Brief History of the Sulawesi Warty Pig

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
There it is, sketched in red-
ochre, head lifted and watching. 
Broad strokes of its rounded back
and short legs, found on a karst 
wall in Leang Tedongnge. Now 
it's the oldest-known animal 
cave painting. But why, 
as I read about it, does my brain 
think party pig? Perhaps it reminds 
me of Andy Warhol's Fiesta Pig: 
ballet-slipper-pink, nosing around 
in the excess of some post-bacchanalian 
frenzy. Migration in packs, in the wild,
through curtains of berries and matted
roots. They're mostly feral, but sometimes 
give in. When caught and semi-domesticated, 
penned next to banana groves. As far 
north as Mindanao and Palawan, they've
been found to interbreed with the common
pig. Six facial warts and a bristly 
snout; short ivory tusks. Singed 
and bled, the white understory of fat
renders itself before you plunge 
a bare arm in, then lift out 
garlanded organs dearest to the gods. 
Otherwise, why make a record? Why 
commemmorate what isn't an offering?
No one goes home without a portion.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and all the morning at the office with Sir R. Ford and the same company as on Wednesday about my Lady Batten’s accounts. At noon home to dinner, where my poor wife in bed in mighty pain, her left cheek so swelled as that we feared it would break, and so were fain to send for Mr. Hollier, who come, and seems doubtful of the defluxions of humours that may spoil her face, if not timely cured. He laid a poultice to it and other directions, and so away, and I to the office, where on the same accounts very late, and did come pretty near a settlement. So at night to Sir W. Pen’s with Sir R. Ford, and there was Sir D. Gawden, and there we only talked of sundry things; and I have found of late, by discourse, that the present sort of government is looked upon as a sort of government that we never had yet — that is to say, a King and House of Commons against the House of Lords; for so indeed it is, though neither of the two first care a fig for one another, nor the third for them both, only the Bishops are afeard of losing ground, as I believe they will. So home to my poor wife, who is in mighty pain, and her face miserably swelled: so as I was frighted to see it, and I was forced to lie below in the great chamber, where I have not lain many a day, and having sat up with her, talking and reading and pitying her, I to bed.

any doubt may spoil
directions to the sun

looked upon as a sort
of government

for neither the fig
nor for my poor face
miserably swelled

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 20 December 1667.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
The subject has a verb 
but there's protocol
to cover before you  
can properly apply it 
to an object. On the way, 
there are little eaves 
where you can tuck 
a modifier or adverb. 
On the way, you navigate
a multi-level house. 
There are low walls
which might separate 
a dog from its bark;  
the loveless salesman
in a story, from the giant 
insect into which he 
transforms upon waking.
A rabid mob roused 
to insurrection, from 
the logic of the law.
A few windows lean 
outward; prepositions 
as well as the occasional 
pronoun have been known 
to use them as slides
or escape hatches. 
War and peace, cake 
and pickles; diplomacy 
and treason. You make 
your way from one element 
to another, seeking a clear 
line against hockey sticks
and divisive indirection, 
out of the need to make 
sense of how exactly things 
relate to each other.



holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and to the Office, where Commissioner Middleton first took place at the Board as Surveyor of the Navy; and indeed I think will be an excellent officer; I am sure much beyond what his predecessor was. At noon, to avoid being forced to invite him to dinner, it being his first day, and nobody inviting him, I did go to the ’Change with Sir W. Pen in his coach, who first went to Guildhall, whither I went with him, he to speak with Sheriff Gawden — I only for company; and did here look up and down this place, where I have not been before since the fire; and I see that the city are got a pace on in the rebuilding of Guildhall. Thence to the ’Change, where I stayed very little, and so home to dinner, and there find my wife mightily out of order with her teeth. At the office all the afternoon, and at night by coach to Westminster, to the Hall, where I met nobody, and do find that this evening the King by message (which he never did before) hath passed several bills, among others that for the Accounts, and for banishing my Lord Chancellor, and hath adjourned the House to February; at which I am glad, hoping in this time to get leisure to state my Tangier Accounts, and to prepare better for the Parliament’s enquiries. Here I hear how the House of Lords, with great severity, if not tyranny, have ordered poor Carr, who only erred in the manner of the presenting his petition against my Lord Gerard, it being first printed before it was presented; which was, it, seems, by Colonel Sands’s going into the country, into whose hands he had put it: the poor man is ordered to stand in the pillory two or three times, and his eares cut, and be imprisoned I know not how long. But it is believed that the Commons, when they meet, will not be well pleased with it; and they have no reason, I think. Having only heard this from Mrs. Michell, I away again home, and there to supper and to bed, my wife exceeding ill in her face with the tooth ake, and now her face has become mightily swelled that I am mightily troubled for it.

beyond the peak
where I have not been
I see a city building out her teeth

here no other car
only the country

whose hands are believed
when they meet
face to face

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 19 December 1667.

