Hello, Trouble

Sky Hopinka

dear Sky,

i hope this missive finds you well
walking, driving, breathing through
the broken paths
it feels like a long time since
our last crossing
i still hold dear the memory
of you reading
in between
your films
torchlight in head
transporting us
to an underground memory
without shape
nor form
while language
always in delay
tries to grasp
the broken path
i wonder where
your driving
is taking

from the other


Written on the road, Sky Hopinka’s “Hello, Trouble” is in his own words “
about homes and homelands and returning to places that don’t mean anything anymore”.

Hello, Trouble (excerpt)

I was at a loss for language,
except for what I could speak,
and I spoke and spake my way
right out of this place.

It’s hot here still
and the humidity was never present
but lingers on the past in the ways
that memories tend to lazily lay.

I don’t remember what was a memory
or what was a dream.

I imagine the colors were dreams
and the smells were memories.

It doesn’t matter that much anymore
I’m home and here
and hot and bothered about the heat
and the place and the men
who couldn’t teach me anything.

I love them anyway and
what am I?  But half asleep daydreaming those teachings.

I learned and I learnt the everyday absences
of strength and weakness.

That binary isn’t good enough,
c’mon, downright bad.

We got in the car and we drove south
up and down the mountain back that way sidling through
the cool clear paths in the rain
and on the road.

Take it easy
we got plenty of time and we’re always a little tight
and tonight we’re home in a home I haven’t been to
in such a long while.

Memories at my feet
and on the street
and in the little pains of everything
no one says nowadays.

They’ve moved on.

Hometown blues and I think of you.

I always think of you on days like this.

Until tomorrow,
when I wake up not remembering
anything and go bout my day til it’s time
to remember everything.

Wherefore soft sounds
and disfluencies abound.

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His video, photo, and text work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture expressed through personal, documentary, and non fiction forms of media.