RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, June 30

SONG OF THE DAY: Straight Loungerism

The Power of Lounge is not so much the abandonment of caring about everything, although it might appear that way to an outsider who is more of an insider, and not an innate dweller of shadows. The philosophy of “loungin’” is an acknowledgement that institutions and systems are not built with the people in mind, not the full spectrum and abundance of people, and that institutions and systems, by design, tend to fail a whole lot of people, purposefully. I can’t think of any six month period in recent memory that has made that more obviously clear in American history during my lifetime. But the entrusting the Power of Lounge to provide sustenance to soul in a world hell-bent on material satisfaction of the brain, which we often find is never satisfied, due to its own unlimited expanse, which when trained to chase greed, only finds avarice. And though it’s a noble heartfelt pursuit to attempt to reform or tear down and rebuild institutions and systems to provide for all, human history is littered with empires that were founded on noble principles that ended up enforcing their aged visions of a perfect order on a world that had spun slowly in directions that can’t ever be controlled entirely, not by human hands at least. So the Power of Lounge is acceptance that you can’t control it, not the whole pile of bricks and mortars and village and mass of people. So you work to do well with your own actions, spread raw joy in your interactions with others, both human and non-human, animal and plant, the whole fucking deal. Anybody who has experienced the full economic spectrum of life in America will tell you in a heartbeat that poor folks are far more generous, that a cookout aluminum tray full of leg quarters bought with an EBT card is gonna have less strings attached to it as far as who can get a plate. The Power of Lounge is knowing the world is fucked, not because it’s a world but because of how men act upon the surface of it, but you can always shift yourself more underground, more into the shadows, find freedom in the margins, and maybe find happiness. It ain’t always easy, and moving away from the system always has repercussions, when you try to do normal shit, like acquire material wealth or buy a piece of land with a house on it or whatever. But again, all that shit ultimately is unloungin’; the act of “owning” land is perverse anyways. Doesn’t mean you don’t do it, because the institutions and systems we live under are far more over-reaching than most of us realize in all the little ways. But the philosophy of “loungin’” is also accepting that shit as much as you have to, rejecting that shit as much as you can, and building camaraderie and community despite and outside those institutions and systems as much as possible. They call it “networking” when it comes to economics – building relationships that benefit you. Outside of that metaphor I don’t really like the word “network” though; it’s more like long ass mycelium connections beneath the Earth, tendrils of shared existence and survival, that helps clean the superficial poisons from your brain, so that you can keep on living by your heart, and enjoying life. Because if we can’t enjoy our life, being it’s the only one we gonna get, then what the fuck’s even the point?


America is poison culture, so we don’t necessarily have that many good role models for men easing into middle agedom (or older) that aren’t tinged with sexually predatory behavior or abusing power which was slowly inherited as birthright. I mean, of course there’s tons of dudes who did not benefit from the institutions in place, who are localized and legendary and pretty great role models as older dudes to be. But our poison culture doesn’t elevate them as much as horribly flawed mediocre at best pieces of shit. Look at the Presidential election for example. Nonetheless, it’s okay to step outside the cultural boundaries applied to you from birth, like lines on a metaphysical map drawn by colonial overlords, which don’t necessarily fit. I am actively abandoning any delusions that anybody can be President, never taught my kids that bullshit, hell my only kid of voting age doesn’t even vote because they know it’s a scam meant to manufacture a false people’s mandate on the system itself, instead of making any actual fucking progress. But as I’m only a few years away from 50, instead of wanting to be a mediocre white man with material wealth, abusing my power and trying to harass women half my age, I’m trying to cultivate an Omar Souleyman vibe. Unfortunately I’m still far too tethered to my American conditioning, because I think ultimate dirtgod feelings would be living on the side of a mountain or near a quarry with a bunch of goats making noise, and pretty much wearing lavender jellabiya. That’s the robes popular in the Nile Valley, as well as Syria’s farmland, where Omar Souleyman is from, but not to be confused with the thawb worn by Saudi Arabian royalty types, and although the thawb is also called a “dishdash” which is a pretty great word for a full length robe a man would wear, the jellabiya is associated with rural farming types whereas the dishdash is a more cultured and moneyed robe. So here’s to hoping in the next decade I’m living on a hill with a hundred goats and rocking lavender or mint green jellabiya’s with embroidered “dirtgod” calligraphy on the back, freestyling cosmic verses over top whatever futuristic throwback synthgrass sounds Boogie Brown is dropboxing on me in that southern gothic future.

