Sunset Cigar                

F. S. Blake      


Like a slow burning fuse to a well armed sleep bomb

I mark the end of another day alive

Solitary peace breaks the disfigured symmetry of insurgency

And personal holy incense wafts up from my corner of babylon

I pause and reflect into future veteran mirrors of awe

amazed at what I’ve seen and been asked to do

I quietly apologize for my own brand of torture

I secretly dissect my mission and mandate

If I pause too long

my mind drifts to the place I came from

Purple mountain majesties of home and love

yearning for foods gone by and trifels of non-war neighborhoods

So I don’t

I just quietly puff and stare

and hope I make it to another

sunset cigar


L i t e r a r y . J u i c e

An Online Literary Magazine



December/January 2014-15

Barry Yeoman is originally from Springfield, Ohio and currently lives in London, Ohio.  His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Danse Macabre, Harbinger Asylum, Red Fez, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Crack the Spine, Burningword Literary Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, and The Rusty Nail, among others.  You can read more of his published work at

Morning Thunderstorm in Small Town America

Barry Yeoman


Countless dreams, transient

as a snap of burning wood in the fire-pit.

That ancient fire has turned to ash.


This morning a thunderstorm

cracks mystical and rumbles, flashes,

then opens up, an absolute deluge.


More dreams, torrential musings,

the building across the courtyard

disappears in a dense wall of water.


Silver sparks by the millions

bombard the surface of concrete

and asphalt, flooding the streets


in a matter of minutes, before

tapering off, crisp breeze of a cold-front

carrying that fresh earthy scent.


A chain-link of memories comes rushing,

flooding the mind with stories.

What are your first memories of water?


I recall as a child swimming underwater

in the Ohio River, town of Ripley,

where my grandad kept his boat.


Water too dirty to open your eyes,

I remember the strange muted sounds

of the docks, the boats, and the constant


humming in the ears, like a loud

electrical current, till I popped up

to the clarity of sun and air at the surface.                                



From placenta to playground

to summers lost without explanation,

to deaths of grandparents;


we grow older, as the water recycles.

I have a handy tap for thirst, while women

by the millions walk miles


with jugs of precious cargo on their heads,

and the rain comes this morning, a blessing

of ambivalence, the birds chirp about incessantly.


Robert Evory


The comet, seen heavy like pollen sacks leaking

flower dust on the day of Mark Twains’ birth

over Hannibal, Missouri, will be gone

in a thousand more revolutions as its mass decays.

When it returned in 1910, after its seventy-five year orbit

rounded it close to the sun, a heart attack

slung Twain away.


The comet is a weeping drop as it crawls toward nothing—

its face lamped with ice. This apparition of Caesar’s death

heads a path for souls across the black brine of space.

The Empire minted Caesar’s face onto a coin

and in the background, a dust shimmer

like a horse’s tail in canter. Up there,


there are no dreams, but this dimpled oracle

—all nails and teeth with midnight cavities—

foretold the birth of Jesus,

brought The Slaughter of the Innocents

because Herod the Great feared losing his kingdom

of Jews. A magi whispered male child in his ear,

conspired, leaned like an insect with an eye

that causes its ellipse toward light,

as if a particle of a question curled around its ear:


the question King Harold II asked the comet

before his army’s slaying

by William the Conqueror: sharpened iron

with a feathered back-end

arched across the battle field: Harold fell,

an arrow through the eye.

Robert Evory is doctoral assistant at Western Michigan University where he is a reader for Third Coast and New Issues Press. He has an MFA from Syracuse University. Currently, he is co-founder and managing editor for His poetry is featured or is forthcoming in: Natural Bridge, Nashville Review, Wisconsin Review, Ghost Town, The Madison Review, Arroyo, Water~Stone Review, and elsewhere.  

Sunset Cigar -  F. S. Blake

Morning Thunderstorm in Small Town America - Barry Yeoman

Comet - Robert Evory

The Cost of Living - J. H. Johns

F.S. Blake is a Bronze Star decorated U.S. Army Veteran. He is a photographer, advanced SCUBA diver, licensed general contractor, ordained minister, entrepreneur, and proud husband and father. He has poems published or forthcoming in o-dark-thirty and Line of Advance.

The Cost of Living

J. H. Johns


I stopped-    

as I usually do-    

in the morning    

at the 7-11    

in Queens    

to pick up the paper;    


the usual crowd was there;    

Mister Kim, the cashier,    

commuters rushing to catch    

their train-    

and the homeless guy    

who stands    

outside the store door    



as he has for    

the last seven years;    


unintelligible utterances;    

sometimes sounding like    

he’s talking to himself,    

sometimes sounding like    

he’s talking to you-    



all the while    



until today    

when we all heard him ask;    


not for a cup of coffee    

or a bagel    

or a quarter    

or even a dollar-    


but for five dollars;


so clear and sharp    

and unmistakable    

that it led all of us    

to marvel and wonder    

at how things    

have changed since-    


“…hey, buddy, can you spare a dime?…”    

but we also asked    

each other-    

what’s next-


gift certificates?

J. H. Johns is “holed up” in a small town in upstate New York where he and his coonhound buddy, Roma, work to obscure their house from the “locals.”  He has appeared in a number of publications, including Syndic Literary Journal where his work has been published and narrated.