Up, and to the office, and thence to the Duke of Richmond’s lodgings by his desire, by letter, yesterday. I find him at his lodgings in the little building in the bowling-green, at White Hall, that was begun to be built by Captain Rolt. They are fine rooms. I did hope to see his lady, the beautiful Mrs. Stuart, but she, I hear, is in the country. His business was about his yacht, and he seems a mighty good-natured man, and did presently write me a warrant for a doe from Cobham, when the season comes, bucks season being past. I shall make much of this acquaintance, that I may live to see his lady near. Thence to Westminster, to Sir R. Longs Office: and, going, met Mr. George Montagu, who talked and complimented me mightily; and long discourse I had with him, who, for news, tells me for certain that Trevor do come to be Secretary at Michaelmas, and that Morrice goes out, and he believes, without any compensation. He tells me that now Buckingham does rule all; and the other day, in the King’s journey he is now on, at Bagshot, and that way, he caused Prince Rupert’s horses to be turned out of an inne, and caused his own to be kept there, which the Prince complained of to the King, and the Duke of York seconded the complaint; but the King did over-rule it for Buckingham, by which there are high displeasures among them; and Buckingham and Arlington rule all. Thence by water home and to dinner, and after dinner by water again to White Hall, where Brouncker, W. Pen, and I attended the Commissioners of the Treasury about the victualling-contract, where high words between Sir Thomas Clifford and us, and myself more particularly, who told him that something, that he said was told him about this business, was a flat untruth. However, we went on to our business in, the examination of the draught, and so parted, and I vexed at what happened, and Brouncker and W. Pen and I home in a hackney coach. And I all that night so vexed that I did not sleep almost all night, which shows how unfit I am for trouble. So, after a little supper, vexed, and spending a little time melancholy in making a base to the Lark’s song, I to bed.

green when the season comes
I believe again

that old untruth
of a melancholy lark

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 9 September 1668

Other Amenities are Extra

You know how when you arrive in a place
you aren't from and it's either raining

or there's torrents of sunlight, 
and the people that greet you say Oh

you've brought the {       } weather with you!
And of course you're not the author

of such changes in the atmosphere,
only of the particular grammar 

of the narrative you're simmering in
at any given moment. Teacup clouds

swirl or settle and you don't remember
if you're supposed to read the message

before or after you drink the liquid.
One morning you wake up thinking beauty 

beauty beauty or {         } while offering 
a plate of inelegant flesh to the mirror.  

Is it true that exiles and refugees are more
tender in the gut? You only know the bed

you were shown since your arrival. Good
utility. Working toilet. View of parking lot. 

Immigrant Ghazal

Dear tufted seed lying in the maw of thunder, I raise my cup to be blessed.
Which isn't the same as raising my right hand to swear allegiance.

A hall filled with immigrants like me lined up in the spring cold, on the sidewalk.
Some clutched little flags, craned toward the endpoint of fearing allegiance.

Instead of a psalm, an invocation was read: all heads bowed—the turbaned,
the bareheaded, the veiled. Then the pledge, its own prayer of allegiance.

What nations, what lands, what republics did we all come from?
We haven't stopped arriving—we who are called to bear allegiance.

What Liberty holds isn't a cup of lightning. Torch-fire, shreds of old glory.
Flame to be fed more brilliance by immigrants like us who swear allegiance. 

Ad hoc

Up, and by water to White Hall, and to St. James’s, there to talk a little with Mr. Wren about the private business we are upon, in the Office, where he tells me he finds that they all suspect me to be the author of the great letter, which I value not, being satisfied that it is the best thing I could ever do for myself; and so, after some discourse of this kind more, I back to the Office, where all the morning; and after dinner to it again, all the afternoon, and very late, and then home to supper, where met W. Batelier and Betty Turner; and, after some talk with them, and supper, we to bed. This day, I received so earnest an invitation again from Roger Pepys, to come to Sturbridge-Fair that I resolve to let my wife go, which she shall do the next week, and so to bed. This day I received two letters from the Duke of Richmond about his yacht, which is newly taken into the King’s service, and I am glad of it, hoping hereby to oblige him, and to have occasions of seeing his noble Duchess, which I admire.

where to be the author of myself

where to be this out-take

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 8 September 1668

Green Dream

"In the dream where I am an island,
I grow green with hope. I'd like to end there."
                                        ~ Jericho Brown

I'd like not to end as the flashy green curtain 
of a northern dawn: elusive as too-distant smoke.
Give me the green of moss: spoon-leaved, 
heather-starred,  tamarisked; knight-plumed 

or pincushioned, pushing back against my hand. 
Or the green cup of absinthe, waiting to be doused 

in flame or sugar water. I lay my ear against 
the window of night, listening to the last green 

notes a bird carols in the wood. I run the song, flecked 
silver and green, like a mother-of-pearl comb through 

my hair. It's graying now, unspooling the years 
once taut and green. What it was at the beginning.


At the office all the morning, we met, and at noon dined at home, and after dinner carried my wife and Deb. to Unthanke’s, and I to White Hall with Mr. Gibson, where the rest of our officers met us, and to the Commissioners of the Treasury about the Victualling contract, but staid not long, but thence, sending Gibson to my wife, I with Lord Brouncker (who was this day in an unusual manner merry, I believe with drink), J. Minnes, and W. Pen to Bartholomew-Fair; and there saw the dancing mare again, which, to-day, I find to act much worse than the other day, she forgetting many things, which her master beat her for, and was mightily vexed; and then the dancing of the ropes, and also the little stage-play, which is very ridiculous, and so home to the office with Lord Brouncker, W. Pen, and myself (J. Minnes being gone home before not well), and so, after a little talk together, I home to supper and to bed.

on a mission to drink
I forget many things

dancing with myself
after a little talk together

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 7 September 1668


(Lord’s day). Up betimes, and got myself ready to go by water, and about nine o’clock took boat with Henry Russell to Gravesend, coming thither about one, where, at the Ship, I dined; and thither come to me Mr. Hosier, whom I went to speak with, about several businesses of work that he is doing, and I would have him do, of writing work, for me. And I did go with him to his lodging, and there did see his wife, a pretty tolerable woman, and do find him upon an extraordinary good work of designing a method of keeping our Storekeeper’s Accounts, in the Navy. Here I should have met with Mr. Wilson, but he is sick, and could not come from Chatham to me. So, having done with Hosier, I took boat again the beginning of the flood, and come home by nine at night, with much pleasure, it being a fine day. Going down I spent reading of the “Five Sermons of Five Several Styles,” worth comparing one with another: but I do think, when all is done, that, contrary to the design of the book, the Presbyterian style and the Independent are the best of the five sermons to be preached in; this I do, by the best of my present judgment think, and coming back I spent reading of a book of warrants of our office in the first Dutch war, and do find that my letters and warrants and method will be found another gate’s business than this that the world so much adores, and I am glad for my own sake to find it so. My boy was with me, and read to me all day, and we sang a while together, and so home to supper a little, and so to bed.

grave where I went
to speak with him
a boat in the flood
an ache for my own bed

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 6 September 1668