ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

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  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 10

FRESH START
the author of many leaves...

I ASK YOU
what I am about to do and what...

untitled
The work defines itself, pulls itself...

LARRY MILLER
when you call back there to order the flowers...

ADDENDUM TO LARRY MILLER
punched him in the stomach once...

MY FORTY-NINTH BIRTHDAY
the balance point between years...

THE DROUGHT
if the drought means anything we haven't been told...

I SPEND
hours alone with my books...

SO FAR AS I CAN
the trees at night stretch out...

ANGEL MOUND
stone spades hammers awls...

untitled
sleep drunk from a glass of sleep...

EAST
East, innocence, enormous, a blush over half the sky. Now that...

WHAT IS FUCKED UP ABOUT THIS
is a question that can be answered...

CAN'T STOP TALKING
sat so still you noticed...

SETTLEMENT
1....

PAUSE ON THE ROAD IN CUMBERLAND GAP TENNESSEE
It was speed, the technology of rapidity, that made the nation pos-...

ON THE STAIRS IN THE DARK
it is late to be starting again...

THREE SLEEPS
a sleep that wanders...

WINTER PRAISES
of abandoned nests...

untitled
what will always be true?...

KEEPING AT IT
I recite the alphabet in the traditional way...

TALKING TO THE STONES
I am living before you dissolve...

NOT LAMENTING
a lament I am forbidden to speak...

A:
I think it's that I always had the feeling that what is really true,...

HAVE COME HERE
even when I'm late...

THE DAY AFTER THE DAY AFTER
a place in the paperwork...

7/25/00
beetles crushed between my fingers...

MY CURRENT MOOD
certain observations have broken their heads...

STILL
making no effort if I can...

GOLDFINCH ON A WIRE
black line in his feet...

SUMMER PRAISES
the ground-filling rain...

LISTENING TO
the music that keeps me up late...

THE STONE BOAT
that sled of thick oak planks...

DISAPPOINTMENT
under the shade of the words I wrote...

AUGUST
the fields with their fine catch...

AT THE ENCORE CAFE
with your roast potatoes...

WANDERING POEM
on the road...

MY VACANCY
the old hours come back...

untitled
I protest...

8/3/01
when I go inside...

ONE MOTION
swifts of the city come and go...

THE YEAR OF MY ABSENCE
a number of stones under my feet...

REFUSAL
I am awake now...

11/26/01
in the dark before dawn the stars...

WINTER GENESIS I
mornings on this stone seat...

WINTER GENESIS II
under cold tree branches stacked stones outline...

 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.