Robert Peters: Love Poems for Robert Mitchum

Copyright 1992 by Robert Peters
All rights reserved

Contact address for permission to reprint and distribute.

Chiron Review Press
Michael Hathaway, Editor
Rt. 2 Box 111
St. John, KS 67576-2212
or contact the author at


Essence of Mitchum
Inside Mitchum
The Peep Show
Geek Failure
King of Bavaria
Wild Strawberries
Mitchum as Odalisque
Your Voice, My Face
Help From Marilyn
Mitchum's Navel
Mitchum as Fish-slayer
Sweet Macho Nothings
Tsars and Tsarinas
He Tries to Make Mitchum Jealous
Balsa Wood Mitchum
Photo Opportunity Session
The Fancy Restaurant
Mitchum in Mantilla
Mitchum as Barbarian Prince
Nova Zembla Riff
Military Riff
Mitchum's Boots
On the Chicken Ranch
A Green Tomato Worm for Mitchum
Long Distance
Dear Mom
The Mitchum Tomato
Crossing the Delaware
In the Desert
Vertebra and Skin
Divination Entrails
Forest Trip
Lone Slalom Champion of the Skies
Hollywood Boulevard Cemetary
Flowers for Mitchum
Mitchum in the Camargue
Existential Rag
Awards Ceremony
Snorkeling for Mitchum
Christmas with Mitchum
Christmas Snow for Mitchum
Christmas Snow for Mitchum
Black Magic
Garden of Eden with Mitchum as Adam and Raquel Welch as Eve

We are all vulgar at heart, and if the diamonds glitter, what does it matter where they come from or how they are bought? To be artificial, and to be a little more improbably impossible than one's neighbor, is to be a perfect success!
- Robert Firbank, "A Study in Temperament"

Essence of Mitchum

Sweet musk of heavily-worn trench coat,
whiff of crankcase oil, elixir of armpit glue
beaded and roiled along the latissimus
dorsi, taint of belly button grease,
lovely gland effusion between the fingers,
butane faint chocolate buttocks smell,

rain-dampened nostril hair, chalky leek
of penis, musky citronella of balls and
epidymus, gun-metal paste-fur of groin,
funky debris of toe and instep:
splendid humus, expectorations, bold,
never bottled or sold.


Inside Mitchum

The beat-up fedora,
the bags under the eyes,
the wrinkled gabardines.
Inside Mitchum it's always evening.
I pin mash notes to his esophagus.
I tickle his vas deferens with my toe.
I jiggle that bilious mash
where sperm tadpoles squirm.
There I scribble poems.


The Peep Show

Trash! Trash! I say
and drop quarters in a slot.
Two dudes are barely stripped
before the film stops. A hand
to my left. A dude in Levis
opens his fly. His balls snap
into a cock ring. His shaft is
cucumber thick. I swallow it.
Should I tell Mitchum? Will he care.


Geek Failure

Among my sissy flops were
climbing an Army rope
and wringing a hen's neck.
At Fort Jackson, South Carolina,
a sergeant sneered that I was "a girl."
I swam through mud for an hour.

Earlier, I watched a neighbor
wring a hen's neck. I tried
but broke the bird's leg instead.
I chased the hen through the bush,
caught it, and stretched it over the block.
I struck twice with an axe, then flung it
into some mullein, where it flopped and died.

I wanted to level with Mitchum
about these failures, and about the Parisian whore
who, disgusted, finger fucked me.
Mitchum's my invention. But you know that.
I hate celluloid lovers.


King Of Bavaria

Mitchum snores amidst candleabra,
tapers, ormolu, and red velvet draperies
embossed with crowns. The bed is a copy
of mad King Ludwig's in Linderhof.

The purple eiderdown withdrawn
reveals a sculpted posterior.
Slowly, as a lackey might, I tongue the King
so that he firms his ass.
A carriage rattles on cobblestones.
Trumpets gnarl. The King offers his lackey
leek juice, milk, and Syrian honey.


Wild Strawberries

Since the berries are small
and Mitchum's plaid wool shirt is sweaty
I snuggle close.
The berries suggest scrotum skin.
I want to point this out to Bob
so plop a berry in his mouth.
The juice drenches his esophagus,
firing it, in the way of
a great romance, or a stupendous love.


Mitchum As Odalisque

Mitchum sits cross-legged
on an odalisque's divan.
He's nude -- except for onyx ear rings
and a sapphire in his navel.
His nipples are camellia buds.
There's a red dot between his eyes.
I crave that he'll yank down my shorts.
Brass bells on his wrists jangle.
I fling chick embryos at him.
He maintains his instrutable smile,
his get on with it, fucker, half-lidded stare.


