The Desire to be Personal: 1

The desire to be personal is what gets me:
to walk down the street and not to vanish.
O I don’t know but I’ll assume
I’m talking to you,
talking although that plug
to your heart is what I’m after
but let’s take care of basics.
Some food, OK, so here we have a restaurant,
not filled to capacity but inviting
in its vacant tables.
The waiter is so happy about the menu
that we must have a seat,
and later on the liquid in our clangy glasses
will help reorganize our minds. I’ll tell you
all about the men
on the wall, and you will laugh
at that precise moment that memory
becomes intolerable.
We will both choke on our wine
at the word dinosaur, and it’s impossible
to pronounce pterodactyl
without finding hands.

Rochelle Nameroff publishes her first book of poetry, Body Prints, in 1972. Her other books include Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend (Faber & Faber, 1995), Hard Choices (University of Iowa Press, 1996), Sweet Nothings (Indiana State University Press, 1994). At 75, she has long been connected with the East Bay literary scene; she gave a reading last month at the Octopus Literary Salon.