Scripted

Up, and to the office, where, Sir W. Pen being ill of the gout, we all of us met there in his parlour and did the business of the office, our greatest business now being to manage the pay of the ships in order and with speed to satisfy the Commissioners of the Treasury. This morning my brother set out for Brampton again, and is gone. At noon home to dinner, and thence my wife and I and Willet to the Duke of York’s house, where, after long stay, the King and Duke of York come, and there saw “The Coffee-house,” the most ridiculous, insipid play that ever I saw in my life, and glad we were that Betterton had no part in it. But here, before the play begun, my wife begun to complain to me of Willet’s confidence in sitting cheek by jowl by us, which was a poor thing; but I perceive she is already jealous of my kindness to her, so that I begin to fear this girle is not likely to stay long with us. The play done, we home by coach, it being moonlight, and got well home, and I to my chamber to settle some papers, and so to supper and to bed.

this morning my insipid life
is like a long play

in moonlight
I am paper

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 15 October 1667.

Portrait, with Daughters & Constellation

There were years they disappeared

into the loamy caverns of rooms,

their beds piled with comforters

& unfolded clothes, gum wrappers

in the depths of backpacks,

hair bouquets in hairbrushes,

earrings with missing pairs.

Sometimes light was a lure,

other times an intrusion.

They went in, angular

& bristly; mercurial,

most spectacular when ill-

at-ease. When they emerged,

their legs were smooth

from foam & shavers;

their jaws, set in a line

sleek as the edges of smart-

phones. You couldn't pluck

a lyre to bribe them from

the depths, but you waited

for that time in the future

when they'd look at the night

sky & finally recognize how

Cassiopeia was both right

side up & upside down; when one

day, they might see you wandering

the frozen fields—alone & still

in search of ransom.

Sinner

Up, and by water to White Hall, and thence walked to St. James’s, and there to Mr. Wren’s; and he told me that my business was done about my warrant on the Maybolt Galliott; which I did see, and though it was not so full in the reciting of my services as the other was in that of Sir W. Pen’s, yet I was well pleased with it, and do intend to fetch it away anon. Thence with Sir Thomas Allen, in a little sorry coach which he hath set up of late, and Sir Jeremy Smith, to White Hall, and there I took water and went to Westminster Hall, and there hear that the House is this day again upon the business of giving the King the thanks of the House for his speech, and, among other things, for laying aside of my Lord Chancellor. Thence I to Mrs. Martin’s, where by appointment comes to me Mrs. Howlett, which I was afraid was to have told me something of my freedom with her daughter, but it was not so, but only to complain to me of her son-in-law, how he abuses and makes a slave of her, and his mother is one that encourages him in it, so that they are at this time upon very bad terms one with another, and desires that I would take a time to advise him and tell him what it becomes him to do, which office I am very glad of, for some ends of my own also con sa fille, and there drank and parted, I mightily satisfied with this business, and so home by water with Sir W. Warren, who happened to be at Westminster, and there I pretty strange to him, and little discourse, and there at the office Lord Bruncker, W. Pen, T. Hater and I did some business, and so home to dinner, and thence I out to visit Sir G. Carteret and ladies there; and from him do understand that the King himself (but this he told me as a great secret) is satisfied that this thanks which he expects from the House, for the laying aside of my Lord Chancellor, is a thing irregular; but, since it is come into the House, he do think it necessary to carry it on, and will have it, and hath made his mind known to be so, to some of the House. But Sir G. Carteret do say he knows nothing of what my Lord Bruncker told us to-day, that the King was angry with the Duke of York yesterday, and advised him not to hinder what he had a mind to have done, touching this business; which is news very bad, if true. Here I visited my Lady Carteret, who hath been sick some time, but now pretty well, but laid on her bed. Thence to my Lord Crew, to see him after my coming out of the country, and he seems satisfied with some steps they have made in my absence towards my Lord Sandwich’s relief for money: and so I have no more to do, nor will trouble myself more about it till they send for me. He tells me also that the King will have the thanks of the House go on: and commends my Lord Keeper’s speech for all but what he was forced to say, about the reason of the King’s sending away the House so soon the last time, when they were met, but this he was forced to do. Thence to Westminster Hall, and there walked with Mr. Scowen, who tells me that it is at last carried in the House that the thanks shall be given to the King — among other things, particularly for the removal of my Lord Chancellor; but he tells me it is a strange act, and that which he thinks would never have been, but that the King did insist upon it, that, since it come into the House, it might not be let fall. After walking there awhile I took coach and to the Duke of York’s House, and there went in for nothing into the pit, at the last act, to see Sir Martin Marrall, and met my wife, who was there, and my brother, and W. Hewer and Willett, and carried them home, still being pleased with the humour of the play, almost above all that ever I saw. Home, and there do find that John Bowles is not yet come thither. I suppose he is playing the good fellow in the town. So to the office a while, and then home to supper and to bed.

again to howl
rage and desire
that happen in secret

some touch of absence
or strange act that would
never have been

but that I insist upon a fall
for in the pit I met
my brother owl

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 14 October 1667.

