the magazine

October 2007                                                                                                                                                                                  issn 1488-004

    Welcome to the rustic edition of abovegroundtesting not really I thought I would incorporate something autumn into the opening and this is the time of year when the winds howl through the empty branches of trees and the limbs snap providing wood for outdoor fires.  The seasons move through the cycle, when once summer's heat ruled, the fast approach of autumn reminds us that the cold of winter will soon gather us in to our places of warmth.
      Do we still gather around the hearth?  Do we still use that word?  In the community where I live, outside firepits are illegal, some have told me any open fire is illegal.  Where is the romance of this community.  The burning pit calls to us to return to something not quite as civilized as our society claims to be.  To experience warmth of the fire, the aroma of burning wood calls to us to shed for just a moment our cultured ways.  To hunt for wood, that's the joy.  I remember living in Northern BC and hearing someone say that wood warms you twice, once when you cut it and again when you burn it.  That is so true.   It was my task to go out in the -40 winter and cut the wood for the fireplace.  Swing an axe for an hour and you are quite warm.  
    In my previous home, I had a firepit and there I would gather the branches and twigs from the various trees in the backyard and burn it at night, when the sky was clear and the stars shone as bright as winter stars can shine down.  I was both cold and warm, and enjoying both experiences.
    I shouldn't say too much about winter, after all we've got four or five months of it forthcoming.  

    I've got more to say at the end.

    Let's read some poetry:


Michael Levy starts off this month.  If you've visited his excellent site you know he's a busy individual, so it is a good thing when he contributes to my ezine.

 Paradigm of Holy Orders by Michael Levy
Ceaseless movement in time and space,
bouncing out of the infinite,
limitless streams, shooting through
incessant parcels of time,
scope ‘n range, absent of limitations,
multiple dimensions expand
within the principals of nature,
vanishing from sight one moment,
stimulating, the presence of the next,
infinite orchestrations enchanting mortality,
acts of unsurpassable ambrosial intelligence,
performing transcendent energies,
myriad of elegant transformations,
metamorphic exotic impacts,
conducing a medley of graceful maneuvers,
partnerships in humanities abundance network,
transmitted from a paradigm of holy orders

Michael Levy

Taylor Graham comes with this.  She said in her note with her contribution: "Too much of this new technology, and I have to go walk in the woods and listen for what the lo-tech nuthatches and ravens have to tell me."


We’re walking through Home Depot,
past the plumbing fixtures,
looking for T-posts and woven wire
to fence in the dog. Down
the lumber aisles, their sawdust aura,
their scent fresh-milled,

I’m seven years old again,
my father teaching me to hold a hammer,
pound nails into scraps of wood
left over from his carpentry –
second-hand bent nails
in need of straightening.

Wooden blocks become a stable.
A horse comes free as make-believe.
I whistle him from his stall
and out he comes, ready to carry me
wherever a child can canter
on two bare feet.


Most are as mongrel as we are, but
what do dogs care for pedigrees? Scent
is what counts here – invisible waft
of power, this first
aromatic day of autumn.

No dog-toys allowed, no leashes.
But my dog has license to play
with her kind: kink-tailed Spitz-cross
and small yellow yapper
escorting a large lady in a purple
poncho; droop-eared hound leading
a pale youth in buckskin fringes.

Inside this chainlink enclosure,
we humans don’t look
at each other. How odd
we’d all seem, bound by nothing
but our common dogs.


One night on TV you watched
the Wall come down – that dead-weight
barricade half a world away,
which halved the world.

How many years ago you lived
with a man who scaled that Wall
under Stasi guns
to make his run for freedom.

At last you sailed back home
and built a house
with a safer man. When did you
stop being a Berliner?

Michael Lee Johnson was also kind enough to forward some of his very new work.  Also, take the time to read his biography.  If you enjoy his work, there is information for ordering his books


Mother, Edith, at 98

(Version #2 Aug. 15th 2007)

in a nursing home
blinded with
macular degeneration.
I come to you,
blurred eyes, crystal mind,
countenance of grace.
as yesterday's winds
I have consumed you
and taken you away.
"Where did God disappear to?"
You murmured
over and over again
like running water
or low voices
in prayer:
"Oh, there He is,
angel of the coming."





I Brew in Broth


When the silence of my

life tickles in darkness

delves into my daily routine

caught in my melancholy music

at times, not exact;

then exuberant auto racing playing

at times, not exact;

(a new poem published or a kick in the ass)

kick smacks like tornado alley

in the tomato can

left over paste

of my emotions

at times, not exact;

I realize the split of legacy,

of loyalty on its knees fractured

like a comma or sentence fragment,

naked like a broken egg

between friendship and hatred,

I stew like beef then broth


sort of liked, sort of hated,

not exact.

