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 natural gas a basic necessity for human life? First things first. Water that we drink is returned to the circulatory water system of the earth. Natural gas that we extract is burned as quickly as we can pull it out of the ground, and it’s gone forever. Meanwhile, it has been widely discussed in recent years that clean water is the next great shortage that humans will face. Corporations are busily but quietly buying up sources of clean water. Whereas, the hot way of extracting natural gas right now is hydraulic fracturing, which pollutes drinking water by the millions of gallons per well, leaving it contaminated with such long-lasting pollutants as plutonium, among others. Anybody know the half-life of plutonium off the top of your head? A long time, right? Some of that polluted water gets injected back deep into the earth, where it’s somehow supposed to lie dormant and safe, so that it won’t contaminate our groundwater. Let’s see. Water is the universal solvent. It bonds so easily with other molecules, due to its high polarity, that it pulls other substances apart. The Grand Canyon was created primarily by the force of water. The Taoists characterize water as the strongest force in nature. Stronger than mountains. Certainly stronger than the rock pockets in the earth where we inject it after we’ve polluted it. Witness: “Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using...

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, swapping in “electrical” for “electoral.” I love these things. I like to collect them. Most overheard. A few I’ve made up myself. It’s infectious. If you have any good ones, drop them off in the comments—here at Fierce and Nerdy or on the Facebook post. I first learned the term malapropism from John Lennon, of all people. He used it in the classic “Lennon Remembers” interviews in Rolling Stone in 1970, to describe Ringo’s quirky phrases which Lennon used to inspire songs such as “Hard Day’s Night” and “Eight Days a Week.” Not sure those are malapropisms, exactly, but they’re clever. I only learned the term dogberryism the other day from Wikipedia’s malapropism definition. It’s from Shakespeare, via Officer Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing (I can’t wait for Joss Whedon’s new movie version!), apparently another champion purveyor of the form. A few of the six dogberryisms in our sentence above are my very favorite kind: where the wrong word can actually function to express basically the same idea as the correct word. I think this kind of malapropism/dogberryism is actually worthy of a whole new term of its own. That can be our second word game. But first let me spin out a few of our examples. “Mute point” for me is textbook. I don’t know about you, but I hear “mute point” used more often these days than the correct expression “moot point.” I would bet this is because the word mute is better known today than the word moot. So I think this could actually end up changing the language over time, if the incorrect expression overtakes the correct one through more frequent usage. How would that work? Well, what do we mean when we say, “It’s a moot point?” We mean that the real point has already been made. The moot point is irrelevant, unnecessary. Beside the point. And what would a mute point be? Technically, a point that is speechless. It doesn’t speak to the issue at hand. Therefore it’s off target, unnecessary. Beside the point. Yes, the two meanings are a little bit different. But close enough for horseshoes. Close enough to consummate an act of communication; and maybe for “mute point” to creep in on “moot point” and plunder its linguistic portfolio. So now let’s play our second word game: Anyone want to try to come up with a term for this invasive-species kind of dogberryism/malapropism? I’ll try my hand at it, but please take your own shot in the comments if you wish. Fogberryism, perhaps? Because it can serve to gently fog our minds? Benepropism? Because its effect is more benevolent, less malevolent, than a malapropism, by virtue of conducting the proper idea more or less intact from mind to mind, despite the hiccup of the technically incorrect word usage—thus being an effective act of communication? A pure malapropism is not just the wrong word, but the wrong thought entirely. An electrical vote can’t substitute for the meaning of electoral vote. It’s clearly different. A mute point, on the other hand… I’d say there are maybe three more of these fogberryism/benepropisms in our example sentence above (way above now): “spread like wildflower,” “worldwind” and my personal favorite “nipped...

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 smorgasbord. I loved the name. And I loved the assortment of tastes and surprises. Some of my favorite dinners were silly smorgasbord. So for this installment of Hippie Squared I raided the pages of my journal and plated some recent rough draft riffs on a smorgasbord of topics. By way of preparation, I marinated a couple in their own juices, then set them to simmer at a slow rolling boil. (Say that three times fast.) I set one on the windowsill to cool. I trimmed the crust off one. Added a dash of hot sauce here, a sprinkle of cheese over there. Had fun makin’ it. Hope you enjoy it. Let’s riff on gay marriage for a minute: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” and on into the inalienable rights part—that’s basically the Mission Statement for our country. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s from the Declaration of Independence. Which means there’s debate about whether it even carries the force of law. But it carries a heaping freight of moral force, doesn’t it? And in a way it’s a challenge issued to history by Tom Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin—the committee who wrote it—and all the other guys who signed it—that has resounded down the decades and around the world and back. All the ways we’ve fallen short of that challenge. All the ways those men fell short of that challenge—most of them...

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 is what I imagined into being. This is what I think. This is what I feel.” What a brave and abandoned thing for them to do. What a gift for them to offer. To me, it’s a profound, a mystical, an intimate and vulnerable transaction. I could, but I won’t, say sacred. On my end of the transference, as reader, I become custodian of the thought. Behind the screen of the page (or the literal computer screen). There’s a safety, for the writer, and for me, of that page or that screen coming between us. Both writer and reader stand in naked intimacy, revealed in the light of what’s been shared, but wearing the masks that make it safe. We are hidden each from the other, by the mask of the byline; my anonymity to the writer; the face of the writer’s persona turned toward me. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth,” as Oscar Wilde said, wearing his Oscar Wilde mask. Which can all make it sound deadly serious. But to me, it’s just a shitload of fun. I love to imagine. I love to think. I love to feel. When I read, it’s like I get extra shots at these things, more than I’ve earned through my own life’s experiences. I love to let my mind and spirit loose, wandering someone else’s journeys,...

