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.

Monday, September 30

C0VNTY F41R TVRNS 3MPTY F13LD...

county fair turns empty field
to hallucinogenic
playground two weeks out the year

SONG OF THE DAY: Brown & Beautiful



I don’t compile those BEST OF YEAR XXX lists because it’s just trying to trick people into always buying new shit all the time, which is what helps prop up this unfulfilling dissatisfying capitalist system anyways. Also calendars are bullshit, we ought to be going by the moons instead of this Gregorian crap, think how dope it would be to finally be able to go to the beach in February or have a snow day in September. But if I was the type of self-important jackass who felt like I not only consumed so much of the consumptive arts but that I also possessed a better-than-most-others knack for discerning what is quality and what is trash – you know, basically an internet person – I’d definitely have Black Beans by Choosey & Exile on my best hip hop albums of 2019 list. Except most people don’t put out actual albums, and we either stream it or you’re old as fuck like me and still illegally obtain mp3s, so you never listen to the whole thing in order like an album is conceived ideally; you just blast pieces of it a lot and forget other parts ever existed. Shit, I bet there’s songs on this album I listened to once and forgot to listen to again. But also I don’t do those types of lists, which is lucky, because it means I can keep listening to this even when it’s not new or important to mention to people to show how hip my opinion about buying shit that nobody actually buys is.

SM4LL T0WN 1NNS 0N F0RM3R BLV3...

small town inns on former blue
highways - lost to the progress
of far more rapid transit

Sunday, September 29

S0M3T1M3S Y0V W4LK TH3 T1GHT R0P3...

sometimes you walk the tight rope,
sometimes the tight rope flips the
script and wraps around your neck

SONG OF THE DAY: Put That On Me



It still freaks me out that the story of Nipsey Hussle’s murder was so shared in the immediate aftermath, and the guy that shot him was referred to as Shitty Cuz, which appeared not to be the name he went by, even on the streets, but instead the one given to him by others when he was gang raped after accusations of being a snitch. Like I obviously don’t claim to know shit about all of that situation, because it wasn’t my circle, but if you’re a dude who got gang raped by other dudes, and (according to legend) you got given the nickname “Shitty Cuz” in the act of that gang rape, and not only did that become your nickname on the streets who had turned on you, but you then became famous with that name, that’s fucked up. But also according to grand jury documents from later this summer, Hussle was calling Holder out on this in their conversation before the murder, including claiming people had documents on Holder’s snitching.
Holder will be in jail forever now, and likely solitary confinement for killing Hussle, where retribution awaits. It’s also not out of the question (as people suggested at the time) that if Holder was working with authorities, he may have been put up to the murder as well. It may still be hard to believe for those who believe in institutions, but they do try to assassinate upwardly mobile figures who are out here empowering the fucked to not feel fucked.
The whole shit’s like seven sediments of sad – young man who was doing great things killed in his prime, another young man’s life to be spent behind bars, both young men grown in an environment where one is channeled into self-destructive paths, the false promise of economic salvation which unfortunately rested on the efforts of a sole figure to certain extent… and it was all anybody was reading on their algorithm feeds for a week, and we ain’t heard shit about it since. We’re all fucked to one extent or another, by this simulation of a system we’re living in.

S0M3 F0LKS D3ST1N3D T0 G3T L0ST...

some folks destined to get lost
in hotels on old highways,
forgotten like the decades

Thursday, September 26

WH3R3 TW0 0LD R04DS 1NT3RS3CT...

where two old roads intersect -
what once must've been bustling
store, rotting back into Earth

SONG OF THE DAY: Living Legend



Hip hop is such a force across the Earth, after only like half a century of existence. Doe is a local rapper, and wild ass dude, and this song is such a fuckin’ jam, like on its own even if you’re not from this place. But the beauty of how far hip hop has grown is that so many places have these amazing scenes percolating beneath the surface, that mainstream world doesn’t know about. Doe has a line in here, “You don’t wanna be a target, catch your grandma coming out Reid’s market” which is the actual independent grocery store here in the Ville. I get chicken feet from there regularly (lol, for real). When all these little scenes have the capacity to make great art that is immediately relevant to local people’s real life, I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old but I feel that’s more important to some extent than blowing up. Everybody wants to go global, be a worldwide superstar. I see that with local dudes too, putting these airs on social media like they’re jet-setting, staying in hotel swimming pools all the time… and I’m not mad at nobody for dreaming, but damn, that’s not real. And I guess it goes back to the system too, because local people don’t support local music or artists – they support famous shit. That’s what we get fed. And even if you do have local systems put in place, a place like Charlottesville has so much institutional racism, they’re looking for reasons to shut down any club that has hip hop shows to a predominantly non-white, non-affluent crowd. Which makes me think the whole thing is so fucked up and annoying that I just wanna escape.
That takes me back to the beginning though – you escape through good art, and this song’s a fuckin’ classic. How many living legends are out there in all the various scenes, that most of us don’t even know about? The mostly unknown living legends who fuckin’ do it, blessing their corner of the world. I love that shit, way more than the people that blow up. A lot of moral compromise and exploitation of self goes into blowing up. But you can happily not give a fuck about all that, and be a local living legend, and ain’t no shame in that. In fact, it should be seen as a great success, even if there ain’t a lot of dollars behind it.

