You are looking at the last
issue of abovegroundtesting. As I mentioned in the November
issue, I'm ending the run of the ezine with this issue.
Now I thought I would take a few moments to explain the reasoning for
this conclusion. To sum it up, it's time. I am not ending
because I'm tired of doing it, or that I no longer have the input to
put an issue together, in fact I'm sure if I was to go through my
mailbox, I've got enough material for a couple of issues. If you
read my blog you may think
it has something to do with my recent bout of illness. While I
did spend time in the hospital, I want to say that the decision was
reached a number of months before it happened. Nor is it the case
of burn-out, I still enjoy putting the ezine together, I enjoy reading
all the letters I receive over a month.
No as I said, I have simply decided I've done all I can do with this
ezine. It has been a tremendous experience and now that
experience will move on. As I said, it was a couple of months
earlier that I made up my mine that this would be the final issue.
If I can share a bit more, I had considered concluding the ezine
with issue 100. After all, to reach the century mark would make
quite a statement, but then I thought it would be wrong to end with
100, it would be artificial, and so I thought I would go a few issues
beyond. But I had such a great time with "the summer of
celebration", I felt I couldn't end with 100. However earlier
this year I sat down and considered the future, again, of
abovegroundtesting. This year was different, I knew that I would
celebrate ten years of publishing and that is when I came to the
conclusion it was time to end. I had first thought ending
in August or September but I realized it would be best to end the year
and to end the ezine with December.
When I started the ezine I probably thought about the longevity of the
ezine; could I make it to issue 50? How about 100?
I conclude not with exhaustion or with regret, but with joy and
satisfaction. I never thought it would reach this many and I have
so many people to thank. I can't list them all because there are
simply too many. There are past friends who were instrumental in
making this a reality. There are present friends who have been
there for quite a number of issues. I have favourites issues and
its great to look at them. I have other issues which are
not my favourites. All I can say is 'thank you', or 'thanks for
What does the future hold for me? Let me say, I will still be involved with avantgardetimes.
I also plan to do some writing, I have some ideas for short
stories and plays I want to get working on. I've also got my
photography, I want to develop that. So if you think this is the
last you will hear from me, you are mistaken. I have the podcast
to work on, my blogs and all that wonderful writing.
So what does 2009 have for me, a lot of things. You can write, I will respond.
Again, thank you for all your years of sharing and friendship.
Len Bourret submitted a number of poems and other works, however, due
to my lack of skills, I have to only present his poetry. He's
been a wonderful supporter:
God is Our Anchor
Dedicated to Harvey Milk, to Heath
Ledger, to Judy Garland, and to
Both at earth's golden and at Eden's
God tells me to turn the other cheek,
but He must not look at what I see,
or He would not ask me to do that.
If He'd just take a closer peek,
He'd see that I feel all alone,
and things appear to be so bleak.
There is so much grief and loss,
so much devastation and life seems
to be such a travesty,
which God Himself does not attone.
Does He not feel what I feel?
Does God not hear what I say?
Although other hearts are open wide,
other minds appear to be so closed.
Everywhere, no matter at what time
or where I am,
my faith and hope, in God, I confide,
from Atlantic to San Francisco Bay,
God tells me that, if I accept Him
and put my belief and trust in Him,
that I'll be free and I'll be saved.
Why, God, do I feel so cast aside?
Why, God, do I feel so left behind?
I am no longer just a cork in the
water and floating nowhere.
I am driftwood no longer.
I am not proud, nor am I boastful,
one step backwards and unsteady,
but progressing two steps forward,
with my patience and my kindness,
I am willing and I am ready.
Yes, God loves me.
His inherent goodness tells me so.
God always guards and protects me,
and He gets me where I need to be.
Quandry of Design and Selection
God made a man, and God made a
Let's Hear It for the Turtle!
If God wanted Adam and Steve, what
would have happened to Eve?
A square peg won't fit in a round hole.
Even if it could, we wouldn't accept it.
