the magazine
June 2007                                                                                                                                                                                     issn 1488-0024

    This is going to be an interesting month, I am being transferred at the end of the month so right now I'm doing a lot of packing and tossing of things.  Fortunately, a lot of what I own can be recycled and so I'm making a lot of trips to the local thrift store.  I am culling my library and while I feel bad about it, I have come to the conclusion that I'm not losing books, I'm giving others the right to enjoy them.  What is the good of keeping books on a dusty shelf or stuck in a cardboard box down in the crawl space when it was not written to have that as its end.  Books need to come into the sunlight and be read, shared and enjoyed by others.  I know I could sell them through garage sales and that sort of thing but I can't be bothered to go through the trouble.  Give it to someone else and if a charity can make a dollar or two, actually the sell them for fifty cents then two good things have happened.  Someone gets the book, and someone gets helped by the charity.  If you got books lying around do what I did, give them away and have the blessing of knowing someone else read them.
    Speaking of reading, let's get to the poetry.  There are a few announcements at the end.

Ellaraine Lockie sent a number of programs for the upcoming "Food" Issue.  I thought I would include one of them to get you inspired.  The food issue will be printed in August, so get thinking.  She's been living an interesting life recently and I'll print her letter in August as well.

Without You

I fantasize
feeding you artichokes
Big ones that reduce
to soft penis shape
I bird-feed each leaf
into gaping mouth
Slither slide it
over tongue
Pull fleshy tip
through clenched teeth
Butter melting
mouth corners
Over and over
Until you consume
the sacrificial heart
Until mine is stuffed
with your saturation
I ate artichoke
alone tonight
No butter, no you
I froze the heart
I'm on a
pleasure fast
Both hearts hardened
until you return

Another of friends who have been absent from these pages are returning in June.  The next poet is Len Bourret.  He presents this interesting work with music.  I'm also including his words of inspiration:

As a gay person, I
support gay marriage, and applaud the achievements of Love Makes a Family in Connecticut.

Warmest Regards,

Len Bourret
Poet and Writer

Meaning of 'Tolerance'
by Len Bourret (Copyright 2007)



Chinese (Simplified):

宽 恕,容

Chinese (Traditional):


A human being who discerns,
who not only gets the picture,
but figures it out.
A person who is so insightful,
who grasps the true meaning
of the intelligible.
A human being with the savvy
to go beyond life's puzzlement,
who comprehends, is fair, and
A person who is willing to go
beyond the concrete wall,
to travel through the abstract
beyond the waves of human
imperfection: the who and
what a human is, and the
who and what the human
struggles to be.
Love is kind and patient,
there is no tolerance in
harshness, hate, and

I am inclined to respect the human being who consistently understands beyond the flaws of imperfection: the who and what a person is, and the who and what a person struggles to be.

Tolerance: "The ability to be fair and understanding to people whose ways, opinions, etcetera are different from one's own." -- Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version) 

    Another friend is Si Wakesberg, he presents three poems under the heading:


Away from You

Away from you there’s always hint of rain,
the clouds hang over dim and distant hills
like figures in mythology who wait
to shadow and prefigure what comes next.

This is a day lost in the count of days,
forgotten in the rush of anxious time,
moving from hour to hour as in a dream
waiting the moment of awakened love.

Away from you the world is tense and still,
repressing music, letting sounds drift by
until their echos vanish, disappear
in one vast soundless planetary hush.

And in that silence grown ineffable
I say your name aloud into the listening air,
as if to reconstruct the brightness of your eyes
which lights the space between us like a lamp.

At the Cinema

My heart’s engaged in civil war,
My mind’s a churned Sargasso sea,
I’m adrift in the land of metaphor
Where time and space are fantasy.

O, Hollywood, no tale bizarre
Can match this story which is real,
No passion by a movie star
Can emulate the way I feel.

You traveled East but your perfume
Pervades the Western shore and skies,
Night creeps into corners of your room
A witness to our kissed goodbyes.

What foreign film is this? Where does it reach?
Cinema verite, or maybe something new –
I think of you on some remembered beach
Sunlight on water, sunlight splashing you.

