POETRY BY James Keane

James Keane

A Woman’s Face

deserves to be kissed
for all the innocent love
missed. For pale 
sadness dressed
with tears, never blessed 
by brooding-darkened
years. Beauty burns
a woman’s face to be kissed 
before it dissolves in fears, with
barely a trace. Then, when 
beauty disappears, 
a woman’s face deserves 
to be kissed (softly) 
again (softly) again
(softly) again until 
it returns.

Previously published in the East Coast Literary Review.


To the Unknown Friend 

What I cannot embrace 
I struggle to find: the stirring 
in silence the ivory mask 
of your mind conceals barely from 
just about everyone's view. 

May the searching you do, in virginal 
solitude, uncover anything unknown 
but true. Even if the darkening tremors 
bleeding through you move you 
to a secret passage unearthing 
a hidden silent message 
from someone unknown 
to just about everyone 
and you. But wherever 

your passage may lead you 
at your soldier's pace, may your 
ivory mask dare to bleed through 
the tremors unearthing barely 
a trace of you 
and your dancer's grace. But 

even if hope remains unknown 
or untrue, may nothing, may 
no one protect you or 
conceal you from 

everything that will move 
you, unsettle you 
or even embrace 
in virginal solitude 
the ivory mind 
of your face. 

Previously published in Gold Dust.

Poetry by John Kaniecki

Sylvia’s Garden
By John Kaniecki
Before the sun rises in the end of winter’s death
With chilly hands and frigid breath
Working the soil with rake and hoe
Knowing come summer a blessing to grow
Carefully placing precious seed in pot
Each cherished child never forgot
Watered and watched until they sprout
Green little creatures coming out
Early spring, past the last frost
Praying to God not one to be lost
In the soil measured apart
With cautious hands and loving heart
Early morn to water with hose
Fulfilling expectations the garden grows
Repeating the watering in the eve
Love is doing what you believe
In summer heat a bounteous place
Smiles all over Sylvia’s face
Fresh lettuce and tomato to pick at will
Mother Earth sharing her thrill
Fall comes and we harvest more
Sharing with Trevor and Ron next door
Resting now as the labor is past
How the season has gone so fast!
Looking over the garden leaves in decay
I am confident of another day
Sylvia’s garden will reappear
As long as the Lord gives us another year

The Blues Man
By John Kaniecki
Popcorn snapping fingers
An emancipated heart
Sing for your victuals wage slave
Separate but equal Jim Crow iron walls
See yonder mansion, see yonder manger
As united in birth welded in life
Nailed to a cross
Agony as the soldier penetrates his side
Nobody’s seen the troubles I’ve seen
They call it the blues
In the chord of c

Tea with Joe Hill
By John Kaniecki
Joe Hill and I had tea
He let his biscuits soak
They say America is free
Man how they love to joke
Ask Sacco and Vanzetti
Ask Red Cloud and Crazy Horse
And the way I see
Is things are getting worse
I said “Joe why ain’t you dead?” 
Righteousness is like Love my friend
Laughed Joe as he shook his head
Spirits never die and never end
A thousand tyrants and all their force
In truth could never compete
With the Love that is the source
Of one of my melodies sweet
You see death and life they coexist
Some never die and some never live
So songs of revolution will always persist
For unto themselves my songs give
So open your eyes and organize
Never give in to their lies and organize
Do not hate and despise but organize
Raise your voice in mighty cries and organize
Joe slurped the last of his tea
And bid me a final farewell
Above all fight to be free
You’ll get heaven when you give them hell

My name is John Kaniecki and this is a cover letter to accompany my poetry. I write poetry for the enjoyment of the art. I believe that a poet must first establish that they can write in rhyme and rhythm and only then move to the more advanced free verse. I have been published by Struggle Magazine, The Blue Collar Review, Burning Books, Jerry Jazz, IWW Newspaper, Protest Poems, Flute, Black Magnolia, Left Curve, She Mom, Whisper, Vox Poetica and others. Though political or moral in nature I write in various forms. My poems have appeared in over fifty outlets.
I have a chapbook of poetry published on Cavalcade of Stars. In addition I have a poetry book entitled "Murmurings of a Mad Man" just out this September.
I have two stories published one in Struggle Magazine and the other in Cavalcade of Stars.  I also have a story The Sin of A.D.A.M. published by Witty Bard.  Also I have an upcoming book of science fiction stories to be published by Witty Bard.
My chapbook "The Second Coming of Victoria" was a quarter finalist in the Mary Ballard chapbook contest in 2014.
I have been married over nine years to my wife Sylvia. I am a member of the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue where I sometimes preach and work on out reach. I worked last as a customer service agent. I am a firm believer in the power of poetry to transform society for the better. The artist I most admire is Woodie Guthrie because he lived what he wrote and what he wrote was wonderful.
I also recently won the Joe Hill Poetry Labor Prize where I read my poem Tea With Joe Hill, in front of a crowd of over six hundred people in Banning Park , Los Angeles .
I currently serve as secretary for Rhyming Poets International and I am a member of the Revolutionary Poet's Brigade.

