Francis Gene-Rowe :: “Manic Pixie Mushroom and Her Extinct Goth Tree Girlfriend”

I’ve whispered seventeen trees,
                  now, each time
                  their musty groan
                  an exhalation of duration
                  a release
                                      years upon years of
                                      we’re neither the disease
                                      nor the cure
there is no historicity, toxicity
                   is a blank space, if space it
                   can be called
They’ve never listened, except
really that means I really that means
we, if we can be called.
They’re listened to, outside the walls
of borders of corpses of ever straightened
lines of degradation without decay
of ruins denied their own ruination
                 poisoned and shattered to a wreckage
                                     labour without pay
I’d like
I’d really, like
I’d like to, really                            I would like
                  my desire isn’t possible.
You’d prefer                               what would you prefer.
                   no, let’s water our garden
If I inhale, prickled by dry grass,
               the insects softly insecting
It doesn’t need to be a confinement
It can be a space
                   our space in between
                   beetles, worms, gossamer, violets
                   these are a few of my favourite names
                   ripe with decaying life

                   don’t trouble, slough off your entire skin
                   before the cruel sun of Today, malignantly
                   dominant, burns it away. Stay close,
I’ll press softly against you, beneath your
shade, in your lee. You, me, our friends
the microbes, here, now, formerly before,
not yet the not-yet. Mortar our glimpse
of such moments, but let the bricks be soft
and crumbling, so that foxes and other exceptions
to our chosen aesthetic can slip in and out. The
moss rusted, the rust mossed. A pool of
dank pond life/murkily reflecting/your macabre
beauty (it’s good to teem, now and then), until
                   enough of your fallen canopy
                   exhausts the oxygenic capabilities
                   of our small, small world
don’t bother unlocking the gate, we’re
beyond such things, really, if you think
about it, if you feel anything at all.
This is our last moment, I am
not here, you are not now. You were my
seventh, sometimes when moonlight splashes
sweetly, just so                            I touch my hair in a way
that’s carefully careless, hold my breath
as I briefly remember our time together.
dryness. I need things like you to be a part of
it, to share conversation/in the scarce greenways.
I grow on your ruin, hold you in my
living death, but I can live without you.
                  Let’s keep infesting each other, just for
                  now, in this now we once had,
                  our porous dream, for as long as I can stay.
                  I miss you, and every other tree I’ve
                  Loved. The world, extinct, forgets,
                  but I’ll remember in my own way a
short while, water the garden
                  we once had.

Originally published in Strange Realism.


Francis Gene-Rowe works with poetry, games, and science fiction, and teaches media practices at the University of Southampton. As well as ALOCASIA, you can find their poetry in Strange Realism (Future Natures) and Corroding the Now: Poetry and Science|SF (Veers Books & Crater Press). Francis is a co-director of the London Science Fiction Research Community, and has published critical work on petrocultures, cyberpunk, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Philip K. Dick. At present, Francis is hoping to think, learn, and create around speculative divination, losing in games, and goblin futures.