Good Hard Try [Hippie Squared]

I understand that for President Obama’s climate change policy, natural gas seems to be a political necessity—a transitional energy source. However, here’s my question: Isn’t drinkable water a basic necessity for human life? How long can a human being live without water? On the other hand, is...

When Muslin Extremists Spread Like Wildflower [Hippie Squared]

Here’s a word game we can play: Find all the dogberryisms in the next sentence. A terrible riff came between them, but luckily they nipped it in the butt before it became a mute point when they got caught in a worldwind and muslin extremists began to spread like wildflower. What’s a dogberryism? Same as a malapropism. And what’s a malapropism? We all know the phenomenon, whether or not we know the terms. It’s when someone uses a word in a sentence that isn’t the right word but it sounds like the right word. For instance: “Texas has a lot of electrical votes.” That’s from Yogi Berra, a well-known practitioner of the dogberryism/malapropism,...

Silly Smorgasbord & Rough Draft Riffs [Hippie Squared]

My mom used to do a thing she called “Silly Smorgasbord.” She’d raid the refrigerator for leftovers and the cabinets for quick items she could skid out onto the table to cobble up a dinner for my stepbrothers and me. That might sound like a lesser meal plan, but I always loved silly...

Reading: A Seductive Magic [Hippie Squared]

I love to read. Love love love love love it. I find it to be an incredibly intimate way to share someone else’s thought(s). They wrote it down. They signed it. They hit enter, they hit send. There’s no backing off of that. “This is what happened to me,” they are saying; or, “This...

The Séance: A Ghost Story? [Hippie Squared]

The only dead person we knew between the two of us was Valerie’s Uncle Robert. So we decided that for our first séance we would call on him. Valerie was my best friend in the neighborhood. She was eleven, and I was ten, in Lansing, Michigan in the fall of 1973. First we chose the room,...

When I Made Dick Van Dyke Laugh (A Hollywood Valentine) [Hippie Square...

I like this tale. What’s more, I like this telling of it. Hippie Squared is often mined from my personal oral tradition–oft-told tales of my adventures. But sometimes I get the nagging feeling that I told it better years ago at a party somewhere. Not here. This time, I feel like I...

Accepting Thirst: Edward Field’s Kabuli Days [Hippie Squared] [B...

A travel journal is a kind of quest tale. In 1970 poet Edward Field journeyed to Afghanistan questing for Sufis (as a Gurdjieff fan); “sex, as all travelers are;” and “a little hotel clinging to a rock in the middle of a rushing river” which he saw in a National...

Three Line Lunchbox [Hippie Squared]

So here it is: an assortment of items out of a Three Line Lunchbox. An apple, some chips and a few three line poems–spread ‘em out on your picnic blanket. Ripe, stale, juicy or crunchy; gnaw on a couple and you decide. Enjoy with wine, beer or a glass of cool lemonade. Wild Grass...

Hearing My Voice Break [Hippie Squared]

When we write we are speaking, in print, in the voice of whatever we are. I find myself in a weird place right now. As I enter my fiftieth year, having come through two years of chaos and crisis in more than one arena of my life, I feel so changed that I’m not even quite sure that I...

You, Not You [Hippie Squared]

Flannery O’Connor once said that the only way to write successful autobiographical fiction is if you are able to look at yourself as a fictional character. In other words, if you can look at you as if you were not you. Autobiographical or not, your fictional characters are not you....

All That California Female Energy (Another Turn on the Pony) [Hippie S...

It was our first rehearsal for Salome, late spring 1991. I had managed to drag Mutahar Williams along. “Mutahah,” as it was pronounced, was his Subud name, but he was very English, his voice deep and resonant, like seasoned wood: an exquisitely-tuned instrument for poetry....

Gray Pony’s Wild Ride [Hippie Squared]

We did Oscar Wilde’s Salome in our underwear in the summer of 1991 and got “Pick of the Week” in the LA Weekly for it, a big deal then. We had a hit play on our hands. We were the Gray Pony Chorus. It was a wild ride. That was the peak of our renown. Since then, we’ve...

