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.

Thursday, August 20

SONG OF THE DAY: Legendary Member

Walking along the train tracks gets in your blood, somehow, where you think about it all day long. Whenever my life has been my shittiest, I’m always inclined to disappear along some tracks for a few hours, and reclaim some sanity somehow. There’s a 69th mile marker along the James River where I used to always wander, and I’ve often said that’s where I want my ashes scattered when I’m dead. That’s not a lie. During my worst period, at my most suicidal, that’s where I would’ve killed myself when I was envisioning it then, which sort of worked into a self-check to be honest, because it’s like a couple mile walk to get to the 69th mile marker, and after walking along railroad tracks by the James River for a couple miles, with crows yammering at you and the river rapids whispering prayers of lounge, who’d want to still die?
As you wander beside that many giant hulks of steel that are the various freight cars found on 21st century tracks, it’s impossible not to fall in love with graffiti – both the big bright spray painted blasts most folks know as graffiti proper, but also the weird little often single color paint stick scribbles called monikers. I never had the patience to learn mastery of spraying paint, plus I’m more of a wordy motherfucker anyways, so the world of monikers spoke to me, where often times simple poetic phrases get scrawled along with a crude but sometimes elaborately beautiful character. Not sure when I started, but I’m sure it was on those wood chip cars by the 69th mile marker, probably some Sunday morning, that I started fucking around with “dirtgod” as a blessed character that gets to travel places I’ve never gone. I always say it has infinite outlook, because the glasses for eyes on the character is always a haphazard infinity loop.
The infinity loop has a long history in monikers. Probably my favorite living artist is buZ blurr aka the Colossus of Roads, an old dude from rural Arkansas, who has scribbled thousands upon thousands of his simple character with little phrasings underneath. buZ’s Colossus of Roads is – according to buZ - homage to Bozo Texino, the old school legend of railyard monikers, and is a character wearing a cowboy hat where the brim is an infinity loop as well. The Colossus of Roads character is a side profile of Bozo, which is a front on oval intersected with the infinity loop, and a dotted face with a cigarette stick blowing a few bubbles of smoke into the æther.
Well, recent life has gotten me battling depression, so I blew off work yesterday and disappeared down to the end of the line somewhere in southside Virginia, at a secretive location we don’t share because sanctuaries are easily ruined by too many people knowing about that shit. But while walking through the scrub pines of another southside Virginia dead end, looking at all the boxcars, with assorted tags old and new, I got to a weirdly blue colored one, and I was about to scribble on a blank spot when I noticed just to the left the faded remnants of a Bozo Texino. It was the first time I’d ever seen one in the steel flesh. Wasn’t hard to remember the old blue boxcar to check the other side on my walk back up the other way, and there was a Bozo Texino on that side as well. A true miraculous blessing in the middle of nowhere that made my day.
Western discourse still tends to have these man vs. nature binaries employed, which on one end justifies rampant unchecked industrialization, and on the other is used to suggest eco-fascism is appropriate. Man isn’t against nature; we’re just a fucked up part of nature, that hasn’t learned to be part of it better. I think about that a lot when walking the line by all those boxcars, because each car itself is a giant behemoth of industry – steel melted and shaped into a huge container far too huge for any man to lift or maneuver by their own muscles. And we have giant strings of these containers, just hooked up and moving around the continent. Many of them end up trickling down to these dead end lines, sitting in the middle of nowhere, used sporadically. But there’s also this long history of people walking by and putting their name on the steel. My little paint stick markings on these giant hunks of industry are so temporary, so impermanent. And yet it makes me feel seen, or known, even if only to other societal vagrants. And honestly, there’s nowhere on Earth that feels more peaceful to me than walking through a train yard almost always at the edges of civilization, usually bordering nature in the form of a river or creek or abandoned industrial edges of a city or town. It’s impossible for it to not feel natural, completely in opposition to that man vs. nature binary. Nature reclaims shit pretty fast, and as it reclaims it, you can’t really say it’s still separate. So scribbling on trains feels like solidarity with mushrooms and kudzu, honeysuckle and mullein, saying, “I’m with y’all” to the whole universe, and being more productive at fucking off, because men aren’t machines. We’re just fucked up chunks of impulses and energies forgetting to take care of ourselves, in the name of some delusional ideas of progress we need to get to. Fuck that, for infinity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you write this for me? cause it feels like it.