Photographing Your Salad Turns It into a Ghost

Women who eat nothing but salad aren’t really women but figments of the culture’s collective unconscious. One day one escapes the walls of the basement’s television and bleeds her language all over the floor of the slaughterhouse. What did you expect? How many years could you spend eating iceberg lettuce and watching the shopping channel before you too would want to dress up as a 1975 era Patty Hearst and shoot fragments of the moon into the heart of the internet? Am I afraid to actually admit that this is just a story about the tiny mother who lives in my chest? Sometimes I catch her making a bed in my heart, polishing her gravy urn with patriarchy’s spittle, and I want to surgically extract her with a nanobot. But then I remember how little I understand about place settings, so I accept her dated meticulous ways. I open the liquor cabinet, watch her bathe in a lipstick-shaped glass.


Click here to read Joanna Fuhrman on the origin of the poem.



Image: “Leftover Lettuce” by Kurt Bauschardt, licensed under CC 2.0

“Photographing Your Salad Turns It into a Ghost” is part of a book-length series of mainly prose poems I’ve been working on called Data Mind. Most of the poems are about life in the digital age from the perspective of a non-digital native, and about the role the corporate state plays in our collective subconscious. There’s also, as you can probably tell from this poem, a lot about gender and the body. For a book about digital life, there are plenty of bodily fluids. There are also rewritings of movies including The Matrix, My Man Godfrey and The Warriors. Smurfette and Barbie are recurring characters. There are also a lot of ghosts.

The title is lifted from text in a collage by Simon Evans and Sarah Lannan (collectively known as Simon Evans). I was really inspired by their show at James Cohan last spring (back when I could still go to galleries) and used a few of their titles as lines of my poems. I also used their language (I don’t know if it’s originally theirs) for a poem called “My Country Has Turned into a Haunted House” and “My American Name is Money.”

I was also inspired by the playwright Sheila Callaghan’s play titled Women Laughing Along with Salad, which refers to the internet meme where women are always seen alone eating salad. Was there at one point a blog of just these stock images? I still haven’t seen or read the play, but plan to one day.

Joanna Fuhrman
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