-the magazine-

March 2008                                                                                                                                                   issn 1488-0024

“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

Far from it for me to disagree with Mr. T. S. Eliot, but his apprasal of what is the cruelest month is off by one, he should have written and declared that March, not April is the cruelest month.  For March is the month of winter that lingers, of the thaw and slush of bad weather.  It is when the piles melt and we see all that has been buried.  March is also the month of the last storms of the season, when we look for spring and get hit in the head with Winter.

I don't know how winter has been where you live but over here in Canada, it has been the months of storms.  It is as if Nature is trying to bring things back into equilibrium.  After so many mild winters, we have an old fashion one in which the piles of snow grow larger threating to bury our cars and houses under its bulk.

It has also been the month of creativity, you will read a number of poems.  You will enjoy reading them.  While the nights are still long, you can curl up with a good computer and enjoy this issue.


To start this issue, Lanaia Lee gives us this poem of the future

Tick, tick, tick, can you hear the hear the time as it quickly slips by
The hands of the clock read one minute before midnight, we are getting very close to doomsday
Global warming, famine, death, and war, hear the hooves of the four horsemen, as they ride their horses, the closer they get, the more people that will die
The time is near when pestilence, death, and plague will come out to play.
Tick, tick, tick, we just stand by as the doomsday clock ticks away
Soon the world as we know it may go away
Leaving with us the aftermath of doomsday, something we are all caused to dread, something in which to the results, we may not have a say
Time, our planet, we just watch, as the clock ticks away.
Tick, tick, tick, no matter what we do our time continues to slip away
It seems mankind would learn from the devastating mistakes they have made
But we don't listen, destruction is waiting at the door, so he can come out and play
If we were in school, we would definitely fail our grade.
Tick, tick, tick, just listen, can't you hear life as it slips away?
It's really sad to think, we would have such a hand in our own demise
Thing need to change, and change without delay
With all the advanced technology of today, mankind is far from wise.
Tick, tick, tick, as the clock makes this sound, hearing this and what it could mean literally makes me feel sick
I see the hands of the clock, one minute before midnight
Mankind just watches, knowing what midnight would bring, darkness so black and thick
Everyone acts so relaxed as doomsday is within reach, within sight
But there seems to be no emotion, no concern, as doomsday is so close, and you can hear the clock as it continually ticks.
Tick, tick, tick, listen to how close the sound seems to be
But we sit back and do nothing, when we take action, it may then be too late
Mankind must take heed! When doomsday comes there will be no safe place to flee
So the clock continues as it counts down how much time we have left, but I think intervention now, do you think it's too late.

From the United States, announcing the release of Within Lanaia's Garden of Darkness, take Lanaia's hand and come travel with her through her garden of darkness, collecting all the things the darkness has to offer. Traveling through the darkness with the supernatural and spirits, only if you dare. Remember at the end of the garden, there is always a ray of light called hope. You can get this book of poetry of the darkness available everywhere by February 14, 2008
check it out promotional for my novel Of Atlantis, a five volume fantasy series, book one

G. David Schwartz send these original pieces of work

Linda Monahan

  Linda Harris became a Katz
   and  when she got sick with that
 She searched for a  Monahan
    and he  became her man

  Sylvester Thomas
  Sylvester Thomas here is a  promise
 I will not make a rhyme
  Out of your first name
  Nor your last


  Linda Lindsay

What can I say
You are so sweet and nice
  And wisdom downs your eyes
  Not that that is so rare
    But you use it often
    And sometimes curly my hair
Linda Lindsay
    How does it go
    Do you think about me
    When I don't know
    Linda sweet Linda
   You are so nice
    And   I don't lie
There is truly only one reason
  That I don't  fib
  It is really  simply and true
  I never remember what I have said

 G. David Schwartz - the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue. Currently a volunteer at Drake Hospital in Cincinnati , Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Midrash and Working Out Of The Book is now in stores or can be ordered.

From the pen of Jeffrey Williams comes these poems:

Denial of Self Realization

I stood on the corner for hours,
Under the gray clouds of light rain
Thinking about my next move.
It was an eye opening reality check
A glimpse into the now,
The here and now.
I had to play the game by their
Rules, not mine.
I had to be better, stronger and one step ahead.
It was go time. I was nervous but confident.
Now to conquer the way I should,
The way I am expected.
I took without being asked,
Without being offered and without permission
It’s mine now. I have success in my grasp.
Now I need to learn to hold on to it.