Wednesday, September 25

R00ST3RS 1N 4 C4MP3R SH3LL...

roosters in a camper shell -
metaphor for rural men's
performative hard assness

SONG OF THE DAY: Mo Money Less Problems



Rocking citrine crystal next to my heart, with the self-besmirched crooked homemade yin yang tattoo done stuck and poke decades ago, angled too oblong for external views but perfectly round from my eyeballs looking down. Rocking citrine crystal for prosperity, constantly struggling against the riptide, like my whole life, and generally don’t think about it because it feels natural normal nothing extraordinary, but the more I know people with more, the more I realize how different how I am is from how others are. Wouldn’t change none of the past, because that path got me here, but damn if I could have it where I wasn’t fighting so hard every damn week in the future, I’d do that shit in a heartbeat. And yet at the same time can’t ever be co-opted by the capital dreams of escape from suffering without remembering the fact that nothing makes you special for being blessed to escape the struggle, and there’s plenty of folks left behind in the riptide still struggling, and I’d rather have the whole carnival game cancelled than me win the big stuffed animal finally.

C4SS1NGL3 0F 1'V3 G0T TH3...

cassingle of "I've Got the
Power!" on repeat in first
boss's beat-up pick-up truck

Tuesday, September 24

SK1N T0N3S S33N 4S 4L13N...

skin tones seen as alien
and unwanted which once was
all that was known in these parts

SONG OF THE DAY: Summer 1984



The 1984 Olympics being held in Los Angeles was used as justification for one of the earliest militarizations of modern police departments, with massive gang sweeps leading up to the event, where many known gang members were rounded up and jailed on various charges that could've been enforced at any point. One should always remember existence can always be deemed illegal, because there's enough laws on the books that any of us can get put in jail should a police state choose to enforce what it wants to enforce. For African-Americans and norteno Latinos, this meant jail at the time, but for many immigrant communities, this meant known gang members (which means they were on gang task force lists, not necessarily known in any other capacity, basically a list police made) got deported back to wherever their family was from, despite many of the alleged gang members not having ever known the place.
For central Americans, this was a huge issue, because a lot of refugees of civil wars and unstable states in those nations, caused by direct and covert US interference, relocated to Southern California, where they found a gang culture that required organizing their own protective gangs. This manufactured new gang members, who were exported back to the native nations of their parents, where gang networks connected tendrils. This also imported the gang problem seen in El Salvador and Honduras from the US to central America, which - thirty-some years later - has become the justification of some alleged invasion of criminal elements which requires giant walls and militarized police forces working covertly in various American cities. The whole thing has been this self-perpetuating cycle that has ultimately depended on the dehumanization of minorities. And in fact, a lot of what is really fucked up about America right now was initiated during the Reagan era.
I find all this interesting because none of this is new, but we have been trained to have such a micro-focus, probably by design because if we have a micro-focus, we are always excited by what's new, instead of content with what already is in our possession. Capitalist economy requires constant dopamine rush of newness. Unfortunately in terms of larger critical thinking, this sort of destroys our ability to see longer term patterns, and instead we focus on the immediate - that somehow Trump is an anomaly that has upset America's prestige, when in actuality he's just a less PR-savvy version of what's been going on constantly for a while.
Police militarization has only gotten stronger since 1984, with surplus weaponry from constant wars, not to mention police just straight up being down with purchasing military style shit, all of which is justified by a war on mysterious terror. What happened in LA in 1984 helped lay the tinder in the metaphysical environment that exploded in the '92 riots, because Rodney King getting beat by the LAPD was not shocking to a lot of residents, nor was the cops getting acquitted. But it was too much to have it all out in the open like that, without giving a fuck. Essentially that's why bourgeois have a problem with Trump era America, is that it's just out in the open without giving a fuck. But Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama all escalated these federal executive powers pretty steadily, without any thought that it could go wrong. They didn't care. They imagined the sustainable growth of executive privilege with no repercussions. Obama had pretty great PR skills, so it's been a big hangover to drop to Trump, but it's really not all that different in terms of what's being done, just the corruption is more open and doesn't give a fuck. More metaphysical tinder is being scattered.
If you are excited by that tinder, and look forward to an explosion, I hope you realize how many of these people out here support the militarization of the police, without question, and have militarized themselves to a large extent. These people don't give a fuck, and when the explosion happens (which it will), I hope people are ready for what that entails. It's gonna be some ugly things happening, and you can't unexperience what you experience. And not everybody can afford therapy either.

