Madam and the Rent Man

According to the Pew Research Center discovered that US families are renters at the highest rate in 50 years, and rising. The “Rent Man” (or the Rent Corporation, as is becoming the norm) is becoming a more universal experience for the majority of Americans. Langston Hughes reveals this common scene to us, becoming an opportunity to better understand and support our neighbor.

Madam and the Rent Man
By Langston Hughes

The rent man knocked.
He said, Howdy-do?
I said, What
Can I do for you?
He said, You know
Your rent is due.

I said, Listen,
Before I’d pay
I’d go to Hades
And rot away!

The sink is broke,
The water don’t run,
And you ain’t done a thing
You promised to’ve done.

Back window’s cracked,
Kitchen floor squeaks,
There’s rats in the cellar,
And the attic leaks.

He said, Madam,
It’s not up to me.
I’m just the agent,
Don’t you see?

I said, Naturally,
You pass the buck.
If it’s money you want
You’re out of luck.

He said, Madam,
I ain’t pleased!
I said, Neither am I.
So we agrees!

This poem was published online at

Share with a friend