Dave Bonta

(Lord’s day). Lay till 9 a-bed, then up, and being trimmed by the barber, I walked towards White Hall, calling upon Mr. Moore, whom I found still very ill of his ague. I discoursed with him about my Lord’s estate against I speak with my Lord this day. Thence to the King’s Head ordinary at Charing Cross, and sent for Mr. Creed, where we dined very finely and good company, good discourse. I understand the King of France is upon consulting his divines upon the old question, what the power of the Pope is? and do intend to make war against him, unless he do right him for the wrong his Embassador received; and banish the Cardinall Imperiall, which I understand this day is not meant the Cardinall belonging or chosen by the Emperor, but the name of his family is Imperial.
Thence to walk in the Park, which we did two hours, it being a pleasant sunshine day though cold. Our discourse upon the rise of most men that we know, and observing them to be the results of chance, not policy, in any of them, particularly Sir J. Lawson’s, from his declaring against Charles Stuart in the river of Thames, and for the Rump.
Thence to my Lord, who had his ague fit last night, but is now pretty well, and I staid talking with him an hour alone in his chamber, about sundry publique and private matters. Among others, he wonders what the project should be of the Duke’s going down to Portsmouth just now with his Lady, at this time of the year: it being no way, we think, to increase his popularity, which is not great; nor yet safe to do it, for that reason, if it would have any such effect. By and by comes in my Lady Wright, and so I went away, end after talking with Captn. Ferrers, who tells me of my Lady Castlemaine’s and Sir Charles Barkeley being the great favourites at Court, and growing every day more and more; and that upon a late dispute between my Lord Chesterfield, that is the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain, and Mr. Edward Montagu, her Master of the Horse, who should have the precedence in taking the Queen’s upperhand abroad out of the house, which Mr. Montagu challenges, it was given to my Lord Chesterfield. So that I perceive he goes down the wind in honour as well as every thing else, every day. So walk to my brother’s and talked with him, who tells me that this day a messenger is come, that tells us how Collonel Honiwood, who was well yesterday at Canterbury, was flung by his horse in getting up, and broke his scull, and so is dead. So home and to the office, despatching some business, and so home to supper, and then to prayers and to bed.

the barber of the king
observing the results of chance
is alone in his private wonder

that rites at court grow every day
that the queen’s hand challenges the wind
that a skull is dead to prayers


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 25 January 1662/63.

This entry is part 33 of 33 in the series Poetry from the Other Americas

por un minuto de vida breve
única de ojos abiertos
por un minuto de ver
en el cerebro flores pequeñas
danzando como palabras en la boca de un mudo

for one minute of fleeting life
the only one in which eyes are open
for one minute of seeing
small flowers dance in the brain
like words in a mute person’s mouth

*

has construido tu casa
has emplumado tus pájaros
has golpeado al viento
con tus propios huesos

has terminado sola
lo que nadie comenzó

you’ve built your house
you’ve put feathers on your birds
you’ve struck the wind
with your own bones

alone you’ve finished
what no one began

*

una mirada desde la alcantarilla
puede ser una visión del mundo

la rebelión consiste en mirar una rosa
hasta pulverizarse los ojos

a glimpse from the gutter
can become a complete worldview

rebellion consists of gazing at a rose
until your eyes are reduced to dust

Árbol de Diana (Tree of Diana), nos. 5, 16 and 23

One of the great advantages to being here in London is the super-fast internet. Without it, I doubt I would’ve seriously entertained the idea of making a bilingual videopoem with both the original poetry and the translation alternating in the soundtrack — it takes hours to upload a three-minute video file back home in Pennsylvania. Also, I was able to work closely with my co-conspirator here, Jean Morris, who came over to the house last week to record the the three Alejandra Pizarnik micropoems I’d chosen for the video (the first three from this post). In existing recordings of Pizarnik, the poet’s voice is slow, almost dreamy, and Jean tried with I think considerable success to imitate that quality without going so far as to actually mimic her Argentinian accent. I recorded my own reading later on, trying also to keep it slow and quiet. Jean also offered some valuable suggestions for improving my translations (she’s a professional translator; I’m a mere dilettante) and gave feedback on the imagery I’d had in mind to use.

