Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch

The Wages of Growing Up Born Again Christian … While Curious & Creative

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?

This poem was originally written in January 2016, while I was homeless. Now look at you, all groovy & reading my stuff. Thank you! As my empire is young, precocious & fragile, my articles depend on readers just like YOU. If this piece caught your fancy, you can support my work by following me on Twitter and Instagram. Key links to current & future projects here. And if you have the means, donating to my Cash App or Venmo or Ko-Fi (no fees, unlike Patreon) helps me deliver you new creative stuff sooner. No amount too small. Thanks!

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Mark Roman Empire

“Hero Tears” creator, “Son of Elmer Gantry’s Bitch” poet, expelled student editor, religion survivor, former improv comedian busker “Lt. Frank”, SAG-AFTRA actor