(Lord’s day). Heard Mr. Mills in the morning, a good sermon. Dined at home on a poor Lenten dinner of coleworts and bacon. In the afternoon again to church, and there heard one Castle, whom I knew of my year at Cambridge. He made a dull sermon.
After sermon came my uncle and aunt Wight to see us, and we sat together a great while. Then to reading and at night to bed.
bacon, the church.
I knew a ridge.
We sat together
a great while.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 10 March 1660/61.
This is me. This is me trying
to make sense of twigs and dried matter
on the path, beer cans and cinders left over
from someone else’s bonfire—
This is me trying to make sense
of swings in weather,
of the sun’s nearly always meltingly
cheap, successful seductions
so layers come off and all
we want to do is lie
in the yard or on the beach,
shirts off, trousers off, hearts open—
This is me,
mother of many trials
stumped and stumped again
by the fact you whip out yet another one
between the real-world-job
and the third-, fourth-, invisible
shift job that says open more, open,
open, Mamacita, you’ve got
so much to give. Not to be
ungrateful or quotidian, not to be unkind
or unmoving, but for once I would like the water in the ditch
to taste more like water and not like dried grass in the mouth—
—Luisa A. Igloria
03 11 2014
In response to Via Negativa: Emergence.
A groundhog comes out of her hole
and begins to gather bundles
of dried grass.
emerge from the side of the house
with a burning thirst
and dive onto the snow,
where they suck and stumble
and come to a frozen halt.
To Whitehall and there with Mr. Creed took a most pleasant walk for two hours in the park, which is now a very fine place.
Here we had a long and candid discourse one to another of one another’s condition, and he giving me an occasion I told him of my intention to get 60l. paid me by him for a gratuity for my labour extraordinary at sea. Which he did not seem unwilling to, and therefore I am very glad it is out.
To my Lord’s, where we found him newly come from Hinchingbroke, where he left my uncle very well, but my aunt not likely to live.
I staid and dined with him. He took me aside, and asked me what the world spoke of the King’s marriage. Which I answering as one that knew nothing, he enquired no further of me. But I do perceive by it that there is something in it that is ready to come out that the world knows not of yet.
After dinner into London to Mrs. Turner’s and my father’s, made visits and then home, where I sat late making of my journal for four days past, and so to bed.
A most pleasant ark
is the sea, which
did not seem ill,
there or here, but
like a king that knew
nothing of the world.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 9 March 1660/61.
The bare ground seems
at first an oversight, then
a growing scandal—
all that anonymity stripped away,
the brown earth caught
without its papers,
and the pines like secret agents
sifting every seditious
whisper of the wind.
While we slept, who pushed
this boat in the direction of
a greater unknown?
—Luisa A. Igloria
03 10 2014
In response to Via Negativa: Waterbound.
All the morning at the office. At noon Sir W. Batten, Col. Slingsby and I by coach to the Tower, to Sir John Robinson’s, to dinner.
Where great good cheer. High company; among others the Duchess of Albemarle, who is ever a plain homely dowdy.
After dinner, to drink all the afternoon. Towards night the Duchess and ladies went away. Then we set to it again till it was very late. And at last came in Sir William Wale, almost fuddled; and because I was set between him and another, only to keep them from talking and spoiling the company (as we did to others), he fell out with the Lieutenant of the Tower; but with much ado we made him under stand his error, and then all quiet. And so he carried Sir William Batten and I home again in his coach, and so I almost overcome with drink went to bed.
I was much contented to ride in such state into the Tower, and be received among such high company, while Mr. Mount, my Lady Duchess’s gentleman usher, stood waiting at table, whom I ever thought a man so much above me in all respects.
Also to hear the discourse of so many high Cavaliers of things past. It was a great content and joy to me.
Tower of marl, homely
in a chess set.
Fuddled, talking, the others fell.
The tower we made is quiet.
Overcome with drink, I ride in.
The tower stood waiting.
A man respects the discourse
of so many cavaliers.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 March 1660/61.
On the label of a small
plastic mold of almond jelly,
a warning: Please be careful and chew
separately before swallowing.
You stop for a second, then realize
what it might be trying to say is
Potential choking hazard! Or, don’t
let your child try to consume
this treat in just one swallow.
You know this is true: how often
has a mouthful of smooth come back
up the hatch, tasting like bile;
or had you doubled up in the night,
wondering What the hell was I thinking?
—Luisa A. Igloria
03 09 2014
In response to Via Negativa: Out.
Each time I go out,
I interrupt something: a hawk’s meal,
a groundhog’s courtship.
I make an offering
of my gray hair—a fine
toss the cuttings out
onto the snow. The warm wind
blows them right back.
Why not return
in proper coin
what you have taken
of my wool or spice,
for copper sluiced
through mountains’ veins?
Ah, I know that fear:
it’s you you glimpse
beneath my alien skin,
familiar form that darkens
your dreams but stoops,
ordered, to clear the cane
and harvest crops for your white-
linened table. With each
pass of the machete, a stalk
surrendered to your storehouse.
At end of day I wash my face
and dust-streaked arms at the pump,
careful to conceal the meagre
earnings you might confiscate
on small pretext— as if
the indentured have no right to call
back their own names at night.
—Luisa A. Igloria
03 08 2014
In response to Via Negativa: Proverbial.