It's never been done.
Besides, we've never done it like that.
And, what would happen, if the round
holes began holding hands, or started
hugging and kissing?
Could we still treat round holes like
square pegs, or be forced to accept
Round holes don't have babies.
Round holes don't get pregnant.
Majority rules. They should act like
they're square, even when they're not.
We would prefer that the round holes
find a way to be square.
Then, they would be forced to accept
Round holes are round holes.
Square pegs are square pegs.
It's not our problem that the round
holes don't fit.
We don't want to be forced into
deciding whether square pegs
are round holes, or whether
round holes are square.
All square pegs are designed to fit
into female plugs.
Round holes are not designed to fit
into male plugs.
Female plugs don't have an Adam's
apple, they're supposed to be soft,
they're not supposed to be tough.
Everybody's supposed to conform.
I'm a round hole, married to a female
plug. I'm in a quandry of design and
selection, but it's only natural.
And, if it wasn't, Heath Ledger would
have married a man.
It's not about averages, numbers or percentages.
It's about fighting for what's right.
Connecticut serves as a beacon light, a rainbow
of hope and promise, for the rest of America and
With our heads held high, seeking guidance and
protection from the Highest Power in the sky,
taking one step backward, but holding steady,
taking two steps forward, making progress slowly
and surely. We're getting there.
With gay pride's flag unfurled and our determination,
we'll reach the finish line.
Because it's not about winning or losing, but how we
run the race.
Depending on how one looks at winning, the rabbit
supposedly wins the race, but the turtle still comes
in. And, you know, there's just something so awe-
inspiring and empowering about that turtle!
Len Bourret (Copyright 2008)
Ramesh Dohan sends three works
Poetry 1 - Memories
You continue to drink my tea
As if this day is not really happening.
The olives in the fridge look at me
Tempestuously red. I pretend to yawn.
I consider a Max Jacob poem and
You sit on top of me, chewing.
Outside the sky is suspicious
And damp and wants to be smaller.
I pin to your back a paper
Fish, its ink gills flit in the breeze.
Poetry 2 - library
Your flesh is out of the question
so, twirling the pencil you left behind
until your bite aligns with mine,
I lick your fingerprints,
grind yellow paint between my teeth.
Poetry 3 - Hurt
You were like this knife
I had cut myself on,
every time I saw you
the wound wanted you back
He writes of himself: "I am a poet and short fiction writer haling from the city of Vancouver,
Canada. My works have been featured in the Coffee Journal, Ascent, Word
riot and Southern Ocean Review."
Our next is Felino Soriano. He wrote me such a delightful letter.
The beginning light was skeletal bare
crawling into a toward visual dust.
Congregation burst a sudden dance
of specialized circle echoes, blistering
stand still stares, monotony.
Crowd shines voices say within depiction
of goings on, aliveness. Trueness
existential by the slanting across
welcoming faces like light sunlight.
Voices carry mimicking beautiful birds
hovering in hunt mode. Static electric
crucial exhibits science,
showing the arm of warmth
reaches realistic face to face fathom.
Of the world unexplored
visually handheld, charm dancing
amid the mind philosophically.
This beginning crawl white to unexpected
color, run to sprint ascertaining all within
comprehended allowance of
mind capacity. Of the explored change
focal points. Diverse appearances
including breath wings flap
over eye blinks enchanting the consciouses
primary grasped. Central core
walking toward harmony
innate slide forward caught by
Why butterfly wings correlate so well
with undulating time walks
beneath breathing umbrellas,
ask premise built ergonomically
upon the unknown.
Newness nimble allocation of awareness
vibratory colors between
air breaths, habitual earth
homonyms, decisive wellbeing.
Migratory light norms sent
Within the Self
Sanity application brings
focus to focal intellect,
crawling through dialect with
mind voice languages overheard
in the learning aspect. Travel
hand inner hand tongue locked
a spoken self, delusion not
only self understood. Polar
one end of spectrum proclaims
northern looking to exit now
existence. Halving a life
harder than extreme once thought.
