ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

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  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 2

12/20/89
Armor and...

PERSONAL APPEARANCE BY THE AUTHOR
I didn't shave or comb my hair this morning. The long coat...

untitled
aching a little...

DAYS BEFORE
the killer's mother is coming...

NIGHT CREATURES
under the devious arch of the night...

AUTOBIOGRAPHY
first I died...

untitled
When I lift my hands do not pull back,...

untitled
Here you are beside me...

untitled
you were leaping from roof to roof...

CONVERSATIONS
arguing about suicide...

I SAW
things...

untitled
putting the beach out...

WRITING ON A MIRROR
my pen is red it sinks into my hand...

PEARL STREET
I love him singing...

I TRY BUT
you won't leave me alone...

untitled
the better I did...

LAMENT
Is now the time to praise...

I COULD FALL OVER
Always losing patience with...

11 ARGUMENTS
I insist on the rightness of my thoughts....

POEM ENDING WITH MY NAME
I watch TV....

untitled
spring loosens up her veins...

AN AFTERNOON
A girl and a boy were walking through a forest of apple...

THE NEW REPUBLIC
a conspiracy against time...

BELIEVING IN A HIDDEN ENEMY
I went up the stairs in the dark....

THOUGHT
Who's behind...

untitled
I will marry my blear eye to a blind eye...

I SUBMIT TO THE DOCTORS
with starved breath...

SUGGESTION
Let the poets die...

WALK WITH FLOWERS
chamomile with their secret of sleep...

FIVE SEASONS
King Curtis blows his...

SKETCH
In the dark the boy...

ON THE OTHER HAND
now that I'm dying...

ON ONE HAND
the mark a cat's claw...

ANOTHER OCTOBER: McCORMICK'S CREEK
upstream stone blocks back the water up...

COMING CLEAN (WITHOUT LOVE)
Cows bellering on their feet....

WAITING FOR THE EARTHQUAKE
the dead who can...

ME AND MY BIRD
The water is round...

SENTENCE
A restaurant where you are left alone...

MYTH
Everyone is shouting...

RETURNING THANKS AFTER EATING
I know I'm out...

SEQUENCE OF DESIRE
wanting to stop smoking...

HOME JOURNAL
I forget...

HERE BEGINS THE POEM OF MY LEFT HAND
My left hand is a child...

HE SAID
everything mastered him...

BRIGHT METAL FRAIL REED
my breath loves to narrow itself...

DEVOTION
the moan bird is soaring...

NOCTURNE
I am waiting...

SCHOOL
I love him in his smelly pants...

1/14/91
Starting the blood...

REPORT
when I say...

TWO SENTENCES
And as for the rest of it: no, I don't believe we should ever...

CHARACTERISTICS OF A DOOR
with a thumbtack for an eye...

DESTINATION
after it is long since dark...

NEW BREATH IN ME
you are clouds...

THE UNLOVED BELOVED
"The Unloved Beloved" is written by the crazy son of the man...

AGAINST REPRISALS
a well cut jacket of despair...

 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.