…to sleep till 5 o’clock, when it is now very dark, and then rose, being called up by order by Mr. Marlow, and so up and dressed myself, and by and by comes Mr. Lashmore on horseback, and I had my horse I borrowed of Mr. Gillthropp, Sir W. Batten’s clerke, brought to me, and so we set out and rode hard and was at Nonsuch by about eight o’clock, a very fine journey and a fine day. There I come just about chappell time and so I went to chappell with them and thence to the several offices about my tallys, which I find done, but strung for sums not to my purpose, and so was forced to get them to promise me to have them cut into other sums. But, Lord! what ado I had to persuade the dull fellows to it, especially Mr. Warder, Master of the Pells, and yet without any manner of reason for their scruple. But at last I did, and so left my tallies there against another day, and so walked to Yowell, and there did spend a peece upon them, having a whole house full, and much mirth by a sister of the mistresse of the house, an old mayde lately married to a lieutenant of a company that quarters there, and much pleasant discourse we had and, dinner being done, we to horse again and come to Greenwich before night, and so to my lodging, and there being a little weary sat down and fell to order some of my pocket papers, and then comes Captain Cocke, and after a great deal of discourse with him seriously upon the disorders of our state through lack of men to mind the public business and to understand it, we broke up, sitting up talking very late. We spoke a little of my late business propounded of taking profit for my money laid out for these goods, but he finds I rise in my demand, he offering me still 500l. certain. So we did give it over, and I to bed. I hear for certain this night upon the road that Sir Martin Noell is this day dead of the plague in London, where he hath lain sick of it these eight days.

the lash of a hard day
without any mirth

an old quarter horse
comes to a standstill in the road

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 29 September 1665.

The Hollow (7)

This entry is part 7 of 48 in the series The Hollow


the descent beckons
in three directions
old charcoal haul roads


crossroads deep in moss

a ladder of fungi climbs
a nearby snag


namaste means
I bow to the divine in you

lightning-struck oak


it’s not true
that lightning never strikes twice

spears of heartwood

Field Notes

What choice has the ox when it comes
to the edge of the field but turn

and walk to the other end? I am always
trying to balance the weight of the yoke,

the way it slides down shoulders
from the friction of years. Even when

it’s put away, I have a manner
of walking that signals furrow

and stubble before I open my mouth.
If a dove touches down, if a phoenix

or a tongue of flame in the middle
of the field, I’d feed it whatever

it is I carry if I knew how. How to hear
the sound of a different color? The bright-

ness of copper or gold, the shimmer
in the pause of just standing still.


Up, and being mightily pleased with my night’s lodging, drank a cup of beer, and went out to my office, and there did some business, and so took boat and down to Woolwich (having first made a visit to Madam Williams, who is going down to my Lord Bruncker) and there dined, and then fitted my papers and money and every thing else for a journey to Nonsuch to-morrow. That being done I walked to Greenwich, and there to the office pretty late expecting Captain Cocke’s coming, which he did, and so with me to my new lodging (and there I chose rather to lie because of my interest in the goods that we have brought there to lie), but the people were abed, so we knocked them up, and so I to bed, and in the night was mightily troubled with a looseness (I suppose from some fresh damp linen that I put on this night), and feeling for a chamber-pott, there was none, I having called the mayde up out of her bed, she had forgot I suppose to put one there; so I was forced in this strange house to rise and shit in the chimney twice; and so to bed and was very well again, and…

I drank a beer and went off
on everything

no one expecting me
to lie to the people

I was loose
I put on feeling

called up for this strange use
to shit in the well

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 28 September 1665.

The Hollow (6)

This entry is part 6 of 48 in the series The Hollow


they must love the milk
that makes them so bad-tasting

milkweed bugs


memorial bench

all the young trees
it shelters now


the fog still lingers
in a funnel spider’s web

deertongue grass


the “creep” in “creeper”

battened to a locust trunk
by a thousand tentacles

“If they can kiss you, they can kill you”

~ after Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

They can tell you that you need
to dismantle what they’ve just

watched you build. One by one,
every last beam and board.

