Pacificmelody's Blog

I've got the computer keys to the kingdom!


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Shall We Dance?

Male & Female Western Bluebirds

The flash of a

Bluebird’s wing

The scent of the

Summer rain

And all at once

I’m swept away

Back into your

Arms again

Do I miss you?

Do I want you?

I think I’d almost

Give my soul

To have you in my

Life once more

To fill that empty

Aching hole

Shall we learn from

Our mistakes?

Shall we take

Another chance?

Nothing gained if

Nothing ventured

Learn the steps and

Dance the dance

Shall I tell you

That I love you?

Shall you say you

Feel the same?

Find at last our

Happy ending

Beat the odds and

Win the game!


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Closing The Circle

The Gleaming Lights of Souls, by Yayoi Kusama

Yesterday I wrote about the death of my neighbor, whom I knew only as John. I received a message later that day from a friend of mine, Dean Walker, who wrote:

“Melody, I once wrote a poem about a neighbor who had passed away that no one knew. I just posted the poem “The Hermit” at deanwalker.wordpress.com. I’m dedicating it to John.”

“August 5, 2011

The Hermit

(Dedicated to John, and all the “All the Lonely People” as the Beatles sang).

By all appearance, he was an ordinary man.
On weekdays he would leave for work
by eight a.m. and be home just after seven.

The curtains were always drawn
so the neighbors could only see the T.V. glow,
which always went off at twelve.

On weekends he stayed at home.
Always alone, always with the T.V. on.
He never had guests, no friends or family.

As a mail clerk, no one talked to him at work.
Nor did he ever attempt to talk to anyone.
Some say that he didn’t even own a phone.

I really don’t know. I never talked to him.
Although, he lived next door.

He died of an unknown or natural cause.
There was no funeral.”

Then I received the following poem from a friend of mine, who also knew John. She has asked to remain anonymous but has allowed me to share her words with you.

“Melody, personal angel to John,

Whose soul is now lifted by her wings;

He leaves this Earth without knowing

That she was his champion at the end.”

I replied: “I didn’t know you were a poet, and what a beautiful poem. Writing is my way of dealing with the sadness. Now, with my story, and Dean’s and your poems, it feels more like a celebration. It’s like we’ve waked him. After all, the ceremonies are always for the ones left behind.

“Thank you for your thoughtful and loving words. I choose to think that somewhere John has noticed and appreciated our belated efforts.”

And thank you to everyone who responded with kindness to the loss of a man who they did not know. Thank you for being my village, for sharing my sadness and for easing my grief by sharing it.


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Am I My Neighbor’s Keeper?

You are the light.

This morning when I left my apartment, I saw a washer, dryer, stove and fridge sitting in the hall outside my neighbor, John’s, unit. I noticed, too, in looking out the hall window, that the blinds were drawn all the way up, and his place seemed empty. I was surprised he hadn’t said goodbye.

Although we were more friendly acquaintances than friends, I liked John and we would always stop and speak when we met. He was a brash New Yorker, with opinions he was willing to share. One more of the many and varied characters who inhabit our community. Part of our little world.

I was on my way to my local coffee shop, and outside on the sidewalk I encountered another of our residents, Bob. I asked him if he’d seen John lately, because I knew they were on friendly terms. He paused for a moment and then told me that John was dead. He had to say it twice, because I thought I’d misheard him. I was sure he’d meant to say away, not dead. Death is so final, so hard to take in and frequently so unexpected.

Bob said that a woman with whom John had been working had been trying to reach him by phone. Finally, concerned that he was not answering her calls or returning them, she contacted someone in, I believe it was Portland’s Human Services Department. They could not reach him either, so they contacted building management. When they found him, he was dead, and it’s estimated that he had died about five days before.

That made me feel so sad, to know that he had died alone. That he’d been lying there, mere yards away, with no one to know or tend to him. I don’t know the cause of death, but I believe it must have been very sudden, so that he had no chance to call for help. All in all, a swift and merciful death, it would seem, as I would fervently wish for myself when my time comes.

When I got home, I called several of my friends who had known him, too, and each of them expressed sadness and regret and had something kind to say of him. I will close by saying that I liked John. He was lively and opinionated, always willing to stop and say hello, and we will all miss him.

It made me think of John Donne’s famous words, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

Today, John, it tolls for thee. Rest in sweet peace.