I'm a Riverboat Boy:

Poem on Halsted Street



As sure as church bells

Sunday morning, ringing

on Halsted and State Street,


these memories will

be soon forgotten.

I stumble in my life with these words

like broken sentences.

I hear and denounce myself in the distance,

mumbling chatter off my lips.

Fragments and chips.

Swearing at the parts of me I can't see;

walking away rapidly from the spiritual thoughts of you.

I am disjointed, separated from my Christian belief.

I feel like I'm at the bottom of sinner's hill

playing with my fiddle, flat fisted and busted.

So you sing  in the gospel choir; sang in Holland,

sang in Belgium, from top to bottom,

the maps, continents, atlas are all yours.

I detach myself from these love affairs

drive straight, swiftly,

to Hollywood Casino Aurora.

Fragments and chips.

I guess we gamble in different casinos,

in different corners of God's world,

you with church bingo;  and I'm a riverboat boy.

No matter how spiritual I'm once a week,

I can't take you where my poems don't   follow me.

Church poems don't cry.

Forked in Itasca


I am so frustrated

I want to chew

the dandruff

out of the internet hair implant

and dislodge it,

for a lost love affair I never cared

about and hardly knew.

Don't tell me about my sentence structure,

I am human in these simple words.

I swear to you I curse.

Then the ram of my affair falls short

frustrating my approach to the world

at my fingertips.

No Yellow Pages here my love.

The dial up of my local connection

is wretched, stuck unincorporated

in the land I approved to live in,

monopolized by Comcast the

robbers of the poor and the humbled.

All I hear is the rambling of the railroad tracks.

I grow numb in my deafness faint with my hearing.

Did I ask for your opinion?

I am a frustrated foreign camper

in my own community.

Of a village I don't live in,

but I love this local village I lie about.

I am estranged.

I tie knots in contradictions

when I travel light and far,

visit home I long for a journey

past where I have never been.

Is this the reason I am lost

forked in between

the poet I think I am

and the working man

my bills dictate?

Michael Lee Johnson is a freelance writer and poet, who created over 355 poems published in over 135 journals and online publications to date. He is a member of Poets & Writers, Inc and Directory of American Poets & Fictions Writers: http://www.pw.org/.  He is a member of The Illinois Authors Directory. Illinois Center for the Book:   http://www.illinoiscenterforthebook.org/directory.html .  He has been published in the United States, Scotland, Canada, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria, Fiji, India, and the United Kingdom.   Michael Lee Johnson's personal website can be found at:    http://poetryman.mysite.com/    Mr. Michael Lee Johnson lives in Chicago, IL after spending 10 years in Edmonton, Alberta Canada during the Viet Nam era. He is a freelance writer and poet. He is heavy influenced by Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, and Leonard Cohen.   Recent publications: The Orange Room Review, Bolts of Silk, Chantarelle's Notebook, The Foliate Oak Online Literary Magazine, Poetry Cemetery, Official Site of Laura Hird, The Centrifugal Eye, Adagio Verse Quarterly, Scorched Earth Publishing,   Café Del Soul (The Cynic Online Magazine) and many others.   He is the author of the paperback poetry book:   The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom.


Now Listed at iUniverse Publishers:


http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-46091-7  The ISBN # is:  0-595-46091-7.  EBook also

available at iUniverse at:  http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-90391-6   The ISBN # IS:  0-595-90391-6


Now Listed at Amazon.com




Now Listed at Barnes & Noble



Now Listed at Target Bookstores:




Now Listed at Lulu.com

Visit his storefront at:  http://stores.lulu.com/poetryboy  


Felino Soriano brings these poems for you to read.  I was concerned his unique line division was not going to make the transfer over in the copying, but it did.

Gauging Existence in A Crawling Manner



Truth in contagious forms,


by the faceless of rigid followings,

dissecting cultural


caused by contaminated


  whose stairs leading in splayed

directional camaraderie with

antithetic to esoteric


species blend within a proverbial


whose abstract devotion to existence

has devoured sustenance of the critical thinking


who must now pry with philosophical


to ascertain the absolute rendition

of truth,

peeling the particles

of abstraction, leaving lying the layers of

unknown to recuperate within an existence

toward solidifying reunification.