All-American Eagle

An eagle flew across the air
Looking below to see what's there
It landed gently with a damaged wing
Searching for aide but didn't find a thing

He walked around for miles in the pouring rain
Hoping for a hand to rid him of his pain
His journey lasted for hours without delay
Then he saw a doctor’s office one block away

He went to the doctor seeking first aide
They told him an appointment must be made
The date was set but he couldn’t go
The poor little eagle had no dough

He said: “This isn’t happening, not to me”
“This is not America this is lunacy”
Frustrated with bureaucracy he took a chance
The eagle was fully treated in the country of France

Over Time

I am one-forth the person I was one year ago
But I am only one-half the person
I want to be six months from now.
However, I am one third the boy
I was eighteen years ago
And one hundred percent the man
That I knew I could be.


The Unfortunate Plan

I leaned over for a taste
And swallowed some human waste
Stupidity and Greed made me do this thing
Now I’m the hospitals crowded west wing
This was my dumb idea
So I’ll leave at the rear
Sneak out late at night
With no one in sight
Before I try I’ll pray
That my plans don’t go astray
I won’t be at home soon enough
And the walk without shoes will be rough
I’ll hail a cab, it’ll be fine
I’ll be home in no time
The lights are out, now I can go
No one the wiser, no on will know
I can see my house just ahead
Tonight I’ll sleep in my own bed
I paid the fair and opened the door
I found my wife naked lying on the floor
She had no pulse, my wife was dead
Her beautiful face turned beat red
They questioned me and took me to jail
The judge ordered me held without bail
I escaped from the hospital, what a mistake
I have no alibi, my freedom now at stake

www.jlwonline.com.  Visit his website, it's fantastic!

Dina Televitskaya sent this poem of feelings.  Her letter to me spoke of the grey weather of the northern climes.

Americans say, "we are fine"

Here, in the Russia, we know
about American "OK!" or " fine!"
Maybe, indeed
These words are the most right.
But I cannot say "I am fine",
If I have the hard problems.
Instead I share them with my friends,
Who will hear me, understand me,
Who, maybe, will give me a good advice.
My friends tell me
about their hard problems also,
And I always try to help to them.
Yes, when I am feeling bad,
I answer ," not well".
Many persons in Russia do too.
My dearest American friends!
If even you do not like it,
I ask you,
Tell me, please, about your problems,
And I shall hear you ,
I shall give you my kind words,
my understanding
and good advice.
But anyway, I ask you,
"Be happy!
Be "fine"

Taylor Graham responded to my request for opinion on the upcoming wedding of my daughter with a poem for her.  She also sends another poem Elihu Burritt


lisps her first word, Papa,
in several different languages;
in each of them, Papa is the same.

In time, you teach her to dance
to the stereo, 3/4 waltzes
filling the room, so all the family

and the neighbors hear.
No private music
plugged into the ear. No,

music the communal tongue
pierces a heart so deftly, she
leads, no matter how

you play the teacher. Such
are daughters, that today
you offer her your arm, she leads

you down the aisle,
then pirouettes away.
Another partner.

But see how sweetly she
looks back, the oldest word
“Papa” still on her lips.

(I asked her if she really wants me all that teary eyed).  It worked.


    [Elihu Burritt at the 1848 Peace Congress]

How far you traveled, Elihu,
to see all these ruddy
British faces from across the Channel.

You know them from little upper rooms
and overcrowded halls in London, or
Liskeard or Aberdeen, rowdy gatherings 

as if farmers had driven their herds
inside to hear you; air so close
you could hardly catch breath to speak.

You recognize Friends in sober garb,
men who took you into their homes
and talked peace long into the evening.

Here they all are in Brussels,
stepping off the train within cannon-
range of some battle or another,

such a press of greetings
and arranging for carriages. Opening-
speeches are just hours away,

English and Scots, French and Germans,
Dutch – so many languages
trying to be understood.

How far you traveled to bring them
all together here,
as the afternoon lingers

on its promises of peace,
and the shades pass over Ypres
and Waterloo.

