P.J. Monroe's Published Writing

Monday, June 2, 2014

Milk

http://www.everydayfiction.com/milk-by-p-j-monroe/

“May I have a glass of milk, please?”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“May I have a glass of milk, please?” she repeated.
I was quite surprised. My cat had never before said a single word in English, let alone a complete sentence. I did the only thing I could do; I got her a glass of milk. I put the milk down in front of her. She dipped her paw in the glass and licked the milk off of it. I kept looking at her, my mouth wide open.
“No opposable thumbs,” she said, after seeing I was still staring at her.
I shook my head, trying to clear it, and said, “No.  I’ve seen you drink out of a glass before. I’m still a little amazed you’re speaking to me.”
“Well, that’s a little secret. In fact, I could have my cat card revoked for speaking in front of a human being.”
“You have a cat card?”
“No,” she said, shaking her head, “I was speaking figuratively.”
“Oh. But you could get in trouble?”
“You know all those strays… well…”
“Oh. Well, then why are you talking to me?”
She sat down and, ignoring her milk, she looked straight at me. I could have sworn I heard her sigh.
“I thought it was important to tell you,” she began. “We need to talk.”
“Maybe you don’t know this, not talking to humans much and all, but no good conversation ever starts with that sentence,” I said.
Shaking her head, she turned back to her milk. She dipped her paw in and licked the milk off of it. Then she looked back at me. I waited to hear what she was going to say.
“It’s over. I’m sorry.”
“What?” I asked, amazed.
“It’s not you. It’s me. I just can’t go on like this anymore. I need more. You have your friends and your work. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. There isn’t. But all I have is you. I define myself by you. I’m not Fluffy. I’m Joe’s cat. That was enough for a while. But now I need more. I have to find myself.”
She looked down at the milk, not drinking it, just contemplating it. I was shocked to say the least. Never before had Fluffy said a word. And now, she opened her mouth and laid all of this on me.
“So, then,” I said, “that’s it. You’re leaving me. You’ve made up your mind. There’s nothing I can say to change it, is there?”
“No.”
“Where will you go?”
“Joe,” she said, looking up at me and then looking back down at the milk, “there’s someone else. You have to believe me, I didn’t plan it this way.”
Now, I was furious. I was willing to be civil, maybe in hopes she would be back soon enough. But she had another owner on the side. And that was an indignation I was not willing to take.
“Fine! Go! But don’t think you’re taking anything. I loved you! I supported you! And you went and found someone else! You go, then! But don’t even think about taking the catnip sock! That’s mine!”
I got up and opened the front door. And she walked out of my life forever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guinevere's Last Days




To her, they brought his body,
Which was dirty and bloody
And devoid of the life she loved;
Next to him, on the convent floor,
She kneeled and prayed to God
That He might shine a guiding light

She prayed until the morning light,
Until there was an ache in her body;
Still no answer came from God,
Even though she wore her knees bloody,
On that cold, stone convent floor;
No answer, for God was not the one she loved

Lancelot was the only man she ever loved;
Without him, her life was without light,
As cold and as dark as the floor;
No love, no life was within her body;
She wished herself also dead and bloody,
Perhaps then she could be with him and God

"What other choice?" she asked God-
The king, who she should have loved,
Would be alive but also bloody;
Perhaps, before the next day's light,
She should go, mind and body,
To stand before him, on the court floor

What would he do, seeing her on that floor;
He certainly would not praise God,
Nor ever again touch her body,
For she was no longer the one he loved;
He would cast her out of his light
And that day's dusk would be colored bloody

Or perhaps he would order her neck bloody
And her head to roll on the floor;
This might give him back his life's light;
For her death, he would praise God,
For God, before her, he always loved;
God to have her soul and he, her body

So with wrists bloody, she called to God;
And fell to the floor, next to the man she loved;

In the morning's light, to the king they brought her body

Hektor’s Aristeia




Promised a day of glorious victory,
Prince Hektor led his fighting Trojans,
Shoulder to shoulder, closing together;
In face of this mighty army, fled the Greeks
Their leaders lay wounded, bleeding, or dead;
Hektor and the Trojans reached their wall

Following Hektor to the gates in the wall,
The army knew no future but victory;
So many Greeks were already dead,
Yet, so alive the army of Trojans
There was faint resistance by the Greeks,
As the Trojans pressed at the gates together

All at once, the Trojans stopped together,
And looked up, high above the wall,
Circling over the heads of the Greeks
An omen that there would be no victory
That ill omen meant for the Trojans;
An eagle, his talons held a red serpent, dead

Hektor swore this day was not yet dead;
He drew the men close and together
They were the mighty Trojans!
They would not be stopped by a wall
And they would have their rightful victory!
Their army, mighty, would beat the Greeks!!

