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.

Friday, November 27

Thursday, November 26

SONG OF THE DAY: Listen To My Song


Darondo makes me want to fuck. Not creepy power fucking or weird collecting Pokemons fucking but good ol' greasy fucking in purple lights, everybody involved being all about it, no hidden agendas or hang-ups, everything out. It's a fucked up world right now, although maybe it's always been this fucked up, here or there, and it's all relative. Either way, there's enough art to make us feel like shit, to make us feel hopeless, to make us feel inspired to aspire to motivationally inspirate. Good ol' fucking art gets left out the conversation, which is unfortunate, because damn if we don't all need some serotonin still. And if you're out there not getting that serotonin release, stuck in a situation where it doesn't happen, or you accidentally ended up in a routine where the other side of the bed realized they don't like your type no more, recognize it's a big ol' world out here. Somebody wants to fuck you, in a most wonderful way.

C0NT1NV0VSLY P3RPL3X3D...

 

continuously perplexed 
by how we stacked all these bricks 
into boxes we don't like 

Wednesday, November 25

SONG OF THE DAY: Loc'in On The Shaw



Tone Loc's tape gets overlooked a lot because he's seen as a one hit wonder by our fickle ass culture, even though he was still making music, voicing cartoon dogs, and getting into shootouts with the Boo-Yaa Tribe years later. Before The Dust Brothers got famous helping hone that wild ass Paul's Boutique sound for the Beastie Boys, they worked on Tone Loc's first album, which means there's all these amazing but forgotten beats. "Loc'in On The Shaw" is exactly that too, one of those "let's ride forever" beats that a person can freestyle to for at least 7000 miles before getting tired. I once woke up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and my alarm clock ipod randomly played this to wake me up, so I called in sick, and took a leisurely drive west, ending up in Montevideo, Uruguay, thirty-seven years later, having lived three lives along the way, in eastern Kentucky, the borderlands near McAllen, Texas, and finally in Montevideo, walking to see matches played at Estadio Cenentario when possible, sight of the first World Cup, spray painting haiku on alley walls in my horrible mangled Spanglish. Finally, I had to work on Monday, so I drove back home, playing the beat almost the entire way back as well, but deciding when near Texas to play DJ Screw's Syrup & Soda mixtape instead. When I got to Virginia though, I was worried my racist ancestors would be mad, so I put on some Willie Nelson for the last stretch. All of that happened in 2018, which shows you the timelessness of these beats lost on a Tone Loc album nobody will listen to because they think all he did was "Wild Thing".

FR33D0M'S JVST 4N0TH3R W0RD...

 

"freedom's just another word 
for nothing left to lose" tat 
across my pineal gland 

Tuesday, November 24

SONG OF THE DAY: Angel From Montgomery


I ain’t much on Sturgill Simpson, on the surface because his music felt like that forced “I’m different than regular country music” style anti-country music. “Even a black sheep is still a sheep” is a saying that has stuck with me about being too reactionary forces you to be attached to that which you’re reacting to. But beyond the surface level, he wears a cop mustache, which I never trust, even ironically, but especially in his case because his dad was actually a narcotics officer in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. You should not ironically be looking like a cop when your dad was an actual cop, and one of the most dishonest and deceitful sort. But Sturgill Simpson does, and I’m supposed to trust that. What my father taught me might’ve been discombobulated, chaotic, and filtered through the haze of drugs and alcohol, but one thing I remember clearly is DON’T TRUST COPS, OR PEOPLE WHO TRUST COPS.
I say all this because they had some sort of bullshit country music awards show a few weeks back, and some people had retweeted a Sturgill Simpson opinion about how disappointed he was at the fake ass country music awards show, they didn’t take a minute to mention the deaths of John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker. Of course he positioned it in that cooler than thou light, that he only watched for a few minutes to see if they did it, not like he watched the whole fake ass thing. Of course he watched the whole thing though. But it’s also not like the fake country music industry gave a lot of love to guys like Prine, Hubbard, and Walker while they were alive, to be honest. Why would you expect different in death? Country music has always been fake as fuck, but since the ‘90s, after the rise of Garth Brooks in Nashville, it’s turned into even more of a mechanistic churning out of neurological trickery that sounds like music, behaves like music, so it must be music, when in actuality it’s just Wal-Mart muzak meant to market the American Empire. And it’s worked. The majority of people who consider themselves "country” are more likely to identify with sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot than sitting by a creek, and they consider that to be what country means, especially when the Lowes is right there too. Wal-Mart/Lowes combination strip mall developments are a thousand times more country than a tobacco field in 2020 – ain’t no recount on that vote, because that’s how the majority feels.
So Sturgill Simpson taking his social media soapbox stance against the ever-present hypocrisy of country music industry just made me think, “lol, of course Sturgill Simpson did that.” His whole angle is positioning himself as a manufactured black sheep in opposition to the regular sheep. And he’d be played heavily at hipster breakfast restaurants in gentrifying spaces right now, if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
Anyways, John Prine died from complications related to Covid, which of course all those Wal-Mart parking lot country folk don’t think is real. All the sheep think they’re black sheep, overthrowing the wolves, but it’s just a bunch of fucking sheep, rambling around in various strip mall parking lots, lost in the buzz of late capitalist empire.

4LL TH3S3 N0 TR3SP4SS1NG S1GNS...

all these no trespassing signs 
have little authority 
with nobody else around 

Monday, November 23

SONG OF THE DAY: Colors

Stayed up too late the other night watching Boyz In Tha Hood again. My kid came down for a late night snack, and starting interrupting and asking questions, right when Tre and Ricky were in the alley and Ricky got shot. My kid’s like, “You look like you’re about to cry?” I was like, “Damn, Ricky just got shot.” I told her the basic layout of Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy, then she goes back into the kitchen. As she comes back out, they’re putting Ricky in the Impala to take home, and my kid goes, “Is that Bread?” I’m like what? She goes, “Bread? Dough? Whatever it was?” And then we talked about the plastic on the furniture at Ricky and Doughboy’s house for a few minutes before she got bored with my existence, like any tween would with their dad watching some old ass movie, and left again.