Christopher Barnes sent these poems.  You will also find a photograph of him and also a biography.  He has a website that is connected to the BBC.  When I asked him how that came about he sent this reply: met a woman in a pub to get the bbc webpage meeting people in pubs in newcastle is always interesting for lots of opportunites

Pepote’s Dog

His foxhound must still remember him,
Surfacing, back from the Plaza Mayor’s
Out-of-house cafes, greasy spoons
Or the transit
From the chattering angel’s fete
Loaded with Christmassy tassels,
Scriptures, doves.
Must unavoidably think on his face
Learning the poster of Picasso’s Guernica
Ransomed at the glut market, that bombastic
Booming, snatch-purse shambles,
Hand-me-down clothes, GI surplus,
Budgerigars, whistle-stop canaries,
Sun blinds, razor blades, masterly antiques,
Taiwanese-moulded wavelengths,
Machetes, cocaine spoons.
Choraled in boozers by chance Tunas,
Accompanists and singers with calamanco,
Felt waistcoats, fidgeting, passing
The hat, before the potter home
West along Calle Mayor,
Towards the Royal Palace,
Through Plaza de la Villa
With its wiredrawn tower.
The eleventh hour slow procession
Conducting the coffin,
An avenue of pine,
Birds swarming thermals.
From the Castles in Spain poems


Perfect Holiday

The sun is a big pan
With a prawn in it
Your bubblestorm smile
Relieves the heat
Of its redness
Oxygenated we sit
Unbalanced in dunes
When the solar hinges its web
Gold breathes of grey
Oiled acorn lids
Remind us
We smelled the pond’s grass
Where the blue hills are dying
Like a smashed glass vase
Under a watery tansy

Perfect Pizza Co.
Bottle-holders thumb-tap
Dialling code memories.
Pardon me, no slice of life.
Parsley specks, a boiling fume.
We open doors
As if it were
Sober soft-cheesed reality.
Good dough galore (spend spend)
Open wine on steamy second rate
Which never fails to unfulfil.

Personal Mute Sufferings

I’m a peel of skin about to rip
From deep-set pressures.  The sky is waiting.
Freckle-coloured Ahamed Yacoubi wants to learn
The chromatic scale of my art.
The eye of Ahamed is all cheetah,
He’s tutoring a gingery technique;
Under dried-up stars we distinguish fine detail,
Moonlight spice on a brush.
The last cloud died two days ago.
Catastrophe’s louring – he’s interned
Without the suspense of trial
(tempting a 14 year-old German Adonis)
Scuffles leap out, a real to-do.
Burroughs takes time out from The Naked Lunch,
Scribbles to Ginsberg,
“The Arab dogs are upon us.
Many a queen has been dragged shrieking
From the Parade, the Socco Chico,
And lodged in the local box
Where 60 sons of Sodom now languish.”
There’s a strain in bleached mortar,
Butterflies trembling in the dirt.
I’ll drag on nevertheless.
Bundling gifts of food and canvases
Past the prison-house commissionaire.
From the Francis Bacon poems



The turn of cliffs
Tautening sea-floor blues.
A palpitation in the eye.


Didn’t we?
Did we rocket through see double doors
On the Paris Metro?  Imaginable.
At strong-taste docks
Where slosh waters fidget
We read Genet.
Bonesetters heedfully shog my skull
Repositioning memories – stewed towels,
Haute cuisine,
The town-taled Piaf.

Christopher Barnes, UK

Some bio details...
in 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award.  In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'.  Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems.  Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops.  2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.
 On Saturday 16th Aughst 2003 I read at theEdinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St.
I also have a BBC webpage  www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/gay.2004/05/section_28.shtml and http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site.
Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North.  I   made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group.  October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty's Newcastle.  This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne.  I  made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains my poem The Old Heave-Ho.  I worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which  exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University   funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bioscience Centre at Newcastle's Centre for Life.  I was  involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited  at The Seven Stories children's literature building.  In May I had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People's Theatre why not take a look at their website http://ptag.org.uk/whats_on/gulbenkian/gulbenkian.htm
The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem "The Holiday I Never Had", I can be heard reading it on www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18456

Walter Ruhlmann sends these three works of "Rex and the Cyclops".  Enjoy.

Rex & the Cyclops # 2

The tool box was locked and I needed a hammer to fix the heart-broken
Sally wasn’t bad in her trousers and her breast lifted up proud and
Allan was watching her from the top of the ivory tower but she didn’t

see him.
And the Cyclops was crying. He took a tissue from the box and tore it
halves; he needed nothing more.


Rex & the Cyclops # 13

James fell
into the wine bottle.

Injured sensitiveness

the grapes
the race.