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, and made it ready. We decided on my mom’s den, a small square room at the front of the house. A confined space, easy to scan for any ghostly activity we might summon. And if we managed to conjure any full-fledged ghosts, they’d have nowhere to hide. No nooks or crannies to crawl into. Plus, the room had only two outside light sources: one big window overlooking the front porch, and one small square window up in a corner. Both windows had roller shades, which thoroughly blocked the light — the old-fashioned kind, where you pulled a cord to unroll the shade, until it caught and stayed in place. To open the shade, you gave the cord another gentle tug and it rolled up again, letting the light back in. We closed the door to the room, and turned off the light switch. We squared up about ten feet in front of my mom’s bookshelves. They were packed with books: the latest literary bestsellers, sure, but also an extensive women’s lib section; a couple of yoga books; and several shelves of books on UFOs and ESP — including multiple titles by and about the trance-mystic Edgar Cayce, the so-called “Sleeping Prophet.” But also books about the supernatural: ghosts and hauntings. I don’t remember where we learned how to conduct a séance, but it was probably from one of my mom’s books. And how cool was that for a ten...

When I Made Dick Van Dyke Laugh (A Hollywood Valentine) [Hippie Squared][Best of FaN]...

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 finally nailed it. The first thing I can ever remember specifically laughing at was Dick Van Dyke’s slapstick tumble over a footstool, when he walks in the front door in the immortal credit sequence from The Dick Van Dyke Show. Certainly it’s the first wellspring of laughter from which I knew I could draw a fresh laugh every time. (And isn’t that much of what we love about TV–those reliable comforts?) Van Dyke’s a dancer. Even when not doing slapstick, his comedy was physical. He put his whole lanky rangy body into everything, his long rubber band limbs and his long expressive face animating every line he spoke, every reaction off someone else’s line. His slapstick itself was a kind of physical comic poetry. A living limerick. My friend Fritz and I used to imitate that footstool tumble over and over with the stool in my basement family room. So it’s also no doubt the first bit I ever practiced in a conscious effort, as a routine, to elicit laughs from others. That’s why it meant so much for me to make him laugh. Which is not to advertise any great display of wit forthcoming on my part. I got the feeling that Dick Van Dyke laughs easily. He likes to laugh, he likes to make people laugh. He’s generous with his laughter. A man in the right line of work, you might say. Anyway, one sunny afternoon in the mid-eighties when I...

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

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 Geographic in his dentist’s waiting room. And while a tourist goes looking for sights and souvenirs, a lone traveler with a notebook is seeking transformation. Kabuli Days: Travels in Old Afghanistan is the journal of his inner and outer travels, published forty years later but still relevant. Afghanistan is ever with us. 1970 was only three years before Afghanistan’s king was deposed and the Russians invaded, before the mujahedeen and the Taliban and the decades of wars that still continue. Field’s an accomplished poet (After the Fall: Poems Old and New, 2007, among many others) and memoirist (The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag, 2006, on Greenwich Village bohemia), known for a direct poetic voice, “the simple language of truth.” Born in 1924, he became a poet in World War II. He was in his mid-forties when he wrote these pages. A travel journal takes its shape not from authorial design, like a novel, but the inescapable rhythms and patterns of a life, wrapped around the spine of a journey. Still, from Mashad, Iran, across the border to Kabul by bus, the first leg of his trip sets up scenes and themes that will recur again and again. Crowded bus rides on painful benches over rough roads past ruins, children squeezed in anywhere, with passengers from all over the world, Swiss and Pakistanis, English and Australians and French, until the bus breaks down in the desert. Field has a poet’s close eye for people...

Hammock in the Moonlight (Mexico68 at Naya) [Three Line Lunch]

an occasional diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Hammock in the Moonlight (Mexico68 at Naya) Bari sax lays it down, contented rumble, On rhythm canopy: macramed conga beat, bass thrumble, percussion shiver n’ shimmy; Hammock rocking in the moonlight...

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 I long to push This thin voice like wild grass Through that crack in the wall Late Night Groovers on the Dance Floor When you got it and you know it Man, you know You got it Wrapped in a Myelin Tortilla This freeway with its miles I’ve driven so often and so long Is surely wrapped in a myelin tortilla Along well-traveled intra-skull head highways Praise Ringo, True Drummer Lives in the moment Drums in the moment Lives in the drums Lament of the True Drummer Lord give me a band. Lord bring me songwriters. Lord send me a song to anchor. Lord lend me a beat to find And keep. Lord let my heart take its skipping, thunderous pulse. Bring it Back Around (Motto of the True Drummer) When in doubt, Bring it back Around. If you liked this post, please do us the further boon of Liking the Fierce and Nerdy page on FaceBook. Also, we’re giving great stream on Twitter, so do give us follow. featured image credit:...

Only Weeks From Death But With Life Still Possible [Three Line Lunch]

an occasional diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Only Weeks From Death But With Life Still Possible (For Peggy Holman 6/21/40 – 4/18/06) “I was out walking Dodger this morning and looking at the flowers,” My mom said, “And I thought, I’m not afraid of dying. But I love being alive.” featured image credit:...

He Was the Kinda Guy [Three Line Lunch]

a sparsely-furnished diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers He Was the Kinda Guy Who’d call you up all serious and urgent and ask you something like, “Jeff, when I tie my shoe laces, should I put the right one over the left one, Or the left one over the right one first?”  ...

