Mammon: A Poem In Three Acts

John A. Mills

This poem-play confronts the social darwinian system of corporate Capitalism. It illustrates the inhumanity of its inevitable bust-boom cycle. The play calls into question the resulting predominance of Greed as a driving force in our society and shows the spiritual as well as emotional and physical damage done by the belief that Capitalism is the one, true god of the economy.

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In this poem-play, four people come to terms with the reality of the current economic crisis. Two are a working class couple trying to make a family. The other two are financial workers living in the flush of the recent economic boom. The poem-play unfolds as each deals with the ubiquitous and universal greed manifested in hyper consumerism, the central goal of profit, and the dehumanization of the wealthy and the less wealthy. Their lives are shattered as the deep immorality of the present global economic system grinds to a disaster.

The play is in rhymed iambic pentameter. Readers will find that the rhythm and rhyme will raise them above the current profane and uncivil arguments of this day and enable them to join the ordinary struggle of the actors to overcome the brutal inhumanity of greed.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through no steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can not serve both God and Mammon. (Matthew 6:19-21,24)


Act I, Scene 5, 495:504

We need not be guilty of our success 
Or that we take pleasure in Money's caress. 
It is the natural order to weed out the weak
And to promote the strong to their utmost peak.
We who are the fittest survive.
By nature we are the best to thrive.
For Capital is the natural order; left unassailed 
It guarantees that the best will prevail.
Civilization moves forward advancing 
While the life of everyone enhancing.

Song of Coming Home, 820:833

Divided we have been for war and oil.
We're far apart for love of living well.
We're both existing in th' shadow of th' tolling bell.
Our lives on hold in agonized turmoil.
Now you will be returning, done with toil
Of distant war, our home your citadel
In my yearning arms, ne'er more to say farewell. 
But stay at home and bring our blood to a boil!

The war will rage and rage, for profit's sake. 
But yours, thank God, will come back safe and sound 
To you, I pray, and heal your heart of ache.

O come! O quickly come and I'll surround 
Your soul and body, never forsake, 
With arms of sure concern forever bound.

Act III, Scene 1, 1325:1338

But is this not what your belief demands? 
Is this not what your Capital commands?
You've proven by your handling t' be unfit: 
Into a bottomless and pitch dark pit
You've cast th' economy of which you claim
To be th' All Knowing Masters without blame.
Now you appear here, hat in hand, to cry 
Sign these bills or business will die! 
Am I a socialist to prop up the Rich?
I should throw you into a road-side ditch! 
Let us be true to faith in laissez-faire
And let the Market work its cold despair. 
Am I a fool to follow fools 
And not stand aside while the Market rules?

The Movement of the Play

Act I: Mammon Ascending
  Scene 1: Land of the Free
   Song of Ascents
   Song of Ascents (reprise)
  Scene 2: Land of the Faux Free
   Windfall Song
   Windfall Song (Reprise)
  Scene 3: The Great Gamble
   Soul Song
   Soul Song (Reprise)
  Scene 4: Patriotism
   Patriot's Love Song
   Patriot's Love Song (Reprise)
  Scene 5: Poor Darwin
   Darwin Knew It
   Song of Happiness
  Scene 6: Golden Job
   Song of Missing You
Act II: Mammon Descending
  Scene 1: At Risk
   Song of Liberation
  Scene 2: Coming Home
   Song of Coming Home
   Song of the Budget
  Scene 3: Capital Ascendant
  Scene 4: Walking the Perimeter
   Song of Midas
  Scene 5: Deposed
   Fist Song
  Scene 6: Grim Reaper
   Song of Sorrow and Regret
Act III: Mammon Released
  Scene 1: Bail Out
   Song: Market of Fools
   Frankenstein's Song
  Scene 2: Fall Out
   Rose Song
  Scene 3: Darwin Redux
   Song: Son of Darwin
  Scene 4: The People Arise
   Vision Song
  Scene 5: Buy Out
  Scene 6: Cancer Squeeze
  Scene 7: The Peoples Union
   Song: Enlightenment

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The Rev. John A. Mills is an ordained minister and endorsed chaplain in the United Church of Christ and an Associate Certified Chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains. Rev. Mills is currently a chaplain for a hospice in New Jersey. He is interested in our socioeconomic condition and mysticism. He finds expression of these interests in lyrical and epic poetry.

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