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: 4

ABOUT TO SIT DOWN
Stepping out the back door...

KISS HIS EAR
Brown corn bends as...

STALLING OUT
Just by getting enough distance...

PAGE ZERO
my mind's blank wall...

PARTING
words just off...

CRICKETS HESITATE
the night...

FROM AND TO
my first eternity...

IN THIS LITTLE POEM OR WORLD
I mislaid my travel plans the map...

FIELD GUIDE
indigo bunting no words...

untitled
I knew...

I STAY UP LATE
studying to live...

POEM OF EXPOSURE
the tender outcry...

untitled
underground I'll turn to you...

THEFT OF A LINE FROM TATE
I consider it a citizen's duty...

STANDING STILL IN
november...

HOW I TRAPPED THE MURDERER
I left out the part...

PROVERB
he who sleeps a false sleep...

A SUNDAY NIGHT SERMON FOR DAVID BAKER
The first step is to listen,...

I AM PART BUZZARD
my grandmother was a buzzard...

DEAR FUCKHEADS
my head hurts...

TILL IT THAWS
1....

RESOLUTION
I am so glad...

EVENING POEM
in the cellar...

DISTURBANCE
the world is alive...

FLIGHT
the gamblers...

VISIT
Buying toys, the one remaining copy...

STORM
in trouble again...

JUST AFTER DAWN
We sat among the cattle and he asked me ...

INTERPRETATION
Hour begets hour, dream begets dream,...

THE BUZZARD SPEAKS
I am proud...

INTERRUPTION
not knowing what to say...

JOSEPH'S POEM
if you wish to own a fear...

DIS-ORDER
of course...

BLUE MILLION
in the house dark...

untitled
blank pages spit their silence...

BROKEN POEM
life goes through...

AUTOBIOGRAPHY VOL. II
the day before my birth...

MARENGO
the pressure of seasons...

TODAY
awoke in the forest...

 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.