The square of concrete laid
on the earth. And after you’ve

done what they want, they can still
slap another fine on top of that.

History is a long record of the same
words stacked from a common playlist.

Farmers in bean and garlic fields, men
sorting fish in canneries. You’re told

nothing hums in the desert though you’ve
coaxed green to life with your brown hands.

Nothing blinks in the sky, not even the god
of water— so you dig your own wells

even in the throes of death. But first
the heel of a spade is a spoon is a one-

way ticket to some part of the world
you’re allowed to shine with your spit.


Up, and saw and admired my wife’s picture of our Saviour, now finished, which is very pretty. So by water to Greenwich, where with Creed and Lord Rutherford, and there my Lord told me that he would give me 100l. for my pains, which pleased me well, though Creed, like a cunning rogue, hath got a promise of half of it from me. We to the King’s Head, the great musique house, the first time I was ever there, and had a good breakfast, and thence parted, I being much troubled to hear from Creed, that he was told at Salsbury that I am come to be a great swearer and drinker, though I know the contrary; but, Lord! to see how my late little drinking of wine is taken notice of by envious men to my disadvantage. I thence to Captain Cocke’s, [and] (he not yet come from town) to Mr. Evelyn’s, where much company; and thence in his coach with him to the Duke of Albemarle by Lambeth, who was in a mighty pleasant humour; there the Duke tells us that the Dutch do stay abroad, and our fleet must go out again, or to be ready to do so. Here we got several things ordered as we desired for the relief of the prisoners, and sick and wounded men. Here I saw this week’s Bill of Mortality, wherein, blessed be God! there is above 1800 decrease, being the first considerable decrease we have had.
Back again the same way and had most excellent discourse of Mr. Evelyn touching all manner of learning; wherein I find him a very fine gentleman, and particularly of paynting, in which he tells me the beautifull Mrs. Middleton is rare, and his own wife do brave things. He brought me to the office, whither comes unexpectedly Captain Cocke, who hath brought one parcel of our goods by waggons, and at first resolved to have lodged them at our office; but then the thoughts of its being the King’s house altered our resolution, and so put them at his friend’s, Mr. Glanvill’s, and there they are safe. Would the rest of them were so too! In discourse, we come to mention my profit, and he offers me 500l. clear, and I demand 600l. for my certain profit. We part to-night, and I lie there at Mr. Glanvill’s house, there being none there but a maydeservant and a young man; being in some pain, partly from not knowing what to do in this business, having a mind to be at a certainty in my profit, and partly through his having Jacke sicke still, and his blackemore now also fallen sicke. So he being gone, I to bed.

no creed
pleased me like music

though my own road
is a wound

I saw mortality touching all things
but the night

not knowing is an art—
a black one

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 27 September 1665.

The Hollow (5)

This entry is part 5 of 48 in the series The Hollow


ark     ark

so many ways of saying here
in Raven


the aging spruces
still stand where we planted them

their insurgent roots


rings of mushrooms
between the lines of trees

one woodfern waving


shaggy manes

imagine the sweet release
of autodigestion

The Hollow (4)

This entry is part 4 of 48 in the series The Hollow


in the purple-stemmed
jungle of pokeweed
last year’s skeletons


goldenrod meadow

forty acres and a wren


the somewhere else
that is also here

ridge after ridge


too big to hide
the spider draws in her legs
and turns to gemstone

Cento: Earth & Air

Look at us, she said. We are all of us in this room
still waiting to be transformed.

the lake a lake, the bird a bird, or but a fake
shadow, a half-thing?

face stamped
into a coin, what’s left of the body
in the belly of a bird

We lay on rugs on spongy moss
huddled for warmth

blooded to rustfruit, eyebright

I have a poem in which the universe is like a vocal cord

There was
no deeper meaning.


Source Texts:
Louise Gluck, “An Endless Story”
Michael Farrell, “Verlaine in the Lake”
Sam Sax, “Bury”
James Harpur, “The Perseids”
Nam Le, “Aubade”
Alice Notley, “Why Are You Writing These”
Sandra Lim, “Chanson Douce”