TH3 HVM4N BR41N K33PS TH1NK1NG...

the human brain keeps thinking 
it has to do something, it 
has to get somewhere - fools task 

Sunday, November 22

TH3 P0W3R 0F L0VNG3 D03SN'T...

the power of lounge doesn't 
look like much, because it's not; 
somehow, that's hard to maintain 

Friday, November 20

SONG OF THE DAY: Mosquito Loco

Fuck it, no write up with this one. Just the most annoying beautiful cumbia song that was ever made (as far as I know). If you have MAGA neighbors, TURN IT UP LOUD AS FUCK, and shoot your guns into the ceiling. Or at least have a barrel fire. I've been in this new home of mine for almost three months, and still ain't got no burn barrel. Neighbors down below me by the river are burning trash, detritus, and scrap limbs every Friday night. Got the sky filled with trash fog now. And me up here, looking simple, ain't even got a burn barrel. Damn. Played myself again.

TH3 SVNS3T 4ND SVNR1S3 L00K...

 

the sunset and sunrise look 
similar, just coming from 
two different perspectives 

Thursday, November 19

SONG OF THE DAY: Samuri Da Yan Matan

Walking the narrow road of “holding my shit together” in a society that seems hell bent on squeezing as much literal blood from folks stoned by hopelessness. I’ve wrestled with guilt lately for having brung children into this world, who will have to survive it after I’m gone. Haha, what a swerve – previous generations looked forward to playing with their grandchildren, and I’m sitting here feeling guilty I gave life to my children. I mean, I know it’s all perspective, and maybe all those times I stood in front of people babbling about how we don’t actually get to an end, there’s no wall that says “It’s over” for humanity, but that stubborn and persistent souls keep pushing forward. I guess I don’t feel that stubborn, or persistent right now, which also is probably normal, because we’ve been living in this fucked up purgatory, hiding from potential illness, as well as medical debt in America, and I still ain’t dug out from the debt that came about years ago.
That’s what’s so depressing about life in America now – it’s a burden to be alive. Most of us are losing money every day we remain alive, with no hope of that figure ever changing, so no wonder suicides are rising and people feel guilty for procreating. I just want to sink into a cocoon for three months, be left the fuck alone, zero expectations from anybody, and come back out with the redbuds, and see how shit feels at that point. But I can’t, because in America any day you don’t at least tread water to where it’s risen, you get flooded a little bit more. I can’t wait for this country to dissolve from what it is now. It’s going to be a great relief to a lot of people, even though it feels scary since it’s all we’ve ever known. But this shit ain’t working no more.

TH3 L3SS0NS 0F GR4FF1T1...

the lessons of graffiti - 
yesterdays get covered up, 
but also builds foundation 

Wednesday, November 18

SONG OF THE DAY: Why Do Everything Happen To Me



The guy that puts out the vegetables at the Food Lion in Scottsville is never wearing a mask over his mouth and nose, just sort of dangling, strapped to his chin, usually with a shit-eating grin on his face. I’m not the type to snitch to a manager, and the manager there has that redneck hip hop dude from 1991 who got a woman pregnant and is gonna do right by her the rest of his life look anyways, so he probably wouldn’t even care the guy wasn’t wearing his mask, and would just do that, “Look man, people complained. You just gotta be cool about it.” And fuckface would still be wearing his mask as a chin strap a week later.
The weird thing about our culture – if you can call it that – is how proudly stupid people have become. Even smart people. Shit everybody. If our culture is anything it’s one of self-importance, where we think we have to share our goddamn idiot thoughts on every single subject on social media. And then trending topics force us to give opinions about shit we didn’t even think about or care about otherwise. And it all gets to feel so stupid and overwhelming that when I’m trying to get through the stupid fucking Food Lion during a pandemic with rising numbers, and just grab the things I need, and I see the idiot pear-shaped redneck produce man standing there looking like a goddamn cartoon warning against electrocuting yourself from 1949, setting bags of onions out, I just wanna stomp him and the whole world into pulp. But I can’t, and don’t. I just buy my useless shit and go home, like everybody else, until the credit behind my name runs out, and I’m sleeping in the cold earth again.

TH0S3 WH0 P4SS10N4T3LY GR1P...

those who passionately grip 
at the past get trapped thinking 
tomorrow won't have sunshine 

Tuesday, November 17

SONG OF THE DAY: I Wanna Be Where You Are (Underboss Remix)