Your Voice, My Face

The earth keeps rolling in offal.
While you're toweling yourself
I've picked raspberries
for a love compote to be served
on delicate fern fronds.
We're sweet raindrops,
bead on a bull's hot forelock.
Your voice reflects my face.
Touch me!


Help From Marilyn

Mitchum's home from Nepal
but hasn't shown up here.
I visit Marilyn Monroe's urn in Westwood
and steal a rose from her columbarian vase.
I laminate the flower and drop it
on a table near Mitchum's boots.
"Marilyn, in Heaven, fetch Mitchum hither."
The door opens.
Saturnine, wearing a fedora,
Mitchum strides in,
proffering long-stemmed roses.


Mitchum's Navel

Mitchum lifts his safari shirt
revealing a dank omphalos.
I smother it in gentians.
Paginini's violin concerto is on the stereo.

The navel winks in a swirl of hair.
There's a taut fold, a gray-rose foreskin.
"It's yours," he says, throwing his arm
back under his head.

My tongue, thrust to the core,
swirls up a compote of rancid fruit.
Soul-vapor oozes forth. I swallow.

"Easy," Mitchum warns. "It's the only
belly button I've got."


Mitchum as Fish-slayer

Mitchum's shod feet
are black polished oxfords. The glow
deflects the fish from their finny currents.
Mitchum stomps fish to death.

On shore, kissing,
we run our fingers over the scales.
Incredible music!
We kiss again:
Life is a tumid, flopping miracle.


Sweet Macho Nothings

When I make love to Mitchum
I wear my lineman's belt.
"Dude," "Bohunk," and "Mack"
I say in a bass voice.

I insert my thumbs into my belt
and stride that fragrant asshole walk
strode by mechanics and cowboys.

I arrange my tools one by one -- the claw ham
the phillips screw driver, the stapler,
two bolts for nipples,
a silver chain for a penis.
An abstract Mitchum on the pearly sheets!

I chant sweet macho nothings
into the coupling-wrench
and grind my wet body over the cold rasp
in ecstasy. I pinch my testes with a pliers.
"Mitchum. Mitchum. Mitchum."


Tsars and Tsarinas

The window opens.
I've reread page 312
of Peter the Great's biography ten times.

The Tsar reminds me of you, Bob, decked
in a white damask latia surmounted
with a jeweled arch and pearl cherubim.

Near a swirl of peach-blossom marble,
where you receive the Patriarch,
I'm as giddy as an aching Tsarina.

But all this was in Russia. Here, at the beach,
I unpack the band saw, hammer, staple gun,
and drill. The gun is serviceable --
no lynx-fur handle, rubied haft.
The label says "Fit for a Prince."


He Tries to Make Mitchum Jealous

I scribble an "Ode for John Payne's Chin" --
the deepest cleft in Hollywood.
Carmen Miranda crushes grapes there.
Sonja Heine stops smiling (and skating)
to melt a Swiss icicle, a fat one with
ice warts. Cal Edison tapes Christmas lights
on either side, to go on and off alternately.
Betty Grable jams a patch of her thigh skin
into the fold. Payne's so hot the skin sizzles.


Balsa Wood Mitchum

Transferred to balsa wood
trimmed and glued to a stand,
Mitchum greets me,
Through a remote tape deck
he delivers lines from his movies.

A chrome ashtray overflows with butts
evoking a seedy private dick.
Leaving Mitchum home alone is difficult.
Eventually, when the sun leaches him,
with sumptuous grief-ridden ceremonies
punctuated by smiting on copper pans,
I'll bury him beneath an orange tree.


Photo Opportunity Session

I'm on the floor, pointing my lens
at Mitchum's jockstrap.
I beg: "More muscle power."
Track lights glimmer.
I'm positive he's not clipped.
His ass is Michelangeloesque.
Sweat covers my face.
My head is the globe of the world transposed.


The Fancy Restaurant

I blush, losing myself in the flood-lit lobsters
in the tank near the maitre d's elbow.

"I know where to dig next," says a mustache,
ushering us into an alcove near the Marina.
"Do you want the gardenias, Sir?
They aren't very butch, you know."

The knife handles have silver rose petals.
I dunk bread sticks in my chablis.
Everybody's watching.

