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, January 21

4B4ND0N3D H0M3 PL4C3 C4RC4SS...

 

abandoned home place carcass 
rotting in the scrub pines, caked 
with memories of lives gone 

Wednesday, January 20

SONG OF THE DAY: Th3 R


My biggest problem with politics is all politicians probably have somebody cooking for them, or at the very least it's like a PBS cooking show where somebody is just standing to stage right to clean up after them or prep things, and they don't have to cook bowtie noodles and then not want to use the colander because fuck man, I'm so tired of washing all these goddamn dishes all the time, so you just pour the pot through the slotted spoon at an angle, using the spoon to hold the noodles in the pot, trying to get as much boiling water out as possible, running cold water down the drain too so the hot water doesn't explode your cheap ass pipes, and then like three noodles fall over the edge of the spoon because you're fighting gravity the whole time, and you go GODDAMMIT but as quiet as possible so the kids, who are upstairs waiting for some bowtie noodles, don't think you're mad about some dumb shit. Then you stir in some butter and pretend all the water still in there is just butter too, and there's dinner, with maybe some shredded parmesan, the $2 a bag store brand kind, not no fancy parmesan that comes in shapes or chunks, you want that raw shit that's got pine tree in it that probably got transported on an open hopper freight train before they processed it down to whatever nine syllable ingredient it is as an additive to prevent the cheese caking, because everybody knows if you trying to not make a cheesecake, just put some wood chips in it. So all of that is to say fuck politicians, with their colander-using, real-parmesan-eating, not-only-can-afford-a-plumber-but-can-afford-to-have-somebody-else-on-payroll-who-actually-calls-the-plumber-so-they-don't-ever-actually-even-talk-to-a-plumber-that's-how-much-they-can-afford-one asses.

N0N3 0F VS 4R3 V1CT1MS S0...

none of us are victims, so 
much as trapped in this system 
which never gave half a fuck 

Tuesday, January 19

4S 4 K1D, 1 G0T BR41NW4SH3D...

as a kid, I got brainwashed 
to believe if I worked hard, 
I'd find financial freedom 

Monday, January 18

Sunday, January 17

SONG OF THE DAY: Lestkal

Sadly there is no freebird synth culture to speak of, at least not yet. You’d think with our abundance of excess junk and born again thrift stores, more back roads weirdos would have taken the electronic Hasil Adkins path in life, but that does not to appear to be the case so far as I can tell. Imagine how great opioid fog greater Appalachian synth wails would be, synthgrass through the foxfire fog, demented gospel synthelations about hellfire upon earth, or just good ol’ base instinct 200 proof synthshine, autotune howling the full moon rising over the mountains like fire. There’s enough junk Honda Civics laying around these nether regions of the American wasteland that somebody’s had to think of how to turn it into a giant Sun Ra-esque Casio creation of madness. Where’s our great American degenerate ingenuity? Is everybody just scrolling memes? What the fuck is going on here?

0BV10VSLY 4B4ND0N3D...

 

