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: 18

SURVIVAL
Survive the summer, crumbs of dead leaves dropped by the...

THE DREAM OF LAST NIGHT
dreamt of rain...

INHERITANCE
you are heir to a hidden philosophy...

LAST DAYS OF SUMMER
the long dry spell weakens everything...

THE HARVEST
late afternoon...

A MAN
as I left there stood a man...

TIMES/STEPS/FUTURE/TRADE
the times I saw...

untitled
blank page: no wreck yet...

OUR NEIGHBORHOOD THE UNIVERSE
a black hole is empty...

A SQUIRREL MAKES A MEAL OF ACORNS
it looks up and sees...

THE DIVER
the tomb lid sketch a naked man his body arched...

MY FIT
my old clothes carry my old shape...

12/31/10
will I be silenced? yes...

DRIVING BY
a field of crows in winter...

LOSS AND GAIN
the wind that took...

MY INQUIRY
do you piss first thing when you get up...

THREE QUESTIONS
the last cold night passed...

HEMLOCK BLUFFS ONCE AGAIN
along the ridge...

NEWS
somewhere peace has begun...

untitled
we are always...

MY ENVIRONMENT MINUS ME
looks around...

THE WORLD WE ARE NOT IN
the known world...

WORLD NEWS
everything is a containment vessel...

BORROWED THEME
leaf lying there...

3/18/11
moon up...

IN THE HIERARCHY OF POETS
I attempt to find my place...

BEGIN HERE
the light inches forward...

MORE
the old: as they shrink...

WHAT IT IS
something has chosen me for its disguise...

FOLLOW
the one who disguised himself as rain--...

MORNINGS LIKE THIS
inside me...

NIGHT
the spatter on the boards...

TO REASON
I love you because I am not like you...

TO THOSE OF A DISTANT PLANET
there as here...

ERIC RENSBERGER
The date and cause of his death are unknown to the present...

BETWEEN STORMS
the sparrow's hop...

REPORTING ON MYSELF
who tried hardest with me?...

HERE
Here where the alleys cross all the ground has been asphalted...

MY DISASTER PLAN
I will write about it...

WHAT WE HAVE
one sky becomes another...

I RECALL A JUNE DAY IN THE FIFTIES
brief as any...

5/30/11
the wind-felled trees piled in the open...

AFTER EASILY
I take with me ...

EARLY HEAT WAVE
the new moon takes its pincers...

I DON'T LOOK AT PHOTOGRAPHS
so there's no way I'll be inspired...

OF STONE, STONE
to speak of stone...

PURSUIT
the zodiacal beasts bounding...

WE HAVE TO PROCEED CAUTIOUSLY
no one else must ever know what...

INSTANT
lightning that touches earth...

untitled
one stone with one name...

A UNIVERSE
upward is more or less forever...

YELLOW CREEK
each spring the plowing...

LEAVES AND RAIN
the leaves in the wind make a sound like rain...

LISTENING TO A TRAVELER
there you go in the dark...

THE LOSERS
when the bud can no longer strain against...

MY FATHER'S GRADUATION PORTRAIT
your youth faded far more swiftly...

POEM NOT DONE
two thirds...

THE PRESENT MOMENT
overall I'd have to say...

ORCHESTRAL ACCOMPANIMENT
the cicadas' strict song...

HOPE
Never easy in his mind, that man still keeps hoping. It's true:...

AT THE WINDOW LOOKING OUT
a narrow street comes to mind...

 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.