The Real McCoy: A Spotlight on Debra Marcus

The Real McCoy: A Spotlight on Debra Marcus

Jackie Jerkins, Literary Editor

Everyone who’s anyone knows that the name ‘Debra Marcus’ is one and the same with a celebrated jewel. It represents a senior student who is profound, diligent, and intellectual beyond compare. She has won numerous awards for her writing abilities (including the National Scholastic Award for Poetry in 2010, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in 2010, and the American Voices Award, among several others) and was editor of last year’s Magic Dragon and this year’s Poetic Justice literary magazines. The Wave is proud to showcase some of her work in homage to her talents.

But what does our splendid writer get out of writing? What is at the root of her gift?

“For me, writing is a way to explore what I feel and think about the world,” she says. “Frequently, when I experience something new and need to process it, I try writing a poem or story. More often than not, once I’ve written about whatever’s on my mind, I can understand it better or, if nothing else, come at it from a different perspective.”

Marcus has time and again proved herself the real McCoy of poetry and prose, wrapping words around concepts in ways most people could never even think of doing. So long as Debra Marcus has a pen and paper, the literary world will be a finer place.


Anti-Alley by Debra Marcus

“Who would care?” they asked,

but they didn’t want an answer.

“It’s been empty for years.”


So they came, with singing crane and roaring bull,

with snorting mole and spewing snake,

and took to the ground.


Soon, the menagerie broke, and they blamed the brown earth –

“Too damp,” they bleated – and left.


But the earth was blameless,


like a leaf on skin.


We were there, triumphantly at fault.

We haunted those halls.



Science by Debra Marcus

They’re really not related, I say,

and she stares at the craters in my face

as if her ignorance were my fault.


She shakes her head like a dying sun;

her mouth compacts into an angry worm.


Resigned, she picks up the chalice of blue ink –

ink, she’s thinking, that she paid for

with the money I made.


She owes me this, she’s thinking,

this small meticulously meted-out measure of scientific discomfort,

but she will not rejoice in it.

Vaccines and autism, she’s thinking, are like oil and darkness:

they are hideous, she’s thinking,

twins, conjoined and condemned,

each ugly in the eyes of the other.


Still, she’s thinking, she knows one immutable fact of her life –

she is dead without me –

and she signs the paper without expression.


I take it


and leave for the doctor.