Getting religion

All the morning, after musique practice, in my cellar, ordering some alteracons therein, being much pleased with my new door into the back yard. So to dinner, and all the afternoon thinking upon business. I did by night set many things in order, which pleased me well, and puts me upon a resolution of keeping within doors and minding my business and the business of the office, which I pray God I may put in practice.
At night to bed.

morning in my cell—
the door to many doors
I pray God to be

Erasure haiku derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 31 January 1661/62.

Proverbial (8)

Fast-day for the murthering of the late King. I went to church, and Mr. Mills made a good sermon upon David’s words, “Who can lay his hands upon the Lord’s Anoynted and be guiltless?” So home and to dinner, and employed all the afternoon in my chamber, setting things and papers to rights, which pleased me very well, and I think I shall begin to take pleasure in being at home and minding my business. I pray God I may, for I find a great need thereof. At night to supper and to bed.

Murdering words
can be guiltless,
and the afternoon paper may find
great need of night.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 30 January 1661/62.

Mamasapano Elegy

“Give orders
to give orders.”
~ D. Bonta

Again, too soon, news of hard mourning:
bulletins of treachery and broken peace,
choppers returned from airlifting the fallen.

Do you want to view the dead
enveloped in their coffins? Hands
folded on chests, medals pinned;

grommets fastening the plackets,
holding the body’s riddled remains
in place. In place: which is to say,

jurisdiction has been ceded to another.
Kiangan, Kodiamat, Kayob, Dulnuan, Cayang-o—
look through the glass at their name plates;

mutilated beyond recognition, bodies and faces
now entered in the pantheon of the state. O widow,
o fiancee draped across the casket like a flag,

perhaps there is some other ritual that could
quell this flood of grief, but not here, not yet.
Renditions of loyalty unto death in every pledge—

Seek, Rescue, Save (Maghanap, Sumagip, Magligtas): motto pinned
to their dark berets. And on each badge: flourish of wings
unfurled, flanking a hard-edged blade. Tell, tell anyway:

versions of truth to the state’s machine, to
wage a war against its indifference. Each death
exacts a higher price, a bloodier coin, each time;

you’ll never fathom the cost of sacrifice.
Zero: the score for peace the powerful never really want.


In response to Via Negativa: Statecraft.


To Westminster, and at the Parliament door spoke with Mr. Coventry about business, and so to the Wardrobe to dinner, and thence to several places, and so home, where I found Mrs. Pen and Mrs. Rooth and Smith, who played at cards with my wife, and I did give them a barrel of oysters, and had a pullet to supper for them, and when it was ready to come to table, the foolish girl had not the manners to stay and sup with me, but went away, which did vex me cruelly. So I saw her home, and then to supper, and so to musique practice, and to bed.

The war
found a root
at my supper table—
no manners but
a cruel music.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 29 January 1661/62.

Lesson in humility

This morning (after my musique practice with Mr. Berkenshaw) with my wife to the Paynter’s, where we staid very late to have her picture mended, which at last is come to be very like her, and I think well done; but the Paynter, though a very honest man, I found to be very silly as to matter of skill in shadows, for we were long in discourse, till I was almost angry to hear him talk so simply. So home to dinner and then to the office, and so home for all night.

After music,
the painter at last
is like an honest shadow
angry to hear of night.

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 28 January 1661/62.

The second crop

This entry is part 12 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2014-15


always comes later— always lies
beneath detritus or the skin of matter;
dead leaves, the fecal, the stuff composted
and left behind when the sweet new rice
or corn was gathered beneath the moon.
Those first white pearls, those little
milky teeth that brown backs bent
to husk and skim: in burlap sacks,
only their shadows trickle down to fill
the mouths that truly hunger.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.


This morning, both Sir Williams and I by barge to Deptford-yard to give orders in businesses there; and called on several ships, also to give orders, and so to Woolwich, and there dined at Mr. Falconer’s of victuals we carried ourselves, and one Mr. Dekins, the father of my Morena, of whom we have lately bought some hemp. That being done we went home again.
This morning, going to take water upon Tower-hill, we met with three sleddes standing there to carry my Lord Monson and Sir H. Mildmay and another, to the gallows and back again, with ropes about their necks; which is to be repeated every year, this being the day of their sentencing the King.

Give orders
to give orders.
A falcon on the hill or a gallows—
which is king?

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 27 January 1661/62.

Short stack

The card you picked says
it is not a good day for a gown
edged in wedding-cake pink and flowers.
Nor is it a good day for Brazilian
body waxing, camouflage suits, or a skirmish
between police commandos and rebels
in the fields of Mindanao.


In response to Via Negativa: Royal Flush.