The Party Formerly Known As The GOP, by Howard Richard Debs

(a found poem)

An elephant never forgets.
I remember what Abraham Lincoln said:
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure,
permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—
I do not expect the house to fall—
but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
I remember what Theodore Roosevelt said:
Moreover, it cannot too often be pointed out
that to strike with ignorant violence
at the interests of one set of men
almost inevitably endangers the interests of all.
The fundamental rule in our national life—
the rule which underlies all others—
is that, on the whole, and in the long run,
we shall go up or down together.
I remember what Ronald Reagan said:
A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us,
pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny;
that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance,
self-discipline, morality, and, above all,
responsible liberty for every individual
that we will become that shining city on a hill.
I remember what some say Patrick Henry said:
Now is the time for all good men
to come to the aid of their party.

— 

Afterword

In considering a response to the news that only four Republicans voted for a House resolution in condemnation of racist remarks by a President of the United States I thought it fitting to express some of the fundamental thinking of prominent Republicans of the past, yet I felt as strongly that I could not presume to speak for them so I went to classic sources for their own words which I adapted to my purposes. I am old enough to remember the Republican Party of the likes of a Barry Goldwater, and more recently of the likes of a John McCain. I am old enough to remember Conservatives the likes of a William F. Buckley and more recently Conservatives the likes of a Charles Krauthammer. The original Republican Party was made up mostly of abolitionists opposed to slavery in the South. In my eyes, the GOP is no more. I also remember what Elie Wiesel said: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

News source link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-vote-trump-tweets-four-republicans-voted-to-condemn-racist-remarks-democratic-women-congress-the-squad/

..

Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications; His book Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is a 2017 Best Book Awards and 2018 Book Excellence Awards recipient.  He is co-editor of New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust forthcoming in 2020 from Vallentine Mitchell of London, publisher of the first English language edition of Anne Frank’s diaryHe is listed in the Poets & Writers Directory: https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs

Holocaust Remembrance Day: things they left behind by Howard Richard Debs

a locket

a strand of pearls

two tickets to a harpsichord concert

featuring the work of Bach

..

a brown leather briefcase

a Gramophone record

with selections of the Leipzig synagogue

..

a wooden dreidel with large red

Hebrew letters

..

a green atomizer bottle embossed with a Star of David

a pair of shoes……………………….a pewter sugar bowl

a brass kettle

a cap

..

a school report card in which the teacher wrote

“We know him to be a studious pupil. . . .”

..

money

pictures

visa applications

Author comment: The headline from the news report reads “Electrician Stumbles Upon Holocaust Time Capsule Inside Amsterdam Home’s Crawl Space.”  April 23rd at sundown through Monday April 24 is Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). This poem invokes items found in the suitcase referenced in the article, items selected from the Central Judaica Database of artifacts and documents of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN), and other things that came to mind that people might have possessed in the course of living their lives. It should be noted that Stormfront, the neo-Nazi internet forum, has a post under the heading “Is There No End to the Lies” which repudiates the story with comments such as “Spielburg [sic] will now do a new film and keep the hoax going” and “slowly but surely, THE MAINSTREAM is being discredited, (OR put another way, is DISCREDITING ITSELF) and THIS INCLUDES THE ‘HOLOCAUST’!” It should also be noted that by happenstance this year Armenian
Genocide Remembrance Day also falls on April 24. Hate and fear of “the other” the precursors of genocide do not abate, we must all do our part to keep the flame of memory and truth ignited.

Howard Richard Debs received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize at age 19. After fifty years in communications, and an Educational Press Association of America Distinguished Achievement Award, he resumed his creative pursuits. Finalist and recipient 28th Annual 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, his work appears internationally in numerous publications recently in Social Justice Poetry, Visitant, The Galway Review, Poets Reading The News, Cleaver Magazine also included in the Dime Show Review Anthology Volume 1 and Clear Poetry 2015 Anthology among others, his essay “The Poetry of Bearing Witness” in On Being – On The Blog, in which appears his ekphrastic Holocaust poetry series “Terezin: Trilogy Of Names,” and his photography in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor; his full length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is forthcoming in mid-2017. He is listed in the Directory of Poets & Writers https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs

Je Suis Juif by Howard Richard Debs

how is it to be told? . . . in detailing the facts themselves?

—Charles Reznikoff, Reznikoff Papers Box VII, Folder 26

 ..

His assailant tried to saw his finger off [News report]

Horrible [Facebook comment]      two Jewish brothers wearing skullcaps

 ..

said they were driving in Bondy [News report] a northeastern suburb

10.9 kilometers from the center of Paris [Wikipedia]    the “City of Love” [Quora.com]

In the Middle Ages Bondy was mainly forest notorious

for robbers and bandits extremely dangerous [Wikipedia]

 ..

they say they were forced off the main road by another vehicle the driver

and a passenger shouting “Dirty Jews, you’re going to die!” [News report]

Why is our world moving backwards? [Facebook comment]

The brothers were

abducted       surrounded    kicked     punched repeatedly [News report]

..

The situation in Paris has been getting worse [Facebook comment]

 ..

Jews are leaving France in record numbers

amid rising anti-Semitism and fears . . . [News report headline]

 ..