The footage of the construction site at sunset had come first, shot out the back bedroom window. That made me think of these Pizarnik poems, which it seemed to me might form a unity with it. I shot the other footage purposefully for the project a few feet from the back door. (That rose had still been in bloom as late as December 15!) Finding the music was as usual a frustrating and time-consuming process, but at length I settled on a track at ccMixter which included some klezmer-like fiddle, a nod to Pizarnik’s Ashkenazi background. Enjoy!

Lay pretty long, and by lying with my sheet upon my lip, as I have of old observed it, my upper lip was blistered in the morning. To the office all the morning, sat till noon, then to the Exchange to look out for a ship for Tangier, and delivered my manuscript to be bound at the stationer’s. So to dinner at home, and then down to Redriffe, to see a ship hired for Tangier, what readiness she was in, and found her ready to sail. Then home, and so by coach to Mr. Povy’s, where Sir W. Compton, Mr. Bland, Gawden, Sir J. Lawson and myself met to settle the victualling of Tangier for the time past, which with much ado we did, and for a six months’ supply more.
So home in Mr. Gawden’s coach, and to my office till late about business, and find that it is business that must and do every day bring me to something. So home to supper and to bed.

with my old hip
at the station to see her off
I find a ring


Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 24 January 1662/63.

Up and hastened him in despatching some business relating to Tangier, and I away homewards, hearing that my Lord had a bad fit to-night, called at my brother’s, and found him sick in bed, of a pain in the sole of one of his feet, without swelling, knowing not how it came, but it will not suffer him to stand these two days. So to Mr. Moore, and Mr. Lovell, our proctor, being there, discoursed of my law business. Thence to Mr. Grant, to bid him come for money for Mr. Barlow, and he and I to a coffee-house, where Sir J. Cutler was; and in discourse, among other things, he did fully make it out that the trade of England is as great as ever it was, only in more hands; and that of all trades there is a greater number than ever there was, by reason of men taking more ‘prentices, because of their having more money than heretofore. His discourse was well worth hearing.
Coming by Temple Bar I bought “Audley’s Way to be Rich,” a serious pamphlett and some good things worth my minding. Thence homewards, and meeting Sir W. Batten, turned back again to a coffee-house, and there drunk more till I was almost sick, and here much discourse, but little to be learned, but of a design in the north of a rising, which is discovered, among some men of condition, and they sent for up. Thence to the ‘Change, and so home with him by coach, and I to see how my wife do, who is pretty well again, and so to dinner to Sir W. Batten’s to a cod’s head, and so to my office, and after stopping to see Sir W. Pen, where was Sir J. Lawson and his lady and daughter, which is pretty enough, I came back to my office, and there set to business pretty late, finishing the margenting my Navy-Manuscript. So home and to bed.

feet know how
to love the land

hands having a way to be rich
turn to design

I discover a cod’s head
in my manuscript


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 23 January 1662/63.

To the office, where Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes are come from Portsmouth. We sat till dinner time. Then home, and Mr. Dixon by agreement came to dine, to give me an account of his success with Mr. Wheatly for his daughter for my brother; and in short it is, that his daughter cannot fancy my brother because of his imperfection in his speech, which I am sorry for, but there the business must die, and we must look out for another.
There came in also Mrs. Lodum, with an answer from her brother Ashwell’s daughter, who is likely to come to me, and with her my wife’s brother, and I carried Commissioner Pett in with me, so I feared want of victuals, but I had a good dinner, and mirth, and so rose and broke up, and with the rest of the officers to Mr. Russell’s buriall, where we had wine and rings, and a great and good company of aldermen and the livery of the Skinners’ Company. We went to St. Dunstan’s in the East church, where a sermon, but I staid not, but went home, and, after writing letters, I took coach to Mr. Povy’s, but he not within I left a letter there of Tangier business, and so to my Lord’s, and there find him not sick, but expecting his fit to-night of an ague. Here was Sir W. Compton, Mr. Povy, Mr. Bland, Mr. Gawden and myself; we were very busy about getting provisions sent forthwith to Tangier, fearing that by Mr. Gawden’s neglect they might want bread. So among other ways thought of to supply them I was empowered by the Commissioners of Tangier that were present to write to Plymouth and direct Mr. Lanyon to take up vessels great or small to the quantity of 150 tons, and fill them with bread of Mr. Gawden’s lying ready there for Tangier, which they undertake to bear me out in, and to see the freight paid. This I did. About 10 o’clock we broke up, and my Lord’s fit was coming upon him, and so we parted, and I with Mr. Creed, Mr. Pierce, Wm. Howe and Captn. Ferrers, who was got almost drunk this afternoon, and was mighty capricious and ready to fall out with any body, supped together in the little chamber that was mine heretofore upon some fowls sent by Mr. Shepley, so we were very merry till 12 at night, and so away, and I lay with Mr. Creed at his lodgings, and slept well.

a mouth can die
for want of mirth

and the skin for want
of a mouth to read it

coming together in
a merry lay


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 22 January 1662/63, in honor of John Donne’s birthday.

