ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

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  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 20

untitled
you know who...

THE GREAT WORKS
Reading one of the Great Works that you find annoying, you ...

SILENCE/WORLD
the silence is never a silence...

FRIGHTENED BY MY BOOKS AGAIN
they have in them many words to read...

12/13/12
the squrrels' efforts...

THIS LIFE
less led than lost...

FIRST SNOW
one might imagine Adam...

12/26/12
the wind moves along...

NOTES TO BEGIN WITH
noon on new year's day...

AFTERTHOUGHT
silence...

UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER
the word for food...

STILLED FOREVER
the body of a mouse...

A CYCLOPS EXPLAINS TO A STRANGER POLYPHEMUS' HOWLS
every so often one of us here goes crazy ...

CONTINUATION
even zero has a hard time with nothing...

REGISTERED
from some abandoned clock comes...

DRIVER
are you still driving...

ABOUT THE FAMOUS COUNTRY
the leaves cover it...

NOT YET
not yet ready to write you...

A THOUGHT
the alley floor is cracked...

2/23/13
last weeks of winter...

REPETITION
those who in their agony of loss...

WAYS HE TRAVELS
the hastening traveler panting along the ways...

PERHAPS POSSIBLE
watch ...

STORM FORECAST
moss light under trees...

REPITITION II
die of grief make another grief...

ONLY AT NIGHT
only at night can I really see...

I KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
the trembling you see...

REPITITION III
make another grief...

THE READER
the pages I turn sketch...

WONDERFUL
at the doctor's office...

LANDSCAPE WITH TWO MEN
in dark clothes walking over the year's...

REPETITION IV
...

4/29/13
barely light...

EVEN SO
a picture of least importance...

SAYING MORE
cold air on my skin as it leaves me alert pleases...

NEWS
the shamed man...

5/26/13
a penny drops on the floor...

IT RIDDLES
it isn't memory...

STORY
limbs of the tree gone astray...

JUST TO BE CLEAR
nothing wants to know...

SEEING
rain-centered region...

COMPARE AND CONTRAST
there is never just one crow...

I STILL ACHE
the little things said...

THE DIFFERENCE
an off-white sky...

PLAYING AGAIN
a store of chords held in the fingers laid...

THE TOWN
the town with its mildly hilly north side...

TO YOU
if it often seems...

IN TIME
to arrive in time with some of what you've packed...

HIS INTENTION
He left, lying where I would be sure to see it, a little written...

1937
the Ohio in flood...

STONE SYMPATHY
this large rock in the abandoned field...

ANOTHER KIND OF WIND I REMEMBER
the whirlwinds that used to come...

DREAMS
That was childhood, when I believed anyone could fly if they ...

WHAT THEY BUILD AND WHERE
they build their cities on the plain...

A PARTICULAR HEAVEN
after the end...

BORDERLANDS
In some of the places where boundaries meet there can be a ...

WHAT IT KNOWS
an invisible warning...

WHAT IF YOU WERE THAT MAN IN THE MIRROR?
no thoughts or feelings within you...

IRONY WATER
the irony water I drank in youth...

MY LIFE DOES THE MATH
my life poorer by a day...

 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.