ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

sequence #
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11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 3

BE DIGITAL
and believe what falls between your fingers...

DAYLIGHT FARM SUPPLY
wet lawns along the river...

ASKING FOR HELP
the one I want...

BYE BYE
to be commanded to sit down...

HEAVEN AND HELL
Understand me: I was the boy...

MY FACE IN THE MIRROR
what have you done...

MESSAGE
there is a line...

ALERT
televangelists and...

ANNOUNCEMENT
the modern boat is sinking!...

NO MISTAKES
understand me: I am the musician...

FINDING
my eyes if I should lose them...

LOVE POEM
sh! the poet is sleeping...

AFTER
the crowd without its beggar...

AGAINST IMMORTALITY
I don't want to live forever...

ADJUST
At last the flow of water has changed:...

PROTESTANT MEMORY
to keep myself from crying...

DOWNPOUR
the cats come in...

RELIGIOUS SCENE
on the wall of the steakhouse...

ON MY CARPET
he calls it his...

APPEAL
your honors...

SONG OF CONFESSION
my heart a poisoned well...

DRIVING
the black femur...

INTERSECTION
the corner of lost memory...

FIRST COLD DAY
in the back yard...

THEFT OF A LINE FROM SIMIC
dark night...

EXAMINATION
reading the heart's...

ABSURD
to say...

NEVER COMPLETE
bowing like a long-necked bird...

AS HE SHIFTS THEM
In the back pew of...

untitled
this poetry...

END OF THE EIGHTIES
the story takes...

12/31/91
outside in...

IN A CAR
we're in California...

MORNING INCIDENT
Getting up to let the cat in I felt myself growing weak,...

untitled
you wiped out...

4/3/92
a dream...

FAILING TO RECOGNIZE
even as it occurred...

ROCK PAINTING
the dance I did...

REFUSING TO UNDERSTAND
what comes from the dog's mouth...

NIGHTWORK
the secret government...

ODE TO THE FRIENDS OF POETRY
the friends of poetry...

LOCATION
rights and privileges...

SENSE OF AN ENDING
the last breath I...

 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.