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: 19

FOLLOW AS A CONSEQUENCE
the migrators...

HIS EYES
Grant shades his eyes. He can see what could happen. He knows...

AT THE SOUTH UNION CEMETERY
my shadow entangled with the other shadows...

GINSENG
a pair of golden hands...

MY PRIZES MY AWARDS MY HONORS
that reading those decades ago...

IF I HAD TO
if I had to walk...

AFTER THE SUN HAS GONE DOWN
three bright things:...

DONE
the hand strokes...

10/14/11
a fire burns fiercely...

WHAT OTHERS THINK
no longer matters...

WHOLE LIFE
day of cold rain then late afternoon...

COMMUNICATION
I pray to God as if...

CHANGES
I had hoped to be different...

OUT FROM TO
out of love of self of family of books...

3x5 SNAPSHOT
Five Buzzards on the lawn, all related to me. The black clothing...

untitled
lax...

AFTERPARTY
moon just down...

THIRST
it must be one of the spells cast on us...

12/10/11
sky and pavement both clear...

12/15/11
rain all night storming on the roof...

TO PASS THE TIME
I thought of pretending it was 35 years ago but I couldn't...

A SIDE TRIP
road but a few ride on...

THEORY OF NOTHING
afternoon...

WHILE WAITING FOR THE TEST RESULTS
you can play solitaire...

OLD WOOD
branch to branch...

TO DUST
dust I will leave you alone again...

LOCAL HISTORY
walking to the monroe county public library...

ECHO
if when following an echo...

CARRY WHAT
every extinction respects...

SHAMASH
was a name we gave to the sun...

A FIELD OF BOXES
its owner the one who lives far away...

OLD DUST ON OLD BOOKS
there really was only ever the one way home...

THE LONG STRETCH
out of those southern marshes and shores...

OLD AND NEW
I complain of my own clumsiness...

TENDER
when the fire sinks low a little stirring helps...

OBSERVATIONAL
the starvation of our time looks like...

WHAT IT IS LIKE NOW
mid-writing mid-word the one...

FEELINGS AND FACTS
The footprint left in clay today--...

AMONGST US
paper burns...

JUST ANOTHER GRAVE
distinguished as they all are...

REPORT TO MYSELF
the fevers nightly for a week...

A BOOK OF CLASSIC ERRORS
if your name is not listed...

COSMIC
the worldless water...

THIS SHINING
this life so rich with coincidence...

THE COOLDOWN
everything piled into the drought has been wiped away...

MY BED
my grandma's blind stroking of the table...

7/29/12
this summer is tougher than its trees...

untitled
there was a man walking with his bag on his back...

NIGHT SKY
in a number that makes naming unmanageable...

WHAT DO I KNOW?
years past and far away behind me...

untitled
his own language...

LESSON
the young deer in my yard...

POEM ENDING WITH WHAT I JUST ATE
record the seasons...

untitled
that boulder shrugging up...

STEPPING OUTDOORS AFTER WAKING
looking at the almost light...

10/10/12
a record of what happened...

ALMOST A YEAR SINCE MY MOTHER DIED
some restless leaves fill the air...

NEWS
new light new air the chatter...

11/1/12
this early now momentous and young...

 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.