Espresso and So [Three Line Lunch]

an all-too-infrequent diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Espresso and So (Coffee Klatch in San Dimas) Fine frothed crema pads liquid obsidian surface of espresso and so I hoist my cup high in salute, “Covadonga!” Love to say it. Love to drink it. featured image credit: Paul Evans –...

The Honey [Three Line Lunch]

a fugitive diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers The Honey Brain iz buzzing With words this morning– Worker bees in the hive.

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 know the sound of my own voice anymore. I feel the tectonic plates of my internal landscape have shifted so drastically that I’m on the other side of a faultline from the old “Hippie Squared,” and now, when I open my mouth to speak (when I hold my fingers poised above the keyboard), what comes out sounds like a squawk to me, a croak, a squeak. I hear my voice breaking. At forty-nine years old, you no longer expect to hear your voice break. Almost half a century old, and I feel like I’m speaking with a fledgling’s voice. I have to try out my old wings as if they’re new. They creak and moan with arthritis, yet it feels like I’m just learning how to unfold them and fly. I’m not even sure they’re not vestigial. I’m no longer even sure that flight is possible. But I feel forced to try. So yes, I’ve been through some hard stuff. I’m hardly alone in this, of course. The rough times are widespread. In my case: Grief. Layoff. Unemployment. Fighting to hold onto our house. Family health problems. The toll that all of these can take on our most intimate relationships. Hurting my loved one, terribly. Getting hurt. So who am I now–entering my 50th year, seemingly on the other side of the worst of it? On the earlier side of that faultline was a young...

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. They’re never you. Of course, they’re also all you. They’re never not you. They come from your head. Yet, if you want them to be real, you’ve got to give them their own head. Because they do come from you, they have their own integrity. An integrity that is of you. And sometimes, they know better than you. They know their little piece of you far better than you do. For instance, have you noticed that when you dream of someone you know, they talk like themselves and not like you? They say things only they would say, things that you would never think to say–if you were awake and tried to write their dialogue. Yet you did think to say those things. You did write that dialogue. With your dreaming brain. And you didn’t plan it. It was pure, real-time improv, made up on the fly. Genius improv. Buddha’s own improv. Some piece of you knows those characters in your life better than you know you do. I think about that sometimes when I’m writing fictional characters. How do I access that Buddha-genius dreaming brain when I’m awake and writing? With my fingers on the fly, writing dialogue for that integral little piece of me that I’ve set loose to try and run circles around the waking, dull, unimaginative and prosaic me that I am all too often. Me, not me.  ...

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

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. We’d hit the coffeehouse poetry circuit trolling for players for Festival Dionysus, our anarchic take on the ancient Greek festival of wine and theater. I found Mutahar at Lizards on Santa Monica, or the Espresso Bar in the alley off S. Raymond in Pasadena. He was a professor at Occidental College and a considerable poet. The M in MTV still stood for music then, they actually showed videos still. Mutahar felt the time was ripe for poetry videos, so he made his own. Nature poetry, shot outdoors. I think I still have the VHS cassette somewhere. But I recruited him for the Ancients Chorus in Dionysus. He was one of those who remained skeptical of the show all the way through our run. Not as skeptical as the only professional actress in our patchwork company of poets, musicians, painters and general gung-ho creative types, who kept moaning, “This is going to ruin my career,” throughout every rehearsal. She never invited anyone she knew to the show. And she’d lose herself in back whenever the whole Gray Pony Chorus took the stage. Oscar Wilde’s Salome was our follow-up to Dionysus, and it would prove to be a fluke hit (as I wrote about last month, complete with cast and crew list, synopsis, etc.), but at that first rehearsal who could know? There were at least eight women there, and only three men: Mutahar, myself, and Blaine Steele, the director. (Peditto might have been there, too–our producer, and founder of the...

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 vanished from the historical record. Our most illustrious alumni have dropped us from their resumes. Google us and you won’t find a single reference– other than this one, after today. (Mark Ruffalo co-directed a show we produced, but you wouldn’t know it from IMDB.) One who does remember us is Robert Prior, impresario of the acclaimed Fabulous Monsters theater troupe. I say this not to brag, but in wonder: he’s often told me our Salome was one of his favorite nights ever spent in the theater. If I didn’t already love him, I would love him for that alone. So when Robert directed a new production of Salome this summer, exactly twenty years after ours, I rounded up a reunion of our cast and crew to go see it. It seemed to mean a lot to Robert and his cast that we came. And that meant a lot to me. I have enormous affection for those old performing days. Before we did theater in our underwear, we were a fully-clothed poetry performance group. We scored poetry for multiple voices, and backed ourselves on wind and rhythm instruments, on stages and in coffeehouses– places like Onyx Sequel in Los Feliz (on the site of the present Cafe Figaro); Jabberjaw on Pico; and Highland Grounds in Hollywood, 1989 and 1990. Gray Pony’s Godfather, C. Natale Peditto, founded the group for his Master’s studying oral traditions at Cal State Northridge. The first...

Talking to Myself in Public [Three Line Lunch]

a fitfully sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers  Talking to Myself in Public Here I am Talking to myselfIn public again.

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 was going to miss deadline. What else are blogmates for? three line lunch: a fitful and unpredictable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Lessons of the Taoist Demon-Wrestler Sometimes the only way to wrestle a demon and winIs to tap out And leave the mat. featured image credit: cazucito If you liked this post, please do us the further boon of Liking the Fierce and Nerdy page on FaceBook. Also, we’re giving great stream on Twitter, so do give us...

