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, 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.

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