TH3 F4C4D3 0F GR34T FR33D0M...

the facade of great freedom
barely held together by
ungrounded knob and tube wires

Monday, June 29

SONG OF THE DAY: Pesse Mi Buntare

I still download mp3s, because I am an old “ok boomer” man from seven years ago. There are still a number of decent music blogs I check, plus I’ve been spending more money on bandcamp this year for sure. But the problem is, my method for music, not streaming, is I have these chunks of downloaded music that get lumped into my external hard drive, then sort of battle royal their way out of the clusterfuck. Those songs that get played the most on a few month basis end up as a song of the day. That means there’s shit like this, that I have no idea why I have it, who the group is, any of that. Shit just showed up in the mix, unheralded, but I played the fuck out of it. Like a 7th round NFL draft pick, barely known, nothing expected, then all of a sudden it’s a special teams hero and you’ve got dumbasses ordering custom jerseys of it. I could probably be a legitimate faux-music journalist online and look them up and write up a 200 word description of some non-American music that’s probably once popular but unknown now somewhere else and completely obscure here. But nobody reads the internet. We look at the headlines and scroll social media timelines. In fact, this link will appear on multiple social media feeds, and like 75 people will go to the link with these words, but 60 of those will be East European or South Asian cyborgs just data trawling. The other fifteen will scope the video, and maybe a third of them will click the video to see what it’s about. Like two people will actually read the words to the very end. Which means you. Thanks. I appreciate you making it this far with me.

SONG OF THE DAY: Shaky On The Phone

Sovthern Gothicc Fvtvrism is way different than old dystopian movies foretold. No hovercrafts or spaceships or teleportation. We’ve got abandoned power plants being reclaimed by mimosa trees and honeysuckle vines, and we’re just setting up autonomous compounds of communal lounge along the old Richmond and Alleghany Railroad line. The James River subdivision and Rivanna subdivisions are about the midway point between the Clifton Forge to Richmond railway, and this past weekend we had our big once a year soccer match like we always do the Saturday/Sunday closest to June 27th, with “goals” set up at Clifton Forge and Richmond (69 points each), and at Natural Bridge and Columbia (13 points each), and we kick it off with two teams, western and eastern, and play to 69, starting at the Gladstone yard, where we have a giant cookout the whole weekend long. Nobody down there gives a fuck anymore, as the town is crumbling back into the river little by little. They tried to save a community center to make it an actual community center but CSX just demolished it instead to save themselves the liability. The Natural Bridge and Columbia goals are only 60 miles from the kickoff, but it takes five of those to break the 69 point total you need. Going the full 100-plus miles to the outer goals in Clifton Forge and Richmond ends the game with one goal. I was there for the opening kickoff, at noon on Saturday, and played all the way through Sunday night about 7:30 pm, before I had to come home for work today. I might call in sick tomorrow and join the game again, wherever it’s at. I slept along the river Saturday night, with a dude who called himself “Gee”, but said it didn’t stand for anything. We were talking about what was going on in Richmond, and playing a bunch of Fly Anakin & Big Kahuna OG on my iphone before the battery died. The river was just rolling along, like always. Not sure where the ball was when we woke up – seems like it had moved further west with other people playing, but my phone was dead so I didn’t know, and Gee was involved in some sort of argument with his cousin via Signal text. I love these annual soccer games, which usually last maybe a week or two before the last people quit. I don’t think anybody’s ever actually gotten 69 points as far as I know, but I’m on furlough next week from work, plus the 4th of July holiday being Friday, so I’m gonna figure out where the ball is Thursday night, and fuck it, gonna spend my furlough week kicking that fuckin’ soccer ball along the railroad tracks all the way to the Clifton Forge goal. I figure if I can do ten miles a day, I should be able to make it. Hopefully everybody on the western team has given up so I can actually do that ten miles a day goal. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to dribble a soccer ball on railroad tracks, while somebody is trying to take it away. But it might be the first time in the history of Sovthern Gothicc Fvtvrism somebody actually wins our annual Sovthern Gothicc Fvtvristic Super Cup 69.


down and out's where uprisings
acquire tinder and kindling
for tearing down the upright

Sunday, June 28


It has been pretty nice to have football again, and not just have it but a giant smorgasbord throughout the week as the leagues that are finishing are trying to stuff three months into four weeks. Sadly, no return for African Champions League, or South American football thus far, which means it's a daytime only distraction. That's fine. It allows me to still hate the police in the evenings. Hopefully American football is dead forever. It is complicit in the rise of fascism, and the police state... like you can't even pretend otherwise with the Kaepernick situation. Fuck American football, world football #1, American football #zero, ptooey.

