Refuge

Up and to Sir G. Carteret’s house, and with him by coach to Whitehall. He uses me mighty well to my great joy, and in our discourse took occasion to tell me that as I did desire of him the other day so he desires of me the same favour that we may tell one another at any time any thing that passes among us at the office or elsewhere wherein we are either dissatisfied one with another, and that I should find him in all things as kind and ready to serve me as my own brother. This methinks was very sudden and extraordinary and do please me mightily, and I am resolved by no means ever to lose him again if I can. He told me that he did still observe my care for the King’s service in my office.
He set me down in Fleet Street and thence I by another coach to my Lord Sandwich’s, and there I did present him Mr. Barlow’s “Terella,” with which he was very much pleased, and he did show me great kindnesse, and by other discourse I have reason to think that he is not at all, as I feared he would be, discontented against me more than the trouble of the thing will work upon him. I left him in good humour, and I to White Hall, to the Duke of York and Mr. Coventry, and there advised about insuring the hempe ship at 12 per cent., notwithstanding her being come to Newcastle, and I do hope that in all my three places which are now my hopes and supports I may not now fear any thing, but with care, which through the Lord’s blessing I will never more neglect, I don’t doubt but to keep myself up with them all. For in the Duke, and Mr. Coventry, my Lord Sandwich and Sir G. Carteret I place my greatest hopes, and it pleased me yesterday that Mr. Coventry in the coach (he carrying me to the Exchange at noon from the office) did, speaking of Sir W. Batten, say that though there was a difference between them, yet he would embrace any good motion of Sir W. Batten to the King’s advantage as well as of Mr. Pepys’ or any friend he had. And when I talked that I would go about doing something of the Controller’s work when I had time, and that I thought the Controller would not take it ill, he wittily replied that there was nothing in the world so hateful as a dog in the manger.
Back by coach to the Exchange, there spoke with Sir W. Rider about insuring, and spoke with several other persons about business, and shall become pretty well known quickly.
Thence home to dinner with my poor wife, and with great joy to my office, and there all the afternoon about business, and among others Mr. Bland came to me and had good discourse, and he has chose me a referee for him in a business, and anon in the evening comes Sir W. Warren, and he and I had admirable discourse. He advised me in things I desired about, bummary, and other ways of putting out money as in parts of ships, how dangerous they are.
And lastly fell to talk of the Dutch management of the Navy, and I think will helpe me to some accounts of things of the Dutch Admiralty, which I am mighty desirous to know.
He seemed to have been mighty privy with my Lord Albemarle in things before this great turn, and to the King’s dallying with him and others for some years before, but I doubt all was not very true. However, his discourse is very useful in general, though he would seem a little more than ordinary in this.
Late at night home to supper and to bed, my mind in good ease all but my health, of which I am not a little doubtful.

I am resolved to flee
to my sand castle

in which I may not fear anything
but time or anger

I shall be bland
as a discourse on ships

how dangerous it is to dally
with a little doubt


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 25 November 1663.

Whitelash

Fearsome historical angel,
you grasp at souls through every
transparency: bread that crumbles

in brown paper sacks, water
that runs through ancient pipes
to deliver its rust-tainted gift.

Clouds of gunpowder drift
through streets where the armless
burn effigies and raise their fists.

High in the hills, asterisks fall
from your frozen webs as though
we could pay wages with them.

There is so much you don’t know,
you whisper. You’re telling me,
I say. You’re telling me.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Robbed out

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon to the ‘Change, where everybody joyed me in our hemp ship’s coming safe, and it seems one man, Middleburgh, did give 20 per cent. in gold last night, three or four minutes before the newes came of her being safe.
Thence with Mr. Deane home and dined, and after dinner and a good deal of discourse of the business of Woolwich Yard, we opened his draught of a ship which he has made for me, and indeed it is a most excellent one and that that I hope will be of good use to me as soon as I get a little time, and much indebted I am to the poor man.
Toward night I by coach to Whitehall to the Tangier committee, and there spoke with my Lord and he seems mighty kind to me, but I will try him to-morrow by a visit to see whether he holds it or no. Then home by coach again and to my office, where late with Captain Miners about the East India business.
So home to supper and to bed, being troubled to find myself so bound as I am, notwithstanding all the physic that I take.
This day our tryall was with Field, and I hear that they have given him 29l. damage more, which is a strange thing, but yet not so much as formerly, nor as I was afeard of.

to see night in a safe
we open it a little

poor old miners
troubled to find no ore


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 24 November 1663.

Night is coming

~ after René Magritte, “L’empire des lumières” (“Empire of Light”)

A single lamp
burns in the street

The sky’s prism unrolls
handfuls of cigarette papers

and lights turn on
in the upstairs windows

In the middle of the day you hear
night’s trapezoid approaching

You want a flannel gown cut
out of pearl iridescence

A bowl of chopped greens
laced with milky cashews

A drink recalling the taste
of ice and summer peaches

before night turns you into
something other than yourself

and the dark green border over-
takes the tree standing on one leg

 

In response to Via Negativa: Seer.

