Not accepting, not rejecting
says the Buddha as the demons
elect to live with him
Hospitality for demons by Luisa A. Igloria

I think of the demons
that have kept us company
through the ages.

Now we have medications
that quiet the howling
of some of these demons.
But still some ask for stories
and a glass of milk.
Some make stronger demands,
and we struggle to deliver.

On the morning after the election
the seething wind finally silenced,
I startle from sleep, mistaking
the cat’s crying
for a larger weeping.
I listen for the call of the ancient
prophet or the modern Romero,
and hear the rustle in the palm trees.

I’ve taken to walking all the way down and back up the mile-and-a-half-long Plummer’s Hollow Road every day now, and what’s curious is that, despite having walked this road many thousands of times in my life, I still notice two or three new things every time. You can see a lot just by looking, as Yogi Berra supposedly said. Of course, most of what I see are trees. And many observations don’t make good photos — but a few do. And by the time I get back to the house, sometimes I’ve thought up a caption as well.

Log over stream with eye-shaped opening on the side and fur-like moss on top.
The eyes are the first thing to go, melting back into the head, murmurs my lover, the undertaker’s assistant.
(more…)

Up and found myself very well, and so by coach to White Hall and there met all my fellow officers, and so to the Duke, where, when we came into his closett, he told us that Mr. Pepys was so altered with his new perriwigg that he did not know him. So to our discourse, and among and above other things we were taken up in talking upon Sir J. Lawson’s coming home, he being come to Portsmouth; and Captain Berkely is come to towne with a letter from the Duana of Algier to the King, wherein they do demand again the searching of our ships and taking out of strangers, and their goods; and that what English ships are taken without the Duke’s pass they will detain (though it be flat contrary to the words of the peace) as prizes, till they do hear from our King, which they advise him may be speedy. And this they did the very next day after they had received with great joy the Grand Seignor’s confirmation of the Peace from Constantinople by Captain Berkely; so that there is no command nor certainty to be had of these people. The King is resolved to send his will by a fleete of ships; and it is thought best and speediest to send these very ships that are now come home, five sail of good ships, back again after cleaning, victualling, and paying them. But it is a pleasant thing to think how their Basha, Shavan Aga, did tear his hair to see the soldiers order things thus; for (just like his late predecessor) when they see the evil of war with England, then for certain they complain to the Grand Seignor of him, and cut his head off: this he is sure of, and knows as certain.
Thence to Westminster Hall, where I met with Mr. Pierce, chyrurgeon; and among other things he asked me seriously whether I knew anything of my Lord’s being out of favour with the King; and told me, that for certain the King do take mighty notice of my Lord’s living obscurely in a corner not like himself, and becoming the honour that he is come to. I was sorry to hear, and the truth is, from my Lord’s discourse among his people (which I am told) of the uncertainty of princes’ favours, and his melancholy keeping from Court, I am doubtful of some such thing; but I seemed wholly strange to him in it, but will make my use of it.
He told me also how loose the Court is, nobody looking after business, but every man his lust and gain; and how the King is now become besotted upon Mrs. Stewart, that he gets into corners, and will be with her half an houre together kissing her to the observation of all the world; and she now stays by herself and expects it, as my Lady Castlemaine did use to do; to whom the King, he says, is still kind, so as now and then he goes to have a chat with her as he believes; but with no such fondness as he used to do. But yet it is thought that this new wench is so subtle, that she lets him not do any thing than is safe to her, but yet his doting is so great that, Pierce tells me, it is verily thought if the Queene had died, he would have married her.
The Duke of Monmouth is to have part of the Cockpitt new built for lodgings for him, and they say to be made Captain of the Guards in the room of my Lord Gerard.
Having thus talked with him, there comes into the Hall Creed and Ned Pickering, and after a turne or two with them, it being noon, I walked with them two to the King’s Head ordinary, and there we dined; little discourse but what was common, only that the Duke of Yorke is a very, desperate huntsman, but I was ashamed of Pickering, who could not forbear having up my Lord Sandwich now and then in the most paltry matters abominable.
Thence I took leave of them, and so having taken up something at my wife’s tailor’s, I home by coach and there to my office, whither Shales came and I had much discourse with him about the business of the victualling, and thence in the evening to the Coffee-house, and there sat till by and by, by appointment Will brought me word that his uncle Blackburne was ready to speak with me. So I went down to him, and he and I to a taverne hard by, and there I begun to speak to Will friendlily, advising him how to carry himself now he is going from under my roof, without any reflections upon the occasion from whence his removal arose. This his uncle seconded, and after laying down to him his duty to me, and what I expect of him, in a discourse of about a quarter of an houre or more, we agreed upon his going this week, towards the latter (end) of the week, and so dismissed him, and Mr. Blackburne and I fell to talk of many things, wherein I did speak so freely to him in many things agreeing with his sense that he was very open to me.
First, in that of religion, he makes it great matter of prudence for the King and Council to suffer liberty of conscience; and imputes the losse of Hungary to the Turke from the Emperor’s denying them this liberty of their religion.
He says that many pious ministers of the word of God, some thousands of them, do now beg their bread: and told me how highly the present clergy carry themselves every where, so as that they are hated and laughed at by everybody; among other things, for their excommunications, which they send upon the least occasions almost that can be. And I am convinced in my judgement, not only from his discourse, but my thoughts in general, that the present clergy will never heartily go down with the generality of the commons of England; they have been so used to liberty and freedom, and they are so acquainted with the pride and debauchery of the present clergy. He did give me many stories of the affronts which the clergy receive in all places of England from the gentry and ordinary persons of the parish.