Lessons of the Taoist Demon-Wrestler [Hippie Squared]

This is a special Three Line Lunch crossover edition of Hippie Squared. It’s a first edition. Save this, it could be a collector’s item. (Do I date myself? Very well then, I date myself! I am large, I contain decades.) TLL graciously offered to step in when it became clear that HS...

Actually a River [Hippie Squared]

After almost thirty years in LA, I’m still discovering new things. Whole new worlds even. Last Sunday we took a nice walk with Riverworld on our left and Golf World on our right, and then watched astonished as Golf World gave way to Horse & Cowboy World. Our dogs had cabin fever. My...

Powerflows: Political Musings [Hippie Squared]

I keep coming back to the idea that we’re too much under the sway of what’s in the end, just a system of weights and measures gone haywire. Money, I’m talking about. And the whole monetary regime that we’re living and dying under right now — a towering teetering...

The Snail’s-Pace Chase [Hippie Squared]

I was living in Hollywood then, dead across from the last known address of the Black Dahlia at 1842 North Cherokee. It was the crack years in Los Angeles, and my once-tony neighborhood was a center of the trade. I lived in a grand old apartment building fallen on hard times, called Cliffwood...

Wilderness Survival [Hippie Squared]

When I was nineteen I took a Wilderness Survival class at Lansing Community College. For the final we had to pair up with a classmate and survive a night without tent, sleeping bags or gear in the late fall Michigan woods. No snow, but still plenty cold enough to catch a nice case of...

Hippie Squared: Some Things I Remember and Some I Don’t

I was working the Sunset Strip that night. I pulled my cab over to the curb in front of the Rainbow, or Gazzari’s, or the Coconut Teaser. It was a Friday or a Saturday night in early 1987—a long time ago. There are some things I remember, and some things I don’t. I remember her....

Hippie Squared: Macaroni Superstar

Yes, it’s only from a box. But the classic, Kraft Dinner-style, bright, nearly radioactive orange mac ‘n’ cheese is a sensual treasure and a deep comfort. Properly prepared, it’s a fallen beauty elevated anew in this cardboard modern world—a redemption of the cheap and...

Hippie Squared: Gold Country Gold [FaN Favorites]

. a favorite blogumn by Jeff Rogers Jeff Says: It wasn’t easy for me to pick a favorite “Hippie Squared” to rerun. I’m pleased to find how many of them I’m still happy with. But “Gold Country Gold” has a few things to recommend it. It might be the most purely crafted of them...

Hippie Squared: That Curious Ribbon (The Essential Metaphor)

Lately I’ve been thinking about life as a journey again–the inescapable, essential metaphor: That Curious Ribbon What other metaphor Can I really imagine for all this Than a journey Down a ribbon of road? Then the metaphors crowd in. Just to ask is to call them round. But I take...

Hippie Squared: Coffee

. by Jeff Rogers and Scott Roat Black and silver spools, an uncoiling ribbon, architecture of feverish reveries built on bricks of beans; an egg, blue, sliding across the plate, a slick track of oil collects at the lip; wash it away with coffee, holy coffee, energy oil, tincture of high wire...

Hippie Squared: Wishing for a Pair of Wings and a Set of Goggles

Wishing for a pair of wings and a set of goggles, Warren Crutch washed the floor, while his elderly mother hovered nearby, and when he finished, he left the house. He walked the late afternoon streets alone until he reached the home of his girlfriend, Alabaster Lane. With blonde hair and...

Hippie Squared: Penetrating the Wizard’s Bookshelf [Father's Day...

When I was a kid my dad was a private detective. He was a spy. He was a master scientist and a crusader for justice. He was a wizard. His bookshelves held the keys to his powers. They loomed above me there in his den where I slept when I visited him on weekends. Jacked up on Pepsi and potato...

Hippie Squared: Before the Jump

So with a blog due last night and a basketball game to watch, I thought I’d try a little experiment: write a poem about the game in real time as I watched the game. Didn’t get very far: Elise came home with dinner, we paused the game, fed the dogs and cats, had pina coladas on the...