The Next World

Though the river calls 
and the road still shows
its face, you're afraid 

you'll never
again see the crest 
of Mt. Cabuyao. 

The orange groves, 
the throats of belled 
trumpet flowers; the tongues 

of snapdragons that children's 
fingers forced apart in the park. 
What is this except 

an introduction to that longer
twilight? Fog drifting through trees, 
thick as the skin of heated milk; 

words you once wrote in pencil
on a windowsill overtaken by moss. 
Even before crossing, what 

moves you to believe 
in a language that might last longer
than our sense of importance?


  



 

Out-of-Body Experience

Traveling in a foreign country, away
from your hometown, you remain

a stranger until you come to the first
door that opens and you are taken in. 

When they ask you to sit down
and have some food, a glass 

of water, that's when you think 
it might be possible to make a country 

out of your loneliness. As on a piece 
of indigo fabric: you can guide 

embroidery thread in cross- 
and running stitches over the spots 

time has mangled or torn. Did you talk 
to yourself, wandering in a new city 

where your name meant only the infinite 
anonymous? The story of how you arrived 

grows a few more pages. The signs 
point to the last place a bleating 

animal was flayed and quartered, its guts
festooned in trees to celebrate arrival 

or departure. Metallic blood-smell, 
a heap of discarded skin in the fire. 

Cutaway

(Lord’s day). Up, and by water to White Hall, and thence walked to Sir W. Coventry’s lodgings, but he was gone out, so I to St. James’s, and there to the Duke of York’s chamber: and there he was dressing; and many Lords and Parliament-men come to kiss his hands, they being newly come to town. And there the Duke of York did of himself call me to him, and tell me that he had spoke to the King, and that the King had granted me the ship I asked for; and did, moreover, say that he was mightily satisfied with my service, and that he would be willing to do anything that was in his power for me: which he said with mighty kindness; which I did return him thanks for, and departed with mighty joy, more than I did expect. And so walked over the Park to White Hall, and there met Sir H. Cholmly, who walked with me, and told me most of the news I heard last night of the Parliament; and thinks they will do all things very well, only they will be revenged of my Lord Chancellor; and says, however, that he thinks there will be but two things proved on him; and that one is, that he may have said to the King, and to others, words to breed in the King an ill opinion of the Parliament — that they were factious, and that it was better to dissolve them: and this, he thinks, they will be able to prove; but what this will amount to, he knows not. And next, that he hath taken money for several bargains that have been made with the Crown; and did instance one that is already complained of: but there are so many more involved in it, that, should they unravel things of this sort, every body almost will be more or less concerned. But these are the two great points which he thinks they will insist on, and prove against him. Thence I to the Chapel, and there heard the sermon and a pretty good anthem, and so home by water to dinner, where Bowles and brother, and a good dinner, and in the afternoon to make good my journal to this day, and so by water again to White Hall, and thence only walked to Mrs. Martin’s, and there sat with her and her sister and Borroughs and did tocar la prima, and there drank and talked and away by water home, and there walked with Sir W. Pen, and told him what the Duke of York told me to-day about the ship I begged; and he was knave enough, of his own accord, but, to be sure, in order to his own advantage, to offer me to send for the master of the vessel, “The Maybolt Galliott,” and bid him to get her furnished as for a long voyage, and I to take no notice of it, that she might be the more worth to me: so that here he is a very knave to the King, and I doubt not his being the same to me on occasion. So in a doors and supped with my wife and brother, W. Hewer, and Willett, and so evened with W. Hewer for my expenses upon the road this last journey, and do think that the whole journey will cost me little less than 18l. or 20l., one way or other; but I am well pleased with it, and so after supper to bed.

a kiss is more mighty
than the news

I hear words dissolve
and a crow unravel an anthem

I make my journal
out of the whole journey

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 13 October 1667.

