Joyce Peseroff’s “A Visit to the Smash Room”

A Visit to the Smash Room
by Joyce Peseroff

Donated TVs, microwaves,
printers, trophies, vases 
on tables. Baseball bats and mauls 
ready by the wall. $50/hr to play
with your boyfriend or alone
when it’s hard to be a good
Mom during the workday, 
gas up the car, make beds.
Tag plexiglass with rants
against cancer, Covid, Trump.
Throw plates towards the back,
don’t hold a bottle by the neck.
A shared scream? Better than
screen sharing, pummeling
a stranger’s stuff better than 
stuffing your face with Oreos.
Why not meditation? “I’m noisy,”
says the owner. “We have yoga
here but it’s loud, we break shit.”
Before-and-after photographs:
Happy, healthy Ann was here.
Gill & Chris. Maya is chillen.
“The pandemic says, ‘You can’t,
can’t, can’t.’ The smashing? ‘Yeah,
you can. Do it! Do it harder.’”

* Writing Prompt: This poem was inspired by this story on WBUR-FM about a venue in Worcester where individuals and couples could safely smash things, write on walls, and vent during the pandemic. Write a poem that functions as a kind of “smash room”—get inside and see what you end up breaking.

Joyce Peseroff

Joyce Peseroff’s sixth book of poems, Petition, was named a “must-read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, as was her 2016 collection, Know Thyself. She directed UMass Boston’s MFA Program in its first four years. She blogs at “So I Gave Your Quartz” on her website and writes a poetry column for Arrowsmith Press.