SONG OF THE DAY: Richmond State of Mind

It’s been amazing to see the past month of community actions in Richmond, and how an initial night of protesting police brutality in the name of George Floyd, which had the police bust up the protests with militarized chemical responses, caused a break-up of the protest which wandered through the city, and sowed seeds of ongoing resistance. I was awake all night following online, and at 4 am decided to just ride up to see it with the sunrise, and take pictures of the statues, as I assumed they’d scrub it away immediately. By sunrise, there was already volunteer guards outside the Museum of the Confederacy, which had been set on fire, but hadn’t burned up nearly as much as I had hoped. I went down Monument and saw the graffiti’s first layer, none of it shocking to me, all of it made sense to me. The noose draped around Jeff Davis’s head on that monument (which is now toppled) was a nice contextual touch. Once I got downtown, where the CVS was still on fire, and saw the debris on Broad, it really told the story. Shook ones took pictures of broken glass, shaking their head at upmarked sneaker stores getting looted, as if they served the community in any deep essential way. But for me, what really told the story was the level of tear gas canisters and rubber bullet debris on the street. It was like trees shedding their leaves in autum, the level of militarized police debris still on Broad that hadn’t been swept up yet to pretend never happened.
They didn’t pressure wash the graffiti away, and there’s been actions every day since, a rotating cast of the people who have been out in the streets, with the Lee Monument now renamed Marcus-David Peters Circle, and having been turned into a community space. I actually happened to wander through again early a week or so ago, like 5 am, sun wasn’t even up all the way and I was the only one there, vibing to the much needed remix to the confederate monument, when I heard a thump, and like five police SUVs and cruisers rolled up, and a shitload of Virginia State Police, all geared up and flashing them big ass cop flashlights everywhere on the monument started moving around. I sidled my way across the street as inconspicuously as possible, not hassled at all by them beyond dirty looks, because I was just a normal ass white man to them. I saw when I got home that later they erected the concrete barriers around it, as it was technically state property, so the state was shutting it down at dark every night.
Every day since, the people have gathered, turning the space into a cookout zone, an open mic, basketball goals and picnic tables have shown up, people occupying a public space for public use, as a metaphysical middle finger to the Lee monument itself, which has just become a deeply layered blend of colorful graffiti. And every evening the police have shown up, armed for riots that aren’t happening, and blasted the people with rubber bullets, flash grenades, and tear gas, daily. The downtown Grace Street Richmond police station has also been turned into a dystopian fortress, with concrete blocks set up in the street, shutting it off, because the city dump trucks they were parking there weren’t doing enough I guess.
All of this is to say, it’s been amazing to see all this happening. Richmond has such a strangely unique history, on the James River where “western civilization” first grew its creeping tendrils on this continent. Richmond was a major landing zone for early African slave trade, and also because of this was the capital of the Confederacy during its brief moment of refusal to recognize all people’s humanity. The energy in this city is unlike any other place I’ve been, and it makes perfect sense that it’s been a space where the protests of the past month have held strong on a daily basis. And though I only lived a quarter of my life in Richmond, it’s always been a strong anchor for most all my life (most all of which has been lived in the James River basin). Folks have been throwing up prayers that those monuments to inhumanity would come down for many many years. And it can’t be forgotten that despite the alleged binary of the Civil War, those who won the war’s flag gets flown alongside the confederate flag by the people of today who are still poisoned by these inhumane philosophies. The fact the state of Virginia actually owned a tiny circle in the city where a confederate monument stood higher than anything around it, in a circular spotlight, is a pretty gross testament to the fact that though the southern states lost the Civil War, the things they believed remained a part of the American institutions that ruled us. You can’t reform rotten foundations.

