Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I love my day job.
It is never boring.
I laugh lots
and hardly sit.

Time flies.

We talk about:
great books,
the writing process,

We look closely
at trees
then adopt one.
We even hug them
and wish for rain.

P.S. Do you know just how hard it is to identify trees?

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I am poemless.

My mother-in-law has been visiting for a week.

Received three poetry rejections and one acceptance.

School starts back up this week.

I've had enough with teacher meetings, meetings, meetings.

Ate a yummy omellette at Foster's Market this morning.

My daughter just turned 7, my son turns 4 in a week.

I am thinking about advertising on this blog - what do you think?

I am tired from the back-to-school hubub.

Is that how you spell hubub?

I am poemless.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Postpartum Depression Hits Dads, Too

By Ed Edelson

MONDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Almost as many new fathers as mothers suffer depression after the birth of a child, a new study shows.

About 14 percent of mothers and 10 percent of fathers showed signs of moderate or severe postpartum depression, according to the study, which followed more than 5,000 members of two-parent families.

"There have been a few small studies in the last two years showing this, but nothing has been known on a national basis," said study leader James F. Paulson, an assistant professor of pediatrics and psychology and behavioral sciences at the Eastern Virginia Medical School Center for Pediatric Research.

The findings are published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

New parents who participated in the study filled out questionnaires and were interviewed to determine whether they showed symptoms of depression. Their relationships with their children were determined by questioning such practices as breast-feeding, putting the child to bed on his or her back, and whether the parents read to, played peek-a-boo with or sang to the child.

"What we found in this study is that basic day-to-day interactions were impaired in fathers, just as they were in mothers," Paulson said. "Also, basic activities were impaired."

Pediatricians should make a greater effort to identify postpartum depression in both mothers and fathers, Paulson said. "Pediatricians, in general, may be in the best position to catch depression, but they don't often do it," he said, adding he's now doing a study to look at patterns of screening for postpartum depression.

Dr. William Coleman is a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on the psychosocial aspects of child and family health. "Physicians do a very poor job asking about or detecting postpartum blues in the mother, and they may not even see the father," he said. "They might detect the mother's feelings, but may not even ask the father."

Fathers usually feel elation after a birth, Coleman said, but that feeling of "engrossment" can fade away, depending on family circumstances.

That can happen "if the mother is very, very controlling and wants the baby all to herself," Coleman said. "Also, fathers can experience frustration, sexual and emotional, if they forget to remember that the wife is not interested in sex at that time. If the wife is very motherly and maternal, he might feel kind of useless, on the periphery."

Depression in a father leads to a well-known pattern of behavior, Coleman said. "He tends to work longer, to watch sports more, to drink more and be solitary," he said.

One problem in detecting postpartum depression in fathers is that "pediatricians are not told to inquire about adult issues," Coleman said. "It is a silent game."

Yet, it's important to detect postpartum depression in a father for the sake of the child's long-term outlook, Paulson said. "Based on what we know of mothers' postpartum depression, it is associated with health problems later on, not only emotional problems and difficulties adjusting to school but also basic health problems," he said.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Living in Birmingham, Alabama, and driving around with a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker was, well let's just face it, scary. Almost every other car was a large SUV with a W bumper sticker and a hand gun in the glove box. After the election, I peeled the bumper sticker off my small car in the hopes that I would once again be allowed to merge on the highway.

Then, a parent at my school found out I wrote poetry and assumed my political affiliation and gave me THIS BUMPER STICKER. It was perfect: small, subtle. I could don my politics with some pride but not get tailgated. Unfortunately, it faded after two southern summers to become just a white square.

I will be ordering another soon, and since they come in a batch of five, I will mail the others to the first four people that e-mail me. The more bright blue dots around the better.

The parent's assumption is something to think about. I know there are conservative poets, but for the most part, does poet=liberal?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Todd Snider is performing tonight on Jay Leno. This is pretty big time for this singer who plays in mostly small venues, yet he has a strong following that's growing all the time.

"Todd Snider often writes songs with a slightly boozy country-rock swagger . . ." (NPR) His concerts are a combination of a stand-up routine, with clever and sometimes thought-provoking songs. The man has killer sense of timing. He is a storyteller.

Here are the lyrics to one of my favorite Todd Snider songs called Statistician's Blues, makes me laugh every time:

They say 3% of the people use 5-6% of their brain
97% use just 3% and the rest goes down the drain
I'll never know which one I am, but I'll bet you my last dime
99% think we're 3% 100% of the time

64% of the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot
82.4% of people believe them whether they're accurate statistics or not
I don't know what you believe, but I do know there's no doubt
I need another double shot of something 90 proof, I got too much to think about

Too much to think about, too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt, it's too much to think about

They say 92% of everything you learned in school is just bullshit you'll never need
84% of everything you got you bought to satisfy your greed
Because 90% of the world's population links possessions to sucess
Even though 80% of the wealthiest 1% of the population drinks to an alarming excess
More money, more stress

Too much to think about, too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt, it's too much to think about

[Pick it now]

84% of all statisticians truly hate their jobs
They say the average bank robber lives within, say, about 20 miles of the back that he robs
There's a little bank not far from here
I've been watching now awhile
Lately all I can think about's
How bad I want to go out in style

It's too much to think about, it's too much to figure out
Stuck between hope and doubt, it's too much to think about
That's right
It's too much to think about
It's too much to think about

Sunday, August 06, 2006


This is a WORD CLOUD created by scanning this entire blog for the most common words. Of course, there is a marketing angle, they want you to buy a t-shirt with your "signature words."

Friday, August 04, 2006


Irene Latham wrote a stunning poem in response to the starling video:

If Not for Starlings

Starlings swoop and swerve,
dive into the evergreen arms
of a cedar as if pulled
by the force of a magnet.
We watch as the combined
weight of a hundred birds
splits the tree like a knife
sinking into a loaf of bread,
bending the limbs
but not breaking them.
You’ve got to admire
their decisiveness,
the way the starlings turn
and turn again,
keep coming back
to the same tree,
its strength and flexibility
a certainty to them
but unknown to us
until this very moment.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


American Life in Poetry: Column 071


William Carlos Williams, one of our country's most influential poets and a New Jersey physician, taught us to celebrate daily life. Here Albert Garcia offers us the simple pleasures and modest mysteries of a single summer day.

August Morning

It's ripe, the melon
by our sink. Yellow,
bee-bitten, soft, it perfumes
the house too sweetly.
At five I wake, the air
mournful in its quiet.
My wife's eyes swim calmly
under their lids, her mouth and jaw
relaxed, different.
What is happening in the silence
of this house? Curtains
hang heavily from their rods.
Ficus leaves tremble
at my footsteps. Yet
the colors outside are perfect--
orange geranium, blue lobelia.
I wander from room to room
like a man in a museum:
wife, children, books, flowers,
melon. Such still air. Soon
the mid-morning breeze will float in
like tepid water, then hot.
How do I start this day,
I who am unsure
of how my life has happened
or how to proceed
amid this warm and steady sweetness?

Poem copyright (c) by Albert Garcia from his latest book "Skunk Talk" (Bear Starr Press, 2005) and originally published in "Poetry East," No. 44. Reprinted by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.