Dave Bonta

Up and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon dined at home, and I by water down to Woolwich by a galley, and back again in the evening. All haste made in setting out this Guinny fleete, but yet not such as will ever do the King’s business if we come to a warr. My wife this afternoon being very well dressed by her new woman, Mary Mercer, a decayed merchant’s daughter that our Will helps us to, did go to the christening of Mrs. Mills, the parson’s wife’s child, where she never was before. After I was come home Mr. Povey came to me and took me out to supper to Mr. Bland’s, who is making now all haste to be gone for Tangier. Here pretty merry, and good discourse, fain to admire the knowledge and experience of Mrs. Bland, who I think as good a merchant as her husband. I went home and there find Mercer, whose person I like well, and I think will do well, at least I hope so. So to my office a while and then to bed.

fleet as decay
the arson’s child

where I am in all
knowledge and experience
like a well


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 8 September 1664.

Lay long to-day, pleasantly discoursing with my wife about the dinner we are to have for the Joyces, a day or two hence. Then up and with Mr. Margetts to Limehouse to see his ground and ropeyarde there, which is very fine, and I believe we shall employ it for the Navy, for the King’s grounds are not sufficient to supply our defence if a warr comes. Thence back to the ‘Change, where great talke of the forwardnesse of the Dutch, which puts us all to a stand, and particularly myself for my Lord Sandwich, to think him to lie where he is for a sacrifice, if they should begin with us.
So home and Creed with me, and to dinner, and after dinner I out to my office, taking in Bagwell’s wife, who I knew waited for me, but company came to me so soon that I could have no discourse with her, as I intended, of pleasure. So anon abroad with Creed walked to Bartholomew Fayre, this being the last day, and there saw the best dancing on the ropes that I think I ever saw in my life, and so all say, and so by coach home, where I find my wife hath had her head dressed by her woman, Mercer, which is to come to her to-morrow, but my wife being to go to a christening tomorrow, she came to do her head up to-night.
So a while to my office, and then to supper and to bed.

lay on the ground all grounds
for sacrifice

if they begin with me I could be
the best-dressed Christ


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 7 September 1664.

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon home to dinner, then to my office and there waited, thinking to have had Bagwell’s wife come to me about business, that I might have talked with her, but she came not. So I to White Hall by coach with Mr. Andrews, and there I got his contract for the victualling of Tangier signed and sealed by us there, so that all the business is well over, and I hope to have made a good business of it and to receive 100l. by it the next weeke, for which God be praised! Thence to W. Joyce’s and Anthony’s, to invite them to dinner to meet my aunt James at my house, and the rather because they are all to go down to my father the next weeke, and so I would be a little kind to them before they go.
So home, having called upon Doll, our pretty ‘Change woman, for a pair of gloves trimmed with yellow ribbon, to [match the] petticoate my wife bought yesterday, which cost me 20s.; but she is so pretty, that, God forgive me! I could not think it too much — which is a strange slavery that I stand in to beauty, that I value nothing near it.
So going home, and my coach stopping in Newgate Market over against a poulterer’s shop, I took occasion to buy a rabbit, but it proved a deadly old one when I came to eat it, as I did do after an hour being at my office, and after supper again there till past 11 at night. So home, and to bed.
This day Mr. Coventry did tell us how the Duke did receive the Dutch Embassador the other day; by telling him that, whereas they think us in jest, he believes that the Prince (Rupert) which goes in this fleete to Guinny will soon tell them that we are in earnest, and that he himself will do the like here, in the head of the fleete here at home, and that for the meschants, which he told the Duke there were in England, which did hope to do themselves good by the King’s being at warr, says he, the English have ever united all this private difference to attend foraigne, and that Cromwell, notwithstanding the meschants in his time, which were the Cavaliers, did never find them interrupt him in his foraigne businesses, and that he did not doubt but to live to see the Dutch as fearfull of provoking the English, under the government of a King, as he remembers them to have been under that of a Coquin. I writ all this story to my Lord Sandwich tonight into the Downes, it being very good and true, word for word from Mr. Coventry to-day.

hope is a little doll
trimmed with ribbon
a pretty slave

buy a rabbit but like
the head of a king
never find him in a hat


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 6 September 1664.