Hippie Squared: Woulds (Elegy for a Mystic Poet Died Too Soon)

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers I think the advice that we give to others is often exactly what we need to hear ourselves. Have you noticed that? Do you agree? I wrote this poem years ago for a talented, charismatic, ambitious poet I knew named Tony Clay. We were in a poetry performance group that...

Hippie Squared: Forget Foucault! Damn Derrida! Stan’s the Postmo...

I’ve been reading some of the old Marvel comics lately (look no farther than Three Line Lunch #239 for the evidence) in collections—early issues of Spider-Man in the Marvel Masterworks color reprint series and tonight one of the first Iron Man comics in Essential Iron Man, a black and white...

Hippie Squared: Twenty-One Line Brunch

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers So my other feature on this site is Three Line Lunch, my diary in three line poems–one of which will run later today, if I get it finished in time. I first took on the project of a year-long diary in three line poems from September 1, 1993 through August 31,...

Hippie Squared: Red Sleeping

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers Leaving his body was very hard; for a long time I couldn’t do it. I just kept stroking his fur, and getting down and hugging him, from behind, like I would do in bed when it was a cold night and he would move up and lie next to me for warmth. I’d hold him from...

Hippie Squared: Red My Old Dog in the Morning

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers I admit it. He was my favorite. My favorite dog ever in the whole wide world. And he died two Saturdays ago. If you follow my “Three Line Lunch” feature here on Fierce and Nerdy then you might have read about it. And you might have read some of my previous...

Hippie Squared: Can I Make a Blog Out of This?

What do I write about for my blogumn today—which is late, by the way? What kept me lying awake in bed this morning when I woke up before dawn? All the things I have to take care of. All the things on my mind. Mindfulness is on my mind. Thankfulness is on my mind—but plaguing me. There are...

Hippie Squared: I Think, Therefore I Ramble Through My Moments

I’ve been working on mindfulness lately. What do I mean by that? Well, to take myself as the starting point: I think, therefore I ramble. I think and think and think and therefore I am unfocused. I like thinking. I’m a fan of it. I’m doing it pretty much all the time. But too often my...

Hippie Squared: Secret Beach & Sweet Elise Answers

Earlier in the week our friend directed us to a secret beach north of Malibu. When we came over the mountains and saw the ocean, at first look it was almost gray in the late afternoon sun. It was cut by hills, and off to the right it looked even more gray. Until we realized that off to the...

Hippie Squared: Making My Mom’s Mistake

Is there a gene for putting too much milk in the macaroni and cheese mix? And could it lie dormant for over forty years, only to be triggered by stress in middle age? These are the questions I pondered three nights ago as I felt my mom’s ghost laughing at me, finally. I was raised largely on...

Hippie Squared: The Tickle Game

I set out on our trip to South Carolina for family Christmas this year with one central mission: to win the hearts and minds of my niece Genevieve, age five and my nephew Jackson, age four. I had the honor five years ago to share Genevieve’s first Christmas, but she was less than a year old...

Hippie Squared: Friends at First Sight

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers Yesterday it was my birthday. How many people have you known who shared your birthday? Have you been close with any of them? One of my oldest and closest friends, Scott Roat, was born one year after me, same day, but we met both as freshmen at the University of...

Hippie Squared: Family Thanksgiving with Friends

Thanksgiving is by tradition spent with family. But in a place like Los Angeles, particularly, many of us are far from our families, but among friends who become our local families. I’ve been in Los Angeles a long time, and while I’ve often gone back to Michigan for Christmas, I’ve only...

Hippie Squared: Goofy old Genesis

As a sort of coda to my last two blog postings about matters spiritual and religious, I thought I’d say a few words coming off seeing the art exhibit of R. Crumb’s illustrated version of Genesis at the Armand Hammer museum. I wrote about it already, over here, in my other Fierce and Nerdy...

Hippie Squared: The Face of God in Burger King (Or Was That the Back o...