Rex & the Cyclops # 14

Hughes, have you found you way

you can carry on tramping.

William will always have

for your shoes…
Walter Ruhlmann

Robert Demaree returns to this ezine with these two poems.  It's been a while.

The maple by the dock turns first,

Not the oak,

Remembering shaded swimmers in July,

Or the birches,

Thinking they may try to ride the winter out.

Always this maple and not others,

Every year, without exception,

Apple green to orange and red:

Does that sound like a plan to you?

I have a confession:

Sunday nights I like to read

Those newsprint magazines

Stuffed into the thickness

Of the morning paper.

You know the kind I mean:

Recipes, tales of rock stars

Pulled back from the edge of

Madness and despair,

And, best of all, the columns of people

You figure can’t be real,

Answering imaginary questions

About icons of pop culture

Unknown to me:

So what’s she up to these days,

What’s next for her?

Settle a bet, a meal’s riding on this.

I like to think

I have no prurient interest in the answers,

But it comforts me to know

That if one week has ended,

Then another has begun.


Robert Demaree is a retired school administrator. His most recent collection of poems, Fathers and Teachers, is available through Amazon.com

Scenes and Takes, from Felino Soriano
Scenes and Takes # 31, 1

The child who dedicated footsteps, artwork,
dissipates. Too, breath, twirled, mimicking
a language of foreign entity, sprinkled atop
an ear of English-only. Some may categorize
this dissipation as unjust. The translucent
arrival of empty sock drawers, filled cough
syrup containers, a mother's incessant desire
to categorically cry on command. Truth in objective,
outside observance cannot accurately outline
tomorrow's occurrences: mother-son
bond broken at the weakest link of accidental

Scenes and Takes # 32, 1

Virago, self-appointed. Important.
She wanted
rescue from such a disastrous
self-inflicted definition, reflectional
of pushiness and etched with identity crisis.
Power, typical. Yet, tired of population
one, she, fabricated a fallacy, an à la mode
shell to showcase contemporary, available
status. Important.

Scenes and Takes # 33, 1

The postcard was a seller of intricate shapes,
modern realities: abandoned, if aware. Barn and
keeper of black birds: released its children: stilled
above its silenced and enigmatic roof.

Scenes and Takes # 36, 1

February's burgeon, hands' splay
releasing indigenous
cold, here, calm. Melting
not in surplus, distant thought,
cousin to interactive deluge of
hanging within air's pausing
grandeur. Love is in shadows,
in shadows' ruling over deadened
leaves, browned to the position
of oily documents. Disfigured
metaphors read as literal alphabetic
terms: trees as if floating
amid a language of space,
delineate bird homes
imaginary persons anchored
to the injuries of their reprimanded ankles.

Winter, mid-flight. Justified opaque
akin to spaceless flocks of ageless
spearing angles across a humbled
attachment of gaze, weather.

Felino Soriano, from California, is a case manager working with
developmentally disabled adults, and philosophy student. He is the
author of a chapbook entitled "Exhibits Require Understanding Open
Eyes" published by Trainwreck Press, 2008.
His poetry appears at Otoliths, Blaze VOX, Zone, Ygdrasil, Hecale, and
Visit felinosoriano.com for more information.

The announcements for this issue is, the Premier issue of Avantgardetimes has been published.   Your editors, Dr. Charles Fredrickson 
and Saknarin Chinayot worked hard to make it the reality it is. It is an international issue, featuing poets from Thailand, India, Iraq, United States
and the UK. If you are interested in submitting to the new ezine, check out the wiki. All information regarding themes and upcoming release dates
will be posted at the site. If you wish to contribute, send an email to : avantgardetimes@gmail.com. My function is that of webpublisher, which means
I take the works the editors send me and publish it to the web. It also means I get to be grumpy and complain about all the extra work. Just kidding.

abovegroundtesting will continue its normal monthly schedule and so I look forward to reading your submissions each month. As always I am
looking for new poets and writers, so if you have friends that have been hiding their talent, this is the avenue by which the world can read their works.

You too can be a published author. Should you have other work published, please include abovegroundtesting in your list of published mediums.

To submit, send an email with 'submission' in the subject line. Any style of work will be accepted, poems, short stories, essays, painting and
photographs, are welcome.

All work is copyright by the authors, please respect their rights of creativity.

This is issue #107, March 2008.

This issue was produced using Nvu web authoring system. The operating system is Ubuntu 7.10.