Up and to St. James’s, and there did our business with the Duke; where all our discourse of warr in the highest measure. Prince Rupert was with us; who is fitting himself to go to sea in the Heneretta. And afterwards in White Hall I met him and Mr. Gray, and he spoke to me, and in other discourse, says he, “God damn me, I can answer but for one ship, and in that I will do my part; for it is not in that as in an army, where a man can command every thing.”
By and by to a Committee for the Fishery, the Duke of Yorke there, where, after Duke was made Secretary, we fell to name a Committee, whereof I was willing to be one, because I would have my hand in the business, to understand it and be known in doing something in it; and so, after cutting out work for the Committee, we rose, and I to my wife to Unthanke’s, and with her from shop to shop, laying out near 10l. this morning in clothes for her. And so I to the ‘Change, where a while, and so home and to dinner, and thither came W. Bowyer and dined with us; but strange to see how he could not endure onyons in sauce to lamb, but was overcome with the sight of it, and so was forced to make his dinner of an egg or two. He tells us how Mrs. Lane is undone, by her marrying so bad, and desires to speak with me, which I know is wholly to get me to do something for her to get her husband a place, which he is in no wise fit for.
After dinner down to Woolwich with a gally, and then to Deptford, and so home, all the way reading Sir J. Suck[l]ing’s “Aglaura,” which, methinks, is but a mean play; nothing of design in it.
Coming home it is strange to see how I was troubled to find my wife, but in a necessary compliment, expecting Mr. Pen to see her, who had been there and was by her people denied, which, he having been three times, she thought not fit he should be any more. But yet even this did raise my jealousy presently and much vex me. However, he did not come, which pleased me, and I to supper, and to the office till 9 o’clock or thereabouts, and so home to bed.
My aunt James had been here to-day with Kate Joyce twice to see us. The second time my wife was at home, and they it seems are going down to Brampton, which I am sorry for, for the charge that my father will be put to. But it must be borne with, and my mother has a mind to see them, but I do condemn myself mightily for my pride and contempt of my aunt and kindred that are not so high as myself, that I have not seen her all this while, nor invited her all this while.

where all discourse of war
where a man can command a committee

I would have my own rose
and an onion to suck

it is strange to see how jealous
of me they are


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 5 September 1664.

Lords day. Lay long in bed; then up and took physique, Mr Hollyard[‘s]. But it being cold weather and myself negligent of myself, I fear I took cold and stopped the working of it. But I feel myself pretty well.
All the morning looking over my old wardrobe and laying by things for my brother John and my father, by which I shall leave myself very bare in clothes, but yet as much as I need and the rest would but spoil in the keeping.
Dined, my wife and I, very well. All the afternoon my wife and I above, and then the boy and I to singing of psalms, and then came in Mr. Hill and he sung with us a while; and he being gone, the boy and I again to the singing of Mr. Porter’s mottets, and it is a great joy to me that I am come to this condition to maintain a person in the house able to give me such pleasure as this boy doth by his thorough understand of music, as he sing any thing at first sight. Mr. Hill came to tell me that he had got a gentlewoman for my wife, one Mrs. Ferrabosco, that sings most admirably. I seemed glad of it; but I hear she is too gallant for me, and I am not sorry that I misse her. Thence to the office, setting some papers right, and so home to supper and to bed, after prayers.

myself negligent of myself
I stop working

I shall leave myself bare
but singing
at the first sight of supper


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 4 September 1664.

I have had a bad night’s rest to-night, not sleeping well, as my wife observed, and once or twice she did wake me, and I thought myself to be mightily bit with fleas, and in the morning she chid her mayds for not looking the fleas a-days. But, when I rose, I found that it is only the change of the weather from hot to cold, which, as I was two winters ago, do stop my pores, and so my blood tingles and itches all day all over my body, and so continued to-day all the day long just as I was then, and if it continues to be so cold I fear I must come to the same pass, but sweating cured me then, and I hope, and am told, will this also.
At the office sat all the morning, dined at home, and after dinner to White Hall, to the Fishing Committee, but not above four of us met, which could do nothing, and a sad thing it is to see so great a work so ill followed, for at this pace it can come to nothing but disgrace to us all. Broke up and did nothing.
So I walked to Westminster, and there at my barber’s had good luck to find Jane alone; and there I talked with her and got the poor wretch to promise to meet me in the abbey on tomorrow come sennit, telling me that her maister and mistress have a mind to get her a husband, and so will not let her go abroad without them — but only in sermon time a-Sundays she doth go out. I would I could get a good husband for her, for she is one I always thought a good-natured as well as a well-looked girl.
Thence home, doing some errands by the way; and so to my office, whither Mr. Holliard came to me to discourse about the privileges of the Surgeon’s hall as to our signing of bills, wherein I did give him a little, and but a little, satisfaction; for we won’t lose our power of recommending them once approved of by the hall.
He gone, I late to send by the post &c; and so to supper and to bed — my itching and tickling continuing still, the weather continuing cold. And Mr. Holliard tells me that sweating will cure me at any time.