There's a crazy image of Jesus crucified,
his loins girt with California poppies
laced with sage. "Don't be upset, Bob.
We're here together after all."


Mitchum in Mantilla

I throw a black mantilla over Mitchum.
"Now," I say, arecapture your adolescence."
The veil falls into beautiful folds.
I'm on my knees.
"Imagine your first pubic hair, and your first
spunk. Recall your first masturbation,
thumb on one side, two fingers opposite.
You thought you'd die, or at least go crazy."


Mitchum as Barbarian Prince

I'd changed my celibate sheets
twice a week, kept scented Kleenex handy
for wet dreams. I fantasized rib roasts,
stew meat, steaks ripe with silicone,
pork chops marinated by the thighs of
obese mothers. I refused to feel guilty.
My anxieties were thermal.
I wore tight jeans.

Mitchum appeared, sardonic,
as sleepy as butterscotch laced with vinegar,
rearing his mushroom, his jack in the
pulpit. A halo encircled his balls,
another his rosy, funky rear.
I was his woman.
When he spoke, he was a throaty warrior,
arms akimbo, at the fur door of his barrow.
Caribou skins on a straw pallet.


Nova Zembla Riff

I drift with Mitchum on a pond of milk and lilies.
Bullfrogs sing from cheesy logs.
Curd-covered turtles upend themselves
flopping tails in adoration.

By saying I love Mitchum
I'm warming up the milk.

Whey gathers to the North
on its way to Scandinavia
to be imbibed by love-sick grampuses.

"Oh, Mitchum," I explain.
"I'd shake this milky pond for you.
And in Nova Zembla I'll feed you ice cream
tinted with northern lights."


Military Riff

I award Mitchum a commission.
Instead of insignia he wears live hummingbirds.
An orderly feeds the birds honeysuckle.
When Mitchum is not overseeing troops
the birds flit through an aviary.
At a whistle, they swoop in
to have their legs bound,
anxious to grace their general's shoulders.


Mitchum's Boots

I buy the boots Mitchum wore
in "The Night of the Hunter."
I wear them for days through
purple arroyos and sage brush gullies.

I love the chase.
Mitchum will never overtake me.


On the Chicken Ranch

    "Come," Mitchum says.
    We mount his palomino and reach outbuildings
crammed with chickens. "How's that for raunchy
symbolism?" Mitchum asks. "Chickens as asshole fe-
tishists. When a bird drops an egg, particularly on ce-
ment, anal vent membranes protrude. The reddish
tints attract other hens who peck and peck. The bird
is disembowelled. Hen Men call this a 'pickout.'"
    Birds on the wire floor are mad for space. Half a do-
zen have bloody heads. One tries to ram through the
interstices. When her head snags other leghorns pick
her eyes.
    "Bright light or sunlight," Mitchum explains,
"heightens the bloody feathers. Good farmers darken
the hen house so the flock can barely see the grain
troughs and water fountains. Anal vent protectors,
unhappily, soil the eggs..." He pauses. "Let's go."
    I snuggle against Mitchum's back.
    "People aren't like chickens," he says. "You
    He slaps the palomino's rump and we ride into the


A Green Tomato Worm for Mitchum

I affix my lips and, as if sucking an egg,
drain the body sac, which I treat
with formaldehyde, as a preservative.
I glue the pupils of large-eyed flies
to the worm's back. An hour glass design
from a black widow spider. Crayfish legs
stiffened with resin, as a body support.
For a mouth, the blow hole lips of a tadpole.
Above the mouth, a humming bird proboscis.
Finally, I insert cecropia moth antennae
and a pair of dragon fly wings.
I glue it all to a glass slab and mail it to Mitchum.
When he meditates on the crazed nature of life,
he'll arrive, sheathed in lightning, at my door,
never to leave.



I snuggle oranges between my legs,
simulating the size, so I think,
of Mitchum's testicles. They don't
bounce right, so I try tennis balls --
they at least have fur. But they aren't
quite suitable. At an abattoir
I buy a pair of ram balls complete
with scrotum. I trim the skin,
insert a roll of fat ripped from
the rear cavity of a hen, and settle
the gonads into my own pouch.
They bounce exactly as I'd fantasized.


Long Distance

First, the greased mouthpiece
follows the lie of my colon.
I sniff amyl nitrate,
a nice accommodation --
like going home for Easter.
The earpiece protrudes.
Second, by an incredible gymnastic
I twist my head between my legs.
My ear is within hearing distance.

