Long Ago And Oh, So Far Away
(Interview With The Marlboro Man)
If anything, they want you to think of a harmonica
calling out some lonesome tune into the evening haze,
or else the scratchy thrum of an acoustic guitar
played with amateur fingers,
strictly chords, no picking—that’s too country.
They imagine it coming from a radio somewhere,
hanging from a hook in the barn
or balanced on a fence post—
but nothing too pretty,
something sung by a man with a gravelly voice,
preferably dead from a whiskey overdose
or a good woman gone bad
or a career all petered out
by the demands of music video,
a medium beyond his time.
He’s gone to seed in the mansion his gold records built,
watching game shows at noon
on a sectional shiny with use,
the remains of last night’s takeout
seeping from its box in the sink.
The truth is there’s usually nothing but the roar
of the Interstate we drove in on,
the metal clang of craft services preparing lunch.
If it won’t be in shot, I slip in earphones
and listen to The Carpenters’ greatest hits.
If the thought of what happened to her
doesn’t make you want to smoke a cigarette
and stare off into the distance,
I don’t know what will.
Author Discusses Poems