The perpetrators threatened to kill the brothers if they moved [News report]

Makes me want to vomit [Facebook comment]

One of the alleged attackers then tried to saw off the finger of one of the brothers

[News report]                       Fake news!!! [Facebook comment]

Which finger? [News report comment]

 

Horrific [Facebook comment] *

 

*Horrific

adjective

causing horror.

synonyms: dreadful, horrendous,  frightful, fearful, awful, terrible, atrocious, heinous, shocking, appalling, harrowing, gruesome; hideous, grisly, gory, ghastly, unspeakable, monstrous, nightmarish, sickening

Origin

mid 17th century: from Latin horrificus, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’

[Merriam-Webster.com]

 

Author’s note: “People knew about Babi Yar before Yevtushenko’s poem but they were silent. Art destroys silence.” This is what the poet as witness attempts. These words of Dmitri Shostakovich, the Russian composer and intellectual bespeak the truth. But what is truth? In these times the question is nettlesome. I checked four news sources, one being The Forward, established in 1897, before putting “pen to paper” (truly, fingers to keyboard). Naysayers will call this story into question, noting that these are all Jewish based media outlets, therefore perhaps with self-serving motives. Nothing of this story has appeared in the so-called mainstream media, even granting the suggested suspect nature of these sources as well, and after all aren’t many of these associated with the “globalists” the “in” code word for Jews. If the incident actually did occur wouldn’t these outlets pick up the story? The contrarians will persist. The current milieu is such as to obfuscate, so that we give up trying to discern what actually “is.” We are left with something resembling bits of “data” as represented in this poem. Can we as human beings at least agree, if true, this is “horrific”—as defined by a reputable dictionary?

..

Howard Richard Debs received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize at age 19. After fifty years in communications, and an Educational Press Association of America Distinguished Achievement Award, he resumed his creative pursuits. Finalist and recipient 28th Annual 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, his work appears internationally in numerous publications recently inYellow Chair Review, Silver Birch Press, Syzygy Poetry Journal, New Verse News, Whispers, Cleaver Magazine  also included in the Dime Show Review Anthology Volume 1 and Clear Poetry 2015 Anthology among others, his essay “The Poetry of Bearing Witness” in On Being – On The Blog, in which appears his ekphrastic Holocaust poetry series “Terezin: Trilogy Of Names,”and his photography in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor; his full length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words, Scarlet Leaf Publishing, is forthcoming in mid 2017. Directory of Poets & Writers: author listing — https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs

A Virtual Cry For Help by Howard Richard Debs

When I was a younger man

I had a near death experience

by which I mean I nearly died

by the hand of another but

was saved by someone who

then was a brother-in-arms

now a hater, meaning he

loathes me, but yet he saved me

at the time and so since that

time I have been careful to

return the favor meaning

that I take the time to help

my fellow human beings

whenever I can and I came

upon such an occasion an

hour ago in cyberspace.

Just poking through my

Facebook feed I stumbled

upon a post shrieking a

call for help, seeming in despair,

threatening to take her life.

Fortunately I have a

therapist for a daughter

who I turned to in a panic

what could be done I asked

and she answered, calm

and collected and fully

prepared; report this person

needs help. My God, Facebook

is prepared as well, changing my opinion

of this behemoth of social media forever.

Cautioning that this all might

be a prank or just

some poor attention seeking soul,

she gave me words to use

in a comment which I rushed

to post as well, and read that

someone else had written

“forget it folks….she isnt goin

to do dat…bet”

and “go to hell.”

At approximately 2:30pm EST Friday October 2nd, I was sitting in my usual booth at Barbie’s Diner in Lake Park Florida finishing a late lunch, waiting for a call that my car had a new set of brakes, and scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, I stared in disbelief at the post I came upon from the Existentialism Group to which I belong, having been a philosophy major back in the day I try to keep up with such things. A young woman – her profile photo at least suggested that – was talking about “helium suicide.” I still have no idea how one uses helium in accomplishing the intended deed, but the suicide part was clear to me. I know someone who blew their brains out when they were told they had cancer. I am shaking as I write this. I had to do something, and I did the best I could, and I received a reply from her to my response to her which indicates perhaps the crisis is averted. But what plagues me to this moment in time are the comments of others, some irrelevant, ignoring the 500 pound elephant in the room, some downright mean and cruel. Our inhumanity now shows through online too.  We can do better.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2205020021/permalink/10156099231785022/

Screenshot (38)

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, Jewish Currents, Poetica Magazine, Misfitmagazine, Star 82 Review, The Review Review, Belle Reve Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, Dialogual, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Piecemeal Review, Remarkable Doorways Literary Magazine, Indiana Voice Journal, Blue Bonnet Review, China Grove, I am Not A Silent Poet,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” and Eclectica Magazine, in which his essay “Vindicating Holocaust Poetry” appears from which stems the work in progress, New Voices from Salvaged Words: An Anthology of Contemporary Holocaust Poetry and Essays. His work has been selected for final judges’ consideration for the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards for Poems on the Jewish Experience. His background in photography goes back many years, both creative and technical, and his photography will be found in select publications, including inRattle 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/