“Smash Shop” by Elizabeth Jacobson
From the bench above the pond
I watch two ducks make dark channels
in the water as they feed,
pathways through a mosaic of cracked green ice.
Behind me the rocks, strata of red igneous beneath ochre sandstone,
are an unconformity— a geologic span—
characterized by an immense amount of nothing
between two calculable intervals of time.
Nothing not meaning that something wasn’t there,
but that no thing remains
from the something that was.
I make lists of things here:
A female body is more regulated than weaponry;
white tigers swim like sharks onto flooded coastal streets;
this world might not be a mess
if individuals weren’t imagining God.
My friend wants to create a Smash Shop—
a space where people can break as much as they want,
for as long as they like.
She envisions a warehouse full of junked cars
and thrift shop pottery,
long lines to get in,
because one of the things people do best
is destroy things.
The geologist Clarence Dutton coined the term
Great Unconformity, a concept indicating an absent interval
of geologic time.
In 1882 he couldn’t date the rocks the way we can today,
still Dutton saw something was missing;
he just didn’t know how vast it was.
My friend’s idea is to have people pay by the hour,
but who will ever be able to stop?
The simple beauty of common things
makes us rage enough
to want to demolish everything in sight.
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Elizabeth Jacobson Artist Statement:
Elizabeth Jacobson is the author of a chapbook, A Brown Stone (Dancing Girl Press), and a full
length collection, Her Knees Pulled In (Tres Chicas Books). She is the founding director of the
WingSpan Poetry Project which conducts poetry classes at local shelters. WingSpan has received
a Community Partnership award from the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families and a grant
from the Witter Bynner Foundation. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many print and
on-line publications, most recently American Poetry Review, Orion Magazine, Hinchas de Poesia
and Plume. She is the recipient of the Mountain West Writers’ Award from Western Humanities
Review, The Jim Sagel Prize for Poetry from Puerto del Sol, a grant from New Mexico Literary
Arts, and an MFA from Columbia University. This fall she will be teaching at the Santa Fe
Community College and at the Ghost Ranch Writing Festival in Abiquiu, New Mexico.