Seaside cottage

Up betimes and by water to St. James’s, and there visited Mr. Coventry as a compliment after his new coming to town, but had no great talk with him, he being full of business. So back by foot through London, doing several errands, and at the ‘Change met with Mr. Cutler, and he and I to a coffee-house, and there discoursed, and he do assure me that there is great likelyhood of a war with Holland, but I hope we shall be in good condition before it comes to break out. I like his company, and will make much of his acquaintance.
So home to dinner with my wife, who is over head and eares in getting her house up, and so to the office, and with Mr. Lewes, late, upon some of the old victuallers’ accounts, and so home to supper and to bed, up to our red chamber, where we purpose always to lie. This day I received a letter from Mr. Barlow, with a Terella, which I had hoped he had sent me, but to my trouble I find it is to present from him to my Lord Sandwich, but I will make a little use of it first, and then give it him.

time to visit but no talk in us
and the land becomes like company

her house on the sand will make
little use of it

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 2 October 1663.

Letter to sorrow

Sorrow, thick as a tongue
in my mouth tonight, crackling
rind soaked in salt and vinegar;
heavy as a shawl wound tight
around my bodice, pressing
the light of the moon
from my eyes— Why do you
take me to bed with you,
sorrow, yet keep me
from sleep? Why do you
surreptitiously stick me
in the ribs to make me remember
where I’ve hidden away my last
small store of heirlooms,
and force me to give them up
to you? I have forfeited all
the best days of my youth,
all the profit from the work
of my hands. And yet you want
even the network of tiny
flowering veins in the center
of my palm, the leftover futures
that now no gypsy will want
to read. I go on my knees,
weep wounding, invisible
tears— I have no more gifts
but this cloud of rain, blue-
green as vines in my hair.

Industry and Reward

Dear salt, dear silt
in the eye of the nacred
interior, how much
time did it take
to make that beautiful
shell for your tears?

I too have dreams
of living closer
to the water’s surface,
where the net shimmers
and the light is caught.
I want to place cool

palms on either side
of my face without feeling
my head might explode; want
smooth relief like the skin
of an apple, or even like
a small marble of milk.


In response to Via Negativa: Breadwinner.


Up and betimes to my office, and then to sit, where Sir G. Carteret, Sir W. Batten, Sir W. Pen, Sir J. Minnes, Mr. Coventry and myself, a fuller board than by the King’s progresse and the late pays and my absence has been a great while.
Sat late, and then home to dinner. After dinner I by water to Deptford about a little business, and so back again, buying a couple of good eeles by the way, and after writing by the post, home to see the painter at work, late, in my wife’s closet, and so to supper and to bed, having been very merry with the painter, late, while he was doing his work.
This day the King and Court returned from their progress.

my absence
at dinner after dinner
ate me up

work is an ogre

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 1 October 1663.