Hippie Squared: Twenty-One Line Brunch


a blogumn by Jeff Rogers

Photo Credit: Natalie Roberts

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, 1994. Which by grand design of the Muses turned out to be the year I met and courted my wife, so that got me some good stuff. And over the years since, every now and then I’ve found myself returning to the wonderfully flexible, nearly formless form (as I have practiced it, anyway) of the three line poem.

Anyway, here I am on the night my Hippie Squared piece is due, and I got nothin’.  Ernessa suggested I do a thing about cutting my hair, which is a great idea, but it’s growing into a larger meditation on change, and I’m still working on it.

So for fun, I thought I’d run a few of the old three-liners from sixteen years ago. Back then there was no such thing as the world wide web. Or was there? I don’t remember. If so, it was early going, and I sure didn’t post my daily poems on it. I did read them out at coffee houses, though. Including a few of these.

Guess you could call this a kind of Hippie Squared/TLL crossover/mash-up. Enjoy.

First off, on one of the most common battles between the sexes — sleeping temperature negotiations:

Nocturnalistical Intemperatures

I’m too hot, she’s too cold; peas porridge in the pot nine days old.
Fan in spinny and windy open:  I happy, she freezy.
Fan unspinny and windy down:  she’s toasty, everything’s breezy.

About my old cat Shadow, now a dozen years gone, but then  in his prime:


Toss fake white mouse above gray cat on windowsill,
Bounce it off screen. He leaps in air, bats it down and pounces,
Flips it up with both paws—swats it alive.

From the afore-mentioned courtship with my wife, Elise:

And She Calls it Comfy Bedness

Chilly cave under blankets, waking sweet naked and gathering in.
Warm skin all along warm skin, together stretching legs, toes.
Bright smile close, fumbling sleepy kisses, hands smoothing hair.


Stepping onto the sidewalk from the office building, greeted
By the sudden sound of a river:  traffic rushing by.  Cascade
Of lovely sensation–the lights, sharp shapes, the darkness.

The above-mentioned office building was 6505 Wilshire, where I then worked. Found this next one tonight, from 2005. I had no recollection of it at all, but I kind of like it:

Crossbow Grimace

Her polite phone voice tips into the receiver, but her lips
Are pressed thin, with the corners of her mouth pulled back
Tight as a cocked crossbow.

This,  too, was from 2005. Cocky surrealism, shall we call it?

My Favorite Globule (Blood of the Beholder)

I enter this zone of clarity and poetry just comes out my pores.
Blow my nose and poetry’s in my handkerchief.  Piss a golden
Arch of poetry. Prick my finger and poetry oozes out in a bright red globule

And finally, another from those long ago and lovely courtship days with my Sweet Elise. This and “Comfy Bedness” exhibit one of the arts of the diary-poem: taking someone else’s words (in my case, usually my wife’s), setting them into lines, and thus using their brilliance to make the author look good:

The Quiet Part

She on my lap, arms draped over my shoulders, head against mine,
We sit in bed, peaceful, listening to my cats, ice cream truck, birds, outside voices.
“Even when we’re quiet we’re part of the noise,” she says.