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

Wednesday, October 7


This past Sunday, I got hung up on the idea of MORE MORE MORE and colonial conquest, so drove a couple hours, fucking around, looking at another dying southside Virginia town’s major factory get turned into rubble, piles of rebar and concrete to be sorted, while the poor get poorer and the rich keep living off the fat of their grandfather’s land, hoping to keep one old mill downtown in place to renovate as a microbrewery, named after whatever the factory that got demolished used to do most likely. The dwindling returns of the dying empire. I ended up at the edge of Danville yard, put a single Dirtgod on an old faded red caboose, saw a Colossus of Roads, then the airbrakes fired up, and I heard the walkie talkie and gravel crunch of footsteps that may or may not still give a fuck. A quick jump into the bushes, trying not to get pokeberry stains on my cargo shorts, found a really dope illegal dump where a giant pile of once pink carpet had faded into mold mildew and resilient garish pink fibers still sticking up like middle fingers against the entire world.
The next day, still having that itch to walk the tracks, to see the solitude where the tracks go but few feet do, I went not even five miles from my house, where I moved recently. The exciting direction would’ve been south, across a bridge, where the kudzu was overtaking an old post office that may or may not still be functional. Hard to tell sometimes, in places where things move as slow as the kudzu itself. But something told me to walk north instead, some unexplainable sense of best direction, more connected to heart than brain. Shit, in those types of environments, too much brain is a liability. So I headed north.
Kudzu crawling everywhere, beautiful little pieces of detritus begging me to fill a bucket and make them into American industrial nkondi, which I likely will in the coming years. Around a curve, and I could see far ahead a rock outcropping, where back in the day they had to blast their way through, to maintain that Church of Level Track. Bright flashes were clear to me, even with my dilapidated prescription and scratched glasses. Sure enough, even way the fuck out here, near nothing, surrounded by nothing, embracing the nothingness, there were scribbles and etchings. Graffiti from 1986, and then a carving from 1972. And then initials and a 1911 etched into the stone. Beautiful. I didn’t even put a dirtgod moniker up, because I didn’t carry no paint sticks with me, but also it wouldn’t have been right. I mean, it will be one day. But forcing that first time would’ve been like consuming another place, practicing conquest, pissing on everything I pass. I’m sure I’ll go back to this spot time and time again, and vibe like the misfits before me have, and the outcasts long after me will too. And one day it’ll feel just right, and that unexplainable sense of what’s right and left and right and wrong will say, “yeah, go ahead.” And I’ll scribble it then.
But not this day, the other day. Then I heard that air horn in the distance, far away, then at the crossing by the post office getting reclaimed by the Earth, because there’s no crossing gate there, just a road through the nether regions of the Blue Ridge humping over ancient tracks. The birds and bugs started making their sounds of alarm, at all the ruckus coming through again. I tucked myself back along the rock outcropping, made a little bench of a piece of stone, and watched the empty coal train crawl past through the elevated curve, waved at the driver, and he honked back that jarring diesel air horn, and fuck man, life was perfect in that moment.
But then the train was gone, and the sun was setting, and the cold air was coming in. So I walked back, tracing my path on the cross ties through the kudzu, back to my car, and civilization, and the false promises of comfort. My brain assured my body, trying to get comfortable and get some sleep in this big house by a quarry in a small town in a dying empire, but my heart was like, “you lying motherfucker!” to my brain. “You always be lying about how shit’s gonna be.”

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