Work by Ty Spencer Vossler

Work by Andrew Hogan

Andrew Hogan received his doctorate in development studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before retirement, he was a faculty member at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, where he taught medical ethics, health policy and the social organization of medicine in the College of Human Medicine.

Dr. Hogan published more than five-dozen professional articles on health services research and health policy. He has published forty-six works of fiction in the OASIS Journal (1st Prize, Fiction 2014), Hobo Pancakes, Subtopian Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Thick Jam, Midnight Circus, Grim Corps, Long Story Short, Defenestration, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Blue Guitar Magazine, Flash, Stockholm Review of Literature, The Beechwood Review, Short Break Fiction, Cyclamens and Swords, Children, Churches and Daddies, Spank the Carp, Pear Drop, Festival Writer (Pushcart Nominee), Lowestoft Chronicle, Fabula Argentea, Mobius, Thrice, The Lorelei Signal, Fiction on the Web, Sandscript, and the Copperfield Review.


Andrew J. Hogan

The bus pulled out of the parking lot, thumping over potholes on Ontario Street, blue smoke bellowing out of its tailpipe. Chuy and Pete waited until the bus reached Speedway before trying to talk over the din of clanging metal.
Bouga, what’s that smear on your vest?” Chuy said.
Ain’t no smear, Bouga, that’s blood what come through the hole.” Pete wiggled his arm under the oversized vest and stuck his pinkie through the hole. They both laughed.
Pangwacker, the slupper what wore this vest last year took one to the chest,” Chuy said. Just then the bus backfired and everybody ducked. The guard riding shotgun next to the driver swung his Uzi around over the heads of the students, surveying the bus for possible shooters, but the guard sat down when the students started jeering his overreaction.
So you worried, maybe the vest’s bad luck? Last year’s slupper probably died in it,” Chuy said.
Nah.” Pete slumped against the torn seat back, looking relaxed. “Didn’t you pay no attention to Mr. Grotsky’s lecture on Bayesian probability?”
No, pangwacker, that stuff don’t make no sense to me,” Chuy said. “What’s that got to do with a maybe jinxed vest?”
“’Cause, Bouga, lightning don’t strike twice on the same spot.”
“’Sides me, whose got a vest with a hole in it?”
Nobody, what I saw.”
And these are all mucho used junior-high vests, right?”
Right, my older sister just got her new Type IIIA vest, ‘cause the new law lets’em carry 357s now.” Chuy looked around. “I don’t see nobody what’s got a vest with ventilation except you.”
So?” Pete said. Chuy gave him his best dumb look. “So, odds’re like a million to one this vest’s gonna get shot twice. I’m palladium, Bouga.” Chuy and Pete slapped the back of each others hands.
Turning onto Gates Pass Boulevard toward the Desert Museum, the bus grew dark inside when the driver lowered the protective screens over the windows.

POETRY BY A.J. Huffman

A.J. Huffman has published twelve solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications) and Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) are now available from their respective publishers and  She has an additional poetry collection forthcoming:  A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press).  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2400 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Enjoying the View

Cassie hated to hike alone, but when her boyfriend, Dennis had to delay his flight because of a last-minute deadline at work, she found herself sitting in a romantic hotel room in Hawaii, alone.  To escape the onset of depression and boredom, she had had filled her backpack with bottles of water and headed out onto the scenic trails the hotel brochures bragged about. 

A half an hour or so into her trip, Cassie happened upon a small waterfall.   The breeze coming through the trees was nice, but she was still sweating and decided  to cool off.  Unsure of the aquatic dangers that might be lurking in the pool at the base of the falls, she maneuvered herself up the rocks.  Once behind the waterfall, she could use it as a natural shower, and the distance of the falls from the trail would shield her from any passing eyes.

Cassie had stripped down to her just her bikini bottoms when she heard laughter coming from the trail, a female squeal followed by a husky male laugh.  Cassie grabbed her shirt from the rock she had laid it on, held it against her as she leaned closer to the water to see if they were coming her way.

Through the rushing falls, she could see the two figures approach.  The man was grabbing at the woman’s bikini strings, as she half-heartedly slapped his hands away.  The bottom string was practically untied, and the woman wasn’t doing much to keep her breasts from falling out from the cover of the fabric. 