4VT0N0MY CR34T3D...

autonomy created
in the corners nobody
looks (which are never "corners")

Saturday, June 27

Friday, June 26

Thursday, June 25

SONG OF THE DAY: Bad Girl, Pt. 1

On a wandering car trip the other day, I briefly considered switching to they/them pronouns, in defiance of dumbass dudes who use “pussy” as a pejorative. But then I decided that was a lot of work to practice for myself, when I could just be antagonistic to dumbass dudes in other ways. But the idea of trying to fight guys who say “pussy” about other dudes by emphatically forcing them to use they/them with me is still intriguing. I’ve got a lot of anger, and nowhere to misdirect it.
I’m also not sure why gender is such a disturbing thing for dudes who consider themselves alpha or traditional or whatever the fuck excuse they’re using for their prejudice is now. It’s really not hard to accept trans men and trans women and gender binary or anything really. Like none of it is actually a threat to you, and if you can just get along with people and make them happier and make your life less unnecessarily dramatic, how is that ever a bad thing? People love to be mad about shit all the time. Self-described macho dudes out here melting down like a snowflake about every damn thing, left and right, hiding their tears behind mirrored sunglasses reflecting a world that doesn’t exist anymore.


pilgrimages through the margins
of industrial wasteland
remind me of my nature

Wednesday, June 24

SONG OF THE DAY: Limitless

missing self-imposed deadlines 
from demon inner critic 
but still alive 
and kicking 
though not really kicking, 
more like walking 
this seemingly endless 
pilgrimage through 
late capitalist american empire 
of diminishing returns 
and bridges that burn 
and hopefully the end of 
the "fuck you I got mine" era 
of manifesting individual destinies 


slowly desensitized to
feeling what makes us more whole,
more connected to it all

Tuesday, June 23

Saturday, June 20

Friday, June 19

TH3 R3CL4M4T10N 0F SP4C3...

the reclamation of space
as public and common, not
just possessed through documents

Thursday, June 18

Monday, June 15

SONG OF THE DAY: Lucid Slowed

Richmond is infinite muscle arm emojis with a thousand purple hearts and two thousand fire emojis. It gets into your soul in ways other places don't. Even after two decades living away from there and further west, I still feel a stronger connection to Richmond than Charlottesville. Lake trout is exotic in Charlottesville, and I find that bothersome. Can't get goat anywhere either. Tear all them Richmond confederate statues down, and tear down the next ones too. Turn the strip malls into community centers and the median strips into flea markets. Build a monument to the big dude who used to give me extra potato wedges at the Cary Street East Coast every fuckin' day when I was broke as fuck. Used to stand by the Community Pride doing that "You have a collect call from '434 555 4269!' do you accept?" trick on the pay phone so my folks could call me back immediately and know I was still alive. Now that spot's a gentrified fuckin' beer garden or some shit. Oh well. I guess you can't fight progress, especially fake progress that's not progress at all just different assholes getting in on the pyramid scheme than the old school hog-jowled whitefaces who used to dominate the pyramid scheme on this American continent.

TH3 P4TH T0 B31NG D1RTG0D'S...

the path to being dirtgod's
full of solitude, self-doubt,
and long dark nights of the soul

Sunday, June 14

SONG OF THE DAY: Drown Yourself

The only time people really kill themselves in a river on purpose is by diving off of a high high bridge way the fuck up in the sky. Rivers are mostly known for baptismal rebirths if you go to drown something there. And even if secular, rivers are a hot spot for power of lounge escapades which strengthen the soul even if you are not committed to believing in god or gods or goddesses or spiritual forces at metaphysical levels in any way or shape or form or none of those. You just go to the river and wash away the world's bullshit. If I were a giant rich asshole, I'd waste my money by taking long boat trips on the longest rivers in the world, definitely the Nile and Congo Rivers in Africa, definitely the Amazon, and even if I don't end up a giant rich asshole, it'd be great to float down the entirety of the Mississippi on a boat. Do they do that? Can I get on a boat in Minnesota and go all the way to New Orleans? I don't want a fucking cruise boat either; I want what's basically a privately run Econolodge on floating steel barge, where even though I'm a boat somebody is selling drugs three doors down. I am of the class of human being where it's not a real vacation unless somebody is selling drugs three doors down. I mean, are we vacating life or just living in sheltered oblivion? We're vacating life you assholes. Sheltered oblivion is no way to travel the entirety of a giant fucking river that's been fouled up by human's industrial bullshit yet somehow still maintaining an innate beauty as the artery of existence on this 8-ball planet.