Over the Line of Midnight at the Bargaining Table [Three Line Lunch]

a fitful and unpredictable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Over the Line of Midnight at the Bargaining Table 50 union members behind witness her erect, back muscles cross-hatched, unsheath her voice. Opposing lawyer with managers spread like wings, papers choked in fist, pogos to his feet, barks! And I think: how must the ancient gladiators have felt down in the bowl of the arena’s din?...

You Never Know [Three Line Lunch]

a fitful and unpredictable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers You Never Know You just never know. You try to guess, But you never know.

And Then I Ask [Three Line Lunch]

a fitful and unpredictable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers And Then I Ask “A statement is always a lie,” I say, And then I ask, “Is a question always the...

Head Under Pages [Three Line Lunch]

a fitful and unpredictable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Head Under Pages I take a deep breath and plunge my head in the book, open my eyes On a world that wavers…real and unreal, beauty, strange, dread and attendant courage, And though I long to stay down, I know, I can only stay down for so...

Where the Rhyme Takes You [Three Line Lunch]

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Where the Rhyme Takes You Sometimes you just have to go Where the rhyme takes you, Don’t cha know.    

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 wife Elise had heard about a good place to walk dogs along the LA River in Los Feliz. I’m ashamed to say, though we live in Cypress Park/Mt. Washington, not far from the majestic Great Heron Gates to the paths along the river, we’ve never really explored it. This was yet another access point, though, behind Los Feliz Cafe, which shares a parking lot with the lovely little Los Feliz Golf Course, a 9-hole 3-par municipal course. One of the great things that our taxes do for us. Rich people, of course, don’t need public golf courses. They have their own country clubs. We’re not allowed in. So they spend lots of money trying to talk the rest of us into believing that taxes are theft. But here’s a little gem of a gift from our taxes–a present that we’ve sweetly given to each other. Sure enough, we scrambled up a little dirt slope and there it was, a paved path along the LA River. And here’s the crazy thing: it’s actually a real river. Yes, it’s famously hemmed in by concrete for much of its length, with sides sloping down at about a 45 degree angle. But in recent years it’s been allowed to go native, to return partly to the wild, with vegetation growing up within it and around it; with big rocks sitting in it, water rushing by making little white water rapids; with little islands along the banks and even in...

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 scaffolding built of tattered paper pretending to be bricks. And what is money, really? It has no inherent value of its own. It’s just a measurement. A measurement of perceived value. But somewhere along the line it seems to have come unmoored from its anchor. It no longer correlates reliably to any universal or ultimately defensible notion of value. And so I do fear more and more lately that we’ve gone too far down the road toward plutocracy to turn it around. There have been other flowerings of democracy in human history. We like to think of ourselves as unique, and of course we are in some ways, but there have been a number of iterations of democracy before us and many have come after us. One thing seems true, up to now: they never last long, historically-speaking. They bring on a golden age, a flowering of culture and science, advances in philosophy and human freedom, but they’re always corrupted, often into empire. It seems like the upper shelf-life limit for democracy is a few hundred years. Help me, students of history: has any democracy yet lasted longer than that? Eventually an elite of one kind or another figures out how to accrue enough power unto itself that by the time the others realize what’s happening it’s too late to prevent or reverse it. The only historical certainty is that the political-economic system we have now won’t last forever. It will change into something very different....

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 Terrace, just a block and a half above Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame, with it’s then-greasy stars embedded in grimy cement; only half a block below Franklin Ave where it ran along the base of the Hollywood Hills; and within easy walking distance of Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland’s hand prints in concrete at the Chinese Theater. Yet if you did want crack, and you were a comparison shopper, then Cherokee and Yucca, half a block south of my apartment, was the place to go. Nearly round the clock you’d have your pick of four dealers, one on each corner of the intersection. Though I was never a customer I quickly leaned that I had nothing to fear from my neighborhood tradesmen. In fairly short order they even became friendly acquaintances. I’d give a smart nod and an “hola,” whenever I strolled past. Before long they’d perk right up when they saw me coming. They’d greet me with a chorus of smiles, nods, “holas” and “heys” from all four corners as I walked by. And I would return each one with scrupulous courtesy. Parking tickets were the problem for me in that neighborhood. My car got booted more than once. The posted street cleaning hours were positively uncivilized. 8am to 10am, two days a week, one side or the other of the street was forbidden to cars. As it was, parking in the area was at such a premium...

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 hypothermia and die. The last class before the final we ate crickets fried in butter and picked our partners for the final. The crickets tasted like popcorn, except their shells crunched, and their little legs got caught in my teeth. I was a part-time student and it was a night class. I hadn’t really made friends with anyone. So I got stuck with the last guy who had no partner. Carl, his name was. Short, stocky and pudgy, with dark hair and a goatee. The kind of guy who talked like he knew all the answers, but if he ever actually listened he might have learned that he was mostly full of shit. The instructor, Mr. Green, looked every bit the mountain man scholar, with his barrel chest, glasses, and bushy beard. His uniform never varied: hiking boots, jeans, flannel shirts and a puffy down vest. A dedicated backpacker, he had hiked the entire Appalachian trail. He had camped solo on Isle Royal in the middle of Lake Michigan, serenaded to sleep by one of the last remaining wolf-packs in the continental U.S. The man knew his subject. “My Wilderness Survival class is basically pass-fail,” he said. “If you and your partner survive the night, you get an A. If either one of you gets hypothermia and dies, you both fail the class.” We’d seen a very scary film about hypothermia earlier in the term. When your core body-temperature dropped too low for...

Three Line Lunch: In the Domed Chamber of Bone

a spotty diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers In the Domed Chamber of Bone From within and below the echoes I peer up through slanted sun-striped shadows Under the arching dome of bone in the chamber of my skull, and try to decipher The scratchings, the paintings, the figures and letters of strange and ancient...