This is part two. But I think it’s self-contained. You be the judge. If not, you can find part one right over here. In fact, I hope you’ll check it out either way. We were talking about God. Or the lack thereof. You know, just good old fashioned party talk. Unless you’re luckless enough to...

Three Line Lunch: Hippie Was Not Their Word (Bivins Reminisces)

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 60 Hippie Was Not Their Word (Bivins Reminisces) The denizens of the Haight called themselves freaks. “If someone came around talking about hippies, We all just thought, show us your fucking badge, you...

Hippie Squared: Me and the Buddhist Master

In keeping with Ernessa’s “Month of Minefields” I’m going to write about a subject I’ve touched on in poems, but never written about at length in prose, a subject rife with tricky territory and a few emotional minefields for me: religion; spirituality. Ah, let’s just say it plain: God. And/or...

Hippie Squared: Jack and Jill Up Poetry Hill

When I started the Three Line Lunch project, my daily poetry post on this site, Ernessa asked me if I’d write here in “Hippie Squared” about how the average Jack or Jill could access their poet within. I promised her I would, and then procrastinated on it, because it felt a little...

Hippie Squared: Freeing “Freeing the Balloons”

Found this old poem the other day. Over the last few years my wife and I let our home offices fall into a state of intolerable disorganization. Turns out my friend Jenny at work helps people with such problems, and she’s great at it. In our last session (“Three Line Lunch: Being Organized by...

Hippie Squared: The Year Will Tell

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers So I’m doing this diary in three line poems, for a year, here on this site. You may have seen it—it posts at noon each day, and we’re calling it “Three Line Lunch.” What gives and why bother? Primarily it’s a trick to get myself to write every day. I know it works,...

Hippie Squared: Oh That Magic Feeling

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers “Oh that magic feeling, nowhere to go.” Perhaps the best line Paul McCartney ever wrote. Certainly the one that best describes the feeling I had two Friday mornings ago, sitting and being quiet on the patio of my room at The Spring in Desert Hot Springs, a tray of...

Hippie Squared: A True Love Story About a True Love

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers     Photo Credit: Xpectro Anyone in the mood for a love story to start out the week?  When I was 23 I quit my job as a bookstore manager to drive a cab here in LA. I did it for the stories.    And there are great stories in that story that are not this story.  ...

Hippie Squared: Chabon Jag Rag

I’m on a Chabon jag. Michael Chabon, of whom I’ve read three in a row, finishing Gentlemen of the Road just last night, a literary swashbuckler whose true title, Chabon says in the Afterword, is “Jews with Swords. The first two of his I read are closer to traditional, contemporary realistic...

Hippie Squared: Compressed Impressions of a Los Angeles 4th of July We...

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers The tang of gunpowder mist hanging in the night time air over streets littered with exploded paper and starred with black powder burns when we drive home late. One concert, one dinner out and three barbeques. Three trips to two parks with four assorted dogs. And one...

Hippie Squared: Sitting in Fire and the Bombadil Way

Midsummer’s Eve, as I recall it, was a major holiday in the Shire — where the Hobbits lived in The Lord of the Rings, the closest thing to a bible in my family. That celebration of the summer solstice by another name, I realize now, is a tie-in to the Celtic and British pagan mythologies that...

Hippie Squared: Another Surreal LA Night

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers Summer of 1984. Olympic week in Los Angeles. Jerry and I were renting a room in a house in West L.A. His girlfriend—for the sake of argument let’s call her Brittany—got a job for the week driving Olympic dignitaries around in a sharp little white Audi. The Olympic...

Hippie Squared: Party at Steve’s

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers I was at a party at Steve’s. I went looking for the host. I found him in his studio, on the telephone. “Here,” he said, handing me the phone, “Say hello to my sister Elaine.” And he walked out. Steve is one of eleven siblings. I’m never sure of the exact numbers per...

