Writing and difference

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and abroad about several things, among others to see Mr. Peter Honiwood, who was at my house the other day, and I find it was for nothing but to pay me my brother John’s Quarterage. Thence to see Mrs. Turner, who takes it mighty ill I did not come to dine with the Reader, her husband, which, she says, was the greatest feast that ever was yet kept by a Reader, and I believe it was well. But I am glad I did not go, which confirms her in an opinion that I am growne proud.
Thence to the ‘Change, and to several places, and so home to dinner and to my office, where till 12 at night writing over a discourse of mine to Mr. Coventry touching the Fishermen of the Thames upon a reference of the business by him to me concerning their being protected from presse.
Then home to supper and to bed.

in the wood who was
my other brother

who takes it ill
I come to read

I say the reader and I
change places

writing over is a sin
to the press


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 3 March 1665.

Fosterage

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Begun this day to rise betimes before six o’clock, and, going down to call my people, found Besse and the girle with their clothes on, lying within their bedding upon the ground close by the fireside, and a candle burning all night, pretending they would rise to scoure. This vexed me, but Besse is going and so she will not trouble me long. Up, and by water to Burston about my Lord’s plate, and then home to the office, so there all the morning sitting. At noon dined with Sir W. Batten (my wife being gone again to-day to buy things, having bought nothing yesterday for lack of Mrs. Pierces company), and thence to the office again, where very busy till 12 at night, and vexed at my wife’s staying out so late, she not being at home at 9 o’clock, but at last she is come home, but the reason of her stay I know not yet. So shut up my books, and home to supper and to bed.

the lying fire
burning all night
pretending to scour

but having nothing
to come home to


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 2 March 1665.

Bog body

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up, and this day being the day that, by a promise, a great while ago, made to my wife, I was to give her 20l. to lay out in clothes against Easter, she did, notwithstanding last night’s falling out, come to peace with me and I with her, but did boggle mightily at the parting with my money, but at last did give it her, and then she abroad to buy her things, and I to my office, where busy all the morning. At noon I to dinner at Trinity House, and thence to Gresham College, where Mr. Hooke read a second very curious lecture about the late Comett; among other things proving very probably that this is the very same Comett that appeared before in the year 1618, and that in such a time probably it will appear again, which is a very new opinion; but all will be in print.
Then to the meeting, where Sir G. Carteret’s two sons, his owne, and Sir N. Slaning, were admitted of the society: and this day I did pay my admission money, 40s. to the society.
Here was very fine discourses and experiments, but I do lacke philosophy enough to understand them, and so cannot remember them. Among others, a very particular account of the making of the several sorts of bread in France, which is accounted the best place for bread in the world.
So home, where very busy getting an answer to some question of Sir Philip Warwicke touching the expense of the navy, and that being done I by coach at 8 at night with my wife and Mercer to Sir Philip’s and discoursed with him (leaving them in the coach), and then back with them home and to supper and to bed.

in the night bog
I part with my road
curious about other things

I lack philosophy enough
to understand bread
or the question of touch


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 1 March 1665.

Strange kitchen

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

At the office all the morning. At noon dined at home. After dinner my wife and I to my Lady Batten’s, it being the first time my wife hath been there, I think, these two years, but I had a mind in part to take away the strangenesse, and so we did, and all very quiett and kind.
Come home, I to the taking my wife’s kitchen accounts at the latter end of the month, and there find 7s. wanting, which did occasion a very high falling out between us, I indeed too angrily insisting upon so poor a thing, and did give her very provoking high words, calling her beggar, and reproaching her friends, which she took very stomachfully and reproached me justly with mine; and I confess, being myself, I cannot see what she could have done less. I find she is very cunning, and when she least shews it hath her wit at work; but it is an ill one, though I think not so bad but with good usage I might well bear with it, and the truth is I do find that my being over-solicitous and jealous and forward and ready to reproach her do make her worse. However, I find that now and then a little difference do no hurte, but too much of it will make her know her force too much. We parted after many high words very angry, and I to my office to my month’s accounts, and find myself worth 1270l., for which the Lord God be praised!
So at almost 2 o’clock in the morning I home to supper and to bed.
And so ends this month, with great expectation of the Hollanders coming forth, who are, it seems, very high and rather more ready than we. God give a good issue to it!

a strange kitchen
the stomach

it cannot make too much
for the land


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 28 February 1665.

Phenomenology of the liver

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

~ after “Alchemy or the Useless Science” (1958), Remedios Varo

Seven bottled elixirs
for each day of the week.
Work, and the checkerboard

of days I wrap more tightly
around me, as nights fall one
by one. Through the walls,

the gospel of eternal
calibration piped in as
music. I take what’s

delivered, and flush out
what refuses to dissolve.
I’ve lost count of how many

thousand rotations,
the slurry of beats
in the rooms above.