obviously abandoned 
physical spaces not as 
prevalent as mental ones 

Saturday, January 16

Thursday, January 14

SONG OF THE DAY: Dead Confederate

There was a dude from Charlottesville, Virginia, who got rich as fuck working with the stock exchange in the early 1900s, named Paul Goodloe McIntire. Towards the latter part of his life, like most people who got obscenely rich, who started being a “philanthropist” to throw everybody off the fact he shouldn’t have ever gotten that rich off stock market speculation. Large chunks of his money were given to University of Virginia, which he attended for a single year before leaving to go to New York and get paid. He also gave a good bit to the city of Charlottesville, most notably in parks and statues, including the giant park that still bears his name right on 250, with a relatively new skate park in there. But the place where his statues and parks came together was what was once known as Lee Park, and now has some other name that I can’t remember but is either Justice or Progress or Biden 2024 or something like that.
The statues he commissioned bear mentioning as a whole, since the entire lot of them have not stood the test of time. The one most folks probably see easiest is the Lewis and Clark monument, where Main and Ridge Streets intersect, which famously (for local activists and concerned folk) has Sacagawea cowered down behind them in a less than honorific fashion, which the recontextualizing of history has taught us them dudes might’ve been fucked out there in the western “wilderness” indigenous nations without her guidance. Similarly, a half dozen blocks to the west, there’s one just to George Rogers Clark, which similarly is kinda fucked, depicting dude standing over top a lot of other folks, including some cowering beneath his great white greatness and whiteness. This one is near where my office used to be so I used to walk up there and sit sometime, but to be honest, this was not an early pick for lunchtime fuck-off bench within walking distance of the office back then. Lots of gardens tucked away on a major full of itself university like UVA. I wouldn’t put the Clark statue park on my draft board, it’s a walk-on that might play special teams, at best. But it’s a problematic statue in retrospect.
The other two statues commissioned by McIntire are far more obviously fucked – a Stonewall Jackson one put right outside the courthouse in 1921, with a giant dedication where folks were flying the Confederate battle flag (as popularized by stubborn idiots to this day). A couple dudes allegedly smashed the angels at the foot of this sculpture, but I don’t believe the charges at all. I bet it was Q Anon folks who did it, but tried to make it look like anti-fascist activists did.
And of course that last statue is the most well-known – the Robert E. Lee monument erected in a park right by the downtown library, where McIntire bought up that block back in the day, demolished everything on it, and turned it into a public park, with a lost cause statue, nearly four decades after the Civil War was over. A local teen activist named Zyahna Bryant led the call to have the monument removed, and other activists began rallying around that. Eventually, self-serving politicians got involved to make a cause of it as well, and the whole thing became a culture wars flashpoint to cause the park to be chosen as the site for a Unite the Right rally in August of 2017. (A month before this, a Ku Klux Klan rally was held at the Stonewall Jackson monument, with strong police protection for the Klan, and anti-racist protesters getting tear gassed and arrested. I’ve got a thing I wrote about that day here.) Unite the Right became known to most of the world as “Charlottesville” because of the bullshit we got to experience here firsthand, which was namely a bunch of nazi racists and fascists openly meeting hoping to at the least intimidate people, but more likely kill a lot of people. They were armed for assault. Luckily, with no help from the government or police – both of which chose to use the “ignore them” tactic, which included police standing down the day of the event – local and regional antifascists organized a resistance to their presence, which likely saved a lot of lives. The day will be known though for Heather Heyer being murdered by a racist in a Dodge Charger, but anyone who was there that day knows many people who were affected by that vehicular rampage, jumped out the way, got hit, or were involved. (Shout out to Tim Sauce, local rapper, who was on the streets that day, and in July, and when he got locked up on separate charges briefly after all this, got to hold a little one-on-one session with the driver of that Dodge Charger on the inside. Tim Sauce is a hero.)
