My stepmom sent me a copy of Eireann Lorsung’s Music For Landing Planes By last month, and I finally got around to reading it. The book is organized by quotations giving a general theme, and I got distinctly more into some sections than others — so, more on that later. But this is by far my favorite piece in the book. (Okay, actually that was “In The Wide World”, but this format is more html-friendly, and it was the first one I loved, anyway.)
When are you coming back to stand in front of the window?
(I heard you whistling last night. Cars pass me by all day,
waves circling the enormous globe.)
So much is left out, I’m knitting a pattern without
stitches, without needles, only long fingerbones
to carry yarn. There was something buried
the night I left Eau Claire for good, and I never knew
how it would grow. Now your childhood friends
are my students, I walk past houses you lived in
without my knowledge and your scent trails
from abandoned bakeries. Whole warehouses
have been invented to catalogue want like this.
I go on knitting night and day because I don’t know
any other thing. All unknits by darkness
into twine birds use piece by piece. What secret
name can I tell you? What adventure are you on tonight?
There is forgetting in the density of raw new wool,
yarn shop one block from your apartment,
the cheap scarf — you don’t value things
because you never make them. Moon over the whitening world
sharpens spindle, windowframe. The sash
is pulled, seam is set: without material, there is no map.
I’ve been trying to discern lately what makes a lovable poem to me, versus what actively irks me. I think the latter is mostly about ego. I have written your bad poetry, I think, and it took me five minutes with a Thesaurus. I don’t like thinking about those careless times. I know my tricks, and I hate to see you using them. Like most prejudices, apparently, it involves accusing you of being just like me.
Lovable, though, I don’t know. Your poem is something I’ll read in the middle of a fight. I will sneak it into malls and bus stops and it will make these places seem lovely, significant, normal, thank god.