Cigarette Ceremony

Sky Hopinka

No. 6

In a window in the air through the glass shines the sun
Up high so very high and I sit and I stare down
On land and stream so small so very small.
Reflections of the earth are blurred by clouds
And thoughts of last week when those same vapors left their place
And the firmament was vast.
Neglectful of nothing, the windows up here are bright and hot
They burn away the sweat and sweet darkened skin
So that nothing is recognizable,
Only as pale shades of yesterday.

Marks and scratches on clear plastic give permanence to the barriers
Between the void and me,
And now I contain myself within a heart pressured by altitude and worry.
Death and loss are all around but so is affection—
Meager, but less than before.
An eagerness within a myriad of myopic mistakes
Already miserable in their execution in their time and
In their timing that has worn away the weary muscle
Pumping and pulling rafts of oxygen and plasma.
Suspended in the river we can’t fly anymore.
A dream of a minor year with sweetness and drowsy longing
was quickly shaken,
was quietly awoken
By the ipseity of me and you.

Me and you and I and we wandering in wounded realms
Where roaming is often remembered as a solipsistic search
For the other. What happens when you-meet-me
And there’s everything we’ve been
That was cracked and crumpled and built
And fixed haphazardly without instruction?
With only memories of memories to know
How each of us—we used to be,
Photographs suspended
In a flash a flash three flashes
Show that’s how they exist.
Voices heard on an old recording endure,
How they were damp possibilities
That became dry and parched under the equatorial sun.

Smile and laugheasy, frown and crydeeply
When the persistence of perfidy cracks slowly.
Neither one of us was perfidious to the other,
But only to a promise to ourselves
Made before we met each other.
Your hair shone brightly on those afternoons
Spent daily next to the waves cresting and falling evenly
And rhythmically above sonorous rumble;
Where the cloudless blue egress of summer dimmed slowly
Behind the evening tide.

Cloudless Blue (2019)

This track appears in the right channel of a two-channel video installation called Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer (2019). The title comes from the long-form poem, “Perfidia.” This is another track I just wanted to share in its entirety as it speaks to the endeavor of this dossier, to look at the disfluencies and the errata that exists between projects, the practicing and the attempts, the things that don’t quite exist on their own but are integral to the whole. With this song I wanted to try and figure out how to play it, and make mistakes, and keep the pauses, and the stutters and errors, and emphasize the repetitions and obsessions.

Drinking a Milkshake While Taking a Walk Through the Land of the Dead, 3 minutes (2018)

I was sitting on this piece for a while before I knew what to do with it. It eventually found its way into Fainting Spells (2018). It features Jordan Mercier, who appears in my first feature małni—towards the ocean, toward the shore (2020), walking through a controlled burn on the Grand Ronde Reservation. It’s always functioned as a metaphor for me, though; one that helped give shape and spark some ideas that run throughout both films concerning the spirit world, the land of the dead, the land of the living, and the role mythologies play in bridging those spaces.

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) is a filmmaker, artist, poet and teacher of Chinuk Wawa, a language indigenous to the lower Columbia River Basin. His work deals with personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture, and the play between the known and the unknowable. He was a Radcliffe Fellow in Film and Video at Harvard University, Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow (2019), Media City Film Festival Chrysalis Fellow, and Guggenheim Fellow (2020). He is Assistant Professor of Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College.

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Founded in 2020, Three Fold is an independent quarterly based in Detroit that presents exploratory points of view on arts, culture, and society in addition to original works in various media, including visual art, literature, film and the performing arts. We solicit and commission contributions from artists, writers, and activists around the world. Three Fold is a publication of Trinosophes Projects, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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