Three Line Lunch: Planning Mindfulness

a spotty diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Planning Mindfulness There I was in the shower this morning, rinsing my face under hot water, and planning Moments in the future When I would live in the...

Three Line Lunch: Ain’t This Universe a Ball?

an occasional diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Ain’t This Universe a Ball? Every journey’s a journey to the heart of the earth, Each our own earth Out there spinning.

Three Line Lunch: First We Must Be Friends

an occasional diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers First We Must Be Friends I always aspired to a seasoned heart, to a well-traveled heart. Still I’ve longed too to lie back in the meadow in the lap of a lifelong love. Now I see this seasoned heart travels wherever I do. And first we must be...

Three Line Lunch: On the Braided River

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers On the Braided River Up ramp I join this braided river, its woven flow, currents and snags. Off right freeway bank Mountains rise snow-robed. Ahead deep pink in great daubs across a lowering blue horizon. Souls by the millions for miles upon miles by wordless agreements carve this channel....

Three Line Lunch: In a Honeyed Light

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers In a Honeyed Light Over each moment hangs a shadow, because The only oath life keeps is death. Yet each moment is bathed In a honeyed light, because this alive moment only is real....

Three Line Lunch: In a Black Quartz Sky

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers In a Black Quartz Sky Night rain drops sweet-cold on eyebrows and cheeks. Rivulets blur my glasses As I walk to the car, folded umbrella tucked under my arm, Streetlights on blacktop street a flare of diamonds in a black quartz sky....

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. She got into the cab first, while he held the back door open and I watched over my shoulder. She ducked her head and her straight dark hair hung down, a little mussed. She lifted her face as she sat and it was utterly lovely. Lovely and young. I was young, then, too. But she was younger. She held her long gray-and-white checked coat tightly closed with one hand. With the other she tucked it under her bare thighs as she slid along the seat. As the full length of her legs came into my sight between the seats I saw that she was barefoot too. She caught my eyes and gave me a shy, up-from-under look. Up from under long lashes. And shy, yes, but she held my gaze. As if she might have a secret. A secret she might like to share. He climbed in after her. I have no memory of what he wore. Black, probably. Short, tousled, dirty-blond hair. Chiseled features. A good-looking enough guy. Not a match for her necessarily, but not too much of a stretch. The English accent closed the gap, when he opened his mouth to tell me where to take them. Not posh; it sounded working-class to me. “Could you please find us a liquor store? Or somewhere we can pick up a bottle of something? Then on to Venice? To the beach?” He looked at her, patted her thigh, and...

Hello Friday: FaN Notes [Week 4 of 2011]

Wondering how long it will take me to stop writing 2010 and then having to delete and correct with 2011. So far I’ve made this mistake four weeks and counting. Sad. How are you all doing with this? Other than that, let’s get into my notes re this week at Fierce and Nerdy. 1. Missy’s meditation on the fact that her partner, Raoul only uses cash made me realize that I couldn’t remember the last time I used physical cash other than coins to pay a meter. I hate dealing with it now. I judge (and don’t return to) retailers and restaurants that don’t accept credit cards. Same goes for the coffee shop that charges a $10 minimum to use one. I’ve seriously considered changing doctors, because she’s in one of those cash-only parking structures, and I’m tired of asking my husband for a five every time Betty or I have an appointment (but I won’t because she’s awesome and has a knack for spot-on referrals). I’m just wondering when we’re going to get technology that allows us to transfer money to our friends in an easier manner. For example, a fellow author invited me out to a movie on Wednesday, and got a bucket of popcorn to share and a soda for me. I hadn’t thought to get cash before leaving the house, so I couldn’t pay for my half of the popcorn or the drink. Surely they should come up with an app for that. [Dork Lifestyle: Raoul is so retro] 2. Hey Amy! I’m listening to ONE DAY by David Nicholl’s in the car right now, and you are correct. It rather eerily nails twenties angst and stupidity — so much so, that as a person who both wrote plays and...

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 commercial. First you boil the water, until the lid of the pot clatters a tin discordant improv. You pull out a few little tubes of macaroni, with a slotted spoon, run just a dash of cold water over them; put them to your lips, test them. Bite down gently, slurp them into your mouth and chew. You’re looking for al dante—not too soft, not too firm—the firmness of an aroused nipple held gently between loving teeth. When it’s like that, just right, you dump it in the colander, then back into the pot. The art is in the mix of butter, milk and cheese. First carve off little chunks of butter, stir them into the still-steaming macaroni, until it’s uniformly coated, until it shines, until rivulets of yellow butter swim at the bottom. Time to add in the cheese. One can’t stress enough the delicacy of this. Don’t dump it all in at once. Sprinkle about a third of the contents of the cheese envelope over the buttered macaroni. Then add a dollop of milk, and stir. Listen to the sound of the stirring, the squishiness of it, as the noodles slide against each other and around the pot and tumble over each other. Continue to add cheese and milk, alternating, careful that you aim for creamy, but not milky or watery, and not too dry. Luscious, is what you’re after. The perfect balance that would make Goldilocks exclaim, “Just right!” at the creamy orange goodness of it, the lip-smacking squishiness of it,...

Three Line Lunch: Everyone’s Trying to Do Their Best

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Everyone’s Trying to Do Their Best Walking round Silverlake Reservoir, norm seems to be little to no eye contact. So I can watch each runner, walker, in solitary concentration; young, old; worried, determined, Grooving to earphones. I can see it so clearly: Everyone’s just trying to do their best....

