Sunday, May 19, 2013


Our job was sorting mail -
overtime at Christmas
3 shifts, crews rotated 
designated work areas 
where machines now 
labor to move the mail 
Hank was about to retire;
Japanese, always solemn, 
rarely spoke
Micho's sweet smile -
never used a day of sick leave
in her career,
she loved to talk about
her prize winning chrysanthemums
Benita was a new hire,
from the Philippines
dearly missed her family
Harry was also Japanese, 
always had a fresh remark,
harmless banter, joking was his style
Martha, my coworker  - 
graveyard shift, single mother of
4,  black,  full of vigor,
hilarious company
Jerry worked every day with me
at the registry, 
selling stamps, 
accepting valuable packages
He had arrived from Vietnam in the 70's; 
we worked well together, 
had a system, an understanding
We were productive , efficient,
had happy customers
Victor, his brother, worked in the back -
loaded mail on the trucks
He had a way with people -
put them in their place without
their realizing it,
never said a negative word
Sue made beautiful Chinese silk screen
Maria and her husband Luis,
hard workers from Mexico, 
she worked till she gave birth
right there in the elevator
Some liked to gossip, 
some were slackers,
but they were the minority...
Once a month 
we brought potluck  -
food was delicious and varied
from Hawaiian barbecue, stir fry, 
beans and enchiladas, 
chow mien, Thai, duck feet, 
egg rolls, sushi, macaroni & cheese,  
casseroles, lumpia,  adobo - 
chicken in 
one hundred different ways..
breads, cakes, and pies 
potpourri of desserts 

My neighbor two doors down 
is a Bonsai expert, 
has a pagoda garden
Sam across the street is Burmese -
He and his Vietnamese wife, 
May, adopted little David,
a Chinese boy
A Samoan family lived on the corner,
moved when their kids graduated
I can't forget Lee
who lives next door to me
She's an attorney, teaches English,
takes care of many 
of her native Korean elderly
26 families in this cul-de-sac
An Englishman and his wife 
The rest of us are mongrels -
European ancestors 
Me...I'm mostly Irish 
and we didn't get along 
with Italians, and others 
who immigrated to the US, first
We are different in customs,
 in ways we approach life 
and family issues, 
but we are basically the same
in the truly important ways
We help each other, 
respect each other's 
background, privacy; 
we are a cross section of the USA,
melting pot of individuals 
with  lives that play out 
in every day events that
 inspire understanding,
optimal living for all
in the same community 
No need for running interference
between parties -
We are enriched by sharing, 
exchanges stories,
watching each other's kids 
play and grow.  
Born of this diversity is 
Education tears down  
real or imagined barriers
If only the world would 
catch up, follow suit, 
fall into the same pattern,
continue in the same vein,
To have world peace one day -
acquaint the ancient 
with the new
To live together in harmony
We are all part of God's rainbow
with different shades of skin;
our offspring's offspring
will live in an era 
of co-mingled DNA, but we have
a long way to go to solve the
age old problems 
of hunger, hostility 
reaching across all 
Kelvin has asked us to write about anything Asian, spurred by insensitive racial remarks made on his blog.  He lives in the Philippines.. we all have experiences with Asian culture, cuisine, friends, or art,,it will be interesting to see what is written about in poetry last post before I take leave.


  1. Strong poem here. Yes, there is diversity among us...and it is best if we not only tolerate it but embrace it! I very much appreciate the personal share.

  2. what a beautiful world you paint...all the various colors and textures, customs and history in one place....helping each other...would love to spend a bit of time with your bonsai friend...i fancied a bonsai years back...a few actually...very cool write...

  3. Love the interplay of cultural diversity at work and in the community ~ The potluck is a sure winner, I love checking out the food by other countries ~ Love the message, we can only hope that we see that all of us are the same, underneath the skin and color ~

  4. Very very profound! and very live in a vibrant community and it does add to our tolerance, acceptance and education!

  5. what a wonderful poem katy..loved the part how you peacefully worked together with people from so many like interesting characters for sure..would love to meet a few of them..

  6. 'we are all part of GOD's rainbow with different shades of skin' --- Katy, this will live deep in my heart & mind... i was touched & moved by the beauty that surrounds you & family. Your poem is my top favourite in this particular segment of poetics... really liked how you layered everything here like a magic dust that for sure can make anyone's day. The haters must read this if they want a change in heart... excellent Katy! excellent! and a beautiful remainder just before your leave... after this, you will surely be missed a lot. Enjoy the outside world and always --- smiles....

  7. What an interesting and truly diverse group of friends, neighbors and co-workers you have enjoyed over the years. They've obviously enriched your life. A well-written tribute to them all.

  8. The mailroom as a metaphor for the world - what an inspired construct, and a wonderfully layered exposition of the theme.

  9. You drew me in from the first line. Wonderful verse and thoughts about diversity and acceptance.


All comments, constructive and otherwise, are welcome and appreciated here. Thank you to those who show an interest in my quirky style of writing, photography, painting, and presenting a feeling or thought and for stopping by A Dwelling by the Sea..