A Switchback is a Road with Hairpin Turns

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
"...hill stations invariably owed their origin
and development to colonialism." ~ Robert R. Reed

There being no access at the time,
soldiers snaked up the mountain 
chain with pickaxes, envisioning 
a crown of cathedrals, quonset
huts of corrugated metal;
schoolhouses built of stone
and pine, where their long-
skirted women would undertake 
the duty of teaching poor 
native children the difference 
between primer and bible, naked 
and clothed. On the grounds 
of the country club, a sanatorium 
once stood; there, after bouts 
of coughing blood, convalescents 
found a routine of tea, camphor, 
and bed rest favorable; as well 
as the cold shimmer of evenings 
in those hills, streaked like peacock 
fans. Now, the place which used to be
my home all but creaks from within
the hollows of over-tunneled gold 
and copper mines. Moss can only patch
what hasn't been gutted by concrete
and steel. The lake named after
the famous architect spits out mud
and boat rides; on its oily surface, 
a fleet of rotting swans with rusted
oars. Inside those hills, perhaps
there's still a hurt of cypress
wind, the recitation of vesper
bells, a love you thought 
would outstay the dark braids 
of distance. I took what little 
I could, when I could. I'll measure
it out, try to make it last longer
than the trace of a vanished scent. 


Up, and to my goldsmith’s in the morning, to look after the providing of 60l. for Mr. Moore, towards the answering of my Lord Sandwich’s bill of exchange, he being come to be contented with my lending him 60l. in part of it, which pleases me, I expecting to have been forced to answer the whole bill; and this, which I do do, I hope to secure out of the plate, which was delivered into my custody of my Lord’s the other day by Mr. Cooke, and which I did get Mr. Stokes, the goldsmith, last night to weigh at my house, and there is enough to secure 100l.. Thence home to the office, and there all the morning by particular appointment with Sir W. Pen, Sir R. Ford, and those that are concerned for my Lady Batten (Mr. Wood, Young, and Lewes), to even the accounts of our prize business, and at noon broke up, and to dinner, every man to his own home, and to it till late at night again, and we did come to some end, and I am mightily put to it how to order the business of my bargaine, but my industry is to keep it off from discourse till the ship be brought home safe, and this I did do, and so we broke up, she appearing in our debts about 1500l., and so we parted, and I to my business, and home to my wife, who is troubled with the tooth ake, and there however I got her to read to me the History of Algiers, which I find a very pretty book, and so to supper with much pleasure talking, and to bed. The Parliament not adjourned yet.

morning sandwich
deliver me from discourse

till the ship be brought
home safe

and there read to me
the history of pleasure

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 December 1667.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
You're told worry is for things you can  
      do something about; but take care 
to spend only a fixed amount of time—  
      no more, no less— in pockets of panic
and despair. It's almost hard to breathe, 
      watching the mob of white men draped 
in furs and flags of infamy stroll 
      away from scenes of destruction
without reprimand or repercussion. So you 
      try to focus on this small ritual 
of washing and cooking rice. Between
      scooping a cupful from out of the plastic 
box under the sink and pouring the grains 
      sacred to every ancestor into the pot,
when they hit the bottom, you try to listen for
      the brief aria that sounds like rain and not
shards of broken glass flying out of a door-
      frame. When you swish the water around 
with your fingers just as you were taught
      (to loosen any bits of pebble or chaff 
from this pool of pearled glistening), you
      remember how you fed your brown babies 
the sweet foamy boil that rose to the top. 
      How to think of the future? On the counter, 
a nugget of ginger and stalks of green chive
      wait for the broad knife's swift partitioning.
You make the last small cuts and wipe down every-
      thing. The timer chimes. The thing about 
revolutions is how they start from dreams 
      of the not yet seen. The thing about change 
is how the not yet seen are the first to get on 
      their knees and clean up the broken things.



Up, and to the office, where very busy all the morning, and then in the afternoon I with Sir W. Pen and Sir T. Harvy to White Hall to attend the Duke of York, who is now as well as ever, and there we did our usual business with him, and so away home with Sir W. Pen, and there to the office, where pretty late doing business, my wife having been abroad all day with Mrs. Turner buying of one thing or other. This day I do hear at White Hall that the Duke of Monmouth is sick, and in danger of the smallpox. So home to supper and to bed.

ice on the road

a turn buying one
or other mouth
in danger of the pox

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 December 1667.


Up, and to several places, to pay what I owed. Among others, to my mercer, to pay for my fine camlott cloak, which costs me, the very stuff, almost 6l.; and also a velvet coat — the outside cost me above 8l.. And so to Westminster, where I find the House mighty busy upon a petition against my Lord Gerard, which lays heavy things to his charge, of his abusing the King in his Guards; and very hot the House is upon it. I away home to dinner alone with wife and girle, and so to the office, where mighty busy to my great content late, and then home to supper, talk with my wife, and to bed. It was doubtful to-day whether the House should be adjourned to-morrow or no.

several places cost me
the very outside

o my heavy house
alone with my doubt

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 December 1667.

The get

(Lord’s day). Up, and to church, where I heard a German preach, in a tone hard to be understood, but yet an extraordinary good sermon, and wholly to my great content. So home, and there all alone with wife and girle to dinner, and then I busy at my chamber all the afternoon, and looking over my plate, which indeed is a very fine quantity, God knows, more than ever I expected to see of my own, and more than is fit for a man of no better quality than I am. In the evening comes Mrs. Turner to visit us, who hath been long sick, and she sat and supped with us, and after supper, her son Francke being there, now upon the point of his going to the East Indys, I did give him “Lex Mercatoria,” and my wife my old pair of tweezers, which are pretty, and my book an excellent one for him. Most of our talk was of the great discourse the world hath against my Lady Batten, for getting her husband to give her all, and disinherit his eldest son; though the truth is, the son, as they say, did play the knave with his father when time was, and the father no great matter better with him, nor with other people also. So she gone, we to bed.

preach in a tone
hard as an old pair
of tweezers

against for-

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 December 1667.