Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Ends II: of Phoenix Flower itself, metamorphical, by John Cairns

The Ends:

of Phoenix Flower itself, metamorphical

The plant moves. It isn’t where it was, where one comes back into the garden, but across from where it was towards the fence on the other side. I swear, unless there are two plants. There’s none where it was. It lifts up its roots and moves. I may presume…. Yes; I did not see it move but I may presume it uproots itself and moves. It is unique; I know of no other plant which – Tumbleweed! It isn’t unique.

An insect flies into the garden looking for a flower to take nectar from and pollinate incidentally. Not any flower does. It shows interest in many, alighting on some but seems if one didn’t know better to be searching…. It sees the phoenixflower – it is the phoenixbee – and makes a bee…. It isn’t the phoenixbee; it isn’t making a beeline for the flower, going this way and that but somehow it has got to the flower. It is the phoenixbee, is it? How can one tell? It could be any old insect that’s happened to alight on the flower. And now the insect will fecundate the flower.

I can scarcely believe my eyes! It was very quick. What I did see was the flower seemed to grip the insect between pincers while a pink, fleshly proboscis curved out from the plant. It wasn’t the insect fecundated the plant; the flower fucked the bee! It must be the bee; but I’ve never heard of that, a plant like an animal fecundating what I’m sure is a male insect. It’s not possible. It must be female. It’s still not possible. It is male, that bee; I looked.

The bee looks startled, as well it might, but as if it wanted to be believed shocked by the upturn in events by whoever might be observing, me, who watches it take off in a would-be offended but in fact dazed, intoxicated manner. However, it quickly pulls itself together, having got exactly what it wanted, and flies directly over the trees at the bottom of the garden as far away from the phoenixflower as it can go as fast as it can; it knows where the flower is, or thinks there are other such flowers elsewhere, or believes the phoenixflower is one such flower. I don’t know what it thinks; it’s gone.

The flower stands up, rearranges its foliage and walks from the garden. It’s an animal. It’s a man. He doesn’t go into the house. He walks away. He’s done it; he’s been a flower: he did it for the bee, or the bee was incidental to his doing it. He’ll do something else, or not, as a man does.