ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

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  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 5

untitled
some words last longer...

THEORETICAL
just read the words...

AN ACCOUNT
it wasn't as if any...

THE NIGHT OF THE BIG STORM
the neighbor boy with candles...

untitled
day that hesitates...

9/4/94
morning the flowers...

LUCK
of birds to have wings...

MEMORY
noon the infinite...

9/1/94
eulogy strains those heads...

HOW TO
ceremonies must be long...

A MAN OF WAR
rises through the air...

TALE
midnight pours out his heart...

TITLE NO TITLE
if your hand...

I'LL TRY AGAIN
it chases me...

24 HOURS
night as a cistern...

NOTICING
how to be literal as a last gasp...

LOOKOUT
looking out from a window in the treetops...

RETURN
in someone's house or in a barn...

MY WALK
being secret and smart...

ONGOING
that rush rush...

MONEY WORRIES
dreaming of an owl...

MABLE MCKIBBEN RENSBERGER
grandmother of underground places...

untitled
memory bled...

PAGE TORN FROM THE BOOK OF MEMORY
where it is flat the wind...

APOSTROHE
moon bone bright I...

untitled
for luck a fire...

EXAMPLES
slipped on the carpet at the turn of the stairs...

GIVE ME JUST A MINUTE
The room blurs. I can't think....

TELLING ABOUT
argument with my shadow...

DOCTORS MISUNDERSTAND
blue circles approaching my eyes...

HERE'S AN IDEA
what about...

COLDER WIND
everything is...

BEING TOLD GOODBYE
I am in the limited area...

MY LETTERS
continuator of hieroglyphs...

HELP ME
this poetry has grown too heavy...

RETURN THE FAVOR
doc buzzard in your cart...

SURVEYOR'S DREAM
to keep all the directions...

SEEN FROM A DISTANCE
the poems he has forgotten...

TRAVEL
atlas of devastation...

WE SING
day...

AS I SLEEP
I am blind stumbling...

PRACTICE WITH MY EYES
a hero of waiting...

WORDS I CANNOT UNDERSTAND
bad traffic on the way to...

CHANGE IN THE WEATHER
the wailing stops...

WHAT WILL I WRITE ON THE LAST PAGE
blank paper stares at me...

 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.