Up early leaving my wife very ill in bed de ses Moi and to my office till eight o’clock, there coming Ch. Pepys to demand his legacy of me, which I denied him upon good reason of his father and brother’s suing us, and so he went away. Then came Commissioner Pett, and he and I by agreement went to Deptford, and after a turn or two in the yard, to Greenwich, and thence walked to Woolwich. Here we did business, and I on board the Tangier-merchant, a ship freighted by us, that has long lain on hand in her despatch to Tangier, but is now ready for sailing. Back, and dined at Mr. Ackworth’s, where a pretty dinner, and she a pretty, modest woman; but above all things we saw her Rocke, which is one of the finest things done by a woman that ever I saw. I must have my wife to see it. After dinner on board the Elias, and found the timber brought by her from the forest of Deane to be exceeding good. The Captain gave each of us two barrels of pickled oysters put up for the Queen mother.
So to the Dock again, and took in Mrs. Ackworth and another gentlewoman, and carried them to London, and at the Globe tavern, in Eastcheap, did give them a glass of wine, and so parted. I home, where I found my wife ill in bed all day, and her face swelled with pain. My Will has received my last two quarters salary, of which I am glad. So to my office till late and then home, and after the barber had done, to bed.

my legacy is a green rock
one of the finest in the forest

gentle as an ill face
swelled with pain


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 21January 1662/63.

Up betimes and to the office, where all the morning. Dined at home, and Mr. Deane of Woolwich with me, talking about the abuses of the yard. Then to the office about business all the afternoon with great pleasure, seeing myself observed by every body to be the only man of business of us all, but Mr. Coventry. So till late at night, and then home to supper and bed.

talking about abuse
I see myself
served by every body
the only oven


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 20 January 1662/63.

Up and to White Hall, and while the Duke is dressing himself I went to wait on my Lord Sandwich, whom I found not very well, and Dr. Clerke with him. He is feverish, and hath sent for Mr. Pierce to let him blood, but not being in the way he puts it off till night, but he stirs not abroad to-day. Then to the Duke, and in his closett discoursed as we use to do, and then broke up. That done, I singled out Mr. Coventry into the Matted Gallery, and there I told him the complaints I meet every day about our Treasurer’s or his people’s paying no money, but at the goldsmith’s shops, where they are forced to pay fifteen or twenty sometimes per cent. for their money, which is a most horrid shame, and that which must not be suffered. Nor is it likely that the Treasurer (at least his people) will suffer Maynell the Goldsmith to go away with 10,000l. per annum, as he do now get, by making people pay after this manner for their money.
We were interrupted by the Duke, who called Mr. Coventry aside for half an hour, walking with him in the gallery, and then in the garden, and then going away I ended my discourse with Mr. Coventry. But by the way Mr. Coventry was saying that there remained nothing now in our office to be amended but what would do of itself every day better and better, for as much as he that was slowest, Sir W. Batten, do now begin to look about him and to mind business. At which, God forgive me! I was a little moved with envy, but yet I am glad, and ought to be, though it do lessen a little my care to see that the King’s service is like to be better attended than it was heretofore.
Thence by coach to Mr. Povy’s, being invited thither by [him] came a messenger this morning from him, where really he made a most excellent and large dinner, of their variety, even to admiration, he bidding us, in a frolique, to call for what we had a mind, and he would undertake to give it us: and we did for prawns, swan, venison, after I had thought the dinner was quite done, and he did immediately produce it, which I thought great plenty, and he seems to set off his rest in this plenty and the neatness of his house, which he after dinner showed me, from room to room, so beset with delicate pictures, and above all, a piece of perspective in his closett in the low parler; his stable, where was some most delicate horses, and the very-racks painted, and mangers, with a neat leaden painted cistern, and the walls done with Dutch tiles, like my chimnies. But still, above all things, he bid me go down into his wine-cellar, where upon several shelves there stood bottles of all sorts of wine, new and old, with labells pasted upon each bottle, and in the order and plenty as I never saw books in a bookseller’s shop; and herein, I observe, he puts his highest content, and will accordingly commend all that he hath, but still they deserve to be so. Here dined with me Dr. Whore and Mr. Scawen.
Therewith him and Mr. Bland, whom we met by the way, to my Lord Chancellor’s, where the King was to meet my Lord Treasurer, &c., many great men, to settle the revenue of Tangier. I staid talking awhile there, but the King not coming I walked to my brother’s, where I met my cozen Scotts (Tom not being at home) and sent for a glass of wine for them, and having drunk we parted, and I to the Wardrobe talking with Mr. Moore about my law businesses, which I doubt will go ill for want of time for me to attend them.
So home, where I found Mrs. Lodum speaking with my wife about her kinswoman which is offered my wife to come as a woman to her.
So to the office and put things in order, and then home and to bed, it being my great comfort that every day I understand more and more the pleasure of following of business and the credit that a man gets by it, which I hope at last too will end in profit.
This day, by Dr. Clerke, I was told the occasion of my Lord Chesterfield’s going and taking his lady (my Lord Ormond’s daughter) from Court. It seems he not only hath been long jealous of the Duke of York, but did find them two talking together, though there were others in the room, and the lady by all opinions a most good, virtuous woman. He, the next day (of which the Duke was warned by somebody that saw the passion my Lord Chesterfield was in the night before), went and told the Duke how much he did apprehend himself wronged, in his picking out his lady of the whole Court to be the subject of his dishonour; which the Duke did answer with great calmness, not seeming to understand the reason of complaint, and that was all that passed but my Lord did presently pack his lady into the country in Derbyshire, near the Peake; which is become a proverb at Court, to send a man’s wife to the Devil’s arse a’ Peake, when she vexes him.
This noon I did find out Mr. Dixon at Whitehall, and discoursed with him about Mr. Wheatly’s daughter for a wife for my brother Tom, and have committed it to him to enquire the pleasure of her father and mother concerning it. I demanded 300l..