Angel in the yard

Up and to Alderman Backwell’s, where Sir W. Rider, by appointment, met us to consult about the insuring of our hempe ship from Archangell, in which we are all much concerned, by my Lord Treasurer’s command. That being put in a way I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow, and thence to St. Paul’s Churchyarde, and there bespoke “Rushworth’s Collections,” and “Scobell’s Acts of the Long Parliament,” &c., which I will make the King pay for as to the office; and so I do not break my vow at all.
Back to the Coffee-house, and then to the ‘Change, where Sir W. Rider and I did bid 15 per cent., and nobody will take it under 20 per cent., and the lowest was 15 per cent. premium, and 15 more to be abated in case of losse, which we did not think fit without order to give, and so we parted, and I home to a speedy, though too good a dinner to eat alone, viz., a good goose and a rare piece of roast beef. Thence to the Temple, but being there too soon and meeting Mr. Moore I took him up and to my Lord Treasurer’s, and thence to Sir Ph. Warwick’s, where I found him and did desire his advice, who left me to do what I thought fit in this business of the insurance, and so back again to the Temple all the way telling Mr. Moore what had passed between my Lord and me yesterday, and indeed my fears do grow that my Lord will not reform as I hoped he would nor have the ingenuity to take my advice as he ought kindly. But however I am satisfied that the one person whom he said he would take leave to except is not Mr. Moore, and so W. Howe I am sure could tell him nothing of my letter that ever he saw it.
Here Mr. Moore and I parted, and I up to the Speaker’s chamber, and there met Mr. Coventry by appointment to discourse about Field’s business, and thence we parting I homewards and called at the Coffeehouse, and there by great accident hear that a letter is come that our ship is safe come to Newcastle. With this news I went like an asse presently to Alderman Backewell and, told him of it, and he and I went to the African House in Broad Street to have spoke with Sir W. Rider to tell him of it, but missed him. Now what an opportunity had I to have concealed this and seemed to have made an insurance and got 100l. with the least trouble and danger in the whole world. This troubles me to think I should be so oversoon.
So back again with Alderman Backewell talking of the new money, which he says will never be counterfeited, he believes; but it is deadly inconvenient for telling, it is so thick, and the edges are made to turn up.
I found him as full of business, and, to speak the truth, he is a very painfull man, and ever was, and now-a-days is well paid for it.
So home and to my office, doing business late in order to the getting a little money, and so home to supper and to bed.

the angel in the yard
will not break

nobody will take her advice
or have the ingenuity to take kindly

I am the one person
who would take nothing of her

art is all accident
like a road with deadly edges


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 23 November 1663.

Seer

(Lord’s day). Up pretty early, and having last night bespoke a coach, which failed me this morning, I walked as far as the Temple, and there took coach, and to my Lord’s lodgings, whom I found ready to go to chappell; but I coming, he begun, with a very serious countenance, to tell me that he had received my late letter, wherein first he took notice of my care of him and his honour, and did give me thanks for that part of it where I say that from my heart I believe the contrary of what I do there relate to be the discourse of others; but since I intended it not a reproach, but matter of information, and for him to make a judgment of it for his practice, it was necessary for me to tell him the persons of whom I have gathered the several particulars which I there insist on. I would have made excuses in it; but, seeing him so earnest in it, I found myself forced to it, and so did tell him Mr. Pierce; the chyrurgeon, in that of his Lordship’s living being discoursed of at Court; a mayd servant that I kept, that lived at Chelsy school; and also Mr. Pickering, about the report touching the young woman; and also Mr. Hunt, in Axe Yard, near whom she lodged. I told him the whole city do discourse concerning his neglect of business; and so I many times asserting my dutifull intention in all this, and he owning his accepting of it as such. That that troubled me most in particular is, that he did there assert the civility of the people of the house, and the young gentlewoman, for whose reproach he was sorry. His saying that he was resolved how to live, and that though he was taking a house, meaning to live in another manner, yet it was not to please any people, or to stop report, but to please himself, though this I do believe he might say that he might not seem to me to be so much wrought upon by what I have writ; and lastly, and most of all, when I spoke of the tenderness that I have used in declaring this to him, there being nobody privy to it, he told me that I must give him leave to except one. I told him that possibly somebody might know of some thoughts of mine, I having borrowed some intelligence in this matter from them, but nobody could say they knew of the thing itself what I writ. This, I confess, however, do trouble me, for that he seemed to speak it as a quick retort, and it must sure be Will. Howe, who did not see anything of what I writ, though I told him indeed that I would write; but in this, I think, there is no great hurt.
I find him, though he cannot but owne his opinion of my good intentions, and so, he did again and again profess it, that he is troubled in his mind at it; and I confess, I think I may have done myself an injury for his good, which, were it to do again, and that I believed he would take it no better, I think I should sit quietly without taking any notice of it, for I doubt there is no medium between his taking it very well or very ill.
I could not forbear weeping before him at the latter end, which, since, I am ashamed of, though I cannot see what he can take it to proceed from but my tenderness and good will to him.
After this discourse was ended, he began to talk very, cheerfully of other things, and I walked with him to White Hall, and we discoursed of the pictures in the gallery, which, it may be, he might do out of policy, that the boy might not see any, strangeness in him; but I rather think that his mind was somewhat eased, and hope that he will be to me as he was before. But, however, I doubt not when he sees that I follow my business, and become an honour to him, and not to be like to need him, or to be a burden to him, and rather able to serve him than to need him, and if he do continue to follow business, and so come to his right witts again, I do not doubt but he will then consider my faithfulnesse to him, and esteem me as he ought.
At chappell I had room in the Privy Seale pew with other gentlemen, and there heard Dr. Killigrew, preach, but my mind was so, I know not whether troubled, or only full of thoughts of what had passed between my Lord and me that I could not mind it, nor can at this hour remember three words. The anthem was good after sermon, being the fifty-first psalme, made for five voices by one of Captain Cooke’s boys, a pretty boy. And they say there are four or five of them that can do as much. And here I first perceived that the King is a little musicall, and kept good time with his hand all along the anthem.
Up into the gallery after sermon and there I met Creed. We saluted one another and spoke but not one word of what had passed yesterday between us, but told me he was forced to such a place to dinner and so we parted.
Here I met Mr. Povy, who tells me how Tangier had like to have been betrayed, and that one of the King’s officers is come, to whom 8,000 pieces of eight were offered for his part.
Hence I to the King’s Head ordinary, and there dined, good and much company, and a good dinner: most of their discourse was about hunting, in a dialect I understand very little.
Thence by coach to our own church, and there my mind being yet unsettled I could mind nothing, and after sermon home and there told my wife what had passed, and thence to my office, where doing business only to keep my mind employed till late; and so home to supper, to prayers, and to bed.

