1951 Plymouth Cranbrook Independence Day, 2016 (When America was Great Again)

The best way for me to connect
was to hit the highway roll the road
in a 1951 Plymouth
four year project
assisted by dozens of friends
built in the manner of my ancestors
with the tools of my grandfather
in the spirit of my people

Not quite legal w/ no
inspection license plates speedometer
back up lights windshield wipers
or sideglass
Missing most of the interior
except for seats
big hot hollow can
resonating w/ Cherry Bomb exhaust
sun beating down on a thin metal roof
a hundred degrees by mid morning

While Polly sits beside me in a torn up bucket seat
and her own America
or love or just indulgence maybe
sweat in our eyes and
ears only registering a rumble

Until after too loud too hot who knows how fast
a pint of human fluids lost
photos in the shade of the
Bartholomew Pool parking lot
prove this dream
is on the edge of fulfilled

Yes the engine seems solid
suspension’s okay
but there will always be
things that still need doing

If this journey is going to be made
if the world is going to become
the way it ought to be

After the Election

Not like a celebratory champagne cork
but like a valve punched through a piston top
we head south and west

Through San Antonio
past Medina on HWY 90
highrise pick-up trucks
at the Gas & Shop
Proclaim football hero sons:
Travis 24
Minimi 17
in white vinyl on blacked out
rear windows

No one around here’s
expecting much to change

Further west we traverse the Brazos
along a steel span just a little older
than Polly or me
one hundred feet below
a diagonal crossing
centuries old
(the plaque says Old Spanish Road)
asserts a continuity
in this motion

The only thing at this moment
is indeed to move
The Davis Mountains rising before us
caught up in motion and change
I cannot gauge time’s register

© W. Joe Hoppe

New Year’s Day, 2017

The kitchen clock disguises itself
as a water faucet leaking into
this morning’s celebratory
oatmeal pot

Sun shines through four
windowsill cat ears
attuned to squirrels frolicking
in last year’s dead leaves

Cedar pollen swirls from
hill country junipers
covering the little trees in my lungs
with sharp yellow snowflakes

If I could catch a full breath
would the beauty of this struggle
grow or just
fulfill another expectation

© W. Joe Hoppe

Chinati’s Foundations


Poured concrete slabs
of Judd judgement
fudge space
like nothing else
in Marfa, Texas

You can view them for free
guiding yourself
as long as you
stay on the trails and off the art

Big sky shines blue
on the horizon
but here under clouds
it’s all thorny black brittle brown

smooth gray
standing up
to space itself

cottontail kicks up deer scat
rushing to shelter
under a bush

crickets crawl the deer trails

© W. Joe Hoppe, Marfa, TX 11/12/16

video from the HOWL event

Oct. 7, 2015 was the 60th anniversary of the first reading of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” To honor the occasion, Malvern Books hosted a crowd-sourced performance of the poem, featuring people from all over Austin. The event was organized and hosted by Brett Reeves and me, and it emphasized the religious nature of the piece, combining elements of worship from various spiritual traditions into one magical night of community.

It was a real cool time.



Joe’s intro

Communal Reading, pt. 1

I am With You in Rockland

In Heaven, Fidel Castro Dances With Florence Henderson

And the dancefloor is like an ice rink
they glide in and out of billowing clouds
pink mist blood of martyrs of La Revolucion
soothing baby blue of suburban housewife Valium

Spinning ecstatic now to their own stars
not proletariat red or bourgeoisie sparkly
no judges with magic-markered cards
nor nosey neighbors from down the street

Together again after their all-too-brief
NYC affair in 1958—
she a budding Broadway starlet
he a hard throwing prospect for Los Yanquis

Eternity will be just like
their single Copacabana night
a spotlight on her bright blonde hair
the glint of his polished alligator shoes

She smells like America to him
a hint of vanilla at neck and wrist
newly mown lawns and wood paneled dens
But when the rhumba beat starts up

Her hips her culo roll with genuine desire
for his suave Latin loins Caribbean
breezes blowing through pomaded hair
nutmeg and handrolled cigars sugarcane sweat

A tango now they are joined thigh to thigh
zoom out to reveal the band in flamingo rhumba sleeves
half of them American blondes with shining teeth
the other swarthy Cubans knocking out time

until this eternity is over
when they can slip out to the alley
and sing moonlit songs
of their own choosing

© W. Joe Hoppe, 2016



In the Palm of Your Hand

There’s a planet
There’s a past life and a future
There’s a question mark
if you follow the line of your thumb
up around your index finger
and trail off around the
remaining three digits
The palm of your hand
holds a light bulb
a bright idea of possibilities
Don’t squeeze too tight
it could break and cut
or even burn
The palm of your hand
holds a bird’s nest
blue speckled eggs
ready to hatch
two three four
birds in the hand
Everything you need
is within your grasp.

from Diamond Plate, 2012, Obsolete Press

Michael Collins & the Far Side of the Moon


Like angels in
their lack of free will
hovering above us
purely as agents

Think of Michael Collins
14 orbits around the moon
but never getting closer
than 9 miles to its surface

Command module
for Buzz and Neil
trudging their Seas of Tranquility
and Glory

While alone above their heads
he circled like a film noir taxi
keeping the motor running
for the getaway

But 47 minutes
of each two hour orbit
found him beyond all contact
in truly cosmic solitude

The far side of the moon
with no Earth to look back on
a universe to look out on
all to himself

from Diamond Plate, 2012, Obsolete Press