This morning I took my wife towards Westminster by water, and landed her at Whitefriars, with 5l. to buy her a petticoat, and I to the Privy Seal. By and by comes my wife to tell me that my father has persuaded her to buy a most fine cloth of 26s. a yard, and a rich lace, that the petticoat will come to 5l., at which I was somewhat troubled, but she doing it very innocently, I could not be angry.
I did give her more money, and sent her away, and I and Creed and Captain Hayward (who is now unkindly put out of the Plymouth to make way for Captain Allen to go to Constantinople, and put into his ship the Dover, which I know will trouble my Lord) went and dined at the Leg in King Street, where Captain Ferrers, my Lord’s Cornet, comes to us, who after dinner took me and Creed to the Cockpitt play, the first that I have had time to see since my coming from sea, “The Loyall Subject,” where one Kinaston, a boy, acted the Duke’s sister, but made the loveliest lady that ever I saw in my life, only her voice not very good. After the play done, we three went to drink, and by Captain Ferrers’ means, Kinaston and another that acted Archas, the General, came and drank with us. Hence home by coach, and after being trimmed, leaving my wife to look after her little bitch, which was just now a-whelping, I to bed.
I took my wife a friar’s coat,
a most fine cloth and a rich lace,
troubled money and a kind mouth,
a ship and a captain coming from sea—
the loveliest that ever I saw—
to look after her little bitch, which was just a-whelping.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 18 August 1660.
To the office, and that done home to dinner where Mr. Unthanke, my wife’s tailor, dined with us, we having nothing but a dish of sheep’s trotters. After dinner by water to Whitehall, where a great deal of business at the Privy Seal. At night I and Creed and the judge-Advocate went to Mr. Pim, the tailor’s, who took us to the Half Moon, and there did give us great store of wine and anchovies, and would pay for them all.
This night I saw Mr. Creed show many the strangest evasions to shift off his drink I ever saw in my life.
By coach home and to bed.
Nothing but water and the half moon.
Give us wine
and many strange evasions
to life and bed.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 17 August 1660.
This morning my Lord (all things being ready) carried me by coach to Mr. Crew’s, (in the way talking how good he did hope my place would be to me, and in general speaking that it was not the salary of any place that did make a man rich, but the opportunity of getting money while he is in the place) where he took leave, and went into the coach, and so for Hinchinbroke. My Lady Jemimah and Mr. Thomas Crew in the coach with him.
Hence to Whitehall about noon, where I met with Mr. Madge, who took me along with him and Captain Cooke (the famous singer) and other masters of music to dinner at an ordinary about Charing Cross where we dined, all paying their club. Hence to the Privy Seal, where there has been but little work these two days. In the evening home.
This morning, all things
talk to me.
I get one inch
in the coach to white noon
where the famous asters
pay the sea two days.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 16 August 1660.
We stay up all night, tipping our heads
back to drink the amber liquid in the cups.
Rain falls. Sudden cold speaks of summer’s end.
We sift and dredge for warmth in our cups.
We turn the feverish pages, we read words from each
others’ lips. We drink them up, like sustenance from a cup.
The hourglass keeps time. The second hand on the clock
chimes the hours. Trickle after trickle fills a cup.
The days wear their implacable face: not punishing,
not rewarding, indifferent to offerings in the cup.
Do not always sorrow, do not fear. Go forward into joy.
Everything eventually fades, like foam in the cups.
—Luisa A. Igloria
08 18 2013
In response to Via Negativa: Apart.
To the office, and after dinner by water to White Hall, where I found the King gone this morning by 5 of the clock to see a Dutch pleasure-boat below bridge, where he dines, and my Lord with him. The King do tire all his people that are about him with early rising since he came.
To the office, all the afternoon I staid there, and in the evening went to Westminster Hall, where I staid at Mrs. Michell’s, and with her and her husband sent for some drink, and drank with them. By the same token she and Mrs. Murford and another old woman of the Hall were going a gossiping tonight. From thence to my Lord’s, where I found him within, and he did give me direction about his business in his absence, he intending to go into the country to-morrow morning. Here I lay all night in the old chamber which I had now given up to W. Howe, with whom I did intend to lie, but he and I fell to play with one another, so that I made him to go lie with Mr. Sheply. So I lay alone all night.
