CYNTHIA TORONTO, a California transplant, is recognized as a forerunner of cutting-edge Spoken Word Performance. An award-winning poet, she has written eight books of poetry with her work appearing in several anthologies and video documentaries on Los Angeles poets. She has been featured in the New York venues, Four Horsemen and Pink Pony readings at
the Cornelia Cafe, The Bowery Poetry Club, Stark, Otto’s Shrunken Head, Gathering of the Tribes and many others. Upcoming: Nomad’s Choir and The Green Pavillion series. Also a seasoned character actress and educator, she currently teaches Acting and Speech as an Adjunct Professor at City College of New York and Borough of Manhattan Community College.


To all tenants:

Please do not spit in the elevator
as if we have to ask you again

The landlord

Your used crunched napkin left between two leaves of the plant in the lobby
wreaks germs spreading into my oxygen and H2O

Your visitors’ stained unrecycable styrofoam cups left in the entryway
crowd my trash can of recyclable garbage that has a promised permanent home

Your neighborhood stalking strangers’ mock key entry
blocks my special cut ones that now get stuck in the lock

Your cigarette smoke lingering near the mailboxes
chokes my asthmatic breathing as I cough open my mail

Your pounding broomstick from your ceiling thumping to my floor
vibrates mental noise so I can’t work through the problem of your paranoid schizophrenia

Your cat’s urine demanding scent space between floors ! - 6
slows down my trip upwards into the F region where there IS no human or animal waste YET

Your mothballs fly into our 6th Floor hallway buzzing
their smell of death onto my clothes still hanging in the closet 4 doors away

Your dirt mixed with an occasional jumbo outdoor dead roach edges into my doormat &
slips into my need to suddenly become an obsessive-compulsive or a science fiction buff

Your overcooked fish seeps through our shared wall
forcing me to take a shower to exorcize your protein demons

Your blaring middle eastern polka disco music blends in with my CNN news viewing
erupting into a new type of civil war message not yet publicized worldwide

And I stay huddled in my apartment surrounding myself with my preselected sounds and music,
mirroring my preferred internal reality including unique art from dear friends adorning the periphery,
fresh food and produce for tasting, and imaginings privately held with my earphones
and plastic gloves in place, protecting me from the contagion of 1920’s urban building disease
prescribing my future healing into self-contained peace

Copyright 2008