They were good builders, those Greeks,
Or else they’d have already been dead;
The Greeks cried out for victory,
But stayed and hid safely together
Behind their strong and well built wall,
Where they were safe from the Trojans

The wall proved unbreachable to the Trojans;
But Hektor knew how to finish the Greeks;
He grabbed a boulder and turned towards the wall
If any other man had tried, he’d be dead;
Men came around the strong Hektor, together
Hektor threw the boulder, broke the wall, brought victory

This is the story of the Trojans, who did not lay dead
And the story of the Greeks, and how the armies clashed together

And how the strongest wall could not stop Hektor’s victory

Saturday, October 12, 2013

NailPolish Stories

http://nailpolishstories.wordpress.com/

It Starts With Me by P.J. Monroe
I stand up alone. Then you stand up. And then the others join in. We all rise up. We become a wall. We are unbreakable.
P.J. Monroe lives, writes, and paints in Lake County, IL.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One Sentence

I felt a chill when I found out my former best friend had reassured my younger sister that everything would go back to normal, once my husband was dead.

http://www.onesentence.org/stories/4266/

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion

http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/nature/all" style="font: 10pt arial; text-decoration: underline;">nature art

Come see art.  Come buy Jennifer Fliegel's art.

View of a City Cat


 

Looking out over the neighborhood,

she and I watched the action at the station

for the commuter train;

She is stretched into a straight line

lounging like a colorful celebrity

looking out at the night;

I feel I should apologize

for tormenting her with the business

of my own loose problems;

She stretches her back

and becomes once again interested

in my problems and the view

of Saturday night Chicago;

I talk to her of trouble

and she gives me a look

with her shining eyes;

Daytime seems so far away,

as we watch red vans;

I am speculating

as to the meaning of the look on her face,

secrets she has;

Her eyes glow;

She is living here with me,

watching bicycle deliveries go by;

She glances at the end tables

and then back to the avenue

where the people meander eastward

From here she can see the river

and the kids with baseball gloves;

those damnable strip malls,

that moved in from the suburbs;

Mostly she sees my complaints

and she listens with the most caring silence

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Idea

I thought I might try my hand at the fine arts.  http://fineartamerica.com/art/photographs/rabbit/all" style="font: 10pt arial; text-decoration: underline;">rabbit photos
Jennifer Fliegel.  That's me.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First and Second Impressions


 

            I didn't understand a single thing he said, but I smiled and nodded politely anyway.  My mother always told me to be polite.  But, honestly, I was bored out of my skull.  I didn't know anything about this car he was planning to get and restore.  Why wasn't he like most guys; why couldn't he spend his time talking about sports?  Sports, I know.  My father is a big football fan and he has been dragging every member of our family to games for as long as I can remember.  My best friend, Mary, says that is why guys like me so much, because I don't mind sitting around on the weekends watching sports.  I would like to accuse her of holding incorrect stereotypes, but to be honest I have never been out with any guy who didn't love sports.

            Until Greg.  Greg has been talking about this car for the last half an hour and all I have understood is that it is red.  Personally I don't know why anyone would go to so much trouble to restore an old car when there are really great, new cars out there.  I tried to tell Greg, but he scoffed at that idea.

            "Great, new cars?  I don't think so.  They just junk them up with stuff people don't really need.  And anyway, there is nothing quite like the look of an antique."

            I nodded politely.  And then I tried to change the subject.

            "So how did you do on Mr. McKinney's test today?"

            "Oh, I think I did really well.  I am pretty good in math.  It comes in very handy when you are working on a car.  For instance..."