When You Went Away

Perhaps because you went away,
Clouds massed like storm troops overhead
Threatening the landscape empty of your presence,
We are in a time of absolution, of violent pauses,
When earthquakes, landslides, floods mysteriously
Appear as signatures of our mortality.

It is quiet now,
A dark and musty apprehension hangs
Like a magician’s rope over the city;
If you listen, you can hear underground voices
Whispering in language strange to the human ear.

Please come back –
This is a world filled with harsh and terrible omens
Where shadows move across reddened fire escapes
And smoke filters through unbroken miles of anger.
Where are you now, in the evening, in the lamplight
As the planet totters into its ever-maddened orbit?
I miss the unarticulated wonder of your touch;
Looking out of my window at the sudden crash of rain,
I think of all remembered ruins the heart stores up,
The desperation of time lost, and unrecovered;
Please come back



Si Wakesberg is a writer and journalist who has had essays, fiction, and poetry published in many journals.

His article “The Sound of Elinor Wylie’s Poetry” in The Bloomsbury Review, was recently selected for the Pro Quest data bank. Bloomsbury Review has published other articles by Wakesberg.

In 2004, he was selected as Poet of the Month (January) by Poetic Voices, an on-line poetry magazine. Recently, another on-line magazine published his short story “The Goodbye Call.” A 6-page poem “A Bronx Hamlet” appeared in a recent on-line magazinecalled “abovegroundtesting”. Several short stories and poems have appeared in “Midstream” magazine.

As a journalist, Mr Wakesberg is the New York Bureau Chief of a magazine called “Scrap”, published by the Institute of Scrap Recycling. He has published hundreds of articles dealing with the marketing of metals.

Here's another friend for you, G. David Schwartz

Bob Schockler
Bob Schockler
 I never knew
 If you were bold or
 If you were not true
 I may have got a wind
 A notion of it then
 If they called you Robert
 And if you had a yen  
 To grow to be a philosopher
 Somewhat like me
 Or a guitar player
 Something like Robert McGee
 Well now to be honest
 I never knew a Robert McGee
 So I am sure
I never knew me  

Fogerty, Fogerty, Fogerty,
Fogerty, Fogerty, Fogerty
You slid to contemptible roguery
You stole from your sister
And refused to kiss her
When your mother demanded apology
A Temporal Mistake
A temporary mistake
Happens when you back the cake
With pliers inside the batter
You wisdom get caught
And it may just fall off
If that is any thing that matters
Oh You Horrible Monster
A horrible monster names Jo-Jo
Gave misinformation and said, "no no
            To ask new plan
            He'd not understand

He even despised Perry Como

Felino Soriano presents a series of poems based upon the title Vagabond Visions

Vagabond's Vision #7

This young morning contagious cold
has many features,
fractures, far off from
my weak connection,
my unwilling hands
whose bodies have
rubbed themselves

Wind winds its curling
stretch around the red
plaster house my back
has melted into.

Ice hangs,
forming frozen
knives stabbing into
air's perennial silence.

I am too tired to rise
and observe
the lowest resting knife,
appreciate the quivering
color maneuvering
within ices' hanging

Vagabond's Vision #145

And this tiny way
winter slants
into us, never snowing here
north of Santa Barbara,
wondrous climatic display
where big city foreigners flock
inundating previously primitive
town whose organic origins weighed
less than optimism toward diversity.

Antithesis, now regarding small
horizontally mimicking
many horizon shaped homes
holding might,
donning coronas
over crops, once-were fields
and earth erased by corporations' brazen bad breath,
empty "for lease" signs alter their ability
to conjure invitation.

Vagabond's Vision #144

What now is corrupt
will be again forgotten,
mirroring what now is forgotten,
what was corrupt moments ago in the mouth
of spoken mesmerizing truths or
lies dealings believability,
begging, hanging limply
among loose lips of leading,
loud speaking security (supposedly)
sycophants climbing personal
agendas, propaganda collages,
hanging as memorials missing men
gauges for women and untrusting children,
unknowing understanding
taught to them in left handed school
systems, crooked anchormen
doused in flames
"for I am telling my truth"
ceasing to realize
the young eyes hear
what their ears have seen,
will grab with walking hands
putting into a forever box
of enveloped supposed truths
reminding them at appropriate ages what
lyrical lies decorated within tiny hands meant.