The man grabbed the woman and buried his face in her neck.  The woman arched her back, straining to see if anyone was around.  Unable to see Cassie behind the falling water, the woman surrendered herself to the man’s advances, wrapped her hands into his hair as he moved from her neck to her now fully exposed breast.

Cassie forgot all about getting dressed as she watched the man suck each of the woman’s breasts, his tongue circling each nipple before his mouth covered it.  The woman moaned as her hands disappeared from site. 

A moment later the man’s cargo shorts slid to the grass.  He gave up his foray into the woman’s cleavage long enough to remove them and his boxer shorts completely.  The woman quickly undid the rest of her bikini top, and hurriedly removed her shorts.  Once they were both naked, the man dropped to his knees and buried his head between the woman’s legs.

Cassie could feel the familiar tug of arousal in her own groin, and she imagined she was the woman and it was her body the man’s tongue was conquering.  She dropped the shirt she had been clutching to her now swelling breasts, ran her hands over her own nipples as she continued to watch the encounter below.

The woman had backed up and was now leaning against a palm tree while the man sucked at her.  Her leg over his shoulder, her hands grasped his hair, pushing his tongue deeper as her climax rose, erupted like a volcano. 

The man pulled her down on top of him.  They kissed playfully for a moment, hands and mouths roaming wildly over each other, completely oblivious to the fact that they were not alone. 

By the time the man entered the woman, Cassie had leaned herself back against the rock wall, fingering herself to climax.  She could hear the moans coming from below as she stifled her own.  Her body kept pace with the two below, until all three came in a rush of erotic release.

Cassie continued to lean against the rock wall as the man and woman dressed themselves, headed back toward the trail.  Once they were out of sight, she quickly dressed and headed back to the trail.  She couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and call Dennis to tell him all about her secret erotic excursion behind the falls.

Of Moth and Flame

White wings flutter,
mocking innocence with each
thrust.  Red beast rises
harder than smoke, ignites
the night.  Screams
of ecstasy follow
explosive bursts. 
Sparks linger like kisses.
Temporary heat
worth dying for.

Musical Instrument

My body is a symphony
you play with fingers and lips,
blowing, touching.  I echo
your desire, a hollow form waiting
to feel your breath.  My pulse
inspires, your response composes
appropriate notes and nuances.  I swallow
my own hesitation, soar beneath you
as we fly across unfettered night
on conjoined wings without words.

Naked Sushi Girl

Raw flesh against raw flesh.
Strategically placed, this pale
palette barely breathes, waits
for hungry sticks to come
and pick her bare.  They devour
this horizontal display with eyes,
hands, mouths.  Her
edible striptease continues
until appetites subside.

His Body was a Tilt-A-Whirl

and I could feel the excitement and fear tightening
in my gut as I approached.  Sliding myself
into his seat, I searched for appropriate handholds.
I leaned back for support as we picked up speed,
turning into the motion as we surged forward.  Faster
and faster we moved as one until I became dizzy,
lightheaded.  Leaving the cool structure of his form,
I found my legs weak, unsteady on solid ground.
I immediately placed myself back in line, a child
eager for another go ‘round.

POETRY by John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and the anthology, No Achilles with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and Nebo.   


Fingers up spines finally
mutate from fingers
into angel wings
brushing my bone

and the tingling of my blood
through with writing
that great poem
on walls of sighs
turns its attention
to the mists beyond
my right elbow where
the seraph must emerge

and your mouth
imitating your eye-lids
in a girlish fluttering way
that says both would kiss
if they had a mind to

and somewhere
down the back of my legs
I sense your thighs
billowing like sails
on the hard wooden ribbed boat
of our love

that rocks
my next thought
all sensuous


In her dream, a man approaches the bed
flaunting a rose the red of her nipples.
She's prone, vulnerable on blue sheets,
head on pillow, nightgown open to the waist.
He kneels beside her, brushes her throat
with that rose as she reaches up unconsciously,
fondles the petals as if that touch is
what she would want for her own skin,
gently breaks each from the bud
until they flutter down to her breasts,
tickle her awake, disconcerted,
until she sees the brown hair, the tanned
lender face above her. Slowly, her arms
reach out to his warm neck
as her lips graze on his mouth, a nibble at a lime,
and her back arches slightly
as the embrace thrums through her,
and she drops her head into his upper chest
so lhal his breath can prove
the validity of dreams
as it eases through his ribcage
in the fullness of a flower,
and all before a word is spoken,
as if silence itself is fully aware
that nothing need be said.