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?


Vintage Books launches Weekly Lizard, a new mobile-enabled website for fans of mystery, crime, suspense, and thriller fiction. 


New York, NY (June 22, 2011) – Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, the leader in quality paperback crime fiction publishing, today launches Weekly Lizard, a content-driven, mobile-enabled site featuring the latest-breaking news and features from the world of crime, thrillers, suspense, and mystery novels.  With Weekly Lizard, readers will have a definitive new source of information on what’s new and what’s hot written by leading authors, booksellers, journalists, bloggers, and other experts in the mystery and thriller genre.  The new site can be found at


Regularly updated features and news articles (daily, weekly, and monthly) on Weekly Lizard will include in-depth author profiles (In the Lineup); informative and insightful essays and profiles of great mystery characters (Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames), a selection of great quotations from classic and contemporary mystery and thriller novels (Wiseguy Quotes), and early excerpts from hotly anticipated forthcoming novels.  Beyond breaking news stories, the site will draw on Vintage Crime/Black Lizard’s rich backlist, and exciting lineup of contemporary authors for original essays, and historical documents that will serve as an authoritative archive to interest any mystery buff. 


Weekly Lizard will include information on Vintage Crime/Black Lizard’s classic crime writers Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Eric Ambler, Chester Himes, Ross Mcdonald, and Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö; as well as current bestsellers Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, James Ellroy, Jeff Lindsay, John Burdett, and Ruth Rendell.  Features articles will also be derived from books and news across the publishing industry.


Weekly Lizard will also be the go-to spot for the latest book-to-film news and features, as well as classic film noir.  Exclusive and original articles on upcoming releases will include major motion pictures such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, and directed by David Fincher; George V. Higgins’ Cogan’s Trade starring Brad Pitt; Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters; and the upcoming remakes of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man starringJohnny Depp, and Gregory Mcdonald’s Fletch


The site will also cover current popular crime television series such as Showtime’s’ “Dexter” series starring Michael C. Hall based on Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter character; PBS’s “Wallander” series starring Kenneth Branagh, and based on Henning Mankell’s best-selling novels; HBO’s “Mildred Pierce” series starring Kate Winslet and based on the classic novel by James M. Cain; and PBS’s Masterpiece/Mystery!’s upcoming “Zen” series starring Rufus Sewell and based on Michael Dibdin’s Aurelio Zen detective novels.


Along with original content that crime fiction fans won’t find anywhere else, the site features a sleek design in keeping with the iconic noir look that distinguishes Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. Readers will have a chance to participate in the rich crime writing community by sharing content across multiple social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr) and by joining discussions related to the posts. Pulling from a large classic backlist, and the exciting new work being published every year, the Weekly Lizard is the new essential destination site for any mystery fan.


The new site:

And social media sites…






About Vintage Crime/Black Lizard: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard was formed in June 1990 with the acquisition of Black Lizard, a renowned publisher of classic crime fiction that was created by Donald S. Ellis and Barry Gifford. Before the acquisition, Vintage Books was already publishing the work of respected American authors such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler under the Vintage Crime series. With Black Lizard came the literature of Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and other great noir writers of the post World War II era, allowing the formation of one of the preeminent crime publishers in the country. Vintage Crime/Black Lizard remains devoted to the best of classic crime, having added Eric Ambler, Chester Himes, and Ross Macdonald to the list. We are also proud to publish some of the most talented crime and mystery writers working today, including Henning Mankell, Lisa Unger, Stella Rimington, Carl Hiaasen, Michael Harvey, Ruth Rendell, April Smith and Andrew Vachss. 


About Vintage Books: Vintage Books was founded in 1954 by Alfred A. Knopf as a trade paperback home to its authors.  Its publishing list includes a wide range, from the most influential works of world literature to cutting edge contemporary fiction and distinguished non-fiction.  As the continuous publisher of important writers including William Faulkner, Abraham Verghese, Sandra Cisneros, Vladimir Nabokov, Albert Camus, Ralph Ellison, A.S. Byatt, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, Alice Munro, Orhan Pamuk, Dave Eggers, Robert Caro, Joseph Ellis, Haruki Murakami, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it is today’s foremost trade paperback  publisher.