Yesterday, left work early to go walk through the yard and scribble my dumb shit into the industrial æther, performing such hits as "November in Railroad Earth", "Southern Inshallah", and "Nature Boy Whooo". After that, as the sun set, meandered in the direction of the new moon's silver sliver through the cybertron power lines carrying buzz over the Blue Ridge, and went to the nearly abandoned mall in Staunton, presumably to scope out old magazines at the junk book store that has overtaken the former J.C. Penney end, spreading into the concourse even. But they'd gotten rid of all the magazines, except for piles of National Geographics. I looked through the survivalism and art and photography sections, and almost bought a classic on ninja invisibility by Dr. Haha Lung, but chose not to, even though my girlfriend had store credit I could use. Is it true ninja invisibility to purchase a book on store credit in a dying American mall? I actually walked through, trying to find a bathroom. There was the inner side of the military surplus store, looking like it had cool shit inside but also that I might have to fight somebody for even considering to wear a mask. Not much else left in this mall other than a Jesus thrift store, cell phone shop, and the saddest Bath and Body Works I think I ever saw, like still hanging on but running with decor from four seasons ago maybe. My youngest loves that store so I've been in them way more than I care to admit, but fuck man, this one was doomed, beyond life support, just waiting for somebody to add the right function column to a spreadsheet in some far off building and go, "Wait! Why the fuck do we still have a store in Staunton?" and then it'll be gone too.
Nowhere to go, nothing to be, so I meandered my way back on 11, then 250, in the early evening winter night time, taking pictures of dying strip mall stores with bright lights but dead dreams. Stopped at the Sheetz, where of course covid doesn't exist for these rednecks, who aren't even rednecks anymore but some weird suburban wannabe hybrid that was steeped more deeply in the internet than back roads, and when their drunk uncle took them to the river to sit there and drink and get high, they must've been looking at social media more than the river, because these folks ain't rednecks, or country. But they also don't wear masks, and walk around like too many roosters in a chicken pen, so I wanna slit their throats, because that's how I was raised when there's too many useless fucking roosters strutting around the chicken pen, making things hard for everybody else.
Sadly, I'm probably wrong, and that is "country" in what this country is now - all of us penned up in our chicken runs, too many goddamned self-important roosters flapping around, making noise all the fucking time but got no real fight to them, and would die in the wild with the quickness. Me too. There's a dude living down below me by the river, and I walk past him and we go "hey!" at each other, but two or three nights down there in the cold November Blue Ridge foothills nights would destroy me. I'm too weak for this shit, to be dealing with all these dumbass roosters and dying malls and machetes that aren't sharp enough to cut through bone and winter in America.
Strangely, the military surplus store had lockers for rent on the concourse, with proceeds going to the Dolly Parton Literary Fund. It seemed interesting the store that appeared to believe antifa was a George Soros-funded militia, also supported Dolly Parton charities, but I have to remember not every living person gets feed the same digital stream of memes I do. They may not realize Dolly is a lesbian at heart, and rides rainbow candy-painted Harley Davidsons over the new moon every month. But also, who is going to use a locker at the mall? Only thing I could think of was nearly homeless people, who are likely not far from that mall, by the looks of things. I also tried to find a bathroom, which was at the far desolate end, by the movie theater I couldn't tell if it was actually operational or not, but also some claw machines, all by themselves. The bathrooms were blocked off with warning tape, and had OUT OF ORDER written on them. I started to walk away but a black dude popped out of some lavender bakery place and was like, "Oh you can use it, man. I was just trying to clean it up. It was fucked up in there." "Alright. I'll try not to mess it up," I answered. "Oh, you ain't got to worry 'bout it; you're good."
The floor was still wet, and my boots left black marks on the floor, and I felt horrible about it. He popped out as I was walking off and said, "Take it easy!" and I said thanks and also took it easy as best I could.
The whole thing was sad, because we're all out here still trying to feel good, still trying to survive, and I'm not sure where all the people who can afford things are. Downtown Staunton has become more gentrified, housing prices going up, pushing people into the suburban areas, which are spiraling downward, like that mall. Some lady was sitting at the desk and said over the PA that the mall was closing at six and to wrap up your shopping. I thought the book store was open til 8, but I also didn't want to find out if they were going to kick me out or not, because it gave me an excuse not to disappear like Dr. Haha Lung. So I did.
Also, I did not break up my conversation with the dude who cleaned the bathroom into multiple paragraphs, because it was all one conversation, and just like with malls, and American flags, and "country" people at the Sheetz, that 1950s shit doesn't apply anymore. Sorry, that's just how shit is.

N4T1V3 S0N 0F RVR4L S0VTH...

native son of rural south, 
but with futuristic hopes 
unfound in history books 

Monday, November 16

Sunday, November 15

SONG OF THE DAY: Open the Door (Alternate Take)


Otis Redding is one of my all-time favorites. His voice has just never been matched. I'm about to light a few sticks of incense, draw a hot bath, plug in all 39 strands of purple and pink holiday lights, and vibe the fuck out.

SC4TT3R MY 4SH3S 4R0VND...

 

scatter my ashes around 
the sixty-ninth mile marker, 
between Bremo and Scottsville 

DR34M1NG 4B0VT H4V1NG SH1T...

dreaming about having shit, 
but knowing I won’t get it - 
politics of being trash 

Friday, November 13

Thursday, November 12

SONG OF THE DAY: Signoya

The river is high from all the rain, which I like because it means that all the spots where people sit there drinking a quarter or pint or whatever, and bottles got left in the brush, it all gets washed loose and down the river. Then it recedes, and bottles which got moved about end up in the muck down below where I live, and I find them while tromping along the road. It takes a lot of patience to write poems on old river bottles, because you can't rush the finding of bottles. Nature has to do their part in the creative process. If I started forcing it, or getting bottles in a different way, I'd be turning creative process into manufacturing, and then I'd lose heart for it, because creation is a heart thing but manufacturing is a brain thing. Fuck my brain, in my opinion.

ST1LL M4K1NG P1LGR1M4G3S...

