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.

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.

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