1 KN0W 1'M L1M1T3D BY...

I know I'm limited by
my humanity - doomed to think
we're gods when closer to dirt

Saturday, June 13

Friday, June 12


In this age of riding whatever wave is the latest wave of the week, please remember to support your local longtime heavyweights. You can love music globally but support locally. Poe Mack, Case Jones, and Rawsole Records have been a cornerstone of Roanoke, Virginia, hip hop scene for a long ass minute. Poe’s one of them dudes I’ve seen talk about how the pandemic has shut down his independent opportunities as a performer. He’s also one of them dudes who has been about the movement happening right now in his local scene. Supporting dudes like him is important. So do it.

SONG OF THE DAY: Let The Dollar Circulate

metaphysical pyramids
built upon other people’s heads
you never even see much less
acknowledge – economic
liberation theory
is built upon social scientific fallacies
mythological meritocracies
and all these advertising psychologies
are actual neurology connected to biology
like mushroom tendrils beneath the surface
of what the fuck we think we know

hoping the transformations
we may or may not be seeing
continue spreading beneath the surface
and don’t get exposed to above ground
established political pesticides
which train the vine to grow along
the sides of brick institutions which
already existed – postcard picture perfect
becoming part of the establishment
and pretending reform happened
that feral growth was allowed to blossom
rather than transplanted into those
same old English gardens
like we’ve been doing for too
many centuries to keep making
marks on the wall about

1 T3ND T0 W4ND3R, H0P1NG...

I tend to wander, hoping
creativity blossoms
in twenty different ways

Thursday, June 11


cultivate beauty in your
life as best you can - those things
that make your heart not feel clogged

Tuesday, June 9


Has King Tee ever gotten a lifetime achievement award? Because if he hasn’t, he ought to. Act a Fool is a certifiable classic. And back in the day of bumpin’ cassettes, when me and Boogie Brown would make the trip to Willie’s on southside of Richmond every week it seemed like, I did a lot of on-the-ground, in-the-car research to this statement I’m about to make, but Side A of Tha Triflin’ Album might be one of the greatest sides of an album from that whole early ‘90s era. One of those tapes that I literally wore the head off the cassette on, and actually got a second copy, before the world got digital.


Waves of purple vapour obliterate the statues to long dead falsebeards, still worshipped by country folk who have been trained to believe a Wal-Mart parking lot is a hay field. Sitting in line at the miracle mile Chik-fil-a for twenty efficient minutes is their scenic country ride, ever so briefly letting the real world air in with power windows to grabble their post-modern supper. The obedient wage slave curtsies, saying “it’s my pleasure to serve you” dutifully. And these post-modern country folk who don’t recognize their country has had the flags of an international cartel of lawless brands planted everywhere, drive off into oblivion, taking exit Fuck Everybody Else to hustle back to their 2-acre two-storey McPlantation home where old glory still has a spotlight on it out front, flying just above their chosen battle flag of lost causes which they still claim mental allegiance to despite being as domesticated and docile as feedlot cows in their physical existence. Continuing their practice of suckin’ on the state’s chili dog outside the tastee-freez of reality, secure in their inherited and carefully maintained “simple” comfort. Let the waves of purple (and orange) vapour continue to teargas their oblivion into discomfort.

0VR R3TVRN T0 R4W 3SS3NC3...

our return to raw essence
always awaits - life and death
circles remain unbroken

Monday, June 8


Yesterday I walked with a protest, and being UVA hovers over everything in Charlottesville, VA, there was a high petty bourgeoisie factor to it, and I’ve definitely been feeling my class more than ever lately. But I kept my mind focused on the people I care about and love who were also walking, instead of the abundance of folks who may or may not realize their existence’s own complicity in the inequality that pervades American existence in 2020. Got burned out on the open mic format of sharing, because we don’t really need white folks telling each other how using the n-word is bad at a Black Lives Matter march. That work can be done elsewhere.  So I walked back home, along the railroad tracks, then cut past Garrett back through Belmont. Cookouts were popping at Garrett, and a sedan was sitting there double parked, windows open, nobody inside, blasting go-go music. “Ahh… summer in Virginia is official now” I thunk to myself, and a couple kids were in the soccer field there playing tug of war with a long strand of caution tape. I hope your revolution includes the poor, and not just the people you think have obvious value in your existing way of life. I hope your revolution has go-go music, and a fish fry or two. The revolution still will not be televised, no matter how much some people like to convince you we’ve progressed. We ain’t done shit yet.