Three Line Lunch: What’s Breaking

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers What’s Breaking All week long I’ve felt like something was broken or breaking. Only this morning did I realize: What’s breaking is my heart....

Three Line Lunch: I Always Liked the Sad Songs

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers I Always Liked the Sad Songs As a kid I yearned forward to earning my own scars of the adventuring heart, My heartaches and hard-won wisdom. Now down my long rocky road looking back I find it’s gotten hard to listen to those old sad songs....

Three Line Lunch: Whatever It Is (Last Call, New Year’s Eve at the Thirsty Crow)...

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Whatever It Is (Last Call, New Year’s Eve at the Thirsty Crow) He leans into the bar. “I’ll have a raspberry vodka with cranberry.” The pretty bartender just looks at him.  His voice sways on its feet. “Or a vodka-cran. Or whatever it is.”...

Three Line Lunch: Choose Your Moment

an erratic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Choose Your Moment Her lips are soft, exploratory. But I need to look for jobs. “Is that wrong?” I say, “Should I just be in the moment?” “Depends what moment you want to be in,” she says....

Three Line Lunch: The House Always Wins

an unreliable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers The House Always Wins Throw your cards on the table. Full house: Visa, Amex, Discover, debit and credit. Because the house always wins....

Three Line Lunch: On Open Seas at the HMS Bounty

an unreliable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers On Open Seas at the HMS Bounty  Low dark beams, porthole mirrors line walls, wooden ship diorama behind glass, back of bar. Memories hover of brief torrid love 24 years ago in Gaylord apartment, floors above. Tonight I’m cast adrift, without employment. Mark buys me a beer and I tell him about the layoff....

Three Line Lunch: Bliss Eyes Closed (Same Cat Time, Same Cat Place)

an unreliable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Bliss Eyes Closed (Same Cat Time, Same Cat Place)  Pepper comes to visit me in the bathroom each morning, rubs her white fur body on my naked legs. Stovetop espresso brewing I sit cross-legged on kitchen floor, gray Imogen in lap headbutts my chin. Night bed old black Cleo climbs onto my chest and rumbles, rolls onto her back, bliss eyes...

Three Line Lunch: The Poetry Flick

an unreliable diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers The Poetry Flick  “Just write the truth,” she said. “Don’t impress.” But don’t she know It’s all in the flick of the...

Three Line Lunch: Bowstring Tightrope

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Bowstring Tightrope  I pick up my pen Then I step Right out onto the bowstring

Three Line Lunch: Her Midnight Door

a sporadic diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Her Midnight Door  Cracked, no light behind, Dark-outlined As in thick black eyeliner.

Three Line Lunch: Full Moon Over Joshua Tree

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers Full Moon Over Joshua Tree  Astride the stars, atop the sky A night-sun so bright It hurts my eyes.

Three Line Lunch: Hand

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 417 Hand I climb onto the tree. I pound in the nails. I reach my hand down from the sky and I rise to greet it.

Three Line Lunch: Tree

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 416 Tree I cut the tree from the forest, strip it and stab it into dead earth. I climb onto it. I pound in the nails.

Three Line Lunch: Mirror Her

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 415 Mirror Her Oh for the veil That hides me from the mirror Of her eyes

Three Line Lunch: One Bastard Moil

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 414 One Bastard Moil Tur Moil Perhaps my least favorite moil

Three Line Lunch: Behind Bars

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 413 Behind Bars Thoughts clutch At their bars Of bone.

Three Line Lunch: The Lid

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 412 The Lid The more the insides roil The more still My lid.

Three Line Lunch: Broken Wing

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 411 Broken Wing Quill pen Dangles, A broken wing.

Three Line Lunch: The Mute Poet

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 410 The Mute Poet I have fallen mute Before my own Life.

Three Line Lunch: The Veil

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 403 The Veil The veil might slip back. But I’ll know, this time That it’s a...

Three Line Lunch: Right Over Here

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 398 Right Over Here Me and you and all the rest of us in this great big high-vaulted universe. So how about if I take charge of this little corner Right over...

Three Line Lunch: How About if I Take Charge?

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 397 How About if I Take Charge? Me and you and all the rest of us in this great big high-vaulted universe. So how about if I take charge Of this little corner right over...

Three Line Lunch: At Mystique’s End

a fitful diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 396 At Mystique’s End I drew a lovely veil over my eyes. I will not curse the veil. But I pull it aside and praise clear...

Three Line Lunch: A Meditation

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 393 A Meditation I am in my body. I am in this world. This world is my body.

Three Line Lunch: What You Think, What You Do

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 386 What You Think, What You Do Break it down, thought by thought: This is what’s it like, moment by moment: This is what you think. This is what you...

Three Line Lunch: Susan Sings For Her Dinner

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 385 Susan Sings For Her Dinner I love it when she speaks. Susan, our old dog, one crippled leg, fuzzy muzzle, as I hover the dinner bowl above her, Lifts her snout and looks right at me with big black eyes and barks with furious...

Three Line Lunch: A Planetary Journey

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 384 A Planetary Journey Setting out for a movie we end up driving the winding roads up Griffith Park hills. On a bench we look out at the Hollywood Hills, hold hands and talk. Walk to the Observatory. Under stars on planetarium dome in cushy chairs we doze. Outside telescope: Jupiter’s...

Three Line Lunch: A Toe’s Radius

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 383 A Toe’s Radius for Elise upon journey‘s return Tonight my sleep no longer lonely. Yes, alone can be sweet, Air blowing cool across my naked body, covers off, sliding door open to overnight balcony. But all tonight long even in sleep I know her warm body resides, so near, within a toe’s...

