POEM: Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch


Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch – by Mark Roman
This is an essay that became the current poem, but feels like it wants to be lyrics to a song.
I have more work to do…

I.
Why do I struggle in this culture so coarse?  
Why don’t I pursue profit without remorse?
Why do I want to heal, write and sing?  
And feel guilty every time I permit that fling?

REFRAIN
See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

II.
Is it because I grew up Kimmy Schmidt, not boy but man?
Inside the body of that Eagle Scout son of Willy Loman?
The not yet dead salesman of creeds and policies.
Always at the Goddamn fucking knee of Elmer Gantries.

III.
Is it because I’m still technically Catholic, brother?  
Chained to a Pope enrages a father. But satisfies a mother.
A mother after whom my nurtured fears did once lust.  
A second awkward marriage averted. Back to dust.

REFRAIN
See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

IV.
The student paper I wrote & published, why could I not let it go?  
That right wing Ken Doll pub crawl college boss sure hoped so!  
See he had a lot of agape to give.  If the smoking gun found sun.
Understand they wouldn’t. Especially his lady’s groom. His son.

V.
Everyone wonders why that abundant happy salesman not in my bones.  
Something completely different than Dad’s insurance.  Like mortgage loans?
Harness my wit and charms to sell whatever’s not yet criminal in this port!
Grab my “fair share” and do it before the next Great Depression or Big Short!  

REFRAIN
See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

VI.
To love what you’re supposed to do is just a decision away.  
For those not burdened with too many questions to parlay.
Produce for the consumers. Why not Abide? Like The Dude?
Why so fucking depressed and homeless you silly white dude?

VII.
When the vultures steal and enslave, why don’t I in kind retaliate?
Their tactics are worldly and wise, why should I not embrace?
And so to my ground zero arrive the charity of career counselors
What the Goddamn fuck happened to all the emergency responders?

REFRAIN
See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

VIII.
Doctors without board certified want to medicate my personality away.  
Soma.  For the masses.  If the theatre of Mass is not enough to assuage.  
The good citizens annoyed at the disease of my eyes that see.  
Why so stubborn?  Why not “get over it” and assimilate like we?

IX.
Why is merely being me an act of open revolution against the established fable?  
Why does imminent homelessness bring suicidal thoughts to the food stamp table?  
Mommy gave me religion.  And taught me to read.  Dark & Light, The Force indeed.

REFRAIN
See scrolls, screens and stages speak to me indeed.  
So many died, some lived, that I might listen, watch and read.  
But why did Mommy transmit that curious reading itch?
Why me? Kimmy Schmidt? Son of Elmer Gantry’s bitch?

© 2016 Mark Roman aka Mark Nehls – TheMarkRoman.com

(Rise above mere Dead Poets Societies!  Support poets when they need it most.  While still alive!  BUY autographed copies HERE.)

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Floods, Elmer Gantry and The Office Space Nation


So my latest residence flooded.  I awoke last Sunday at 5am, not to some nubile honey begging for more (which would have been unusual if not refreshingly delightful, given my Spock-like adherence of late to my Twelve Step Program to Remain a Single Guy), but to the gentle sound of the thunderstorm in the kitchen, fed by a growing pool of water in the master bath (and bedroom) above.  The water pressure out of that broken toilet would make your average firefighter jealous.

Now half the house is under construction, which ain’t that bad . . . if you don’t need a kitchen.  Besides, eating is over-rated, or so the brain trust “beauties” who populate runways these days tell me.  And the occasional crunches are not tightening my abs quick enough, damnit!

Longer story less long,  I’m looking for a new place to live . . . again.

Ever since I started down the path of a recovering mortgage broker in the late summer of 2007, my housing has been a plot to create material for my stand-up act.  I have slept in an office boasting just enough square footage to accommodate a desk, a chair, and a double size sleeping bag.  Apparently that “double” bag was from the Target for little people.  I have slept on floors and couches and in vehicles.  I have been the human additive to an apartment of cats.  I have rented a room in a house that was foreclosed . . . and PG&E shut off the gas and electric . . . so I relived my Boy Scout days cooking bath and oatmeal water on a camping stove for two weeks.  As I suspected, my definition of “camping” remains lodging half a star above Motel 6 (thanks Boy Scouts and my parents idea of “vacation”).

My residential odyssey of the last few years has required me to recruit ex-US Marshall buddies to serve restraining orders to major metro ex-cops and to pay multiple deposits to a real estate broker landlord who ended up filing for bankruptcy (guess how much of my deposit I got back).

Nothing money couldn’t solve, but when you switch to the entertainment business mid-life, I’ve noticed it takes more than two years to start earning decent coin from the endeavor.  I could pull the family strings, given my parent’s involvement with that 80’s marvel Up With People.  However, given their “born-again” loyalties, the best they can do for my entertainment career is help me research a role for a remake of Elmer Gantry.  But I already did my childhood.  And my parents spent the college, film school, and “help our kids” money on a few decades of membership in the Spokesperson for Jesus of the Month Club.

So here I am, with $30 and lint burning a hole in my pocket.  What am I going to do?

I am going to start Office Space Nation.  My passion is to make love to the nearest movie camera or bored audience.  And apparently one or two people out there have lost their job, fear they’ll lose their job, or hate their job.  They need my help.  I understand.  I have the street cred.  And I am the eternal optimist entertainer who refuses to see the dark side of life.  I have no idea how the business side will work.  One of you does, and needs the work.  I’m just the ideas guy behind the microphone and camera.  I’ve got my plate full.  (Seriously.  You don’t want me anywhere near a spreadsheet.  A wormhole might develop and William Shatner will end up living in your kitchen for the next five years.)

Hi.  My name is Mark Roman.  I am your Socratic Entertainer.  So what’s your passion?