Michael Lee Johnson presents these three.

Pickle Juiced

My skeleton is in
a large glass jar-
x-rayed for dental remains,
half dead, detained
& vibrating in nerves endings.
I walk through
this night pickled juiced,
caged in.
I know who I am by
the words I type,
the fonts I chose,
the poems that
didn’t nurture
in my brain, aborted.
Behind my shack
a trailer park playground
of juvenile tormentors
shove basketballs
through netted rims.
A skinny redhead
named Randy
urinates then
hammers his basketball
against the side of my
bathroom wall for practice-
shatters glass, the scent
of ice blue Aqua Velva
permeates shaky
shadows on the wall.
But these pesky human
insects are gone my midnight.
The displeasure of
the laundry mat doors
slamming relentless against my
living room wall lock down at 1 am.
Cordless, powered by inebriation
I toss this fried skeleton box
into a cheap twin bed,
wrestle with the quiet
for 3 hours.
April 15th, taxes are due.
Poverty is a pair of scissors
cutting dull across the foreskin.



Gotham, Oil On Canvas

Chatty women at the dining table
in 19th century garb
red hats & hair pins
caked with rubies,
ghostly faces acutely obscured,
hue blue matted hair stretching
down like dripping wax.
Menus open out white
as bleached sheets
with no black typeface.
Wine glasses filled with white
Clouds, no red juice-
begging in silence to be
lifted up, to be touched
by the missing lips of strangers..
3 mirrors hanging from
frozen air behind the bar
away from the dining area-
circular globs of white reflecting
nothing but moon shapes.
At the dining table ladies
pointing fingers at each other,
ears filled with gobs of paint.
Dull lights in the corners
depicting form, faint
in near darkness.
Their pictured world,
frozen in time, is slapped on canvas
As the evening wears toward midnight
the painting disappears, emerging
silent characters into madness.

Now That I Desire

Now that I desire to be close to you
like two occupants sharing a twin bed
sensing the warmth of sweating shoulders,
hungering for your flesh like wild wolf
leaning over empty carcass,
you’re off searching unexplored cliffs
& climbing dangerous mountain tops,
capturing bumblebees in broken
beer bottles for biology class,
pleasing plants & parachuting from clouds
for fun.
In clouds you’re closer to life & nonsense,
a princess of absurdity, collector of dreams
& silent sounds.
In clouds you build your own fantasy, share it with
select celebrities.
But till this captive discovers a cure for caring,
a way of rescuing insatiable insanity,
or lives long enough to be patient in longing for you-
you must be vigilant,
for with time snow will surely
blanket over this warm desire.

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, and Leonard Cohen. 200 plus poems pending publication or published. He is a member of Poets & Writers, Inc; Directory of American Poets & Fictions Writers: pw.org/directory. 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 and many others. Published in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria Africa, India, United Kingdom.

Many additional poem, too many to mention here.

Notice: looking for legitimate chapbook publisher. Need info. On formatting, what is required. Here are 2 personal website, slightly outdated, for samples. Inquires welcome.



Taylor Graham presents three poems for your reading pleasure:


    for Elihu Burritt

“Brethren,” is how you addressed
the people of France and Germany
in the name of all the citizens
of Birmingham, England.
In the Priory Rectory, on a Tuesday,
September 3rd, they affixed
their signatures.

What was France or Germany to them,
or they to those invisible foreign-
speaking millions across the Channel?

Nothing but a postal handshake;
and yet, their hopes
that hard work might buy bread
for a hungry family, and not
munitions for a coming war,
their sons conscripted
for soldiers,

while politicians argued
over treaties and encroachments,
sovereignty and national interests.

Did the mill worker in Munich
and the tailor in Toulouse
smile to read friendly greetings
from Birmingham, a city
that, until then, had never
crossed their dreams?


