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, December 23

SONG OF THE DAY: Don't Hold Back The Rain

Had to go to the Family Dollar, because I was at the grocery store but them motherfuckers wanted $5 for a turkey roasting pan, and I knew it was cheaper at the Family Dollar, plus I needed more gift tags probably, so I went to the Family Dollar. Pulled up and parked beside one of them ‘80s Mustangs, 5.0, sitting on budget chrome, burgundy and black paint job, rear spoiler, looking small town Family Dollar fresh, to be honest. Go inside, and some ol’ boy is leaned up on the checkout barrier to the side, talking to the lady working the register, both of them around my age – that fine line of low life expectancy “middle” age where you’re too old for dreams but too young not to talk shit to the world at large still. I started looking for my shit, hearing ol’ boy talking the whole time.
“They let us out work early today, because wasn’t much going on no ways,” he was saying as I saw they didn’t have any more tags, but turkey roasting pans were $1 each, so fuck you Food Lion. I got two – one for now one for later to sit on top of the fridge and collect dust until another turkey showed up in my life. I got some holiday cards for presents that hadn’t arrived because we all order online at the last minute nowadays. And for some reason I had my dead dad saying, “When it rains, it pours,” in my head, which was never about the weather but about juggling real life shit to navigate being broke as fuck all the goddamned time.
Ol’ boy leaning by the checkout kept talking. “We get paid for tomorrow too, but you can’t call out today or Monday, or else you don’t get paid for it. So that’s cool,” he was going on, and she was responding, but also working, ringing people up or saying likely mandatory greetings as people popped in. I kept looking for mysterious gift tags hiding somewhere on a lost retail endcap, but ain’t find none.
“Alright then, I’ll talk to you later,” ol’ boy said and the automatic door let him out. Wasn’t nobody in line but they still had the barrier to get to the registers with a bunch of useless cheap shit lined up for you to impulse buy. The woman working had a giant splotch of a tattoo on the right side of her neck, and a weathered face, sad eyes, and to be honest I would’ve swiped right on her because I know I’m fucked up – I swipe right on anybody. She started ringing me up.
“Y’all ain’t got no gift tags hiding anywhere, do you?”
She laughed. “Naw. Gift tags and Christmas lights, they was gone quick. We hadn’t had ‘em in a while.” She stuffed my assorted things into the turkey pans and dropped it all into a big bag while I blip blooped my way through the card reader. “Merry Christmas,” she said, handing me a giant plastic bag full of cheap shit.
“Happy holidays.”
Outside, that dude who had been talking was sitting in the Mustang, feet still on the ground, taking his time. “That car is looking clean, man,” I said, dragging the “clean” into more than one syllable because it deserved more in this context, as is the way of my people.
“Thank ya, brother,” he said, in the parking lot of the Family Dollar in Lovingston, Virginia, where people like us cross paths. 
I cut on my Corolla, and “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone was mid-song on the playlist that was playing. Lives like mine, and his, and the checkout lady, and shit probably you too, are doomed in this America we got right now, and fucked, and yet also somehow still absolutely perfect. Holiday blessings to all y’all that are fucked like myself.

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