[Note: This is a spoken word poem, meant to be read as a duet, by a man and a woman. The first part in italics is read by the woman…]

A Modest Proposal

I would just like to marvel at the miracle that is conversation between a man and a woman. When I talk to a woman, a friend, I need only to allude, and she already knows the whole truth, helpfully gives a quick example from her own life to show that she understands, and then urges me to continue. When I talk to a man…well…it’s like this:

Woman:     Let’s meet at the street to the right of the Post
                         At a quarter past two.
Man:             It’s a plan – at exactly three thirty, down in the metro,
                         I will meet you.
Woman:    Hon, we need to talk.
Man:            Do you happen to have any chalk?
Woman:    Shall we stroll down the silent, sleeping stairs
                        Towards the Seine?
Man:            Yes – that great, noisy bar at 57 rue de Rennes.
Woman:    Maybe we should grab some lunch instead.
                       (They sit and thoughtfully chew their bread)
                        I had the strangest day today…
Man:            There’s something I need to say…
Woman:    It started with the semi-intoxicated guy in the train
                        And at work, there was cereal stuck in the drain
                        Not that it wasn’t appealing…
Man:           Do you ever get the feeling…?
Woman:   But it’s been there over a week…
Man:           That you’re not being heard when you speak?
Woman:   I think I’ll order the shrimp with the noodles or rice.
                       And the Bavarian pancakes look especially nice…
                       Or maybe some ice-tea for desert?
Man:          My teeth really hurt…
Woman:  Did you not hear a word that I said?!
Man:          Ugh…yes, honey, you DO look lovely in red!
Woman:  The FOOD! What are you getting?
Man:          I feel I’m forgetting…
Woman: Something with spinach? Or maybe some tuna would be just  the thing?
Man:         I bought you a ring.
Woman: What?..
Man:         I bought…
Woman:  What?
Man:          I mean, will you…?
Woman:  Are you alright?
Man:         Will you…pass me a napkin?
Woman: …sure. You gave me quite a fright there.
                      Just for a minute I thought…
                      It seemed that you said that you bought…
                      And you know that I DO….
                      I mean, I would like to…
Man:         To pass me a napkin?
Woman: …yes. Here you go.