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: 8

REVEALED BY SPLITTING
my face is of oak...

12/14/96
a voice saying...

MAKING SENSE ON A SNOWY MORNING
my woods fill up with snow...

POINT AT WHICH
the speaking of the heart...

MY HUNGER
I have turned my stones...

MIDNIGHT
midnight your moonlight...

12/23/96
after the singing...

untitled
walk out Eric...

EGYPTIAN
the words which took...

ING
lean sleep...

IN MEMORIAM F.B.
his house of lead...

HOW TO GET THERE
go till the snow falls...

PLAN:
throw four stones...

MY STRUGGLE WITH MY WEIGHT
Mornings around here there is so much fog in the trees...

1/2/97
strange life with...

DARING ABSENCE
the seeing blind man...

FACE THE NATION
1. the fine line in my tranquility...

FOUR BY FOUR
objects I have turned...

untitled
in the waste of sky...

GOOD AND ILL FORTUNE
go through me...

1/17/97
the snow blows the road is battered...

CRITICISM OF SHOVELLING
my stubborn back keeps working...

POET'S DILEMMA
words running up and down...

REQUIREMENT
am I empty yet...

I WROTE THIS WHILE THINKING ABOUT WRITING IT (TITLE LAST)
warm air makes the snow soften...

POEM AS IT HAPPENS
rain gets to fill the spaces used...

EYES AND EARS
eyes very involved in silence...

PROSE POEM ON THE BAKERS (NO COMMAS)
I always see the bakers when I am in a hurry walking past the door...

HELP MIDWINTER
no work snow flies like doves...

THEFT OF LINES FROM THE GNOSTICS
alone with my name...

IF JORDAN FLOODS
season of rising...

COMET AND SAINTS
now don't for-...

THE ARGUMENT
A burning house invites the comet in for a meal. The conver-...

FOOL'S DAY
it was my voice...

SIXTEEN LINES
reading a life...

OUT OF RESPECT
Albert Ayler's jukebox...

AGAIN
what the river of sound delivers...

ASHLAND
all I have buried...

4/27/97
the light rain...

untitled
you want me to stay...

I HEAR
your voice...

THE CLASSIC OF STONE
I had some...

JUST WAIT
too hot to eat the late hours...

NEO WHAT
just got through...

7/6/97
the dusk cool breeze...

KNOWN BY WHAT
deceived by everything...

STOLEN
a voice speaks...

WELCOME TRASH HAULERS
our miles of caves where...

TOO HOT
no rain to satisfy...

THEFT OF LINES FROM THE GNOSTICS AND KAUFMAN
one of rock, one of slime,...

COME ON
in your hand...

GUIDE FROM THE PERPLEXED
this is to let you know...

PRAYER THAT FELL THROUGH MY HANDS
did I understand what I said...

GOOF OFF
it was the ordinary hour...

PRACTICES
juxtaposed thoughts from separate days...

OUR DAYS
my brother in the tree...

 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.