Reticulated features

akin to systematic folding


of antiquated pages,

pages designated to inform the pierce

of agitated stares;

selected font might display aggravated

answers when appointed questions

arise within

the entirety of reference¢s


Investigation and

interrogation of self


desire from informational circumstances,

setting the mind into a patterned


allowing thought to focus

on resuscitation of transcending






Biography Note:

Felino Soriano, from California, a case manager working with developmentally disabled adults, and philosophy student.  The existence of being a classic and avant-garde jazz enthusiast juxtaposed with his philosophical studies, one can ascertain his poetic inspirations.  His poetry appears widely in print and online. 

Dr. Charles Fredrickson combines the written word with graphics inspired by his poetry.  So much to choose from, he doesn't make my job easy.


I am so and so
Inclined to think the unthinkable
Daring to ask vexing questions
Dispelling illusions enchanted lasting myths

I am so and so
Relieved that dense phantom haze
Of choking incense has lifted
Awaiting reticent sun emerging triumphant

I am so and so
Hopeful contagious falling star glitter
Can be caught like cold
Magical glimmer casting visionary spell

I am so and so
Clearly seeing my future
Focus not quite as imagined

Wondrous fake-believe blossoms never fade


Borderline fantasy or sheer insanity
Wavy bent curves separate imagination
From uncontrolled surreal wild hallucinations
Whimsical passion yielding outlandish weirdness

Indulging in quirky nightmarish visions
Where does sound reason end
And disorderly madness take over
Bizarre unconventional wisdom oddly far-fetched

Art compensates for life’s imperfections
Mixing eclectic sensibilities moods styles
Dipping brush into wellspring fountainhead
Painting nature in own self-image

Probing ever more deeply unexposed
Recesses mindful confusion reeking havoc
Precarious breathless edgy balance upset
World of eccentricity slightly off-kilter


Breaking away from dead-end cul-de-sac
To discover who you are
Or what you could become
Thrust head-on into incognito realm

Taking leave tethered chain removed
Friskily chasing own bushy tail
Homeless dislocated belonging nowhere special
Liberation unlimited possibilities to pursue

Surrender floating through strange language
Forked gutturals bent on fluency
Postcard sent from anywhere else
Outsider limbo there not here

Actualized experiences virtual reality detours
Flexibly changing uncertain timeline bent
Independent perspective gained from seeing
Things circumspectly from untold distance

One way Do not enter
Signs posted no U-turnaround space
Blindsided by paved good intentions
Frankly doing whatever My Way

An ARTiculate uinVERSEalist, heretical believer, pragmatic idealist and

visionary seer, Dr. Charles Frederickson’s seasoned wonderland
wanderlust has taken him to 206 countries, images and impressions of
presented on http://www.imagesof.8k.com. One-man art gallery shows in
Chicago, Bangkok and Amman, as well as dozens of magazine covers and
arts illustrations. His innovative poem & picture PoeArtry combos are
ongoing Poem of the Day features @listenandbeheard.net as well as
progressive political viewpoints at newversenews.com. Current
of his artwork can be viewed at ascentaspirations.ca,
abovegroundtesting.com and poetrycemetery.com

Final Words

So this ends the 102nd issue of the ezine.   Next month will contain an interview as well as your poetry.  The interview will be with
 Lanaia Lee.  She has a new book coming out this fall entitled  Of Atlantis and a book of her poetry  Within Lanaia's Darkness.  So look for that in November.  

About November, I mentioned something about it  in the September issue and here's what is going to happen; I have set up a special wiki page for the issue.  It will be issue 103 but instead of you emailing me your submissions, you are going to incorporate your work directly to the page.  Also, if you want to say something  interesting and discuss someone's work with them, you can do that as well.   To do all this, you will need to go to
http://abovegroundtesting.wikispaces.com/November,  when you get there click on the "edit this page" button and go at it to your hearts content.  There will be a few caveats, 1) do not change anyone's work, 2) keep your comments clean and 3) understand that I am still editor and I have final say.    I hope the end result will be wonderful, perhaps a little weird but will make this issue a living issue, growing and changing with each day.  I will check the page continually and send you the link when I have completed what I have to add.  So be creative and spontaneous with it.  Let me say, don't be afraid of it, it should be a lot of fun.

The podcast continues:  the October episode, #22 features two works by Stephen Mead.  He has some fascinating work on the Internet.

This issue is #102, ©2007.  Respect the work of others.

If you have any work you wish to share, email me and include a brief biography.  
This is produced using Nvu.

Radiohead's newest album InRainbows is worth listening to.