Partisanal

Up, and eat our breakfast, and set out about nine o’clock, and so to Barnett, where we staid and baited, the weather very good all day and yesterday, and by five o’clock got home, where I find all well; and did bring my gold, to my heart’s content, very safe home, having not this day carried it in a basket, but in our hands: the girl took care of one, and my wife another bag, and I the rest, I being afraid of the bottom of the coach, lest it should break, and therefore was at more ease in my mind than I was yesterday. At home we find that Sir W. Batten’s burial was to-day carried from hence, with a hundred or two of coaches, to Walthamstow, and there buried. Here I hear by Mr. Pierce the surgeon; and then by Mr. Lewes, and also by Mr. Hater, that the Parliament hath met on Thursday last, and adjourned to Monday next. The King did make them a very kind speech, promising them to leave all to them to do, and call to account what and whom they pleased; and declared by my Lord Keeper how many, thirty-six, actes he had done since he saw them; among others, disbanding the army, and putting all Papists out of employment, and displacing persons that had managed their business ill, that the Parliament is mightily pleased with the King’s speech, and voted giving him thanks for what he said and hath done; and, among things, would by name thank him for displacing my Lord Chancellor, for which a great many did speak in the House, but it was opposed by some, and particularly Harry Coventry, who got that it should be put to a Committee to consider what particulars to mention in their thanks to the King, saying that it was too soon to give thanks for the displacing of a man, before they knew or had examined what was the cause of his displacing. And so it rested; but this do shew that they are and will be very high; and Mr. Pierce do tell me that he fears, and do hear, that it hath been said among them, that they will move for the calling my Lord Sandwich home, to bring him to account; which do trouble me mightily; but I trust it will not be so. Anon comes home Sir W. Pen from the burial, and he and I to walk in the garden, where he did confirm the most of this news, and so to talk of our particular concernments, and among the rest he says that Lady Batten and her children-in-law are all broke in pieces, and that there is but 800l. found in the world, of money; and is in great doubt what we shall do towards the doing ourselves right with them, about the prize-money. This troubles me, but we will fall to work upon that next week close. Then he tells me he did deliver my petition into the hands of Sir W. Coventry, who did take it with great kindness and promised to present it to the Duke of York, and that himself has since seen the Duke of York, but it was in haste, and thinks the Duke of York did tell him that the thing was done, but he is confident that it either is or will be done. This do please me mightily. So after a little talk more I away home to supper with John Bowles and brother and wife (who, I perceive, is already a little jealous of my being fond of Willet, but I will avoid giving her any cause to continue in that mind, as much as possible), and before that did go with Sir W. Pen to my Lady Batten, whom I had not seen since she was a widow, which she took unkindly, but I did excuse it; and the house being full of company, and of several factions, she against the children, and they against one another and her, I away, and home to supper, and after supper to bed.

heart carried in a basket
lest it should break
or ease my burial

we are displacing ourselves with money
we close hands and continue
as factions

against the children
against one another
and away to bed

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 12 October 1667.

Ossuary, with Open Window

Dear black-crowned night
heron, dear studded tree, dear love 
dripping with rainwater whose names 
                   we address ambiguously— 

Dear lullaby which underwrites 
the language as well  
         as the dream—

A meteor might fall through the ether,
a vine might yet lose all its leaves 
upon the cold ground 
               but you've buried me

before my death, planted your hoard
of red seeds in my mouth;
                          and now

no one comes to barter 
with a god, no one combs
through wreckage  
                 for the silk

thread of pity— While on the other side,
the world goes on, admiring 
         its own fragments—
 

Conquistador

And then rose and called W. Hewer, and he and I, with pails and a sieve, did lock ourselves into the garden, and there gather all the earth about the place into pails, and then sift those pails in one of the summer-houses, just as they do for dyamonds in other parts of the world; and there, to our great content, did with much trouble by nine o’clock (and by the time we emptied several pails and could not find one), we did make the last night’s forty-five up seventy-nine: so that we are come to about twenty or thirty of what I think the true number should be; and perhaps within less; and of them I may reasonably think that Mr. Gibson might lose some: so that I am pretty well satisfied that my loss is not great, and do bless God that it is so well, and do leave my father to make a second examination of the dirt, which he promises he will do, and, poor man, is mightily troubled for this accident, but I declared myself very well satisfied, and so indeed I am; and my mind at rest in it, being but an accident, which is unusual; and so gives me some kind of content to remember how painful it is sometimes to keep money, as well as to get it, and how doubtful I was how to keep it all night, and how to secure it to London: and so got all my gold put up in bags. And so having the last night wrote to my Lady Sandwich to lend me John Bowles to go along with me my journey, not telling her the reason, that it was only to secure my gold, we to breakfast, and then about ten o’clock took coach, my wife and I, and Willet, and W. Hewer, and Murford and Bowles (whom my Lady lent me), and my brother John on horseback; and with these four I thought myself pretty safe. But, before we went out, the Huntingdon musick come to me and played, and it was better than that of Cambridge. Here I took leave of my father, and did give my sister 20s. She cried at my going; but whether it was at her unwillingness for my going, or any unkindness of my wife’s, or no, I know not; but, God forgive me! I take her to be so cunning and ill-natured, that I have no great love for her; but only [she] is my sister, and must be provided for. My gold I put into a basket, and set under one of the seats; and so my work every quarter of an hour was to look to see whether all was well; and I did ride in great fear all the day, but it was a pleasant day, and good company, and I mightily contented. Mr. Shepley saw me beyond St. Neots, and there parted, and we straight to Stevenage, through Bald Lanes, which are already very bad; and at Stevenage we come well before night, and all sat, and there with great care I got the gold up to the chamber, my wife carrying one bag, and the girl another, and W. Hewer the rest in the basket, and set it all under a bed in our chamber; and then sat down to talk, and were very pleasant, satisfying myself, among other things, from John Bowles, in some terms of hunting, and about deere, bucks, and does. And so anon to supper, and very merry we were, and a good supper, and after supper to bed. Brecocke alive still, and the best host I know almost.

we sieve all the earth
just for diamonds

parts of the world dirt poor
for gold

I thought myself safe
before the music played

as if we might eat
one another and live

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 11 October 1667.