Cheap, 90 dollars a month.
Fold-out bed and portable shelves, view
over sidewalk cracks and hedges.
Run-down cars against the curb.
One stuffed chair, seat
of education. Broad
arms to balance learning bound
in books. Brown upholstery
durable to outlast tenants. Milhaud
on the phono, Cézanne
on the wall. Sky through seams.
>From left-open pages a hundred poets
whispering in German, English,
French their untranslatable


For days you’ve been copying it all
into the computer’s external drive,
your portable memory. Right now
you’re playing Marty Robbins,
love songs like you were singing them
to me.

Now we can get rid of the CDs
we’ve collected over years, cassettes
that slip on their spools, that moan
and sob when the timing goes
wrong; and the few old vinyls
that skip,

but still survive. When you’re done,
you’ll cart them away in cardboard
boxes to the used music store, maybe
get a little cash. You swear
you won’t trade them for somebody
else’s old music.

Our shelves and drawers will be bare,
you say. We can start all over
from the beginning, with nothing,
like we did so many years ago.
“Yesterday” never sounded
so good.

taylor graham

Dr. Charles Frederickson features these works.


Wheel of Fortune spinning fiber
Single spindle notched divining rod
Continuous strain of twisted yarns
Seer telling future linear chiromancy

Where stoic mountains remain unmoved
Crashing Olympian pantheon lofty heights
Observing my own destiny firsthand
Unclenched fist revealing fringed palms

Moirai trio never relinquishing control
Mercilessly prevailing over waiver pleas
Daughters of necessity entrusted with
Simply doing their assigned jobs

Dream-spinner Clotho interweaving chance encounters
All too brief butterfly ephemerality
Lachesis drawer of lots moralistic
Golden Rule yardstick determining length

Atropos inevitably snipping frayed thread
Nirvana search suffering painful pleasure
Life after death blessed afterlife
Do-gooder deeds paving karmic roadbed

Fallen leaf outliving conventional usefulness
Compulsions shed like withered petals
Pick rosebuds over fragrant blossoms
Stripping thorns stemming from self-extinction


Desperate lonely hearts craving hugs
Searching for whatever resembles love
Spine curved head bowed forward
Fetal position hope chest bound

Embedded purity highly refractive gemstone
Diamond in rough lacking finesse
Pierced elongated lobes throbbing anticipation
Filigree earrings sprinkled with glitter

Loupe magnifying loose chip flaws
Colorless artificial rhinestone imitative sparkle
Brilliant enough to please fickle
Graces absence being their presence

Virgin springs gurglingly smoothing rockery
Jagged edges ground to halt
Frozen stalactites cracked sliver shards
Meltdown dripping prismatic glossy desire

Quality determined by four C’s
Carat weight Clarity Color Cut
Inferiority complex crown jewel rejects
Star rubies bleeding purple hearts

Crescent moon hanging by thread
Rusty fishhook swallowed dangling guts
Fragrant stars dense with perfume
Confetti celebrating blissful special occasion

Otherwise engaged uncorked champagne effervescence
Popped questions impatiently awaiting answers

Ballroom strobe masked living corpse
Switching partners symphony left unfinished

Closing Words

    The few announcements are this, next issue will be the nineth anniversary issue.  I know I still can't believe it.  I'm not sure when it will be available but the moment I get the internet connection in the new home up and running I'll have it posted, so watch your email for the announcement.  So I can say this ezine has spanned not two centuries but two milleniums, how's that for something to brag about.  So look forward to the nineth anniversary and the commencement of the 10th year of publishing.
    The August issue willl have the theme of 'food'.  I want this to get multimedia, so send poems on food, stories on food, recipes, songs and photographs or graphics of food.  Make it enjoyable.  Consider it the potluck issue, bring your favourite food and make some extra so we can all enjoy it.
    I'm back with Nvu.  I read a help note on how to install it, since it is not native to Feisty Fawn, rather silly it should be, it is one of the best html tools there is and it is simple to use.  Simple is always good for me.

Made with Nvu

    If you want to submit your own work for future issues, email to me at abovegroundtesting@yahoo.com.    If you could put "submission" in the subject line that would be of great help.   Your submission can be a poem, short story, essay, artwork, photography, whatever is your means of creative expression.  

Alll work is copyright by the various authors © 2007.

     Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

This is issue 98.  

See you next month.

publisher/editor  Paul Gilbert