a bad night for fleas
the weather cold as winter
all over my body

the poor go out only on Sundays
good-natured about the privileges of power
to itch and tick and eat
at any time


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 3 September 1664.

Luisa’s poem from last Saturday seemed like a good match for a video I shot on my iPhone through the dusty window of a Greyhound bus as I was leaving Newark, New Jersey on Monday. The light was wonderful and evocative, as were the murals on the wall below the train tracks.

Footage shot from car, bus and (especially) train windows is exceedingly common in videopoetry, but I’m hoping my use of moving text saves this instance of it from cliche.

Up very betimes and walked (my boy with me) to Mr. Cole’s, and after long waiting below, he being under the barber’s hands, I spoke with him, and he did give me much hopes of getting my debt that my brother owed me, and also that things would go well with my father. But going to his attorney’s, that he directed me to, they tell me both that though I could bring my father to a confession of a judgment, yet he knowing that there are specialties out against him he is bound to plead his knowledge of them to me before he pays me, or else he must do it in his own wrong. I took a great deal of pains this morning in the thorough understanding hereof, and hope that I know the truth of our case, though it be but bad, yet better than to run spending money and all to no purpose. However, I will inquire a little more.
Walked home, doing very many errands by the way to my great content, and at the ‘Change met and spoke with several persons about serving us with pieces of eight at Tangier. So home to dinner above stairs, my wife not being well of those in bed. I dined by her bedside, but I got her to rise and abroad with me by coach to Bartholomew Fayre, and our boy with us, and there shewed them and myself the dancing on the ropes, and several other the best shows; but pretty it is to see how our boy carries himself so innocently clownish as would make one laugh. Here till late and dark, then up and down, to buy combes for my wife to give her mayds, and then by coach home, and there at the office set down my day’s work, and then home to bed.

under the barber’s hands
I would go to confession

under those dancing combs
I set down my day


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 2 September 1664.

A sad rainy night, up and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change and thence brought Mr. Pierce, the Surgeon, and Creed, and dined very merry and handsomely; but my wife not being well of those she not with us; and we cut up the great cake Moorcocke lately sent us, which is very good. They gone I to my office, and there very busy till late at night, and so home to supper and to bed.

sad rainy night—
the surgeon hands us
a cut-up cake


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 1 September 1664.

Up by five o’clock and to my office, where T. Hater and Will met me, and so we dispatched a great deal of my business as to the ordering my papers and books which were behindhand. All the morning very busy at my office. At noon home to dinner, and there my wife hath got me some pretty good oysters, which is very soon and the soonest, I think, I ever eat any. After dinner I up to hear my boy play upon a lute, which I have this day borrowed of Mr. Hunt; and indeed the boy would, with little practice, play very well upon the lute, which pleases me well. So by coach to the Tangier Committee, and there have another small business by which I may get a little small matter of money. Staid but little there, and so home and to my office, where late casting up my monthly accounts, and, blessed be God! find myself worth 1020l., which is still the most I ever was worth. So home and to bed. Prince Rupert I hear this day is to go to command this fleete going to Guinny against the Dutch. I doubt few will be pleased with his going, being accounted an unhappy man. My mind at good rest, only my father’s troubles with Dr. Pepys and my brother Tom’s creditors in general do trouble me. I have got a new boy that understands musique well, as coming to me from the King’s Chappell, and I hope will prove a good boy, and my wife and I are upon having a woman, which for her content I am contented to venture upon the charge of again, and she is one that our Will finds out for us, and understands a little musique, and I think will please us well, only her friends live too near us. Pretty well in health, since I left off wearing of a gowne within doors all day, and then go out with my legs into the cold, which brought me daily pain.

books were my oysters
and with little money

I was content to wear a gown
indoors all day

and go out with my legs
into the cold


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 31 August 1664.