Melissa Toldy

word words words

tune in, tune out

beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful
lovely lovely lovely
TRASH TRASH TRASH
beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful
lovely lovely lovely
TRASH TRASH TRASH

breathe in, breathe out

good good good good
great great great
HELL HELL HELL
good good good good
great great great
HELL HELL HELL

look in, look out

soft soft soft soft
sweet sweet sweet
BURN BURN BURN
soft soft soft…

I saw a man cry once, years ago. (I rarely see men cry.) I saw my father cry in 2004. (He lost his son, my brother, to a car accident.) I saw my partner cry in 2021. (We lost our cat, to cancer.)

The man I saw crying, circa 1990…

My body is my home.

My body, in the mirror, is not my real body.

My body needs me.

My body remembers.

My body talks to other bodies.

My body talks to me.

My body moves constantly.

My body is never still, will never be still, even after I leave…

Eavesdropping in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Clay Class

Scene: Four people (two kids, two adults) sit on a bench, facing the Long Meadow. A person, presumably the mother, speaks.

You know what I was thinking would be a fun thing for all of us to do together?
[Pause for dramatic effect]
A clay class.

Mood: excited

Seventy Dollars

Scene: Middle-aged…

Bill Cosby eats pizza in Norfolk, Virginia. Between bites, the actor sips on coffee. He sits in the basement of a high rise, shaped like a pyramid. There’s a book on the table in front of him, next to a slice of apple pie. The book’s cover reads America’s Favorite

  • panettone, amaretto cream
  • face balm, blue tansy and prickly pear seed oil
  • artisanal marshmallows, vanilla bean specks
  • sunset, pink and purple and blue, cloud blanket
  • daily morning stretch, no cardio
  • hot teas, rooibos, peppermint, honey, lemon
  • a doctor’s appointment with a doctor who listens
  • fat squirrels in Central Park
  • chairman’s…

We weren’t allowed to touch each other at the private school I attended, from kindergarten to eleventh grade. Kids were punished for PDA: public display of affection. We were supposed to maintain a distance of at least six inches from each other.

There were no dances at my school. Every…

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