still making pilgrimages 
to American mosques of 
industrial fallacy 

Wednesday, November 11

SONG OF THE DAY: Cheeba Cheeba

 
video 

Randomly decided to look up famous graffiti artist Stay High 149, and turns out he was born in Southside Virginia, down in Emporia, before moving to the New York City at age 6 in the mid-1950s, and ending up in the Bronx around ‘66. Apparently he never knew his dad, but early on in graffiti’s late ‘60s/early ‘70s days, Stay High 149 became well-known, turning a haloed stickman figure from a popular TV show into a smoking character that was thrown up with his every time he did it, stylizing it in a way not everybody did at the time. By the time hip hop and graffiti was blowing up towards the mid-70s, Stay High 149 was a legend. He apparently had a job as a messenger downtown, so rode the train all day long, saw other tags, so started carrying markers with him and tagging all over. He got featured in a New York magazine article in 1973, including a picture, and the cops busted him afterwards once they knew what he looked like. He switched to other tags after that, then he sort of disappeared, still tagging but also battling drug problems, while raising and supporting a family. (He apparently tagged the stairwells of the World Trade Center extensively, because that’s where his job was based, before he lost it due to drug issues.) Around 2000, as internet culture and information sharing was developing, he ran into another graffiti writer, and found out his name still carried legend. He resurfaced, getting mobbed at a couple art shows he showed up to at the time, and got back into graffiti for a while. Norman Mailer’s “Faith of Graffiti” long essay had been released as a book with photographs of prominent graffiti back in ’74, and featured Stay High 149. It got reissued in 2009, and had a picture of a Stay High 149 tag on the cover of it. At the same time, the actual Stay High 149 could be found haggling prices for graffiti canvases on the streets of NYC. Once again, the archivist from within the system of respectability and authority got more wealth out of the deal than the originator and source of the material. Stay High 149 died in 2012, from liver disease, after a life spent battling those addiction demons. He’s got a government name that his obituaries go by, but his real name is Stay High 149, and to think otherwise is fucking stupid and disrespectful to how he lived his life.
Emporia used to have both an east-west and north-south train line, but the east-west has been shut down, like a lot of shit in Southside Virginia. Folks try to gentrify them into rails to trails, but weekend bikers will never bring the economy that actual functioning textile mills and factories gave folks. It’s a dead end town for the most part now if you don’t already have wealth to live off of. The north-south line still runs, operated by CSX, and the Amtrak still comes through, carrying folks up north to better opportunities or family or an escape to this day. There’s no yard there, so probably not any old freights sitting around, but I wanna go down there and tag up some Stay High 149s, as homage to an illegitimate arts legend, and where he was born, because ain’t nobody there gonna bother trying to remember shit like that.

C4RV1NG P03TRY 1NT0...


 carving poetry into 
rock faces where I live now - 
cold mountain meditations 

Tuesday, November 10

SONG OF THE DAY: Pass

The malls are all nearly empty now; they sold off the last headless department store mannequins a couple months back, 90% off the overpriced starting point. The only thing left now are a used book store where the old dude sells junk he gets in bulk for free from estate dump-offs, and the military surplus store, where you could get a nice knife but they're gonna look at you funny if you're wearing a mask of anything other than a beard and naive belief in freedom as a god. A couple stores can now afford rent where they used to be kiosks, and you always hope it turns into a giant international flea market, pull the unpainted food trucks up to the big double doors of the long gone tire center on whatever all purpose capitalist destination from three decades ago could give you tires along with your home goods, let the wretched of the earth, who have come here always but hidden in the corners of this country, finding shelter in the gaps between margins, let them thrive in this place. But it won't happen. The value of the land's potential is always more than what poor people can actually do with it. These old buildings will hang on, out of kindness to the small business owners who are respectably white, but eventually be bulldozed and hauled away, and replaced by a new investment opportunity, unfaded by time, bright and shiny and made of the newest plastics, which decay even more slowly than the ones from before, although it all ends up in the same pile eventually, far beyond the horizons we pay attention to. Those are the hills you see, cutting a skyline in the twilight of America, piles of rubble of dead dreams, with a thin layer of soil and grass sown over top, sprayed with pesticides to keep any dandelions or four-leaf clovers from blooming, and fucking up the eternal sameness.

SVP3RL4T1V3 3X1ST3NC3...

 

superlative existence 
is a liberal pipe dream; 
keep it simple, and stupid 

Monday, November 9

Sunday, November 8

SONG OF THE DAY: Jo Lean (Slurred & Blurred)

SHOUT OUT TO DJ BRILLIANT, SLURRING IT AND BLURRING IT. He told me he'd never really listened to this song before he fucked with it, slowing it down and chopping it up. True artists understand the essence of the material they're working with, even without analysis. Without thinking. Shit just comes to you, naturally, like McDonalds bags full of fries to a pack of crows.

1NT3RN4L F3RM3NT4T10N...

 