Hippie Squared: Foolishly Late April Fool’s Edition

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers I’m full of ideas of what I’m supposed to be or not supposed to be. I contain those ideas so I must be bigger than them. Yet I get tangled in them and choked by them and struggle to jam myself into them, shave off my contradictions, tuck away my tics, amputate my...

Hippie Squared: When Gracie Loved Beneath Her Station

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers One afternoon not long after Gracie had recovered from her distemper and the loss of her whole litter of puppies, Elise walked Gracie down the hill from Angelino Heights to Echo Park and around the lake. Near the entrance to the park Elise noticed a forlorn looking...

Hippie Squared: Gracie and the Head Thing

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers Dogs have culture. Having a whole pack taught me that. Having a whole pack has taught me a lot of things, about dogs, and about people too. Pack and tribal dynamics are not that far apart in some ways. A pack is too many to walk on leash around the block. So I take...

Hippie Squared: Saving Gracie

. a blogum by Jeff Rogers My wife Elise saved Gracie more than once in those first months. One evening in the spring of 1997 Elise was coming home and saw two dogs running along the sidewalk on Glendale Boulevard just south of Temple, not far from where we lived. She had the feeling they were...

Hippie Squared: It Ain’t Cool to Make a Fool Out of Gracie

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers Dogs are like children. One of the best ways to manage them is through ritual. Dogs love ritual. They’ll even create their own rituals. Dogs, particularly working dogs, love to have a job. They love to feel that they’ve done their job and done it well. Gracie was...

Hippie Squared: screen screen everywhere a screen

. a blogumn by Jeff Rogers screen screen everywhere a screen. a screen with somebody yapping at you. it used to be that the consolation  of having to go to certain places where you knew you’d have to wait awhile for something—the doctor’s office, getting your car repaired—was at least you...

Hippie Squared: Blogger Old Potatoes

In the basement of a house on Memory Lane in Kalamazoo, Michigan somewhere between 1987 and 1989 I wrote a nonsense poem called “Blogger Old Potatoes.” In my hands, “blogger” was the improvised swear word of a two-year old girl. But according to Wikipedia, the word “blogger” was first coined...

Hippie Squared: Everybody’s Got One

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers It’s all the same holiday. Look around. We’ve got festivals of lights breaking out all over. With menorahs and candles and colorful glowing bulbs and roaring Yule logs we celebrate the continuance of light through the darkest nights of the year. Call it Hannukah,...

Hippie Squared: Landsick Impressions

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers Second day back on land and the earth still sways under me like the deck of a ship. I teeter when I stand and stagger when I walk and I’m queasier than I was on the boat. I understand now why Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is always swaying. Our Yucatan cruise...

Hippie Squared: The Tide of Time

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers My birthday this past Friday has me in a reflective mood. I’m forty-six. The gray has gained a foothold in my beard; and a few spindly long gray hairs wend their way among my brown locks. “Cut that hair, hippie!” a young friend of mine at work said to me at the...

Hippie Squared: The Mother of All Holidays

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers Every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way (as Tolstoy might say if he did “Oprah”). If you believe movies like Four Christmases dysfunctional families are at their worst during the holidays when all their simmering resentments come to a furious...

Hippie Squared: Gold Country Gold

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers “Out here we grow amunds. ‘Almonds’ are what we sell.” Lou’s giving me the tour. “This year the birds got ‘em all. Wasn’t worth knockin’ one tree.” Past the almond groves their acreage ends at the edge of a tree-filled canyon. Successive ridges of...

Hippie-Squared: We the Mutt People

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers Folding chairs in rows in a high school gym in Kalamazoo, Michigan in about 1968. I would have been about five. A portable movie screen on rickety legs, one of my first experiences seeing a movie out in the world, and it was a black and white documentary. My mom...

Hippie Squared: Tales From the Precinct – Blasted Assumptions

. A blogumn by Jeff Rogers The screen door clatters under my knock. I stand at the side door under a drapery of morning glories and read the walk sheet: 74 Female. The white woman with silver hair who appears out of the dimness in her flower-print blouse with built-in scarf, her smile bright...