Anyways, the actual removal of the Lee monument seemed more important after all that, but has never happened. It got covered for a while with giant tarp, but rednecks kept coming to tear it open. It’s surrounded by orange fencing and signs saying you’ll be prosecuted, and has been the site of multiple incidents since 2017, that I can’t even begin getting into. Shit, I even had a giant fucking Nazi fuming at the mouth as he was being detained by police on the one year anniversary, yelling at me that he had the duty to dispatch of anyone who went against the Constitution, with a confederate flag dangling out his pocket. An activist poet I know had confronted him in that park, very bravely, up in this giant racist’s face, putting herself at risk. She got a stiffer sentence than he did, by the way. He also was walking free a couple hours later after his arrest, a few blocks from my apartment at the time, after telling me aggressively how he had a duty to kill people who thought like me. Probably relevant is that apartment was one block from where the local shithead who invited Unite the Right to Charlottesville in the first place once lived, and did a lot of the organizing for it. So the shit is all around us, and has been ever since August 2017. That’s just the sediments of history since 2017. The monument itself, not erected until 1924. Lost cause statues were erected in abundance around that time, throughout the south, not in remembrance of southern history so much as to work in tandem with Jim Crow laws and the legalized repression of black people as opposed to outright slavery. The monuments were ominous warnings that ain’t shit changed. So even before 2017’s events locally, those monuments are not meant as a symbol of pride, but as one of foreboding.
Of course, pro-southern “heritage not hate” people have laundered the immorality of slavery in the south’s plantation system through all sorts of means, so that the Civil War was somehow about the freedom to go bass fishing without a license, or some shit completely unrelated shit that pretends slavery had nothing to do with it.
Many places have rightfully, since 2017, tore these statues down. Some were taken down by the people themselves. But the Lee monument in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, remains – a giant middle finger of stubborn resistance to accepting all people as equally worthy of the basic human rights of life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness.
After the dumb shit that happened in Washington, DC, the other week, a lot of pundit types have written “the lessons from Charlottesville” and how what we experienced should have been a warning to everybody else. The idiot mayor of Charlottesville at the time, Mike Signer, has even used it to ramp up his media appearances to sell self-serving books and try to further his political career, even though he was entirely useless in fighting Unite the Right, despite activists telling him exactly what was likely to happen. Basically, the political establishment doesn’t hear the people, much less serve them, but also the ragtag pack of clueless nitwits who raided the Capitol building, allegedly as self-described patriots, also don’t serve the people, as a whole, but instead their propagandized core of those who have mutated white supremacy from its foundation into some strange more diverse white supremacy based on the benefits of western civilization, which basically means capitalism, along with believing all the American exceptionalism mythologies. Of course, just like the Lee monument and its claims of being there to honor a great historical figure, these belief systems can give the surface appearance of being honest, but their built on a far more flawed and fucked up foundation.
I say all this as a man who grew up in the rural south, wore shirts with confederate flags on them as a kid, even did a zine for a number of years called The Confederate Mack during my younger edgelord days, in an attempt at that time to “own the libs” or shock the hypocritical suburban kids I found myself surrounded by as a first gen college student. “Own the libs” didn’t exist then, as it was a decade before the internet got poppin’, thank god, because my digital footprint would be a fucking train wreck. (I mean, it already is, but this is after great personal growth and maturity and breaking of cycles.) But I can also say, as a 47-year-old white male who still lives in the rural south, fuck those statues, and fuck that flag. They serve no purpose of good whatsoever, and all these motherfuckers saying “We have to remember our history” the loudest tended to not be the best students of any sort back in school.
The dimwit kid across the road from where I lived for two decades, where my family still lives, he grew from a dumb kid who loved horses to a grown man-child who has a confederate flag in the front yard with a spotlight on it. And when I’ve talked to him, he has that blank look in his eyes of those who have digested far too much nutritionless information, the online equivalent of McDonalds drive-through intelligence, where you think you’re learning new and truthful facts, but actually just getting fed a bunch of shit that’s not healthy for you in any way and doesn’t contain the building blocks for actual truth, just simulations to give the taste and appearance. There’s a growing army of these types, as was evidenced by what happened, and I’m not really sure how you fix it. You can’t just simply “educate” people who already feel like they’ve been educated in a bold and more correct way than you offer. They’ve been brainwashed, for lack of a better term, and unfortunately America’s rugged individualism means folks automatically look at deprogramming themselves of the brainwashing as a type of brainwashing itself. You know, like how actual news is now fake news, and how anti-fascists are known by most old people, including your grandparents and parents and aunts and uncles, as the fascists. Erecting monuments to confederate heroes happened a century ago. They’ve got far more complex tools building their armies of blank-gazed supporters now. And we’re not going to be able to reach a lot of these people, because it’s a century later, AND WE STILL HAVEN’T EVEN TAKEN DOWN THESE STUPID FUCKING RACIST MONUMENTS.

