long as it lasts 

recovering well 
from previous day's loss, young 
Enho moves briskly 

standard girthy rikishi 
can't keep up if they miss him 

and yet Enho has 
power beyond his small size, 
to thrust larger men 

has Enho met Hakuho 
yet? that's what I want to see 

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?