Howard Debs – three poems

Undercover

Hiding in even the far

reaches of
his mind

guilt, swarming
like locusts in a

biblical verse
preparing for the

Armageddon he
knows is sooner
or later coming

starting with no
intention of
becoming de rigueur

spinning itself
into a coat of
sodden colors over

time

this mantle wearing
upon his every thought

stings as if a poultice
counter to the source
of pain

the shreds,
the torn pieces
of his life

pooling for the discovery.


Sliver Of A Moon

Like an opening
of small proportions,
just sufficing
to signify there is
a shimmer of light
out there in the ether
in the darkness of the
night sky to show
there remains even at
its nadir a slender
hope out there
somewhere.


My Friend Is Leaving
in homage to G. Samwick (1939 – 2014)

He is going away;
while we wait,
he is lying in a bed
in a hospital
hospice wing
barely hearing
my plea
go peacefully.
Death, the
other side of living—
watching dying trying
to reconcile
the vibrant life
you led with the
way I see you now
I remember memories:
the drive down to
Coconut Grove, our annual
trek to the art fair down there
all the time on the way
debating some inane point of
politics yours right mine left;
your finding the singer Eva Cassidy
who also left too soon—
melanoma as I recall, her
Over The Rainbow
reinvented the original, the final
cut on her album Songbird,
you gave me that;
you showed me the value
of tenacity of purpose
from our early days together,
you helped me understand
the merit of the good fight
and the stories that you told
of the characters in your
past kept me laughing
will keep me laughing.
A particular favorite in my mind,
has me smiling even now.
You are on your way, out
of time, out of strength
you have bravely borne
an anguished later life
no one deserves
the last few years
you were dealt
you had your run
to say the least
but I saw your tears
well up the last
visit you were sitting up
and we talked like in times
before, as friends do.
Your wife gave my wife
an embroidered pillow
some time back
on which is written
“It takes a long time
to grow an old friend”
indeed, and then it is forever.


Howard Richard Debs received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize at age 19. After spending the past fifty years in the field of communications, with recognitions including a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America, he has recently resumed his literary pursuits, and his latest work appears or is forthcoming in Calliope, Big River Poetry Review, Poetica Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Misfitmagazine, Star 82 Review, Belle Reve Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, Dialogual, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Remarkable Doorways Literary Magazine, Indiana Voice Journal, Blue Bonnet Review, China Grove, Yellow Chair Review, and On Being, among others.

His background in photography goes back many years, both creative and technical, and his work can be found in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” where he is both an 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

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