internal fermentation 
of heart-first philosophy 
counters fast food disinfo 

Saturday, November 7

SONG OF THE DAY: Robots Taking Them Jobs Away


There's a Greater Appalachian Beer Tree down below where I live now, by the river, fruiting beer cans on branches in autumn. Contrary to popular belief, these trees are not native to the American continent. They originally came from the Scottish Highlands & Ireland, but they were used by the colonial elite, planted extensively just outside the walls of their English gardens in the "new" world, to block the view of the indigenous and enslaved. The trees down where I live are wild ones, mostly found in rural places now, but an organic “micro” beer tree is often used decoratively in gentrifying neighborhoods. It's derived from the same species. 
I took some pictures of the beer can fruit earlier, and then walked along the half-paved, half-gravel road by the river. While I was down there, someone in a gator across the river, up on the ridge, backed off and buzzed away. I kept walking, and dug out a brown stubby quart bottle at one spot, shaking the river and mud out of it, then setting it upright on the side of the road to see and grab on my way back. I'd already contemplated paint markering haiku on it with a dirtgod moniker and trying to trade it to anybody local for some other form of art.
Me and the dog kept walking, to the gravel, found both an abandoned outbuilding to a factory as well as an abandoned house, both maybe worth exploring but hard to gauge the neighboring people at this point. There's a weird mix of locals who probably have been families here for generations, and new school people, more affluent, who bought the nicer houses. A definite class divide, and I'm probably seen as the outsider, rightfully so because I ain't ever lived here before. Actually one of those fellow outsiders, who I knew from years ago and my ex-wife's women friends and their hippie workingman husbands/boyfriends, he stopped and talked for a few minutes. I know from talking to the landscaper guy that used to cut grass here, that those people are liked, so far as they're paying customers for local services. I don't know if the locally disenfranchised, or those who can't calm their wildness are all that accepted by the affluent buy-ins.
We finally turned back around, and as we got to the end of the gravel part I heard a mechanical buzzing coming towards us. A dude on a zero-turn mower turned the curve, saw us walking, waved, and turned back around. Me and the dog kept walking. Two ragged sedans roared through - you could hear them half a mile away, since nobody really drives this route, so the dog and I stepped aside. Both did drag racing takeoffs as best as possible in their dilapidated shit where the gravel turned to straight stretch asphalt. The smell of six cylinders pushed beyond ability burning fuel floated in the air. It was nice; I recognize that smell. I was born under one of those wild beer trees, and I've been working all my life at chopping it down, or at least trimming it back to where it's not in the way of everything.
The brown quart bottle was gone when we got back to that spot; I'd left it in a very specific lay of the land to not lose track of. I could see water dribbles beside where that spot was on the asphalt, and more up and down the road - the path of the zero turn mower. I was kinda like "what the fuck?" about the bottle being gone, but also who knows what that guy thought. It felt weird somebody across the ridge backed off, and then not long after some mower riding dude rode far enough to scope out where I was, but not to come talk. I guess he did wave though.
I was watching everywhere to try and figure out where the mower came from, looking back across the river to see if somebody was up on the ridge again, like a horror movie. Trump just got beat in the election. Those class divides between the affluent progressive whites who can buy shit out in the country, and the poor whites who don't really have shit, is gonna get more plucked now. But nobody was over there.
As I got back to where houses were, the folks across the street had a burn barrel going. I say "street" but it's really a road, and they live down in the bottom by the river just below the bridge that got built after the previous one and hydroelectric dam got washed out by a hurricane flood in '69. They're always buzzing around on four-wheelers there too. But I've been wanting a burn barrel, and hadn't gotten one, so I was admiring their compound from afar. One old trailer, with a blue light bulb on the porch, and a newer, but still old, doublewide closer to the end of the driveway, plus a couple outbuildings and a pop-up camper, popped up. The burn barrel had chairs and a pop-up tent covering over there too - definitely built for steady lounge. I saw a lady, maybe a teenager, maybe not, sitting at the burn barrel fire, all of this a good eighth mile away. I also saw the zero turn mower parked there. So that's who took the bottle back.
I watched, hoping somebody would look my way, so I could throw out a friendly wave. I don't know those folks and they don't know me, and judging by how embedded the trailers are in that compound, they've been here for a while. Way longer than me, two months into a thirty year mortgage I'll never live to see the end of. Nobody looked, and it was too far away for us to be like, "HOW Y'ALL DOING?" anyways. He missed his opportunity on the mower, but like my dog sniffing other piss smells, he was just seeing who I was most likely. I get it. I ain't from here. I mean, ultimately, in the great American context, neither is he, but I'm less from here, in this specific location, than he is. And the land might have thousands of years of history, people tend not to remember shit past their grandmother.
I can find another bottle next time. There ain't no shortage of litter in places like this, both in terms of empty alcohol containers and human lives that got left behind. It might seem weird to some that this dude took the one bottle I set up, while leaving behind all the rest of the litter along the road. But I get that thinking that ain't nobody fucking with my trash world except for me. I come from that, and still possess it. I think anybody who drank from the fruit of those beer trees knows that outlook. I should've known better than to leave that beautiful river trash bottle sitting there on the side of the road upright like that. Might not too many people go past that spot, but I'd be most everybody that does go through there knows what to look out for.

B4TT3R3D C0NT41N3R 0F 4...

 

battered container of a 
body blemished by mistakes, 
gives patina of wisdom 

Friday, November 6

SONG OF THE DAY: Pirate

 
VIDEO 

Trying to stream things is such a chaotic mess now. Music or shows just disappear, or move to some new thing you’re supposed to be like, “oh okay, let’s throw another $12 over here after throwing all these $5, $10, whatever the fucks everywhere else.” Fuck that, I’m going back to pirating shit, burning it to DVD, and then when the internet is shut down because too many people are coordinating where they’ll be to flip over police Humvees together, when I get home after a long weekend of rioting, and put my tear gassed track suit in the wash, I know I can still enjoy Iron Chef, by just slipping a media disc into the machine.

P3RF3CT10N 41N'T P0SS1BL3...

 perfection ain't possible 
when trapped in this human form; 
too much worshipping of self 

Thursday, November 5

SONG OF THE DAY: Soub Hanak

 
VIDEO 

Intentions are important. One of the worst things about this human age where we have been trained to believe we’re machines with mechanistic schedules, where we have to be productive, and achieve goals all the time that are laid out like a project manager’s flowchart, is that we go through the physical motions in a lot of parts of our life. I mean, I’m writing this while going through the physical motion of being "at work”, while at home, which means that productivity has crept into the space I’m supposed to be free from that shit. Going through the motions, of appearing to be doing something while our heart (or mind) is not emotionally into it, at all. And in fact, I’d say a lot of our current politics has began to mimic this entirely, where we’re now in a pro wrestling-esque political age, with all these grifters who play characters that start to reap benefits, so they then remain that character, even if it’s not how their mind actually feels. But they do it so long and so hard, that the angle they’re selling becomes what they believe. They start to become victim to their own con, and become that shit. And to be honest, there’s a lot of capitalist-based self-help people who will instruct you as to exactly that – the one path to economic success is to believe those things without listening to your heart at all, and forgetting the humanity of others or the beauty of the natural world, and only “work” towards those “goals”.
Intentions though, are giving voice to our heart, before our body goes through deliberate physical motions. Speaking what our heart (mind) actually believes, so that the body knows in advance, “This is why we are about to do this thing.” It’s important, because I know I feel much better about what I’m doing if I do it purposefully, instead of getting to the end and being like, “What happened?”
Of course, there’s a lot of unexpected and unexplained that still happens – both positive and negative. There’s always little signs of whether you’re on a good or bad path with that too, which a lot of folks ignore, call superstition or silly, but I live by that shit. Even today, saw a big bright beautiful quartz rock sticking out a fallen tree’s roots/dirt clump while tromping through the woods with the dog. That was a great sign on the day; I knew I was doing good. But I also went into the woods with the intention of not thinking about civilized dramas, and just taking the dog out there to sniff around, and be outside, and see what happens. The dog’s gotta shit, and they can’t do it in the house.
The full moon was last weekend, so the new moon’s not too far away. They use the sighting of the new moon as marker to switch months in the Islamic calendar. I like that, and to be honest, my heart prefers that to Gregorian calendar. My brain has been taught otherwise, in a deep cultural way, so as my heart and brain battle for what my mind does, there’s not a lot of give on the Gregorian calendar. But I practice observing the Islamic calendar, because it makes way more sense to me, innately. The new moon is also, traditionally, considered a time to sow your intentions. It’s also, quite literally the time farmers planted, because according to those unknown vagaries people lived by before the scientific age claimed dominion over the Earth, it was better to do so. So I’m gonna try to get some new moon intentions together, maybe start trying to have my months (according to those new moon delineations) have a little more of my heart speaking some plans into existence, at least some hopes, before my body starts going through the routine motions that occupy most of an average month. I’d like my body to be giving me more happiness, and not just fucking around wasting my life going through motions that I could give half a fuck about.