Phenomenology of interiors

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

~ after “Mimetismo” (Mimesis), 1960; Remedios Varo

Sometimes the furniture absconds
with my nightclothes, lets in
a fleet of curious clouds.

I have taught strings the secrets
of incremental levitation. Blending in
with the chair’s tapestry cover, I become

one tree in an orchard still glowing from
its last encounter with fire. When I am still,
don’t think my heart has vacated its post.

I’ve simply moved it into a less
conspicuous place. It glows from time
to time, reassuring me that it’s still there.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Backward river.

Widower’s song

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Up and to St. James’s, where we attended the Duke as usual. This morning I was much surprized and troubled with a letter from Mrs. Bland, that she is left behind, and much trouble it cost me this day to find out some way to carry her after the ships to Plymouth, but at last I hope I have done it. At noon to the ‘Change to inquire what wages the Dutch give in their men-of-warr at this day, and I hear for certain they give but twelve guilders at most, which is not full 24s., a thing I wonder at. At home to dinner, and then in Sir J. Minnes’s coach, my wife and I with him, and also Mercer, abroad, he and I to White Hall, and he would have his coach to wait upon my wife on her visits, it being the first time my wife hath been out of doors (but the other day to bathe her) several weeks.
We to a Committee of the Council to discourse concerning pressing of men; but, Lord! how they meet; never sit down: one comes, now another goes, then comes another; one complaining that nothing is done, another swearing that he hath been there these two hours and nobody come. At last it come to this, my Lord Annesly, says he, “I think we must be forced to get the King to come to every committee; for I do not see that we do any thing at any time but when he is here.” And I believe he said the truth and very constant he is at the council table on council-days; which his predecessors, it seems, very rarely did; but thus I perceive the greatest affair in the world at this day is likely to be managed by us. But to hear how my Lord Barkeley and others of them do cry up the discipline of the late times here, and in the former Dutch warr is strange, wishing with all their hearts that the business of religion were not so severely carried on as to discourage the sober people to come among us, and wishing that the same law and severity were used against drunkennesse as there was then, saying that our evil living will call the hand of God upon us again. Thence to walk alone a good while in St. James’s Parke with Mr. Coventry, who I perceive is grown a little melancholy and displeased to see things go as they do so carelessly.
Thence I by coach to Ratcliffe highway, to the plate-maker’s, and he has begun my Lord Sandwich’s plate very neatly, and so back again. Coming back I met Colonell Atkins, who in other discourse did offer to give me a piece to receive of me 20 when he proves the late news of the Dutch, their drowning our men, at Guinny, and the truth is I find the generality of the world to fear that there is something of truth in it, and I do fear it too.
Thence back by coach to Sir Philip Warwicke’s; and there he did contract with me a kind of friendship and freedom of communication, wherein he assures me to make me understand the whole business of the Treasurer’s business of the Navy, that I shall know as well as Sir G. Carteret what money he hath; and will needs have me come to him sometimes, or he meet me, to discourse of things tending to the
serving the King: and I am mighty proud and happy in becoming so known to such a man. And I hope shall pursue it.
Thence back home to the office a little tired and out of order, and then to supper and to bed.

she left behind
her road and her doors
her never sit down
her nothing her no
body

the discipline
of her religion
sober and drunk

her living hand
melancholy as a careless gun
her fear her truth

her contract with me
to make whole


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 27 February 1665.

Book Trailer by Swoon (Marc Neys): The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

Swoon (aka Marc Neys) is a Belgian video-artist and soundcreator who is, in the words of Dave Bonta, one of the most “prolific and (obviously) fast-moving, …one of the most inventive and interesting artists working in the medium” today. I have so much respect for his work, and also the great good fortune of having Swoon produce a book trailer for my new collection out this week from Phoenicia Publishing, The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis.

I am also eternally grateful to Via Negativa founder and co-blogger Dave Bonta for making possible the connection to Swoon and a host of other creatives all over the world. It’s going on the eighth year of my daily poetry writing practice at Via Negativa— let me just say that when I started, I couldn’t even imagine how many full length collections and chapbooks would come out of it.

Swoon and I have collaborated before on at least 5 other video poems, which are viewable at Moving Poems— including “Foretold,” a poem I wrote in response to a “first draft” of Swoon’s video used as a prompt in the Poetry Storehouse First Anniversary Contest; and “Trauermantel” (which he turned into a triptych of video poems to include my 2 other poems “Mortal Ghazal” and “Oir.” 

This is the book trailer that Swoon (Marc Neys) produced. I hope you enjoy it, and that you will follow more of his work and visit his blog. Please also visit Phoenicia Publishing for information on how to order the book.