Robert Mitchum was a poet? The poems of Robert Mitchum













Cabo San Lucas

Rising early to beat the heat
a little dry from last nights booze.
We’re soon out miles from land where
the big fish roam under the sun
and stars, undisturbed by time’s
wave-measured march.

Slicing bonito for bait, the blood is
red against all the blue. Blue above
and below. The hook, hungering for
meat, shines blue in my hand as
I drop its feathered plume into the wake.

We drink beer and wait for the line to sing,
rattling off the reel like a runaway train,
tightening under the drag, burning the leather stop.
The marlin leaps, its bill skewering the sky,
carves and dances in the blue, then twists and dives.

The rod quivers in the belt. Leather biting my back
I reel and pull, the marlin leaps again,
I heave forward and rare back as fire
sweat and salt gather on my skin
A moment’s slack, a shake, the fish is free.

Why aren’t all losses as lovely as this?
Quien sabe?

For Reagan

He’ll go far, of that I’m sure
since grease and a smile
will get you a mile in this town.
People love him, but what do
they know? He’s just another
B-grade star with an A-grade grin
and a glad-hand ready for
any and all.

Fuck them all, I say. Only a few
here are worth their salaries
and the rest are mannequins
dressed for the window show.
Jesus, maybe New York was the
place, but I’d miss the beach and
the sunsets here. I’m damn lucky
even if I can’t have it all.

Out of the Past

These hills, that ocean out there, the sun
heating these roadstered streets at
noon where the young and the beautiful
pass me with their eyes empty of light
but filled with the darkness of longing.
Too often I’ve lost myself in them,
swallowed the dark draught and followed
them west, under the setting moon
to the edge of the world and oblivion
until the sun again ripples the air
above these roadstered streets
and dressed in someone elses clothes
I rise to become whoever I may be today.

The Rain

I hate the rain here. On location we’re
knee deep in fake blood and mud
and the asshole director with no soul
calls for us to make another take.

I’m going leave this all soon,
all the celebrity with its paper-moon
love and bulb popping phoniness.
There’s no space for anything but loneliness.

Sarah Vaughn 

I took the A-train uptown to hear her sing,
she said I’d be safe going in with her
but man, the looks I got. And all around
everyone looking so fine and cool
and eyes flashing out of those dark
spaces, filled with things I’ll never know.

And when she sang, it was like the moon
melting down, white pearls and black satin
and a sudden silence that only she could bring.

And Thunder Road….

Jimmy was slim.
I had a belly.
Lana Turner is dead.
And so’s Grace Kelly.
What does it matter
Fast or slow
Thunder Road
Or Vertigo?

Poems In Retort Magazine

I Was Once Dead Too  R.M. Engelhardt


In a famous painting
of Christ nailed to
and crucified upon the cross
I am the watching 
leper on the right.
And with my one good eye
I watch as Jesus dies
and screams up into
darkening sky asking
his father for a reason


And then, suddenly 
as the clouds open up
and the rain begins
the Romans scatter like mice,
the water, burning off their
flesh like corrosive acid.
As I feel the wetness upon my
skin like the warmth of a beautiful woman 
touching my face, I raise my
hands outward, and I am healed.
When a voice comes
which tells me I am now
the angel of death, and the
watcher in the eternity
that is time, wandering 
the earth.

The screams of both Jesus,
and his murderers the Romans
now a distant sound & memory
in a world without messiahs
or miracles to amaze us.
Only questions
which remain unanswered.


You reach inside

Your guts and you

Pull out

A fuzzy bunny.

You reach inside

You’re soul and worse

Yet you pull out

A teletubbie.

The image

In your mind appears,

the voices speak.

You’re probably insane.

And you wonder;

Has this ever happened

To Whitman? Dickinson

Or Frost?

Probably not.

But then again,

They didn’t have


As good

As ours.

More …

Literature  R.M. Engelhardt

Poems In Retort Magazine