G3TT1NG L0ST 1N TH3 F00TPR1NTS...

 getting lost in the footprints 
I wish was just left behind, 
but online is forever 

Wednesday, November 4

SONG OF THE DAY: レッドブルとグミ

 

Nothing is really any different today than it was yesterday. Next Wednesday won’t be all that different from last Wednesday either. There are always subtle changes happening, but these human mind made catastrophic dramas are never what we make them out to be. Ever since dualistic theology overtook our ways, we fall into these “good vs. evil” traps, and forget the spectrum of spirits that exist between and beyond the binaries. If you’re really feeling bad though, I suggest burning some shit. I like to call it “archiving in ash”. It can be helpful, on both a personal and political level.

N0 M4TT3R WH3R3 1 G0 1N...

 no matter where I go in 
late American empire, 
I leave digital footprints 

Tuesday, November 3

SONG OF THE DAY: Legs

I have found my best stress response is to walk, preferably where there’s not a lot of human activity but with the detritus of civilization still around. Railroad tracks obviously are great for this, but so are back roads through dying towns. It’d be great to be walking ten miles a day, without all the time constraints of a job, and just scribbling the weird shit that comes into my mind on trains or notecards or tiny doll-sized dollar store composition books. Ideally, I’d even just be walking twenty miles a day, but not counting the miles either, just knowing I walked enough that it was probably that amount, composing scraps of poems in my mind, like a late American Taneda Santoka, or even a new school Vachal Lindsay. I mean, obviously I’d just be Raven Mack, not anybody else, and the fact I think I’d be a reflection of some earlier entity is probably why I’ll still honor my responsibilities of employment and financial obligation, and not walk off after the horizon. But that’s the ideal life. My legs would grow as big as ox, and I’d stick and poke tattoo my favorite poems on them, or maybe just freestyle poems onto my legs in those moments where I felt most attuned to the universal magnetics, slowly stick and poking the words into order. Yeah, that’s the dream right there.

DR34MS 0F DR1V1NG 4FT3R TH3...

 dreams of driving after the 
horizon five or six days 
straight, and not coming right back 

Monday, November 2

SONG OF THE DAY: Mi Vida Loca (Slowed-n-Dro'd)


I have decided I’m against time. It only fucks up my days, months, years, and it’d be better to stop paying such close attention to it. Unfortunately, most of the mechanisms of being an allegedly productive member of society revolve around punctuality, or at least being close to on time. “Time is money” is some shit tattooed into our subconscious. Fuck it though. I’m going for a walk – a long walk of a half a million miles, for about twenty minutes or so. Everything from now on is “twenty minutes or so”. When will I be there? Twenty minutes or so. How long ‘til dinner? Twenty minutes or so. When will you retire? Twenty minutes or so. How long will this existential nightmare continue? Twenty minutes or so. See? It’s not so bad.

N0T S0 MVCH W0RK1NG CL4SS 4S...

 not so much working class as 
I'm hating work it doesn't 
do shit to help my damn life class 

Sunday, November 1

Saturday, October 31

TR4V3L1NG TH3 Z0N3S 0F T1M3...

 traveling the zones of time - 
no minute's ever wasted 
unless you're watching the clock 

