Earth Apples of Modern Love and Mushrooms (Julie Maclean)

after Marina Abramovic at MOMA

They are lying again
about Putin’s hacking
I return to tears rolling
face to face
hungry for the strange one
to look deep
for longer than an orgasm

At midday
in my dressing gown
he looks bemused
as if I should be scrubbing
the floor or peeling potatoes
or making a list at least
It’s been a while since we kissed
so why would
I give myself to a root vegetable
before four pm?
I’m reading about love and mortality
where potatoes don’t come
into it

or maybe they would if
I were on Death Row
choosing my last meal
which would certainly
include chips or a jacket

I wish eating mushrooms
were less like eating eyeballs
or insides
I wish she hadn’t cut a cross
in the mushroom of her belly
or held a loaded gun to her head
and I wish she’d known
her death-defying mother better
before opening the box
under the bed

Doesn’t everyone have a box
of creased letters, photos,
unutterable love and loss
up in the attic
under the bed
collecting dust and webs of sorrow
and where will it go at the end?

We romanticise everything
making her cry after
making her walk
the extra mile
along the Great Wall
before they separated
for the last time

I am playing the artist today
gazing into my navel
of fluff and paralysis
where there should be jewels
or blood or both
and when I most need silence
shock jocks
invade my space
heaven screeching
with unbearable sounds
potatoes sprouting tendrils
in bleak corners
like mushrooms of a dead poet


Julie Maclean’s books include Lips That Did, (Dancing Girl Press, US, 2016), collaboration with Terry Quinn, To Have To Follow (Indigo Dreams, 2016), Kiss of the Viking (Poetry Salzburg, 2014), e-chap You Love You Leave, (Kind of a Hurricane Press, US, 2014) and, as joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize, (shortlisted for The Crashaw Prize, Salt, UK), When I saw Jimi, (Indigo Dreams 2013). Find Julie at