He do tell me what the City thinks of General Monk, as of a most perfidious man that hath betrayed every body, and the King also; who, as he thinks, and his party, and so I have heard other good friends of the King say, it might have been better for the King to have had his hands a little bound for the present, than be forced to bring such a crew of poor people about him, and be liable to satisfy the demands of every one of them.
He told me that to his knowledge (being present at every meeting at the Treaty at the Isle of Wight), that the old King did confess himself overruled and convinced in his judgement against the Bishopps, and would have suffered and did agree to exclude the service out of the churches, nay his own chappell; and that he did always say, that this he did not by force, for that he would never abate one inch by any vyolence; but what he did was out of his reason and judgement. He tells me that the King by name, with all his dignities, is prayed for by them that they call Fanatiques, as heartily and powerfully as in any of the other churches that are thought better: and that, let the King think what he will, it is them that must helpe him in the day of warr. For as they are the most, so generally they are the most substantial sort of people, and the soberest; and did desire me to observe it to my Lord Sandwich, among other things, that of all the old army now you cannot see a man begging about the street; but what? You shall have this captain turned a shoemaker; the lieutenant, a baker; this a brewer; that a haberdasher; this common soldier, a porter; and every man in his apron and frock, &c., as if they never had done anything else: whereas the others go with their belts and swords, swearing and cursing, and stealing; running into people’s houses, by force oftentimes, to carry away something; and this is the difference between the temper of one and the other; and concludes (and I think with some reason,) that the spirits of the old parliament soldiers are so quiett and contented with God’s providences, that the King is safer from any evil meant him by them one thousand times more than from his own discontented Cavalier.
And then to the publique management of business: it is done, as he observes, so loosely and so carelessly, that the kingdom can never be happy with it, every man looking after himself, and his owne lust and luxury; among other things he instanced in the business of money, he do believe that half of what money the Parliament gives the King is not so much as gathered. And to the purpose he told me how the Bellamys (who had some of the Northern counties assigned them for their debt for the petty warrant victualling) have often complained to him that they cannot get it collected, for that nobody minds, or, if they do, they won’t pay it in. Whereas (which is a very remarkable thing,) he hath been told by some of the Treasurers at Warr here of late, to whom the most of the 120,000l. monthly was paid, that for most months the payments were gathered so duly, that they seldom had so much or more than 40s., or the like, short in the whole collection; whereas now the very Commissioners for Assessments and other publique payments are such persons, and those that they choose in the country so like themselves, that from top to bottom there is not a man carefull of any thing, or if he be, he is not solvent; that what between the beggar and the knave, the King is abused the best part of all his revenue.
From thence we began to talk of the Navy, and particularly of Sir W. Pen, of whose rise to be a general I had a mind to be informed. He told me he was always a conceited man, and one that would put the best side outward, but that it was his pretence of sanctity that brought him into play. Lawson, and Portman, and the Fifth-monarchy men, among whom he was a great brother, importuned that he might be general; and it was pleasant to see how Blackburne himself did act it, how when the Commissioners of the Admiralty would enquire of the captains and admirals of such and such men, how they would with a sigh and casting up the eyes say, “Such a man fears the Lord,” or, “I hope such a man hath the Spirit of God,” and such things as that. But he tells me that there was a cruel articling against Pen after one fight, for cowardice, in putting himself within a coyle of cables, of which he had much ado to acquit himself: and by great friends did it, not without remains of guilt, but that his brethren had a mind to pass it by, and Sir H. Vane did advise him to search his heart, and see whether this fault or a greater sin was not the occasion of this so great tryall. And he tells me, that what Pen gives out about Cromwell’s sending and entreating him to go to Jamaica, is very false; he knows the contrary: besides, the Protector never was a man that needed to send for any man, specially such a one as he, twice. He tells me that the business of Jamaica did miscarry absolutely by his pride, and that when he was in the Tower he would cry like a child. This he says of his own personal knowledge, and lastly tells me that just upon the turne, when Monk was come from the North to the City, and did begin to think of bringing in the King, Pen was then turned Quaker. This he is most certain of. He tells me that Lawson was never counted any thing but only a seaman, and a stout man, but a false man, and that now he appears the greatest hypocrite in the world. And Pen the same. He tells me that it is much talked of, that the King intends to legitimate the Duke of Monmouth; and that he has not, nor his friends of his persuasion, have any hopes of getting their consciences at liberty but by God Almighty’s turning of the King’s heart, which they expect, and are resolved to live and die in quiett hopes of it; but never to repine, or act any thing more than by prayers towards it. And that not only himself but all of them have, and are willing at any time to take the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy.
Thus far, and upon many more things, we had discoursed when some persons in a room hard by began to sing in three parts very finely and to play upon a flagilette so pleasantly that my discourse afterwards was but troublesome, and I could not attend it, and so, anon, considering of a sudden the time of night, we found it 11 o’clock, which I thought it had not been by two hours, but we were close in talk, and so we rose, he having drunk some wine and I some beer and sugar, and so by a fair moonshine home and to bed, my wife troubled with tooth ache.
Mr. Blackburne observed further to me, some certain notice that he had of the present plot so much talked of; that he was told by Mr. Rushworth, how one Captain Oates, a great discoverer, did employ several to bring and seduce others into a plot, and that one of his agents met with one that would not listen to him, nor conceal what he had offered him, but so detected the trapan. This, he says, is most true.
He also, among other instances how the King is served, did much insist upon the cowardice and corruption of the King’s guards and militia, which to be sure will fail the King, as they have done already, when there will be occasion for them.

