Monday, January 14, 2019

Charles Rammelkamp


“Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!” I shouted
from the balcony of the Broadwayfarer Theater
during the pogrom scene
toward the end of Fiddler on the Roof,
raising my arm in a Nazi salute.

I’d had several glasses of wine
during the intermission,
been fuming about Trump all day.
The parallels with Der Fuhrer
seemed so obvious to me,
kids in cages like trapped animals,
migrants tear-gassed at the Tijuana border,
Trump’s rhetoric exactly like Hitler’s,
turning foreigners into vermin,
his followers having no qualms
about hurting and killing people.

But then it all went wrong.
“Oh God!” a woman shrieked.
“He’s got a gun!”

“Fuck, it’s Aurora, Colorado, all over again!”

A stampede started to the exits;
a dozen people aimed their cellphones at me,
recording the spectacle for posterity.
Somebody called 911.
“There’s a shooter at the Broadwayfarer!
Send somebody over here quick!”

When the cops came,
I apologized all over the place.
I hadn’t anticipated
going way over the line.

I didn’t have a record,
and the cops saw I was sincere,
so they let me go without a charge,
but the Broadwayfarer management
banned me for life.
Can’t say I blame them, but
I’d already bought tickets
for a performance of Hamilton next month.

Charles reads "Wie Viel Ist Genug?":

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Charles confesses: "How much is enough? Or, where do idealistic intentions get out of hand? I felt so much sympathy for the real-life Baltimore man this poem is based on who did more or less the same thing, and the way, as in a dream, things spiral out of control. What I didn’t fit in was the Anti-Defamation League, missing the ham-fisted sarcasm, demanding this guy be prosecuted for his “anti-Semitic outburst.” Sheesh. Way more than enough!"

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, has just been published by FutureCycle Press.

1 comment:

roddy said...

The Hamilton reference is pure Rammelkamp.