We lay long in bed, then up and made me ready, and by and by come Will Bowyer and Mr. Gregory, my old Exchequer friend, to see me, and I took them to the Dolphin and there did give them a good morning draft, and so parted, and invited them and all my old Exchequer acquaintance to come and dine with me there on Wednesday next.
From thence to the Wardrobe and dined with my Lady, where her brother, Mr. John Crew, dined also, and a strange gentlewoman dined at the table as a servant of my Lady’s; but I knew her not, and so I am afeard that poor Madamoiselle was gone, but I since understand that she is come as housekeeper to my Lady, and is a married woman. From thence to Westminster to my Lord’s house to meet my Lord Privy Seal, who appointed to seal there this afternoon, but by and by word is brought that he is come to Whitehall, and so we are fain to go thither to him, and there we staid to seal till it was so late that though I got leave to go away before he had done, yet the office was done before I could get thither, and so to Sir W. Pen’s, and there sat and talked and drank with him, and so home.

my old friend
my old acquaintance
my strange table
the sea
is white as ice


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 12 December 1661.

Amid these tangled
woodlands threaded through
and damped with creeks,

deep satisfaction at the sight
of vines climbing up the sides
of each abandoned building,

the sturdy saplings’ relentless
upward push that cracks
concrete, lifts shingles

from between old trusses,
reclaiming space to breathe,
a share of light.


In response to/inspired by Luisa A. Igloria’s “Elegy in Ideograms” and an entry from the Morning Porch.

I wanted to write letters
on pieces of bark and burn them down to ash.

I wanted to scrape
the inside of each memory where it lies

closest to the membrane.
I wanted to send you a telegram in hieroglyphs

that the future is still inventing,
but whose encryption is locked

in a simple key: which is to say,
the mind tends to track shapes that may not bear

any likeness to their original outline.
Inky with light or cross hatched with shadow

is all that matters: whether the snow was falling
or if salt crystals etched the window glass.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

To Whitehall, and there finding Mons. Eschar to be gone, I sent my letters by a porter to the posthouse in Southwark to be sent by despatch to the Downs. So to dinner to my Lord Crew’s by coach, and in my way had a stop of above an hour and a half, which is a great trouble this Parliament time, but it cannot be helped. However I got thither before my Lord come from the House, and so dined with him, and dinner done, home to the office, and there sat late and so home.

White and char
go letters in war
to stop time.
But we dine
on ice.


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 10 December 1661.

Mortality estimate, life expectancy the sand,
invisible hourglass handed over by a doctor

(this once, not wearing gloves), little bottle,
prescription of one day a day, no refills.

Hand grenade. An empty urn that has been
pre-engraved with best-if-used-by date.

An erosion, top to bottom, losing ground.
Used the guess to calculate, translated into

months, counted slowly with a finger, found
the anticipated final square upon the calendar.

Did not share the projection, merely took
red ink and marked a question in the space.

Reluctant to remove the pen, turned that
final point beneath the curving symbol into

a circle, a little window with no shutters
open on unknown.


In response to/inspired by Luisa A. Igloria’s “What could we know” and Dave Bonta’s “Camping.”