TH3 MYTH0L0G13S W3 T3LL...

the mythologies we tell
ourselves as ultimate truths
tie us down instead of free

Saturday, June 6

SONG OF THE DAY: African Hustle

Right now can feel overwhelming because it’s a pretty thick barrage of images and videos of police state brutality, as well as a lot of radical information to digest. You don’t have to digest it all this weekend. 500 years is not undone by the 4th of July. But don’t do the consumer-based thing we’re all trained to do, to put it all in a box, or closet, or desktop folder, and promise to go back to later only to forget it all until we dump it out or drop it off at a thrift store. A long term hope of mine is we lose track of time too. Time fucking sucks, forcing industriousness on me, guilt as well. Much like money, it was a unit for comparing and organizing that’s been just brutally overused in all the wrong ways. I’m afraid of time. I hate time. Fuck, it’s only Saturday and I’m already fearing a specific time on Monday. Of course, I’ll be fifteen minutes late, like always.
If you’ve ever known immigrants from Africa, you might’ve heard African time, which is an even stronger version of what we know in America as black time (which like many things considered black, has a lot of crossover with southern traditions due to the heavy cultural influence on the south), where specific times can be a goal you shoot for, but not necessarily met. This challenges a lot of the shit built here around order and productivity. “Well what would people do?” You’d wait. Read a book or something if somebody hadn’t shown up yet. “Oh, so you’re time is more important than mine?” No, not at all. I’m just not there yet, so you can do something else. Or maybe I’m already there, and you’re not. No worries. I always keep notebooks and books and magazines laying around or at least one or two of these things in a backpack on me while on foot. Just sit there, and do “nothing”. This is the only doing of nothing that should be tolerated. Then get back to the barrage of radical information. In fact, you can even combine the two. YOU COULD ACTUALLY BE DOING AMAZING WORK TO CHANGE THE ENTIRE WAY OUR SOCIETY IS BUILT, all by doing “nothing” in those moments. So I think in a roundabout way I’ve somehow talked myself into doing nothing as a revolutionary act, so long as the nothing I’m doing is a conscious act of nothing, rather than the fake nothing of avoiding actually addressing things in my own life.

L4ST S3C0ND THR33-P01NT3RS 4R3...

last second three-pointers are
pretty hard to practice when
they never gave you a rim

Friday, June 5


Dear fellow white folks – cancelling each other out publicly is crabs in a barrel mentality. That’s not to say it’s not necessary, but there should be about ten private conversations for every single public shaming you throw out there. There’s a shitload of work to be done to undo all that’s fucked up, and performative acts of social media branding ain’t that work. I don’t say this thinking I’m a beacon shining light of it either. I’ve got shit I need to be improving on, every day of my life. That’s part of what being human ought to mean though. Ain’t nobody perfect. But if you’re cancelling somebody symbolically through social media, understand that person is still going to exist with other humans in real life spaces, and ask yourself if your acts make them less of a threat or amore of a threat to others once you’ve cancelled them from your filter bubble.
Also, if you listen to this Funky Worm track, do you hear the part about “do I get paid for this?” Kick some money to a bail fund somewhere right now. Shit, we should be doing that all the damn time anyways. You know how many poor people, predominantly but not exclusively minority lose days/months/years of their lives because they can’t post bail? Then they agree to a plea for crimes they may not have done, just because it’ll get them out of jail faster due to time served? DONATE TO A GODDAMN BAIL FUND SOMEWHERE.


intersections of progress
and pre-existing clutter
create political jams

Thursday, June 4


markers for the next master
plan repeat the same process -
clean nature, foment more man

Wednesday, June 3

Tuesday, June 2

Monday, June 1

MY N4TVR3 H4S N3V3R B33N...

my nature has never been
industrious, though I've been
trained to think differently