My diaphragm tingles.
My liver raises excited lobes.
Little colonies of bacteria
execute bumps, grinds, and soft-shoe
numbers in synch with farts and rumbles,
music from old Betty Boop cartoons.
To phone Mitchum I hit a button.


Dear Mom

I tell Mom
of my exhausting love for Mitchum.

She says I'm crazy,
that I should stop playing with myself
and get on with my writing.
"He don't exist," she sneers.
"You've made him up, and I won't read
more of your dreadful poems."

"If that's how you feel," I say, overcome.

"Stop shoving me!" she exclaims.

We are at the Lucky supermarket
where I've bought eight packages
of raspberry jello, for agar, to grow
cultures from Mitchum's smegma.

Mom readjusts her old frilled cap,
throws the jello at the checkout girl
and dashes home.

I'll get even: I'll type new poems,
wrap her false teeth in them,
and screw Mitchum in her bed.


The Mitchum Tomato

We've always pissed in our garden.
One Big Boy tomato plant is Bob's,
another is mine.
Whose plant will yield the best fruit?
Mitchum suggests we invite Bette Davis
to irrigate the plants:
"Great!" I shout, fingering some tomato seeds.

Mitchum waters his plant, scorching the leaves.
"Keep your pee on the ground," Bob.
"You'll sear the blossoms."
I'm content with his urinary cascades,
fantasizing his meaty head.
I tamp the loam with my bare hands.

Bob's tomatoes smell of ammonia.
I swallow slices chilled, without condiments.
He, alas, never tastes mine,
although I smother them in a cock cheese dressing
garnished with tuna packed in spring water.

We patent the Mitchum Tomato.
The uride-charged crop is praised
by enthusiastic editors
in the food supplements of newspapers.


Crossing the Delaware

I go rowing with Mitchum on a lake.
A hot day.
Mitchum is at the prow, nude,
poised in the manner of George Washington
crossing the Delaware.
I am about to kiss his sculpted ass
when he gazes into the water and says
"Shelley Winters."
My illusion wrecked, I swamp the boat,
propelling him onto the back of a mud turtle.
I want the turtle to impregnate Mitchum
so I'll have a reason to drown him
in a stark but unforgettable Theodore Dreiser manner.
Instead, he sits there on a shell
like a triton, pissing.
I feel silly as I right the boat
and find both Mitchum and my oar gone.


In the Desert

A rivulet of blood feeds an aloe
ready to burst into bloom.
I toss gold dust over human bones.
He sprinkles diamonds and Oscars
crushed into powder, each handful
scattered with a nasty laugh -- like a towel
slapped across a callypygian ass.
He stares as though I'm monstrous.
"Come inside, Bob.
Throw me a prickly pear.
Smother me with diamonds."


Vertebra and Skin

"Mitchum, this age has a dearth of fantasies."
He's tossing pebbles at a beaver dam.
"I love you so much, those intervals
of hot skin between your vertebrae,
your acting skill. Living with you
makes mink food of politics, the Far East, and smog
My lung sacs swell, my brain sizzles nitrogen
as I consider the least part of you,
half a toe, a fraction of nostril, a sweet gum line."


Divination Entrails

Mitchum covers the horse with a rug
and feeds him oats. Snow smothers the Mojave.
Joshua trees resemble snug apartment houses
for insane monks.

We eat bread and bacon, dancing
on one foot then the other.

Where are the birds?" Mitchum asks.
"And civilization?"

"We never see, Bob, more than we deserve."

A mangled hare lands at our feet, dropped
from the sky.

"An eagle lost its grip, Bob."

"No. You're wrong.
Apollo flung it from his chariot."



I plan a savage ingress and egress
into and from Mitchum's recumbent body.
I take three pubic hairs,
a stain from his jockey shorts,
cheese from his dinner plate, some
marijuana seeds, and the title
of one of his movies.
After painting my face red,
I brew this olio and hope he'll imbibe.

When he fails to stir, I throw my leg
over him Queequeg-fashion. Melvillean thoughts
make cacophonous night music in lurid skies.


Forest Trip

We sit on a log facing a fire of snowy pines.
Behind us is a wall of evergreens.
"Let's follow that trail," says Mitchum.
"What if it takes us deeper in?
Deer love dismal swamps."
An eagle circles.
"He won't attack," Bob says, relaxed on his back
in the snow.
"Let's build an ice cave, Bob.
A parachute drops:
flannel pajamas, smoked turkey, chocolates,
a crossword puzzle book, a history of Spain.
Bob is about to throw the wrappings on the fire
when he finds a map pinned to the pajamas.
"Hey," he exclaims. "This shows the way
to Shangri-la."



