how does one cultivate a poetry habit after all. Marcuse asks what it would take to enjoy one’s happiness, and the answer is other people, the answer is fuck art, the answer is find love in a literal pile of trash. today it was the twenty-first century in Toronto and a man at the harbourfront sang out free travel magazine. today they make the nicest foods in a truck. but I was thinking about the 1980s soundscape of Penfield, NY, of the townhouse at 249 Willow Pond Way, which is not a poetic thought, though there was a pond, there was a willow. we played in the furrows of dirt that formed where the way would be paved. there’s no poetry for the haptics of plastic charms on plastic chains, of the alien plush of a second-hand couch. write about pinching the leaves of my mother’s african violet and watching the spots, over days, turn brown. this was something to do. write about the supermarket brand cinnamon tea. everything that moved me was terrible—the Smurfs are sexist, the cartoon cats are sexist, all the love songs are sexist, the Cathy anthology Grandma salvaged from the Methodist church thrift store, also sexist. I read it hundreds of times. this was a historical moment. the age of the hornet’s nest on our wooden deck; the age of bullfrogs calling from the cattails. write about the movie with the house party, the other movie with the house party, the movie with the sex and the sadness and the cars and the party. the new girl didn’t know what a “luck-out” was, said it sounded like someone whose luck had run out. there were people working on hope—the Topless Seven in Cobbs Hill Park, who made the nightly news on all three channels and, the next morning, the front page of the D&C. what about a movie where the girl conjures herself. what about one where she was alive all along. Only in My Dreams, my little humbean. gather your words into a literal pile this time. this is something to do. write in the calendar: This day will never come. something will come—if not the day, then you. if not you, then the song. if not the song, then the spots on the leaves of a violet. this is their historical moment. which park is it today, which war, which party, which house. all the cops in the donut shop. today’s paper reads: Headline Was Misguided.
Eugenia Zuroski is a poet and scholar of literature and cultural studies. She is the author of the chapbook Hovering, Seen (Anstruther Press, 2019) and her poems have appeared in Columba, Room, and Best Canadian Poetry 2021. An American of Chinese, Polish, and Italian descent, she grew up in a suburb of Rochester, NY and is now back in Dish With One Spoon territory, living in Hamilton, Ontario.