C0NSVM3R TR1NK3TS 0F G00D...

consumer trinkets of good
luck, mass produced to filter
positive vibes from gross world

Saturday, September 21

M0R3 T1M3S SP3NT 0N 1NT3RST4T3S...

more time spent on interstates
than I ever expected;
dirt roads mostly in rear view

SONG OF THE DAY: 1 Jvst W4nt T0 C3l3br4t3



I JUST WANNA CELEBRATE…
ghostly wails stumbling through life, carrying too much baggage I ain't even mean to accumulate
I JUST WANNA CELEBRATE…
mostly sober of substance but for what not sure
the days still feel like cobra clutch
running between designated meeting spots
points on the grid
I JUST WANNA CELEBRATE…
let this tired dirtgod run free along the railroad tracks
a couple hours tomorrow please
today's already been divvied up into minimum payments
honoring responsibilities
I JUST WANNA CELEBRATE…
ancestral voices whispering that it's all a trick
a trap an overly-complicated scam conning away your days
embezzling life
I JUST WANNA CELEBRATE…

Friday, September 20

D0N'T D1SCVSS P0L1T1CS W1TH DVD3S...

don't discuss politics with dudes
displaying classic cars, not
unless you got two right hands

SONG OF THE DAY: Slow Spinnin'


World still spinning slow, at same pace as ever through same space as ever, despite the malcontent machinery manufacturing mad anxiety that we’re gonna walk into a giant blank wall marked END TIMES GAME OVER any year now. Is the cataclysmic change of climate true? Sure. But lolol you ain’t dismantled the device in your hands have you? Any time shit falls apart, part of it grows back together – that’s the natural way of things. Scars get left, sometimes things get wiped out, but people ain’t gonna stop scrabbling across the surface of this Earth any time soon, albeit the herd may get thinned. Mushroom spores will scatter, the poison clouds will eventually dissipate, and sure it takes many half-lives for some of our poison to decay, many of us are already living half-lives ourselves, so maybe shit needs to fall apart and get pieced back together anyways. Unfortunately, people tend to be complacent, and it takes trauma to wake us up at times. Nonetheless, it’s Friday, it’s chill outside (at least where I am), so walk around outside (if you are able) and scatter some metaphysical spores amongst the industrial detritus of our these days American lives.

F0LKS HVSTL1NG 4FT3R F00L'S G0LD...

folks hustling after fool's gold,
hoping for economic
salvation from the system

Wednesday, September 18

SONG OF THE DAY: Extra Consent



We can’t have nothin’ nice. The brief bright trajectory of Lizzo soon to be crushed by Democratic Party speaking engagements, Nissan commercials, and other types of neoliberal homogenization. Of course the automatic reactionary rebuttal to this is WELL JUST ENJOY THE THINGS YOU ENJOY WHO CARES? and yes, that is very much true. But also, they (the big inexplicable Shadow People type but not in the shadows at all but instead living on top of all the pyramids of wealth) have a way of bleaching the soul out of everything. By soul I mean that gut tingling don’t give a fuck makes perfect sense like sunshine on the river type shit, which makes perfect sense yes, but then somehow they dam it up, put the shine through a filter, and it just hits awkwardly after that. Ain’t no scientific explanation for it (likely because the same they that’s THEY control scientific method) and it is what it is. Go ‘head Lizzo – get that bag.

D1G1T4L P0L1C3 ST4T3 D1GS...

digital police state digs
deeper into subconscious
of these blue lives bootlickers

Tuesday, September 17

H3RM1T'S C4V3 1N BVCK1NGH4M...

hermit's cave in Buckingham,
underneath highway fifteen
bridge over the James River

SONG OF THE DAY: Test Drive


E-scooters are the fun new way to signify gentrification of a space, although actually it's for the community's good, and they'll promise to station them all over the city for people who don't have easy access to affordable transportation, except then it's just at colleges and around gentrifying neighborhoods or from bars to apartments, it's not like you see a hard-working person with their metal lunch pail riding the Lime to the ol' nuts-n-bolts factory. I mostly like to use them in one of two ways - either driving them into public housing and leaving them there, which I guess unfortunately might be giving the company false data which supports their claims that it actually serves the community instead of their profits. So maybe I'll do the second one more, which is drive them down to Moore's Creek, leave them, and once they've sat there for a day or two, throw them in the creek. Nobody's going back up that hill on one of those things. I keep waiting for my account to get locked for always driving them to a place where they end up disappearing but it hasn't happened yet.

3V3RY 4LL3Y H4S 1TS...

every alley has its
own security eyeballs,
hovering above, watching

Monday, September 16

4LW4YS CVTT1NG THR0VGH 4LL3YS...

always cutting through alleys
whenever meandering
on ten mile meditations

SONG OF THE DAY: Canary Rhombus



The sign of a great producer is people know their instrumentals more than the actual recorded song. I got zero desire to listen to more trash ass cocaine salesman name-dropping expensive brands for the three millionth time. But I'll play the shit out of this version of Canary Rhombus.

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