R34L1ST1C 3XP3CT4T10NS...

realistic expectations 
don't appear to be common - 
chained to the impossible 

Wednesday, January 13

Tuesday, January 12

Monday, January 11

SONG OF THE DAY: Slow Down


I was gonna write something super clever and poignant, maybe about current events but maybe just about life in general – that timeless prose that’s not attached to the moment, which we get trained to worship constantly being connected. But I didn’t write nothing. I ain’t do shit. Fuck it. And I ain’t gotta do shit. Y’all ain’t paying for this shit. Most of y’all don’t even read it. Keep telling myself “slow down”. I got nowhere to go and nowhere to be, except right here, now. Fuck it.

SH4R1NG D3C0L0N1Z3 Y0VR...

sharing "decolonize your 
mind" memes while imagining 
how humans will live on Mars 

Saturday, January 9

SONG OF THE DAY: Lost You


the wailing of the unheard 
herded through autotune filters 
fed back to the consumer masses 
as a tonic of faux understanding 
of what it means to struggle 
against the rising tide 
of economic-based white American pride 
which always allows the other side 
so long as you ascribe to the right mythology 

disinformation wants to be free 
so that it can fence me in these filter bubbles 
that fuck up my real world outlook 
plus 
them with blue checks by their names 
who have consumed it all from the 
urban wailing of the disaffected to the 
rural moaning of the dissatisfied 
who mistakenly think they understand it all 
because they’ve spent their lives consuming 
all these things from the comfort of safety nets 
make judgements based on their consumption of data 
which got filtered through their bubble from the beginning 

red pills and blue checks ain’t got shit to do 
with my simple goddamned stubborn but pure heart 
don’t know shit about my 
heart still beating anxiously fast 
because it’s nothing but hills to climb 
and you never know if that cop that just passed 
is gonna but a u-turn and start asking questions 
because you’ve been dirty since the day you were born 

for your information fuck y’all fake mother fuckers
for your information fuck y’all fake mother fuckers 
heartless bastards always thinking you know shit you don’t  

T3CHN0L0GY 4PPL13D T0...

technology applied to 
building more secure fences; 
meanwhile, some folks got no house 

Friday, January 8

SONG OF THE DAY: La Raza


Apparently, La Raza Cosmica is now problematic too, because in the process of seeing the combination of all the main human racial types, you’re eliminating the originals. The term was coined by Jose Vasconcelos in 1925, reacting to white supremacist thinking being sent out to the world from the USA and Europe, which argued that the mestizos of the Americas were a combination of the four dominant races on the Earth, creating a fifth, unifying and conglomerate cosmic race. And I can see that complaint against it, because it’s not a huge jump from chosen race to say a super mix of all races is the actual chosen race. Everything is problematic nowadays. But you know why though? Everything was built on a problematic foundation. Shit’s all fucked up. When that woman got shot in the Capitol shit, it was interesting to me how cops called everybody off, called in paramedics, the people storming shit backed off – the reality of what had happened sobered everybody present up right away. Traumas are supposed to do that, to shock you into sheltering and surviving. All the conflict that had been manufactured came to a pause, because a human life was fucked up all of a sudden.
And yet, that’s exactly the problem with racism. When George Floyd was killed, everybody present should’ve been like “Whoa… what the fuck, everybody back up, call 911.” But time after time, that’s not been the response. So it’s when dehumanization goes beyond just thinking your race is some extra special shit to thinking other races don’t deserve to exist. Death of a human being should be shocking to you, to some extent, because you’re a human, and self-preservation is part of your natural make-up. Once you get to a point where you’re deciding some humans don’t deserve preservation and others do, then you’ve gotten to that point where your brain has been educated beyond your heart’s intelligence. There’s a lot of that going around now, in both the obvious and not so obvious ways. I hope we all sober the fuck up.

S0M3T1M3S 1 JVST L4Y D0WN 1N...

 

sometimes I just lay down in 
the strip mall parking lot, and 
stare up at the sky, in awe 

Thursday, January 7

SONG OF THE DAY: Graffiti Blues (45s on 33)