Three Line Lunch: A Lone Certainty

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 382 A Lone Certainty Only one thing is certain: Something Will happen.

Three Line Lunch: Button

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 381 Button Breath: Reset Button.

Three Line Lunch: The Breath From My Fingers

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 380 The Breath From My Fingers These are my fingers. These are my thoughts. This oxygen belongs in my chest until it enters the breath of the earth.  These words have left my fingers. They now belong to you....

Three Line Lunch: Sensuality of Thought

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 379 Sensuality of Thought My subject is the Sensuality of Thought. But she just won’t Hold a pose.  

Three Line Lunch: The Other Thing About a Journey

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 377 The Other Thing About a Journey We travel some way in dear company. My lover-wife’s face in my hands. Her knowing touch. Eyes of the friend who knows me in square gaze. An eloquent long hug. I hope to die loving hand in mine, loving faces ringed in light above...

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 all. It was only my third one, so I was still taking Ernessa’s 300 word limit seriously. So it’s tight. I like the characters, I like the dialogue, I like the local color. I like the punchline. And it’s all true. But the ultimate reason I chose it? It’s my wife’s favorite. And she has good taste. So Sweet Elise, this one’s for you, babe. Enjoy. From November 24, 2008 “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 oak-dotted yellow hills climb to the gray line of Sierra Nevadas. Three canyons over the gold rush began. My wife and I have taken her mother to see cousin Bertie for the first time in fifty years. They grew up together, third generation San Franciscans. Irish great grandfather fled the potato famine. Grandfather “Pop-pop” owned seven saloons on the Barbary Coast and a famous night spot in San Francisco. The first floor was a public restaurant. The second floor an exclusive one. Third floor was the brothel. Bertie takes in refugees. She takes us to feed the burro his nightly garlic bread. He’s as big around as he is long. “He loves his garlic bread.” Someone shot the burro’s friend the goat. And bobcats got the chickens. But they’ve...

Three Line Lunch: The Thing About a Journey

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 376 The Thing About a Journey We travel all some way alone. In quiet womb’s peace I hovered. Only child I spent solitudes in ecstasies boredeom loneliness & philosophy. I hope to die Loving hand in mine, loving faces in my light. Still lone stones across rapids await....

Three Line Lunch: So I Extend

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 375 So I Extend I stand on this ground and push my mind down into my feet. I lift my head and look into the trees, feel the breeze in my hair, see it wave the leaves. So I extend from the base of the earth to the top of my head and beyond....

Three Line Lunch: Rerouting Rivers

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 374 Rerouting Rivers When the walls of hard rock tower over us, like water we follow the course Of our weakness: channels carved in soft sand become high-banked rivers in our brains. How now to blast my rock walls, jump my banks and reroute my own rivers?...

Three Line Lunch: Full Moonset

a diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 373 Full Moonset for Elise out on her journey Ripe orange white and round it slides right down sky and snuggles between mountains. On morning patio I sip my coffee. Full moonset over Elysian Park....

Three Line Lunch: Gaining Ground

a daily diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 367 Gaining Ground The question I place before me now: How do I use the blessing of this time alone  To gain ground on myself?...

Three Line Lunch: Quietude

a daily diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 366 Quietude Let me be quiet Even In my disquietude.  

Three Line Lunch: The Unhurried Self

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 365 The Unhurried Self It will be my task, now, to be gentle With the objects that come to my hand, with the creatures that live under my care, With my own unhurried self....

Three Line Lunch: Easy in Spirit

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 364 Easy in Spirit I find myself this morning easy in spirit As Elise prepares to journey north again And I prepare myself inside for a quiet time at home....

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 off running that curious ribbon And leave them all behind. Each day I need my pinch– Just a pinch to get by– Of leave-taking. Just to waver in my body for that sweet instant. Trudging up a dusty path through scrub Five puffing minutes to command a vista Successive rows of hills and houses Infinite sky and tumbling clouds. Just to waver in my self for that sweet instant. The threat of leaving. The promise of leaving. The necessity to stay. Each day I long to lose my way. Just one wrong turn each day I pray Will keep me Squarely on my way. This body with its tastes. This skin with what it knows and finds. These eyes that sting and baptize. Never can it all be seen, never. Each face looks out With the eyes of every face And every arrow points north. But every arrow is set spinning in the wind. Friends pull round the fire and rest Call out stories and jokes Swirl in their own heads and sing. In the morning each one heads north In a different direction. Each head will find its own pillow. Whether on stones or feathers Some heads are harder than others. What metaphor is found by this one When this one finally lays down But the sleep at the end of the day The bed in some far elbow of the road? And that curious ribbon Winds on through dreams Swallows its own...

Three Line Lunch: Tears in the Ocean

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 345 Tears in the Ocean “I refuse to drown,” she said, “Just because He refuses to swim.”  

Three Line Lunch: Lies and Truth

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 344 Lies and Truth Always have to keep close track of your lies. Nice thing about the truth, even when it hurts: Truth keeps track of...

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 nerves; the sleepy reason, as clouds part, releasing Gothic sunshine curves as the first drop uncoils from the black spool, warming my mouth; illusion of time returns uncoiling in a black and silver morning stretch; the crisp skin of bacon, overcooked, crumbles its brittle bones between my teeth; membrane of egg peeled back from plate, slivers of crunch potato, tears of crunch bread; thin dollops of purple jam crease the corners of my mouth; all to bed the stream for black and silver baptism, all for steam and rush of holy bean distilled: a gemstone, a black diamond in the center of the plate, unconscionably large, black, and unashamed, sacred tincture between earth and sky, ageless compression of the holy bean; balm for the weary, prop for the weak, mediator for disputes of philosophers, centerpiece at the peace table, shameless bean carry me off to breakfast, where I swell with the day–release, release! lay me back in gentle brown river uncoiled. Today’s coffee, pictured above: Double cortado from  Cafe Tropical, Los...