To the ascertaining self
allowance to abstract life steps
forward equates to dualism
Next is Charles Fredrickson. I have to include his dedication.
This poem is dedicated to Paul Gilbert,
the tenacious founder and inspiration behind ABOVE GROUND TESTING, with
many thanks for his generous recognition and support of aspiring poets
and best wishes for continued success in his always worthwhile author-itative ventures!
Running late smack-dab dewy kisses
Sun finally persuaded to rise
Yawning horizon crying out loud
Dawn’s early birds high-pitched chirps
Thinking we were we weren’t
Unreasonable existence striving for recognition
Almost but never quite knowing
Desperate to understand unraveled secrets
Passion flowers given cold shoulder
Crisp air exhaling frosty breath
Bellies tickled by icy fingertips
Daybreak navels turned innie outed
Crosswalk stoplight stuck on red
Amber tiger’s eyes lying in wait
Envious green on the blink
Buckling pavement flipping sewer lids
Once was wasn’t ever really
Dead man’s float sunken hope
Stillborn mummies wrapped in transparency
Embalming ointment soaking through gauze
The first of many goodbyes
Vowing allegiance to nightshade dreams
Moonbeams hiding behind own shadows
Missing stars replaced by scabs
Dr. Charles Frederickson – www.poeartry-combo.com
Robert Demaree brings these poems and concludes with a haiku dedicated to abovegroundtesting
AT THE NURSING HOME
A volunteer at the nursing
I clean the vinyl
That hold the patients’
With tedium and
And a single-edged
I scrape away
Layer upon layer,
The names of saints
Those no longer with
For the everydayness of
Red stickers marked “No Code” I
leave in place,
A cryptic signal to
The deal struck in places like
Between common sense and
Inside the cover is a sign-out
On some there are entries
Trips home for
Rides in the country to see the
For others the pages are as blank
as the stares
In the wheelchairs that line the
In case of
Here is a detailed itinerary of a
niece’s trip to
In another, a son says, “Call my
Some binders are packed with the
An inventory of complaints
Querulous minds with nothing else
For others a simple
The words few,
I scrape on,
Deeper into the agglomerate tape
Soon the binders will be clean,
Like death’s own Horatian
I come at length,
As of course I knew I
To my mother’s name.
I love the certainty of a Baptist
We will meet
Some Protestants hedge their
It may be, we feel, we think,
Still, absent our neighbors’
We surely have nothing to
From betting on the World to
It is a battle of wits, a chess
We are not going to win,
Our every move countered by a
Whose cunning and persistence we
We have driven miles, spent vast
Plotting our next gambit.
But knights can rook bishops,
Baffles to not baffle, and
Extenders to not outstrip his
Pawns, we watch the gray
Feed happily on sunflower
Hanging upside down on the tube
I was thinking of the parents
Of my daughters’ husbands,
Of differences born of place and
Ages, accents, causes
Things held tenuously in
What would they make of each
I tried to picture conversations,
The small, awkward pleasantries
of social congress.
What occasions would there
I could only think of one.
HAIKU: FOR ABOVE GROUND
Last issue announced:
A sad moment for poets.
Thanks and all the best.
Robert Demaree is a retired educator
with ties to North
Carolina, Pennsylvania and
Hampshire. His most recent collection of
poems, Fathers and Teachers, was published April 2007 by
Beech River Books and is available through
G. David Schwartz brings us these poems
Curly, Larry and What’s His Name
Curly, Larry and what’s his name
Platter round in a game
Being almost just insane
Curly, Larry and what’s his name
They got mo laughs back in the day
Mo humor than so many
And it was funny that curly was bald
And even mo finny was what’s his name
Love Encased In A Heart
I have been thinking
Really dreaming to say
I do truly miss you
Each and every day
O especially I m must say
And one on those days
Which say or even spell with
The word day in it
So o sweet dove
Don’t just rhyme with love
I don't care if it’s a bug
Please find and free my heart
When I Grow Up I Want To
When I grow up I want to
Someone who you’d like to
Some one who made great
Yes I want to be Groucho
I’d like to be able top
The best jokes as fast as
And I wouldn’t mind if
Didn’t insult me when I
walked his way
So next time
I certainly wish
I could walk like Groucho
Or maybe Mr. Dix
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.
