In the Book

 Monroe Greenberg was once a living, breathing, functioning human being. Now, he is quite literally a rather large saguaro cactus. The fluted columnar stem that centers him is a mixture of what Monroe used to refer to as his prominent belly and love handles.

The branches that curve skyward in that iconographic Southwestern pose are various bits of Monroe’s internal organs plus his pelvis and metatarsals. The creamy white flowers with bright yellow centers that bloom at the tops of Monroe’s ribbed appendages are concentrated elements of his skull, ankles, fingers and toes.

Unlike the saguaros that dot the Sonoran Desert in southeastern California, southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico, Monroe’s flowers do not close by midday. They bloom continually and serve as both home and permanent detention center for the Whitewing Dove, Gila Woodpecker and gilded Flicker that forever sit astride them. Which, by the way, are also constructed from the rudimentary physical makeup of Monroe himself.

The reason Monroe’s blossoms never close and his indigenous pollinators never fly away is because they are all held fast to a sixty by sixty by sixty inch triangular canvas stretched tight, stapled in place and framed in tasteful blonde maple. Monroe is more than content to be this way. He is long past boredom, irritation, wanderlust, or any other tiresome human emotion. He simply exists within his confines as might any other landscape, portrait, or still life.

You see Monroe is awaiting a buyer, or exhibitor, or curator, who will see the splendor in his transformation from mere mortal to object de art. It is not implausible that Monroe might one day grace the wall of a famous museum, the lobby of a grand hotel, or perhaps the entryway of an eccentric collector.

But for now, Monroe Greenberg is simply a dead human being spending eternity as part of a surrealistic depiction of the great American southwest.