COVID in the house, and astroturfed organized chaos in the Capitol. Had to ride to the store to do a contactless pick-up at the Food Lion yesterday, same one where patriotic beards walk freely without masks every time I go in there, angrily staring at anyone who dare not be just like them. There’s only like two things the kids want to eat right now, so I’m keeping it stocked, and even though I’m negative so far, I’m likely exposed, and would prefer not to fuck anybody around me’s life up if I can avoid it. My girlfriend texted me, “Have you heard the news?” so I put on the radio, and bits and pieces of what was going on in D.C. came through. I wasn’t shocked, I think anybody who’s been paying attention knew this was coming, eventually. It’s still unsettling, because all of us got fed that American meritocracy shit growing up. Hell, that’s even what empty suit ass Joe Biden said, “this is not who we are.” Please, where the fuck are you living? Where I live, this is exactly who the fuck people have been, more and more so the past few years. Reaching across any aisles and finding common ground does not take hold as fast as propaganda mechanisms do, nor work as efficiently. People’s grandmas were all telling them antifa did the Capitol raid last night, because people’s grandmas aren’t getting their news from talking to real life people, or a local newscast.
It was all deeply dystopian, having left my sick with corona kids at home to run to the grocery store to pick up foods and drinks to keep them hydrated and fed while they ride this out, also hoping I could somehow magically and meticulously avoid getting exposed myself. Motherfuckers talking about “patriots” and a civil war, and seeing an Amanda Chase sign on the back road way home. People’s brains have been broken, and unfortunately when you severely break things – as they’ve been done in the past decade – you don’t put it all back together that quickly. Usually it takes longer to repair than it did to break, and it’s not as whole as it was beforehand either. So if we’ve had five years of rapid radicalization, we’re gonna need a decade of detox and healing. But the people who think they’re patriots don’t want none of that. So I don’t know what the fuck we do. All I’m gonna do on a personal level is keep building like I’ve been building, taking care of my family first, and my community after that as much as possible, and sowing good shit wherever I can. I can’t help all the bad shit.

W3 S4Y "1C0N1C" F0R BR4NDS...

 

we say "iconic" for brands 
etched into our consciousness 
by relentless marketing 

Wednesday, January 6

PR1M3 C0MM3RC14L SP4C3 F3W Y34RS...

prime commercial space few years 
back, rendered to rubble to 
build brand new more of the same 

Tuesday, January 5

OVR M4NM4D3 BR4ND N3W BL0SS0MS...

 

our manmade brand new blossoms 
don't get reborn each spring; we 
keep chasing our abstractions 

Sunday, January 3

SONG OF THE DAY: John Brown

I am tired, but the world doesn't stop. Here's the lyrics to John Brown.

my people are from southside by way of appalachia
vagabond spirits always seeking greener pasture
family so dysfunctional no cousins with my last name
my mother's worthless son, all I got from her is blame
so making my own way, about seventh generation
scot irish scandinavian german polish mutt caucasian
with a college education, my path away from the dirt roads
except my trust in well meaning well to do white folks constantly erodes
in this system which ain't giving shit but diminishing returns
the only dreams I'm believing in is I pray it all burns
down to ground, a place built on the backs of black folk
with me rapping in broken english, which wasn't even spoke
on this continent before prominent pyramid plans was established
but the destinies manifest for my bloodlines been tragic
so if I'm gonna think like a white man it's gonna be john brown esque

rough around the edges because I'm southern grotesque
can't be your rural noir hillbilly novelist class apologist
my thinking's too busted up can't afford all the consonants
just a colloquial country yokel with penchant for burning bridges
and walking through back alleys or hiding between blue ridges
I recognize my white privileges since ain't no cop shot me in the back
but I ain't proclaiming america's greatness since all I've seen is lack
of justice and equality from the fuck y'all I got mine philosophy
which is un-American but buried in the etymology
of United States, so I pledge allegiance to the people
this edition is overrated and we're ready for the sequel
so tear down all these monuments and these deeds of dominion
we ain't hit a wall saying end times, it's just a fenceless new beginning

PL4Y1NG C1V1L1Z4T10N...

 

playing civilization 
on a decade old iMac 
in front of a space heater 

Saturday, January 2

SONG OF THE DAY: Mentou

Lately I've been practicing walking a lot more with my phone a lot less, sometimes for an hour or two down the same meandering back roads where I live. Being just after Christmas, there's a few fresh old televisions dumped off in ditches where normally just Bud Light cans live. I find myself less distracted by thinking about my walk as an experience to share or consume without the phone. And when I get home later in the day, and pick up the phone, and click it to life, it's like YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN CLOSE TO YOUR STEPS GOAL FOR THE DAY. I just laugh to myself, thinking, "You don't know all you think you do, fuckin' smart phone." It's also great because it helps me remember to take everything the phone says with a grain of salt, because it doesn't really know shit like it acts like it does.

MVTV4L 41D R3PL4C3M3NTS...

 

mutual aid replacements 
of failed government efforts; 
might as well overthrow shit 

Friday, January 1