I go by the clock below,
rising in the west.
I drink all night.
Within me, a morrow
given up to another.
I lie alone all night.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 15 August 1660.
At low tide the women
set out folding chairs on the sandbar
and read, their hips half in, half out of water.
Across the channel, a line of birds
on the distant rocks— The pelicans leave
first when our boat approaches.
All night, the lamps beneath
the hotel window turn curtain panels
into rippled furrows.
Streets named after fruit and flower
and tree. Salt marsh snails and periwinkles
on the floor of the bay.
Bricks in the wall where a vault used to be.
High ceilings studded with metal arches.
Rice grains in the salt shaker.
We are told to follow the gravel road
to the end of the harbor. To get to where
the water ends, we cross a rusted train track.
At dusk the sky looks windswept, nearly
empty. Only in the mind, for now,
somewhere, rain is falling.
—Luisa A. Igloria
08 17 2013
In response to Via Negativa: Crow Mind.
“…one day is like a thousand years” ~ 2 Peter 3:8
Water and its hundred, hundred thousand filaments sieved,
wind and its hundred, hundred thousand braided tongues—
Summer and its hundred, hundred thousand saffron buds,
winter and its hundred, hundred thousand crystal veins—
The goddess’ hundred, hundred thousand sinuous arms,
the golden wheel and its hundred, hundred thousand spokes
that turn a slow hour into an instant, centuries
into sparks dwindling rapidly into the dark—
Impossible to reckon, impossible to count.
—Luisa A. Igloria
08 16 2013
In response to Via Negativa: Inheritance.
If I bury the knife
in the sow’s dark entrails
then read what pools
beneath its dying head, will the end
that must nevertheless come
be persuaded to change its course?
If I whisper one more prayer to the sea,
will it wash an answer back amid the tangle
of moon jellies littering the beach?
They have no bones, no brains, no hearts:
only transparent skirts, wide and frilled,
etched with flickering light.
—Luisa A. Igloria
08 15 2013
In response to Via Negativa: Open Sea.
To the Privy Seal, and thence to my Lord’s, where Mr. Pim, the tailor, and I agreed upon making me a velvet coat. From thence to the Privy Seal again, where Sir Samuel Morland came in with a Baronet’s grant to pass, which the King had given him to make money of. Here he staid with me a great while; and told me the whole manner of his serving the King in the time of the Protector; and how Thurloe’s bad usage made him to do it; how he discovered Sir R. Willis, and how he hath sunk his fortune for the King; and that now the King hath given him a pension of 500l. per annum out of the Post Office for life, and the benefit of two Baronets; all which do make me begin to think that he is not so much a fool as I took him to be.
Home by water to the Tower, where my father, Mr. Fairbrother, and Cooke dined with me. After dinner in comes young Captain Cuttance of the Speedwell, who is sent up for the gratuity given the seamen that brought the King over. He brought me a firkin of butter for my wife, which is very welcome. My father, after dinner, takes leave, after I had given him 40s. for the last half year for my brother John at Cambridge.
I did also make even with Mr. Fairbrother for my degree of Master of Arts, which cost me about 9l. 16s. To White Hall, and my wife with me by water, where at the Privy Seal and elsewhere all the afternoon. At night home with her by water, where I made good sport with having the girl and the boy to comb my head, before I went to bed, in the kitchen.
Velvet land, given to make money:
the hole bad usage made of it,
the well, the firkin.
I take half
for a bridge to elsewhere,
water to comb my head
in the kitchen.
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 14 August 1660.
The neighbors want a new fence, but first
they need to take away all the overgrowth of ivy.
No matter how many vines are lopped off, next time
they look beneath the deck, there seems to be more ivy.
And mildew flourishes along the intervals in tile, darkening
the grout: peppery speckles with tiny leaf-shapes resembling ivy.
By the rusted tap and coiled garden hose, I find a clump
of leaves I can’t identify: not herb, not grass, not ivy.
But then again I’m not the type to police the growth in the garden,
preferring the surprise of what blooms; I even admire the green of ivy—
And green is the color of persistence, of what thrives despite the wars
waged on slugs and aphids: they’ll have the last say, sinking back amid the ivy.
—Luisa A. Igloria
08 14 2013
In response to Via Negativa: Consumer.