night is coming
and the whole city is in on it

though nobody told me
I know what I see

I sit quietly with the strangeness
my mind full of voices
like a dialect I understand nothing of


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 22 November 1663.

Making the Meat

This animal leathery in its hide,
snuffling in mud, noisy at dawn.

This animal tusked and gloved, trotting
the gravel path, yellowing snout to the wind.

This animal with its hide singed, turned in-
side out like a purse, entrails laid on the grass.

This animal turned on a spit, guttered
in fat, torched to a sheen.

This animal’s meat in your mouth
rank as ripe heat, full as a teat.

First Act

“When I reached the Che-La after fleeing Norbulingka, I turned back to gaze at Lhasa and looking in the direction of the Potala said, ‘Goodbye.” Later, I realised that I could have died, which wouldn’t have been of any help; instead we escaped and survived.” ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 2013

On the first day we pick the lint
from each other’s sleeves and pack them into balls;
this is mostly to make a distraction from tears.

On the fourth day someone speaks of inventory: by which
he means a listing of the ways in which parts of the world
that we know could not completely disappear in six months.

In a fortnight, the old appetites
of animals that prowled our dreams come out,
proclaiming the beginning of their holidays.

Out in the open,
the young continue to knit defiant fingers together.
They shield their beautiful children with green eyes

and mixed skin from whips of spittle sailing
out of some foaming mouth on the train station.
We sit with girls carrying their hearts

like birds inside floral headscarves.
We look for translators among us
for the construction worker

needing a course of physical therapy. Dolor
de hombro
means pain of the shoulder: so the doctor
says punch your arm up like you’re raising

a fist at a rally.
Make little crosses in the air
and when lightning tears across the proscenium

look around. We might not believe
in salvation but we can pull at the fabric
until all the remaining light from the sky falls in.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Renewal.

Golden dawn

At the office all the morning and at noon I receive a letter from Mr. Creed, with a token, viz., a very noble parti-coloured Indian gowne for my wife. The letter is oddly writ, over-prizing his present, and little owning any past service of mine, but that this was his genuine respects, and I know not what: I confess I had expectations of a better account from him of my service about his accounts, and so give his boy 12d., and sent it back again, and after having been at the pay of a ship this afternoon at the Treasury, I went by coach to Ludgate, and, by pricing several there, I guess this gowne may be worth about 12l. or 15l. But, however, I expect at least 50l. of him. So in the evening I wrote him a letter telling him clearly my mind, a copy of which I keep and of his letter and so I resolve to have no more such correspondence as I used to have but will have satisfaction of him as I do expect.
So to write my letters, and after all done I went home to supper and to bed, my mind being pretty well at ease from my letter to Creed, and more for my receipt this afternoon of 17l. at the Treasury, for the 17l. paid a year since to the carver for his work at my house, which I did intend to have paid myself, but, finding others to do it, I thought it not amisse to get it too, but I am afeard that we may hear of it to our greater prejudices hereafter.

a letter from the past
respects no expectation of
a better account

so I clear my mind of such
correspondence

I will have to carve other dice


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 21 November 1663.