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: 16

SPRING WET
so much rain...

WHAT WE FOUND
as held in a mouth...

READ RELAX WRITE
bees stumble out...

AGREEMENT
The cabdriver walking home from his ...

CALLING CROW
his wings keep moving...

untitled
the wood door held open in my hand...

REAL APRIL
what we call reality is a...

GARDENING NOTES
the opening where...

THE POEM
I was thinking standing at the top of the hill...

THREE RELATED POEMS
the moon's "clear fields"...

untitled
let me know what it's like...

HERE FILL THIS PART OUT
and I'll fill in the rest...

7/30/08
mud my friend from youth...

LIVING THINGS GIVE BACK WHAT THEY GATHER
grassy field seen through the tree stems...

LISTENING TO THE STORM
water...

THE WAY
feet on the way that flutters before us...

THE SAME
the earth has borrowed everything...

8/10/08
the worrying approaches of a hurricane or a birthday...

8/20/08
the marks on us...

THANKS TO THE MAKERS OF CUNEIFORM
the damp clay you marked...

FIRE
when and if the sparks...

USEFUL
the tremor is useful for mixing things...

A SINGLE CLOUD IN A DRY SEASON
the cloud passing east at sunset...

EARLY HOUR READING
the cicadas have been singing all night...

"ABOVE US ONLY SKY"
at night the activity...

ACCEPTS
summer comes to rest...

untitled
the rush of air overhead as I sleep...

MOONLIGHT
light streaming in every window...

ALLEGORICAL SCENE
the translators...

ME WALKING IN NATURE
Looking in all directions, no one to be seen: I am alone. Here ...

ME AND IT
I decide to set it aside for a few days...

TRILLION
bewilderment in the trillions...

10/10/08
no pride no complaints...

10/10/08, ALSO
three quarter moon...

WRITING WITH THE COLD HAND
a couple of pages back:...

HOW I'M THINKING NOW
half the day spent avoiding...

COMPARING
the way the trembling travels through me...

2/26/09
I don't have to try hard to act as though...

THESE POEMS
a poem for any day of the year ...

DESIRE
The circumference of the earth now widened enormously, a new...

I WATCH
a fire of dead branches...

ALL OF OUR LIFE IS TO REPEAT
all of our life is to repeat...

I INVESTIGATE
having touched many things...

I WAKE BEFORE DAWN
again...

SOMEONE WHISPERS IN THE EMPEROR'S EAR
and he knows what to say next...

TO AN ANT DROWNED IN HONEY
how gold...

THE LOWER AND THE HIGHER
when the lower lifts ...

EPISODE FROM A NARRATIVE
their morning...

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE
every stroke went through my hand first...

TRAVELS WITH
all of you take me with you...

THEFT OF A LINE FROM MERWIN
that hand moving a touch towards me...

WAS I
I had been beautiful once...

FAIR TRADE
the creek crossing under the road...

SAYINGS
all these roads bent here as if finding their reason lose it...

PARALLEL LIVES
oh ye of little wings...

SUMMARY TO THIS POINT
age a point...

MUSICIAN
the voice he has...

 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.