What news

All the morning almost at home, seeing my stairs finished by the painters, which pleases me well. So with Mr. Moore to Westminster Hall, it being term, and then by water to the Wardrobe, where very merry, and so home to the office all the afternoon, and at night to the Exchange to my uncle Wight about my intention of purchasing at Brampton. So back again home and at night to bed.
Thanks be to God I am very well again of my late pain, and to-morrow hope to be out of my pain of dirt and trouble in my house, of which I am now become very weary.
One thing I must observe here while I think of it, that I am now become the most negligent man in the world as to matters of news, insomuch that, now-a-days, I neither can tell any, nor ask any of others.

Morning air pleases me,
and water at night.
I am out of dirt and trouble
now that I am become negligent
as to matters of news.
Ask another.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 19 June 1661.


Behind the grille
of the confessional,
who listened to our
reconstructions of sin
and shortcoming? Who
took it upon himself
to say what merited
a decade, two decades,
three, four, five
of murmured prayer
in punishment?


In response to Via Negativa: Listen.


All this morning at home vexing about the delay of my painters, and about four in the afternoon my wife and I by water to Captain Lambert’s, where we took great pleasure in their turret-garden, and seeing the fine needle-works of his wife, the best I ever saw in my life, and afterwards had a very handsome treat and good musique that she made upon the harpsicon, and with a great deal of pleasure staid till 8 at night, and so home again, there being a little pretty witty child that is kept in their house that would not let us go without her, and so fell a-crying by the water-side. So home, where I met Jack Cole, who staid with me a good while, and is still of the old good humour that we were of at school together, and I am very glad to see him. He gone, I went to bed.

All this vexing afternoon
with a child crying
at school—
I am he.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 18 June 1661.

The art of parting

Visited this morning by my old friend Mr. Ch. Carter, who staid and went to Westminster with me, and there we parted, and I to the Wardrobe and dined with my Lady. So home to my painters, who are now about painting my stairs. So to the office, and at night we all went to Sir W. Pen’s, and there sat and drank till 11 at night, and so home and to bed.

My friend and I,
we part, painters
painting stairs
to the night
all night.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 17 June 1661.


(Lord’s day). But no purser coming in the morning for them, and I hear that the Duke went last night, and so I am at a great loss what to do; and so this day (though the Lord’s day) staid at home, sending Will up and down to know what to do. Sometimes thinking to continue my resolution of sending by the carrier to be at Deal on Wednesday next, sometimes to send them by sea by a vessel on purpose, but am not yet come to a resolution, but am at a very great loss and trouble in mind what in the world to do herein. The afternoon (while Will was abroad) I spent in reading “The Spanish Gypsey,” a play not very good, though commended much. At night resolved to hire a Margate Hoy, who would go away to-morrow morning, which I did, and sent the things all by him, and put them on board about 12 this night, hoping to have them as the wind now serves in the Downs to-morrow night.
To-bed with some quiet of mind, having sent the things away.

No purse, the ear
will know
what to do.
Sometimes at sea,
a great loss
would go away on the wind
in the quiet of things.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 16 June 1661.

Hunger: A zuihitsu

How long does the heart hold in its knotted-up angers? Five bitter knobs of green plum on a plate, to dip in salt.


The taste of glutamates and nucleotides. In other words, what’s savory stands out from a background— gash of seawater in a runnel of sand.


Chilled water in a metal cup. The white flesh of a coconut, young flag swirling to the bottom.


What is the condition of wanting something you have no name for yet? I scanned the grocery store shelves, the produce bins— and registered only the color green.


My love dropped a rind, a disc of volatile oils, into the broth. Far away, a hundred mouths opened in an orchard awash with amber.


Some days, I feel as though I skim only the surface. There are so many things to mend, to read, to wash, to pay.


I stacked loose granite slates against the rotted wood of the shed. Before they took them away, the animals had made a bed in one corner, and left their droppings in another.


Is it my imagination when I say I remember the way water, soup, cold milk coursed down my throat— to flood the ducts ending at my nipples, positioned in my nursing daughter’s mouth?


We did not see how the moon hung larger than a hive, a paper lantern, a parchment dish. And yet we ate from it nightly.


In response to Via Negativa: Missing.


My father came and drank his morning draft with me, and sat with me till I was ready, and so he and I about the business of the cloth. By and by I left him and went and dined with my Lady, who, now my Lord is gone, is come to her poor housekeeping again. Then to my father’s, who tells me what he has done, and we resolved upon two pieces of scarlet, two of purple, and two of black, and 50l. in linen.
I home, taking 300l. with me home from Alderman Backwell’s. After writing to my Lord to let him know what I had done I was going to bed, but there coming the purser of the King’s yacht for victualls presently, for the Duke of York is to go down to-morrow, I got him to promise stowage for these things there, and so I went to bed, bidding Will go and fetch the things from the carrier’s hither, which about 12 o’clock were brought to my house and laid there all night.

He drank his business.
I left him
my poor housekeeping,
my scar of purple,
my purse—I promise—
and my house all night.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 15 June 1661.


To Whitehall to my Lord’s, where I found Mr. Edward Montagu and his family come to lie during my Lord’s absence. I sent to my house by my Lord’s order his shipp and triangle virginall. So to my father’s, and did give him order about the buying of this cloth to send to my Lord. But I could not stay with him myself, for having got a great cold by my playing the fool in the water yesterday I was in great pain, and so went home by coach to bed, and went not to the office at all, and by keeping myself warm, I broke wind and so came to some ease. Rose and eat some supper, and so to bed again.

Where is my absence?
My house is virginal;
I could not stay with myself.
Cold water went home to ice
and wind to a rose bed.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 14 June 1661.