they demand the searching
and taking out of strangers
words that are back again
like a predecessor evil
living obscurely in a corner
of some loose mouth

an abominable discourse
of excommunications

they pray by cursing
believe in a country like themselves
as cruel as a child
and take oaths of allegiance to a flag
of sugar and toothache


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 9 November 1663.

Not accepting, not rejecting
says the Buddha as the demons
elect to live with him

underneath the tree.
He welcomes them, tells them
they are his honored guests;

they may stay. I want to know
how he does that, how he keeps
any facts of his pain

or anger to himself.
And at the end of the tale
how does he know this is the one

way to appease the final
and most terrible demon? He lays
his head in its lap, he tells it

“Eat me if you wish” while the sky
darkens or lightens and the tree
of history appears unmoved.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

In her TEDx talk, Jae Rhim Lee is clad
from head to foot in what looks like a black

ninja suit with crocheted branches embroidered
across its surface. These contain spores

of infinity mushrooms, which she has patiently
cultivated in petri dishes and trained to eat

clippings of her hair, skin, and nails. The idea
is to use the mushrooms as a natural decomposition

agent upon the body’s death, so we no longer
have to worry about soaking corpses in formaldehyde

or pumping the skin with chemical filler
before applying makeup, thereby rendering

the body’s return to its organic state as clean
and green as possible. There will be no more

burning in a cremation chamber, no expensive
casket of metal or pine with satin linings.

