Drinking alone beneath the sun

Up, and by water to White Hall and St. James’s, where I did much business, and about noon meeting Dr. Gibbons, carried him to the Sun taverne, in King Street, and there made him, and some friends of his, drink; among others, Captain Silas Taylor, and here did get Gibbons to promise me some things for my flageolets. So to the Old Exchange, and then home to dinner, and so, Mercer dining with us, I took my wife and her and Deb. out to Unthanke’s, while I to White Hall to the Commissioners of the Treasury, and so back to them and took them out to Islington, where we met with W. Joyce and his wife and boy, and there eat and drank, and a great deal of his idle talk, and so we round by Hackney home, and so to sing a little in the garden, and then to bed.

water and sun
friends of drink
promise me a change

I miss joy
and idle talk
in the garden

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 3 August 1668

Darkness at noon

(Lord’s day). Up and at home all the morning, hanging, and removing of some pictures, in my study and house. At noon Pelling dined with me. After dinner, I and Tom, my boy, by water up to Putney, and there heard a sermon, and many fine people in the church. Thence walked to Barne Elmes, and there, and going and coming, did make the boy read to me several things, being now-a-days unable to read myself anything, for above two lines together, but my eyes grow weary. Home about night, and so to supper and then to bed.

a hanging at noon
many fine people there

going and coming
make me unable to read myself

two lines together
grow a night

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 2 August 1668

To Carry, as One Carries the Impossible in a Dream

~ after Rodin

"It was discovered the best way to combat
Sadness was to make your sadness a door."
                                                      (Terrance Hayes)

Evenings are doors. And mornings.
They ping at the hinges like struck
metal, they grate at the touch
as if from exhaustion.  Leaning 
toward the first solid column of light, 
you sense the colder undercurrent.
You could press yourself deeper
into stone. You could hunch over 
some more, like the caryatids.
They've been told this is noble
or beautiful: how they carry the base
and level for the plinth, for the pitch 
of the roof. No one asks of the heart
inside how it fills or empties in this role.



All the morning at the office. After dinner my wife, and Deb., and I, to the King’s house again, coming too late yesterday to hear the prologue, and do like the play better now than before; and, indeed, there is a great deal of true wit in it, more than in the common sort of plays, and so home to my business, and at night to bed, my eyes making me sad.

morning a too-late prologue to night
my eyes making me sad

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 1 August 1668


"Where rode the Bird
The Silence tied..."
~ Emily Dickinson

The angels of silence 
sculpt themselves into stone.

Which of them knows 
our origins, our multitudes?

We put in front of them
also our own silences.

We don't mention
what we've learned—

their overlove 
for immutability;  

their penchant for cold 

One day our hands made 
tatters, and enclosures 

collapsed. Suddenly, 
a heaven candled with light.


Up, and at my office all the morning. About noon with Mr. Ashburnham to the new Excise Office, and there discoursed about our business, and I made him admire my drawing a thing presently in shorthand: but, God knows! I have paid dear for it, in my eyes. Home and to dinner, and then my wife and Deb. and I, with Sir J. Minnes, to White Hall, she going hence to the New Exchange, and the Duke of York not being in the way, Sir J. Minnes and I to her and took them two to the King’s house, to see the first day of Lacy’s “Monsieur Ragou,” now new acted. The King and Court all there, and mighty merry — a farce. Thence Sir J. Minnes giving us, like a gentleman, his coach, hearing we had some business, we to the Park, and so home. Little pleasure there, there being little company, but mightily taken with a little chariot that we saw in the street, and which we are resolved to have ours like it. So home to walk in the garden a little, and then to bed.
The month ends mighty sadly with me, my eyes being now past all use almost; and I am mighty hot upon trying the late printed experiment of paper tubes.

the new excise made
my wing a hand

my house a riot
in the street

my past
an experiment

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 31 July 1668


Up, and by water to White Hall. There met with Mr. May, who was giving directions about making a close way for people to go dry from the gate up into the House, to prevent their going through the galleries; which will be very good. I staid and talked with him about the state of the King’s Offices in general, and how ill he is served, and do still find him an excellent person, and so back to the office. So close at my office all the afternoon till evening, and then out with my wife to the New Exchange, and so back again.

water me
I may go dry
without sin

how do I find
a person to lose
my ice with

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 30 July 1668

All the Days Behind This One

Every labyrinth hides
in the ordinary. 

A letter in faded script on brown 
paper, folded three times, precisely.

The kitchen drawer that leads
to a case of unused cutlery.

A birdcage with rusted perches
that held pairs of blue-feathered birds.

A tiny keepsake box 
of wedding tokens, with the label 

"And we lived happily ever after."