ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

sequence #
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 1

NIGHT FEAR
you said fire...

BLUE TWEED WITH FLECKS
Help in unlikely places...

TWELVE USES OF AN ABANDONED SPIDERWEB
it can be removed with a gesture...

FOUR CHAMBERS
links the heart...

LOCUSTS, ETC.
they do eat after all, for the oak...

untitled
came to you...

BIG KILL IN THE SUBURBS
lawns smooth as mint icing...

ADOPTION
"Do you know Carlos?____ What is your relationship to him?"...

MUSING
your red sneakers get bigger...

HOW IS IT
let it be night on the Muscatatuck...

APRIL
empty play...

POLITICAL POEM
The landlord of the opposing house...

WALKING
grasshopper flight...

MEN
The sale barn: sweat, cigars,...

IMPERFECT POEM
I have nothing to say to you now...

!
You poets of the on/off guard...

OFFER
Guy in a blue shirt...

SIDE WALK
Between the streetlamps there are regions of dark. You can't...

WHY WE SAY
good...

STUDY
we took the measure...

LANDSCAPE: WEATHER BECOMING DOLPHY
evidence of high wind...

FROM THE TRAIN
Tom, when the red light blinking...

THE STRANGER
Him, the stranger walking toward you, he's the one you take...

INSTEAD OF EATING
I could take a walk I could...

THEFT OF A LINE FROM ORR
I am older...

PROPHECY
They shall be raised...

AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE
the sirens, the steps on the sidewalk,...

PORTRAIT
He comes up the street,...

MY BIRTHDAY
in the belly of night...

8/27/89
my notebook is heavy...

SHOPPING
It is important to tie your...

I HAVE NOT LOVED ENOUGH
I am so intimate...

REPLY
. . . the kind of woman who lets her ...

MY GIFT
the struggle to maintain...

HE SITS DOWN
M the cripple feels his legs unhinge,...

CLOSE CALL
Uniformed and well-armed bullies...

M THE MURDERER
That man locked in an argument with his wife, the young girl...

EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE AFRAID
The junkie looks in a window...

MY HOUSE
The bushes are growing up around my house,...

NEW TUBES
plugging in the 1955 Gibson amp...

THEFT OF A LINE FROM MONTALE
The obstinate news, the turbulence...

NAKED AGAIN
It's night and I'm naked again...

FOR SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE
I wear my pants...

IN MY ILLNESS
my thirst my fever...

BACK WAY HOME
blackness in the center of my eye...

POEM POEM
my words from black...

untitled
her head turned to one side...

THE VISITORS
they come to us mostly...

MY SON
my son never born...

EARLY WINTER
first snow fall...

SLEEPY
the fat snow...

DOWN THE HALL, TURN LEFT
my room with the standing lights...

10/5/89
Here...

WISH
my feet cold in thin shoes...

COMPARED TO WHICH
Truth is an apple...

TELEPHONE
out of the length of your hair...

REQUEST
let me borrow blindness...

SUNDAY
the big stones, the little stones...

POEM OF WATER
I want to be a different kind of water...

THE AFFLICTED
That man has ears but he does not hear...

LOOKING
between two mirrors...

 Account of My Days is the name I have given to the project I have been working on since 1985. I was working on it, adding to it, for several years before I realized what I was doing or had a name for it. The title and the method that went with it came to me at roughly the same time; it became a way of working forward from that point, as well.

There are two rules I followed in constructing  Account of My Days:
     1) Finish one poem before beginning another.
     2) Keep the poems in the same order they were written.

Once the rules were established, I could allow myself exceptions. Rule number one has been subject to frequent re-interpretation, so that I find myself working on three or four poems at the same time, telling myself I must because the first one in the series is being stubborn and slow. Rule number two I have never varied in any significant way, though when two or more poems have emerged from the same mess of jottings it has sometimes been a problem to decide the order of priority for them. But I have principles I use to guide these decisions.

A third rule emerged as I kept writing: No changes later. This has eased my work considerably as the collection has grown and the perspective of time yields fresh regrets unforeseen at the time of composition. Occasionally I have allowed myself to correct a typo or edit a word that was put down with exceptional thoughtlessness. For the most part, though, the poems are untouched by further reflection.

The most arbitrary custom I have developed is the division of  Account of My Days into "sequences"--it is a habit developed from reading books, and soothes me with its rhythm.

I admit that my method allows mistakes and failure to be included in the final outcome. In addition to failure, the other major elements of the account are changes of direction, improvisation, self-doubt, and time.

Once, challenged by a friend, I had to defend the title against the contents. This is an account of my days, not  the account of my days. Another could be written. It is about self-revelation, self-evasion, and self-construction; restlessness, attempts to reason, answers, refusals to answer, outbursts...

The "I" of this account is a doubtful character. It could be me, it could be someone else. Another Eric has appeared to me here--insistent, surrounded by a perfect silence that is the counterpart and echo of his intense speech. He is in a comedy that does not always amuse him. This person has become a companion to me, speaking reminders in my ear as I walk again where he has walked. In some sense a guide, but in another someone who needs to be restrained from taking all he claims. My interesting friend.