When they suit our dead bodies up, lay them
in the earth and cover them with soil, in the dark

the mushrooms will begin their quiet work: digesting
the slowly dissolving body, neutralizing its poisons,

until at last it, too, becomes merely a handful of spores,
dust settling into that common bowl that once we sprang from.

(Lord’s day). Up, and it being late, to church without my wife, and there I saw Pembleton come into the church and bring his wife with him, a good comely plain woman, and by and by my wife came after me all alone, which I was a little vexed at. I found that my coming in a perriwigg did not prove so strange to the world as I was afear’d it would, for I thought that all the church would presently have cast their eyes all upon me, but I found no such thing. Here an ordinary lazy sermon of Mr. Mill’s, and then home to dinner, and there Tom came and dined with us; and after dinner to talk about a new black cloth suit that I have a making, and so at church time to church again, where the Scott preached, and I slept most of the time. Thence home, and I spent most of the evening upon Fuller’s “Church History” and Barckly’s “Argeny,” and so after supper to prayers and to bed, a little fearing my pain coming back again, myself continuing as costive as ever, and my physic ended, but I had sent a porter to-day for more and it was brought me before I went to bed, and so with pretty good content to bed.

alone in a strange world
all their eyes found an ordinary lack

full prayers
as costive as ever


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 8 November 1663.

Here we are, and here
we will file into the fields
at dawn to make our voices known.

And if, according
to the strident dictates
of those grown blind on stupid

hate, we should have left
this world— We need only
to look at our hands and feel

the solid weight of every kind
of work we’ve done. Fish
we have fished for you,

chrome handle on the sides
of hotel doors and banks
with marble floors

we have opened for you
and the progress of others
who never saw us standing there.

Water we have filled
with tears and memories
of exhausted seafaring.

We should live out
this life and take from it
all grace that we can take

as far as humanly possible
and at the end say we will not
stumble, we refuse

to swing at the end of a rope…
Here we are where the century
has left us, where the future’s

impatient horse gallops in
from the far horizon and arrives
at the door of our homes, whinnying.

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and Sir W. Pen and I had a word or two, where by opposing him in not being willing to excuse a mulct put upon the purser of the James, absent from duty, he says, by his business and order, he was mighty angry, and went out of the office like an asse discontented: At which I am never a whit sorry; I would not have [him] think that I dare not oppose him, where I see reason and cause for it.
Home to dinner, and then by coach abroad about several businesses to several places, among others to Westminster Hall, where, seeing Howlett’s daughter going out of the other end of the Hall, I followed her if I would to have offered talk to her and dallied with her a little, but I could not overtake her.
Then calling at Unthank’s for something of my wife’s not done, a pretty little gentlewoman, a lodger there, came out to tell me that it was not yet done, which though it vexed me yet I took opportunity of taking her by the hand with the boot, and so found matter to talk a little the longer to her, but I was ready to laugh at myself to see how my anger would not operate, my disappointment coming to me by such a messenger. Thence to Doctors’ Commons and there consulted Dr. Turner about some differences we have with the officers of the East India ships about goods brought by them without paying freight, which we demand of them.
So home to my office, and there late writing letters, and so home to supper and to bed, having got a scurvy cold by lying cold in my head the last night.
This day Captain Taylor brought me a piece of plate, a little small state dish, he expecting that I should get him some allowance for demorage of his ship “William,” kept long at Tangier, which I shall and may justly do.

the pen and I had a word or two
not willing to use ink for a howl

anger would appoint me a messenger
if I brought it to my writing

cold as a captain
expecting demurrage


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 7 November 1663, written under the influence of Meshuggah.