            How did we get back to this?  I nodded politely again.  I am going to have to thank my mother for teaching me that.  And I think I am going to have to kill Mary for setting this up. 

            I never talked to Greg in Trig. class.  But I saw him.  And Mary saw me see him.  I suppose I could not have been more obvious.  My chin almost hit the floor.  There he was standing there in jeans and a flannel and I could tell he had a beautiful body, which matched his smile.  His eyes sparkled when he smiled, letting little specks of gold intermingle with the brown.  His hair was short, so short I wasn't even sure if it was blond or brown.  Now that I have been sitting here looking at his hair for almost an hour, I can definitely say it is brown, very light brown, but just a bit too dark to be said to be blond.  Of course, it is probably a judgment call. 

            Mary was the one who talked to Greg first.  I couldn't.  I wanted to talk but I just stood there, next to Mary, smiling like a fool.  I did notice, though, he kept looking at me, even when he was talking to Mary.  I was so nervous I just grabbed Mary's arm and dragged her to two empty seats in the back, as far away from him, as possible.  And there we sat for two months.  Every day I would sit in my seat and stare at the back of this completely gorgeous person and daydream about how our date would go, if he ever asked me out. 

            According to my daydream, he would pick me up in one of those sporty cars which he has spent the evening decrying.  He would walk up to the door wearing a three-piece suit.  I don't know what it is about a guy in suit that makes me swoon, but I can't help it.  I would come down the stairs, wearing a pale green (to match my eyes) dress, backless, of course.  He would be so enamored with me, he would almost drop the flowers he was carrying for me.  After handing me a bouquet of a dozen white and pink roses, he would take my arm.  I would hand my flowers to my father, who would be standing there, nodding approvingly.  I would glide out on Greg's arm and he would open the door for me.  Then he would drive me to an elegant restaurant, where he would order for us and we would laugh and eat lobster and drink champagne.  Then he would take me to go dancing and we would be so good that the other people would stop dancing and just watch us.  And then he would return me home with a soft kiss on my lips.

            Okay.  I realize that was a big fantasy.  I don't even own a pale green dress, let alone a backless one.  My father has never approved of any of my dates.  No high school student could afford lobster and we aren't old enough to drink.  And I can't dance.  But everyone has to dream.  And that was my dream.

            The reality was different.  He picked me up in a station wagon, his mother's station wagon.  He didn't bring me flowers.  My father did not nod approvingly.  My father didn't kill him, so that’s a start.  I am wearing jeans and a tee shirt from our high school.  First we went to a movie, which was a fine movie.  Not great, not terrible.  And now we are sitting in the local fast food restaurant/hangout.  And I am listening to him talk about the car he wants to buy and restore.  I can't believe this is happening.  I smile and nod politely.

            The food is gone and I am truly bored and I am just thinking I want to go home and go to bed and forget tonight even happened.  I start to put my trash on the tray.  Greg takes the hint and starts to clean up his trash.  We stand and go to the trash can.  We dump our stuff and walk out to the car.  He does hold the door open for me.  I get in and he walks around and gets in the driver side.

            "So, I hear you are really into sports.  I don't really know much about any of that.  What is your favorite sport?" he says to me.

            I am a bit taken aback.  But I start telling him about football.  He asks me some questions and I answer them.  He looks genuinely interested.  I hope I looked as interested in what he said about cars.  We reach my house and he comes around and opens my door.  He walks me up to the door.  He looks at me, a bit nervous.  And then he leans in and kisses me.  Sparks.  Definite sparks.  My legs tingle.  Oh, this is nice.  I have never been so happy.  Very happy. 

            Pulling away from me, he asks if he can call me tomorrow.  I find myself unable to speak.  I smile and nod politely.

            "Great, maybe we can watch the game," he says.

 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Scented


 

In the sticky, hot

mid-August air

of May,

On the backroads

that silently wind

over the green hills

and past

the sno-cone stands

on the way

from Washington, D.C.

to Baltimore,

A scent hangs

on the humidity;

It comes

from the pastures

on which nothing grazes,

up over the trees

that shade

the small roads

and their sharp curves,

and sticks to the cars

along with the yellow

dusting of pollen;

A mixture

of youth and home

of honeysuckle and green onions