About the Poems
by Micki Myers
These poems are all written in the voice of the Marlboro Man, who tells us what it's like behind the scenes of his life as an advertising icon. I'm interested in the gap between stereotypes and reality, and of the way photography can be an artful lie instead of revealing what we think is the truth. Giving voice to such a familiar character who's able to see through that fourth wall into the gritty moments and details of our lives is a useful vehicle with which to do that. The poems are full of references to music and other invented characters who have become icons, as well as real historical figures who feature prominently in the Marlboro Man's creation - the "Leo" who glances at his watch, for example, is Leo Burnett, who invented the Marlboro Man for Phillip Morris; Kenny Rogers Roasters, a global fast-food juggernaut, is actually more widespread outside the United States than in them. The other folks you might recognize appear to me to have all become subject to the harrowing rigors of celebrity and success one way or another. I kind of like it that a poem leaves the connections lying around for a reader to put together. Actual Marlboros are a form of currency in a lot of wild and woolly places; the famous face behind them, however, is priceless wherever you go.