Check out my book on Midrash:
While last but certainly not least, poetry by Taylor Graham
The Gold Standard. Silver, copper.
Promissories, fiat currency
. Credit and trust.
The numbers’ bottom line.
One pot on the fire, patching & mending,
eat it up, wear it out, make it do or go without.
Dirt, sweat, the Potato Standard.
Empty shopping cart, the empty
stomach. The woven cloak against cold.
A cup of water from the well.
Economy of sparrows, lilies of the field,
promise of flower.
THE FIRST MOVEMENT
whispers, the couple next to me
the price of cauliflower; an old man
coughs; fidgeting in seats,
fluttering of programs,
before a dark wave sweeps the hall.
Prowl of prehistoric beasts,
return of a wild tide that floods the brain
of what never happened in this
life. Above acoustic walls
a blue moon rises;
stars are microscopic mites dancing
on the darkened slide of time.
Pulse of drum, breath
of clarinet, harp finding its way back
to eons before fingers, to fish-
fin parting ocean-plainsong.
Our everyday appurtenances –
eyeglasses, handkerchief, keys
in the pocket – all trying to join
the harmony of song.
It stops you at the threshold,
illuminated in its frame:
a dark man in desert
holding the rein of a blood-bay steed.
What alchemist transformed
your uncle, back-country trader
of bare-bone nags,
into this romantic sheik?
Whose likeness did the artist
hold in her inner eye, like a coin
in the palm of one’s hand,
to change scrap metal to pure gold?
THE TREES THAT LIVE AMONG US
leaf out sparely, their green
trimmed against the fences
and aluminum sidings,
the gutters and paved walks.
In October they try on fever-
colors, and let them fall.
The trees at our fringes
bank their treasures of rings:
the scant rains, the floods
before concrete dams,
the earth’s natural patterns
of narrowing and full.
These trees dig deep into
their memory of roots; reach
in the dark for the rootlets
of other trees; speak in tree-
whisper of when they used to
breathe and drink their
Michael Levy brings about the last poem of this issue
On the far side of latitude
near the outside of longitude
misty stillness drifts
in ever decreasing circles
echoes of delightful eloquence
vibrate round mystical mountains
meander through innocent minds
divine wonderment bedecks
the awesome mortal garb
In Love & Joy
Michael Levy. Professional Optimist
"Flogging a dead horse is useless, however, awakening a sleeping one requires perseverance" _Michael Levy
Point of Life Inspirational Radio Show -
New poetry by Joyce Nower! Brett Jenkins! Lauren Shapiro! Benjamin C. Clark!
come. Beer abounds, but you don’t drink it anymore. You’ve spent too
much time researching the calories of each brand — Bud Light: 110, Coors Light
102, Miller Light: 88, Busch Light: 95, and you can’t justify
wasting the time you’ve spent in the gym on these excesses. Long nights
require longer mornings filled with hoppy, malted sweat. You switch to
Bacardi, 151 proof — you figure on getting the maximum output for the
minimum input, except that you used to be a happy drunk...."
From "Chasing Adonis", a new short story by Adam Gallari
a digital il pleut
If you want to tide over the waiting time you can also read my column under http://www.artforumasia.com
To those who ask me for it I can also send free of charge the PDF file of my famous poetry collection PISS TALKS.
All the best
Harry R. Wilkens
So this concludes abovegroundtesting.
Again, thanks for all the great works, its been a fabulous
experience. I have so many good memories with this ezine.
I should simply stop and say "Good Bye"