Whatever the Other Life Brings
(Interview With The Marlboro Man)
If it’s one thing I regret,
it’s not having children.
Finding a wife, providing a home—
I just never seemed to make the time.
In advertising, you have to stay current,
and that means always being on call,
not ducking out “to pursue different interests.”
Year after year, another campaign,
another turn about the promo circuit.
I’ve seen my share of poorly lit concrete midways,
mingling with the folks hawking t-shirts,
souvenir programs, nachos and beer.
You listen to the main event’s muffled thunder
from behind the scenes: concerts, rodeos,
wrestling, monster truck rallies, Icecapades,
and think about family—folks shuffling out
to drive home, kids falling asleep in the backseat.
Then again, you never know how it will turn out,
the divorce rate being what it is.
I often wonder what set a fire under Lucille,
whether it was a handsome cowboy
or the kids pulling and wailing,
or one too many squabbles about money,
the lack of it.
Four hungry children, and crops in the field:
truth is, there’s no good time to leave.
And I lead the kind of life you can’t ask
a good woman to stick around for.
After getting home, you bundle the kids into the car,
take them to Kenny Rogers Roasters for a treat.
You squeeze your heart in your throat
to keep it from spilling out,
rehearsing what you’ll tell them
when they ask where Mommy is—
remembering as they place their orders,
the exact moments and details of their births.
Author Discusses Poems