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.”
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’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 joycepeseroff.com and writes a poetry column for Arrowsmith Press.