Fading Away


The old photograph
depicts my father, my
grandfather, my brother,
and me at the Museum
of Science and Industry
in Chicago. It’s from the
Street of Yesteryear
exhibit. We’re sitting in
an old Model T, my brother
probably 7 at the time,
mock-steering behind the wheel.
The exhibit has existed
ever since I can recall,
it is always as it was before, no
matter how long you’ve been gone.
It stands the test of time.
Like the pyramids. So I was sure
to take my wife and daughters
there to have our picture taken
in the same photogravure studio,
next to the Nickelodeon still
showing Perils of Pauline
two reelers ad infinitum to the
evocative accompaniment of
a piano just as if it were 1915.
It’s become family tradition, this
picture taking pilgrimage.
My eldest daughter on a visit
to our hometown several years ago
brought her husband and two
children, my grandchildren,
to that very place to ensure the next
generation is encapsulated
by the 11×14 Century Portrait
camera which stands at the ready
for every such occasion.
So when I took a look the other day
imagine my dismay to see my
grandfather literally fading away.
I am resolute to find a means to
save him. I owe him that.
He pictured the way.

Michael The Wretch


The ER was bustling when Michael the wretch burst on the scene wreaking havoc when the paramedic asked as is routine what’s your social KILL ME FUCK YOU the charge nurse kept trying for any ID at all, combing through computer records frantically searching for a clue, they said they saw his feet sticking out from some bushes at the gas station where they found him drunk, drugged, without food in his belly for at least today, tell us who you are Michael KILL ME FUCK YOU his face so reddened by his panic, the veins of his forehead pulsing, ready to burst, coursing with polluted blood, clenched fists telling the tale of a man possessed by demons, reduced to cursing at the top of his lungs KILL ME FUCK YOU even when they produced the sheets coiled to bind him to the gurney his verbiage remained unrestrained KILL ME FUCK YOU reduced to the persona of a cornered wild animal no humane utterance passed his lips KILL ME FUCK YOU if you only will be nice, then you will be given something to eat KILL ME FUCK YOU moving him finally to a cubicle, the multitude surrounding the spectacle muttering gallows humor, going about their chores having seen this all before, a cadre of doctors and nurses corralled him and a needle found its mark and the beast in him was subdued by barbiturates, his pain extinguished for the briefness of his induced slumber there in an emergency room in the darkest of night with the angel of mercy taking flight as the fight dissipates in his brain burned on acid, devoid of sensibility, his only remaining coded plea KILL ME FUCK YOU.

About the Poet:

bio headshot

Howard Richard Debs is a poet, writer, photographer, sometime artist, musician, singer/songwriter. At age 19 he received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize; after some 50 years in the field of communications with recognitions including a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America, he resumed his creative pursuits. A Finalist and recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, his latest work appears in Blue Bonnet Review, Yellow Chair Review, Crack The Spine, Poetry Life and Times, Clear Poetry Magazine and its 2015 Anthology, among others, and On Being online in which appears his ekphrastic Holocaust poetry series “Terezin: Trilogy Of Names” and also in On Being online his essay “The Poetry of Bearing Witness.” His background in photography goes back many years, both creative and technical, and his photography will be found in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor. Born and bred in Chicago, he now lives in sunny South Florida with his wife of 50 years Sheila, where they spend considerable time spoiling their four grandchildren.

Author listing Poets & Writers Directory: https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs
Author website: http://communicatorsandcommunications.com/muse-ings/


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