Friday, October 30

Thursday, October 29

SONG OF THE DAY: Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore


Went to Goodwill last weekend, kids trying to find clothes but couldn't, I got a bunch of bright ass dishes because five for a dollar's hard to beat. Covid got those that can afford it on a "nothing but new shit" tip, but I can't do that. A lot of shit I still need in this house, but we're just gonna have to get it little by little, over time.
All of America has deteriorated in the past decade with regards to public buffoonery, but Fluvanna County, USA, seems an especially ignorant place. I remember back in the day, as a kid, with my high school in the same district, there was something about Fluvanna that wasn't like the rest of southside. Maybe a little too segregated, or not as many black folks as Buckingham or Cumberland or Prince Edward, or maybe it was just the weird putting on airs way of the white folks there. Suburban rednecks, who aren't really country, but don't realize it, and think they're HOA redneckery somehow is what real country is all about. And I'm probably wrong, by popular consensus, because certainly the sounds that come out of your average country radio station seem to agree with these don't-tread-on-me-but-keep-your-grass-cut ass fools. Nothing is more performatively country than driving a $75K truck to the Wal-Mart/Lowe's combo shopping center.
Anyways, there was a dude in front of us in the distanced checkout line, unmasked, strapped with a nine, patriotic neck tattoos, standing in front of me looking like a damn fool. The ladies who were working the register were masked up, behind a homemade plexiglass wall, both Winter's Bone people, working retail at the Goodwill. Nobody was going to ask this guy to wear a mask, even though there were signs everywhere, and he just stood there in front of me, holding a stack of DVDs. My kids were worried about going past him, and I told them how to walk around him in a wide path, and they could go wait in the car, which they did.
Guess I'm getting older, and more mellow, because despite wanting to really fuck with this guy, I didn't say shit. I didn't even take a picture to mock him online either. I'm trying to be better, not so judgmental of others, keep my heart focused on good philosophies to live by instead of letting my brain get hung up in the fear and division that leads to panicked thinking and panicked decisions which inevitably leads to tragedy. I don't need any more tragedy in my life than what's been dealt naturally; no need to call in wild cards too.
But what the fuck goes through a guy like that's brain? At that point, you're just being a dickhead, no patriotism or believing in freedom or anything. I grew up around guns, and you only carried them where you needed to carry them, even with a permit. You don't just go walking through the fuckin' Goodwill looking at old Van Damme movies strapped up. And the whole mask thing is just another layer of the not giving a fuck, where somehow freedom has been warped into these people's heads to mean, "I'll do whatever the fuck I want, fuck you if you disagree." It's not very community-oriented. But these assholes think they're still the salt of the Earth, because of the combination of internet propaganda and horrible pop country music themes for decades. He left, with his stupid fucking stack of DVDs and girlfriend or wife or whatever, and I moved up to the other lane of checkout, where a scrawny redneck woman, looking like every other Aunt Kathy from Virginia to Mississippi, was talking to the other Goodwill worker about their co-worker who had been out sick. "I'm bringing in bleach spray and spraying everything," she said, laughing. "No doubt," I said. She looked at me and said, "I can't afford to get sick." "No doubt, me either," I answered.
I guess if you got it, and can afford new shit, you can live in politically invested oblivion that election and democracy are still real. And I guess if you're a brainwashed dumbass who still mistakenly believes one half of that political system actually gives a fuck about your throwaway ass, you can walk around proudly with your pistol and no mask, a 21st Century foot soldier of the empire, continuing that pioneer settler/colonial front line. If you don't die, you've just proven your own point about how bad ass you are. And if you do die, they don't give a fuck.
I guess ultimately that's where I've broken from most of these people that consider themselves red state rural folk - I actually care about people, not in some abstract narrow economic evangelical way, but in a very general and broad way. If I see a person, I hope they're okay, and everyone around them is okay, and so on and so forth, like ripples of giving a fuck. So when I see somebody openly not giving a fuck, it bugs the shit out of me, because in a social contract where all of us living in geographic proximity of each other are supposed to give a fuck, the contract gets broken. And then everybody starts putting asterisks on when the contract is applied, whether someone is appropriate, or justified, or a respectable option, and the asterisks just start adding up, and soon you're standing there in the Goodwill checkout line not giving a fuck about anybody but yourself.
Anyways, my new old dishes are nice. I finally have enough of a matching set for five people to have a plate, bowl, and whatever that kinda bowl/kinda plate serving dish is, all at once. Just gotta get a table big enough for five people now. And maybe chairs that all mostly match. And have this fucking pandemic settle down. And then we'll have a big ass dinner together.

4TT3MPT1NG T0 VNT4NGL3...

attempting to untangle 
the deranged psychology 
ingrained into human mind 

Tuesday, October 27

Monday, October 26

Sunday, October 25

SONG OF THE DAY: El Puto (Chopped & Screwed)

Was staring at the leaves flaunting their autumn colours, which caused me to embrace Toxic Flamboyance philosophies, which includes using "ou" in place of "o" in words like colour, and also pulling out all the glittery iron on letters I can find, and customizing every blank shirt I have to read things like MASCULINE (silver glitter on hot pink shirt) or EXOTIC STREET PEOPLE in blue glitter letters on blaze orange shirt, which color coordinates with a Scottish GK jersey I have to wear overtop, because it's long sleeve, so I can actually rock autumnal fashion, but when it gets heated, bust off the GK top, and it's a fucked up EXOTIC STREET PEOPLE shirt underneath, in matching colours. Plus, I still got a pair of blaze orange socks with blue stripes from the Family Dollar like half a decade ago. (Sadly, I didn't have enough blue glitter letters, so I had to go with DIRECTOR EXOTICO instead, which is not really sad but an unexpected blessing I haven't realized fully just yet.)

TH3 K3Y T0 D1S4PP34R1NG...

the key to disappearing 
is to make sure you return 
somewhere eventually 

Saturday, October 24

SONG OF THE DAY: Foret


WALKING THRU THE ABANDONED FACTORIES OF THE DECLINING EMPIRE
CELL SERVICE AT ZERO BARS WHICH MEANS NO DIGITAL PRISON
THE CROWS IN THE TOWERING OAKS YELLING QUOTES FROM THE WIRE
"we used to make shit in this country cawww build shit cawww cawww cawww"
AND I LOOK UP THE HOTBALL IN THE SKY
WHICH FEELS LIKE IT GETS CLOSER EVERY YEAR
AND I FINISH THEIR STREAM OF THOUGHT, YELLING
"NOW WE JUST PUT OUR HANDS IN THE NEXT GUY'S POCKET!"
AND THE CROWS FLY AWAY
STARTLED AT MY INHUMANE HONESTY
BUT I'M SIMPLY QUOTING SOME POP CULTURE I CONSUMED
VOMITING IT BACK OUT AT THE NATURAL WORLD
AS IF IT WAS INTELLIGENCE

1 F1ND 1T 34SY T0 L1V3...

I find it easy to live 
out of a car for few days 
here or there, to disappear 

Friday, October 23

SONG OF THE DAY: Don't Take Her (She's All I Got)

Just a freestyle sonnet today, about love, love lost, inspired by Swamp Dogg's crazy ass and reading about walking poet Vachel Lindsay.

Tethers so tight, yet familiar, begin to feel 
like the comforts of paradise, loved with great zeal, 
until fault lines suddenly shift, which then reveal 
the routine you so loved was much more rut than real. 