This morning waking, my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night, which, if it be, let it come, and welcome. Up to my office, whither Commissioner Pett came, newly come out of the country, and he and I walked together in the garden talking of business a great while, and I perceive that by our countenancing of him he do begin to pluck up his head, and will do good things I hope in the yard. Thence, he being gone, to my office and there dispatched many people, and at noon to the ‘Change to the coffee-house, and among other things heard Sir John Cutler say, that of his owne experience in time of thunder, so many barrels of beer as have a piece of iron laid upon them will not be soured, and the others will. Thence to the ‘Change, and there discoursed with many people, and I hope to settle again to my business and revive my report of following of business, which by my being taken off for a while by sickness and, laying out of money has slackened for a little while.
Home, and there found Mrs. Hunt, who dined very merry, good woman; with us. After dinner came in Captain Grove, and he and I alone to talk of many things, and among many others of the Fishery, in which he gives the such hopes that being at this time full of projects how to get a little honestly, of which some of them I trust in God will take, I resolved this afternoon to go and consult my Lord Sandwich about it, and so, being to carry home Mrs. Hunt, I took her and my wife by coach and set them at Axe Yard, and I to my Lord’s and thither sent for Creed and discoursed with him about it, and he and I to White Hall, where Sir G. Carteret and my Lord met me very fortunately, and wondered first to see me in my perruque, and I am glad it is over, and then, Sir G. Carteret being gone, I took my Lord aside, who do give me the best advice he can, and telling me how there are some projectors, by name Sir Edward Ford, who would have the making of farthings, and out of that give so much to the King for the maintenance of the Fishery; but my Lord do not like that, but would have it go as they offered the last year, and so upon my desire he promises me when it is seasonable to bring me into the commission with others, if any of them take, and I perceive he and Mr. Coventry are resolved to follow it hard.
Thence, after walking a good while in the Long gallery, home to my Lord’s lodging, my Lord telling me how my father did desire him to speak to me about my giving of my sister something, which do vex me to see that he should trouble my Lord in it, but however it is a good occasion for me to tell my Lord my condition, and so I was glad of it. After that we begun to talk of the Court, and he tells me how Mr. Edward Montagu begins to show respect to him again after his endeavouring to bespatter him all was, possible; but he is resolved never to admit him into his friendship again. He tells me how he and Sir H. Bennet, the Duke of Buckingham and his Duchesse, was of a committee with somebody else for the getting of Mrs. Stewart for the King; but that she proves a cunning slut, and is advised at Somerset House by the Queene-Mother, and by her mother, and so all the plot is spoiled and the whole committee broke. Mr. Montagu and the Duke of Buckingham fallen a-pieces, the Duchesse going to a nunnery; and so Montagu begins to enter friendship with my Lord, and to attend the Chancellor whom he had deserted. My Lord tells me that Mr. Montagu, among other things, did endeavour to represent him to the Chancellor’s sons as one that did desert their father in the business of my Lord of Bristoll; which is most false, being the only man that hath several times dined with him when no soul hath come to him, and went with him that very day home when the Earl impeached him in the Parliament House, and hath refused ever to pay a visit to my Lord of Bristoll, not so much as in return to a visit of his. So that the Chancellor and my Lord are well known and trusted one by another. But yet my Lord blames the Chancellor for desiring to have it put off to the next Session of Parliament, contrary to my Lord Treasurer’s advice, to whom he swore he would not do it: and, perhaps, my Lord Chancellor, for aught I see by my Lord’s discourse, may suffer by it when the Parliament comes to sit.
My Lord tells me that he observes the Duke of York do follow and understand business very well, and is mightily improved thereby. Here Mr. Pagett coming in I left my Lord and him, and thence I called my wife and her maid Jane and by coach home and to my office, where late writing some things against tomorrow, and so home to supper and to bed. This morning Mr. Blackburne came to me to let me know that he had got a lodging very commodious for his kinsman, and so he is ready at my pleasure to go when I would bid him, and so I told him that I would in a day or two send to speak with him and he and I would talk and advise Will what to do, of which I am very glad.

let it come out of the country
of pluck and patched people

a thunder a soured hope
like the last season in a desert

the soul impeached
on her commodious peak


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 6 November 1663.

Sketch one line.
Then another.
Then a third.

Include a hinge somewhere
(it may appear
not just in the middle).

Stop, or go on.

Write a question.
Then write an answer.

Write another one,
and go on.

Write a memory,
then write a taste.

Write a dream,
then write the waking.

Write another one,
and go on.

Write an answer.
Then write what you don’t know.

Write another.
And go on.