Three Line Lunch: 1/7th a New Man

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 333 1/7th a New Man They say every cell in your body is born anew in seven years. So in one year 1/7th of your cells become brand new. Don’t trouble me with the anniversary of my sin. Can’t you see I’m 1/7th a new...

Three Line Lunch: The Lennon Killer

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 332 Bleak LA #4: The Lennon Killer “Mark David Chapman,” he says, wild gray hair and sunburned red face, And me looking 1980 Lennon – what the fuck does he mean? “He thought he was right,” Thrusts cocked face up close to mine, “But God won’t forgive him on judgement...

Three Line Lunch: The Gifts of a Year

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 331 The Gifts of a Year Accepted a job today. What a year can bring. The devestations of January and March. The fortunes of July. 

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 yellow teeth, she lived in a dark walk-up, where they watched the night fall and felt each other breathing. The streets that took him there were not set at right angles, none of the corners he turned were ninety degrees. He felt there was no way to get to her dwelling without wasting space, turning extraneous corners and then having to steal back the lost degrees later, at further mislaid corners. He always walked the same set of streets, but he looked for new combinations, more economical paths to lead him to his dense darling, Alabaster Lane. She poured him wine, in a porcelain mug she’d bought for him, stained in dark rings all the way up, at different levels for the different amounts he’d drunk before they set aside the wine and touched each other. He thought he could figure out the age of their relationship if he just once counted the rings in his mug, but whenever he thought to, it was already too late and if he tried to focus on the rings they all blurred together and he would think, “Oh yes, that’s right, I’ve loved her forever,” and he would put aside the mug and kiss her. Next time he saw her the wine would still be there, on the table by the bed, and they would dump it into the sink and pour a new portion. And she would pour herself one too. The streets he walked, he...

Three Line Lunch: The Wrong Question

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 324 The Wrong Question There can be No right answer To the wrong question. 

Three Line Lunch: Nice Shoes

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 323 Nice Shoes Morning: “We can’t afford those shoes,” I say. “You force me into this role,” says Elise, “You’ve had the same shoes for years. You need new ones. I buy them and you complain.” Afternoon: I bump into Susan strolling in Atwater. “Nice shoes,” she...

Three Line Lunch: World Curve

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 322 World Curve Half a world away it’s night time and moments are being made that will last lifetimes. I walk down the street to the small restaurant for huevos rancheros, walk it back home Where we sit on the couch this morning and watch the World Cup final night game....

Three Line Lunch: Objectivity is Hard to Come By (Says Dr. Rolfe)

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 319 Objectivity is Hard to Come By (Says Dr. Rolfe) “You can get it from me,” he says, tall, lanky, cross-legged; gray-goateed and grinning. “But that’s only because you pay me.  “I’m not invested. I can only sustain it for fifty minutes,” he’s on a roll, riffing now, “And even that’s iffy.” He rocks forward and guffaws....

Three Line Lunch: Party Report #5: Why I’m Not a Baseball Star

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 317 Party Report #5: Why I’m Not a Baseball Star “How could you tell who was going to make it?” someone asks youth coach Butcher. “If they wanted to be in the batting cage more than with a naked woman,” he says. “Now I know why I never made it,” I...

Three Line Lunch: My Patio, With My Eyes Open

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 316 My Patio, With My Eyes Open A mop leans against the fence; plastic bag of dog shit on back stoop; washer and dryer Against wall; strand of decorative lights burned-out coiled on a chair; cardboard boxes. But the hours spent in air under sun or wrapped in fine dark in long talk with loved...

Three Line Lunch: Fire Flowers

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 315 Fire Flowers Dozens of points off balcony: screechers, warbling whistlers & cracklers; pops & booms. Far and close: ones that bloom, ones that burst; pink & green sprayers and white twirlers. Through our tree a whine: straight above a golden fire flower explodes, showers dark ash....

Three Line Lunch: It Goes On It Goes

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 314 It Goes On It Goes (In Memoriam Matthew Butcher 1983-2010) Today I am sad for my friend, her family; her son shot, killed, and grief is because time Goes only one way, so we laugh and joke, drink and smoke, say soft words close that help But only so much and briefly, because time goes only one way, it goes on it...

Three Line Lunch: Pretty in Hardback Pink

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 309 Pretty in Hardback Pink (32 Candles Book Signing) From Writing Pad’s small classes in Silverlake, food and writing and talk, friendships Arose and spread. Ernessa brought cocoon novel already strong but we prodded and coaxed it. Tonight on stage in her hand the hardback butterfly unfolds pink wings to flutter up over the...

Three Line Lunch: A Fireside Philosophy of Fire

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 308 A Fireside Philosophy of Fire (Bon Voyage Bonfire for Burt and Moon) “Fire: nature’s TV,” says Leo, “And it never repeats.” “No reruns,” I say,  “There are no reruns in a...

Three Line Lunch: Living on the Patio

a yearlong diary in three-line poems by Jeff Rogers, day 307 Living on the Patio There’s something about just being outside. Friend and downstairs renter Stephanie’s  Good old round-faced smiling friend Cecilio, of the sideyard barbeques of years past Visits from Vegas, so it’s coffee, and toast with honey and memories, in morning...