Still left reeling, playing back memories in mind, 
of moments that felt floating, not fleeting, outlined 
in bliss - romantic ignorance while intertwined, 
yet once removed, you realize hindsight's less confined. 

When the fault lines shift, life feels like rubble to sort 
through, hoping to stack enough pieces to export 
peace of mind; ache of loss and fearful thoughts distort 
the horizon into darkness, lacking support. 

And yet, once detoxed of tether's caress, bright heart 
begins to impart hope for another love's start. 

S1TT1NG 1N 4 P4RK1NG L0T...

sitting in a parking lot, 
scribbling the simple words that 
come to mind on index cards 

Thursday, October 22

SONG OF THE DAY: Pop Soul Sega

I believe that life’s most important moments require my nicest track suits – ones that show a cohesive philosophy, and aren’t worn down by overuse in difficult physical situations. I don’t go tromping around abandoned factories in my finest track suits. They’ve got to be fresh for those most important times in life – meetings with benefactors or people fronting you some shit, talking about buying a customized truck cheaply, fostering zoo orangutans, ring announcing battle rap events, loan approvals… you know, important shit. I’ve got a couple track suits actually still folded up and unworn, waiting for events important enough to bust them out for the first time. I’m prepared for life’s most important events, in advance, knowing I have to be my freshest to step up for those events.
When you get down to less important events, the closet full of track suits still works. Some have lost their luster, aren’t as crispy as they once were, or you wore them for a couple too public important events. Maybe you tore a hole in the pants climbing through barbed wire, so you mix and match track suits that are mostly the same, or maybe even in different but complementary colors for less important events. I’ve even put giant back patches on some track jackets, to add new life to them for those higher level less important events, like sneaking through a large urban freight yard for the first time ever. But there’s a rough process involved here that understands what importance actually means, and respects that, and shows it understands and respects that through the philosophy of track suit application.
Somehow, folks are beating everybody over the head with the same old THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AMERICAN ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIME, which frankly, has been said almost every time since 1988. And I mean, it certainly feels fairly fucked right now, and like it could be an important moment in American history. But I’m not entirely sure the system itself got it shit together to bust out the best track suits. This feels like a pair of raggedy track suits my uncle used to wear way too often, to every cookout, that he thought brought him good luck at Spades, even though nobody ever wanted to be partners with him.
One is absolutely fucked up, and not my style at all – one of those red fleece track suits with the white trim that old ass dudes walking through Costco buying up multivitamins and industrial sized packages of Italian meatballs swear looks good. That shit is so alien to my ideas of freshness, I couldn’t even contemplate wearing it, or what AARP catalog people still order it out of.
The other is not as garish, but pretty fucked too – dark blue windbreaker track suit, with white trim as well, looking all 1982 business-like, the type of shit worn by dudes who think they understand the plight of urban America because they’ve watched The Wire and listened to a couple podcasts about it, even though they also naively think there’s noble Lester Freamon’s in every police department, instead of accepting the fact it’s a giant army of Sgt. Herc’s just running around fucking up anything and everything they can. If I had to choose between the two track suits, obviously I’d go with the dark blue one, but honestly, I’ve got about nine whole track suits laying around right now that I’d wear before I ever thought about pulling that one out the bag. In fact, a sizable portion of my less important, well worn track suits are still far better than that dark blue piece of shit.
I think perhaps the problem is the limitations of material. The fabric of metaphorical American track suit is trapped in that small notion of dark blue, red, with as much white trim as possible. In fact, whiteness outlines any track suit cut from historical American fabric. Personally, I find this material too narrow, and not bold enough for my tastes. Where’s the neon green, or orange, or even just a good basic dark green – we don’t even have to be day-glo about it at first. And no purples or pinks anywhere to be found. Where the fuck is all the purple and pink? There’s not a lot going on here, when you consider the actual possibilities, beyond what we’re limited to.
So I can’t really see this as a super important moment, simply because they ain’t got shit ready in terms of the track suit we’re supposed to be wearing for this moment. A couple of stale old brands, uncomfortable on the one hand, or doesn’t really protect against the modern environmental elements on the other hand, and in those same played out tired useless colors that nobody wants to wear any more.
One of the track suits I’ve got that’s never been pulled out yet is a super dark green one, with black trim and stripes. It’s some eastern European club, that I got on clearance, and refuse to share what club for fear they have some fucked up history of hooligan supporters who back fucked up politics. All that’s visible of that would be the crest on the front, which has railroad shit on it, so I give it the benefit of the doubt. I also put a back patch on the jacket, even though I never wore it yet, of a baby goat standing on a Nazi helmet, chewing on grass, that says GREEN Anti-Fascist. There’s a skull in the helmet, though it’s hard to notice without looking closely. I’m probably gonna wear that track suit for the first time ever, on Election Day. I’m not voting in advance, and ain’t even sure if I’m voting the day of to be honest. But I’m gonna wear that track suit and at least walk up to the voting precinct, scope out the lines. My voting location’s only about three-quarters of a mile from where I live now, and it’s a nice little walk, over some hills and curves, past an old Mennonite church covered in ivy, past a cool guardrail where the kudzu has grown over the top of it, unrelenting, nature re-invading the allegedly settled world. And whether I vote or not, regardless of how I vote if I do, I know I’m gonna look fresh as fuck, and looking like my best self, as important moments are actually supposed to get.

TH3 P4TH 4LR34DY L41D L34V3S...

the path already laid leaves 
me lost in manufactured 
fogs of self-doubt, confusion 

Wednesday, October 21

Tuesday, October 20

Monday, October 19

Sunday, October 18

Saturday, October 17

R3ST 4SSVR3D, 4 N3W D4Y ST1LL...

 

rest assured, a new day still 
arrives - today's end coupled 
to tomorrow's beginning