after another day of frustration, days after blooming in pink masses — up to 50 thumb-sized flowers on a stalk — after opening their lascivious throats to the sun, after sending out potent clouds of perfume day after day after day, the penstemons waited wantonly for sex.

there were virtually no takers, especially none of the lovers whose bodies fit the flowers like the food that fits the hunger, none of those lovers whose vibrating torsos these pink sheaths were made for, none of the heavy and hungry lovers that usually came to the flagrant sexual display like bees to . . .

where are the bees this year? is this the bee apocalypse?


and then, last night, under a crisp crescent moon


the heat of the day and the unfulfilled lust of the heavy perfume flamed into the night sky


and this morning, having read the signals in the sky, the bumblebees arrived, maybe 20 of them, big as a thumb, thrumming with desire, inexhaustible in their fervor, and in and out they thrust their thick bodies until the penstemons could be heard crying out their fervent pleasure.


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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6 Responses to DESIRE

  1. flowerville says:

    this may incite jealousy but to us in our garden came the now rare REAL HONEYBEES to set forth to the work of labour with their goal the production of secret honey etc (laws of night (! crescent moon) & honey: proust & benjamin & cocteau). in fact it’s kinda cool actual bees came for i haven’t seen them in ages & that means the plot to lure them here with special beefriendly plants sorted out. is a shame they struggle so much. i have two of them albahari books, tsing and words are something else. the latter i have finished reading & enjoyed, so thanks for the hint.


    • Scott Abbott says:

      that’s wonderful about the bees and your garden.
      and i’m glad you liked the albahari books. he’s a quiet and modest man, former head of the society for the legalization of marihuana in yugoslavia and also head of the jewish organization of serbia — all before he emigrated to canada (where zarko’s brother miloje also now lives).


  2. mikerol says:

    I am just reaching a stretch of Fasching 1956 (in the YEAR ABROAD part of my HAVERFORD CHAOPTER) which turned into a kind of “whirl of the bumble bees” which sounds like a kind of mussoursky piece of music. but i stil have one or the other bumble bee left in me. x mr


    • Scott Abbott says:

      i was in Koeln for Fasching when i was 20, but as a missionary, all i could do was observed from a cool distance.


      • mikerol says:

        Colonia has quite a Fasching too. I experienced it in 1964, hot bloodedly. 64\65 was my second year back in Krautland, but the memoir novel stops in 1960 in Alaska, at an important caesura.


  3. flowerville says:

    that is fun with him being in the weed-society. and him being modest is an impression i get from his writing as well and the very important quiet in all of it. and now i’m going to look at all the other books of his.

    very happy about the bees. the other years they didn’t come, so for this year’s flowersinthegarden i sat down an afternoon and calculated flowering times and which flowers they like so they would be able to find food from march to october. this shows how much they struggle and that it really does take some effort to improve things for them, but it is so worth it and so important to make things beefriendly. had some bumblebees coming as well, but couldn’t discern the different sorts.


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