blood in the night
they say nothing about it to her

take dinner in a room beset
with delicate pictures

where horses painted
like shelves for war

pass with great calmness
into the devil’s wheat


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 19 January 1662/63.

(Lord’s day). Up, and after the barber had done, and I had spoke with Mr. Smith (whom I sent for on purpose to speak of Field’s business, who stands upon 250l. before he will release us, which do trouble me highly), and also Major Allen of the Victualling Office about his ship to be hired for Tangier, I went to church, and thence home to dinner alone with my wife, very pleasant, and after dinner to church again, and heard a dull, drowsy sermon, and so home and to my office, perfecting my vows again for the next year, which I have now done, and sworn to in the presence of Almighty God to observe upon the respective penalties thereto annexed, and then to Sir W. Pen’s (though much against my will, for I cannot bear him, but only to keep him from complaint to others that I do not see him) to see how he do, and find him pretty well, and ready to go abroad again.

the peak stands
alone as a drowsy god

against my plain
and ready road


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 18 January 1662/63.

Waked early with my mind troubled about our law matters, but it came into my mind that ἐκ ἡμῖν καὶ οὐκ &c. of Epictetus, which did put me to a great deal of ease, it being a saying of great reason.
Up to the office, and there sat Mr. Coventry, Mr. Pett, new come to town, and I. I was sorry for signing a bill and guiding Mr. Coventry to sign a bill to Mr. Creed for his pay as Deputy Treasurer to this day, though the service ended 5 or 6 months ago, which he perceiving did blot out his name afterwards, but I will clear myself to him from design in it. Sat till two o’clock and then home to dinner, and Creed with me, and after dinner, to put off my mind’s trouble, I took Creed by coach and to the Duke’s playhouse, where we did see “The Five Hours” entertainment again, which indeed is a very fine play, though, through my being out of order, it did not seem so good as at first; but I could discern it was not any fault in the play. Thence with him to the China alehouse, and there drank a bottle or two, and so home, where I found my wife and her brother discoursing about Mr. Ashwell’s daughter, whom we are like to have for my wife’s woman, and I hope it may do very well, seeing there is a necessity of having one. So to the office to write letters, and then home to supper and to bed.

I came to town
to blot out the hours

though it did not seem so good
as at first

the bottle is a woman
I hope may let me be


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 17 January 1662/63.