For three days it bubbled.
Mercurochrome, antiseptic powder, salt water.
All failed.
It began as a penis follicle.

Like a mushroom or a holly sprig
it bloomed. A crust of
crystallized salmon and amber.
If I could only blast forth the implanted seed.

I ask Mitchum for advice.
"Make the woman who gave it suck you dry!"
"She was anonymous."
"Then, try Borzoi spit. Don't whine to me."


Lone Slalom Champion of the Skies

Mitchum wears one ski and I another.
We bind our legs and grab ski poles.
We throw brocade around our waists.
Far below, Sonja Heine, on glare ice,
executes flawless figure eights.
"Ready?" Mitchum asks.
We interlock arms, at the back.
We sail past looming evergreens
and a crazy toboggan slide.
We soar above the trees.
The air mists with ice.
We are one, slalom champions of the skies,
of winter!


Hollywood Boulevard Cemtary

I recall Ty Power's beauty:
his slender waist, his black eyes,
as he played Prince Rudolph
in Thin Ice with Sonja Heine.

I ask Mitchum to kneel and kiss
the tiny Greek temple monument.

I pluck a tulip from an urn
and jab it into his lapel.

"Let's vamoose," he says.
"The Busby Berkeley girls are coming.
They'll chop us to pieces with their heels.n

A few graves over from Ty's
there's a heart beat.
Nelson Eddy's singing "Indian Love Call."



I am Louis Piranha, film producer.
Mitchum is a Portuguese colonel
whose troops decimate the natives.
He meets Hedy Lamar in White Cargo.
She's painted her face with betel juice
and writhes on a batik floor.

Action: Col. Mitchumismo draws back Lamar's head,
intending to whack it with a machete.
A fanged centipede races up his spine.

Method: I hire an insectivore photographer.
The centipede shows both prayer and defiance,
as a wrathful Jimminy Cricket might.

Development: Now a mystic
Mitchum reads the insect
as a talisman and spares tbe girl.
They copulate.
She makes tiffin.
He's a local deity.
Portuguese officers torture him.
He dies without flinching,
with that saturnine smile.


Flowers for Mitchum

He reclines near a bull elephant
tethered into a baobab tree.
I load my arms with birds of paradise.
Mitchum removes his safari hat, laughs,
and remains on his camp bed.
I smother him with lupine, birds of paradise,
campanulas, peonies, and euphorbias.
He eats flowers until he bleeds.
This is the land of stingless honey bees.


Mitchium in the Camargue

He wears a Camargue cowboy outfit
and rides a Camargue stallion.
For hours I pursue him through pampas grass.

He expects me to edit the lines
for his new film. They're worse than any
in a John Wayne movie.

Between gray salt marshes, sits the shack
he's rented while I doctor the script.
I cram poppies into a jug.
We eat tofu, sprats dipped in vinegar, and gray bread.
"See you later," he says. "Back to the camera."

I sweep the floor. A coppery hound lies at my feet.
I squash swollen wood ticks in his fur.
"Murder the cliches," I shout. "This stupid dialogue!"


Existential Rag

I grab a silver hammer
and a bronze knife.
I de-fur the head of a bull.

My teeth crack the skull.
I lick the fracture.
The way in is delicious.

The bull's brains squirm
with mealy worms.

If Mitchum hadn't left me.
If he hadn't left me.


Awards Ceremony

I give Sonja Heine a smoked herring
tied with mistletoe.
Garbo receives a lonely meat ball
packed inside a black cloche hat.

Bette Davis is happy with a cigarette.
For Simone Signoret three snails
with emerald-encrusted horns and much saliva.
For Margaret Dumont a corset rubbed
with whoopee powder. Maria Ouspenskaya recei~
a jar of pickled cabbage and a turnip.

On a stage erected in a McDonald's parking lot
Mitchum is my master of ceremonies.
The actresses are ghosts of their former selves.

I plan to host other parties, for male stars
in boxing roles (Holden, Garfield, Di Niro),
for moppets (Withers, Temple, Coogan), for
stars with big mouths (Judy Canova, Joe E. Bre
Martha Raye), for actors with big ears (Gable a
Crosby), for boozers (Holden and Hayward),
and for Academy Awards runners-up.
Mom will be amazed when rm tapped
for a supporting role in Mitchum's next film.


Snorkeling for Mitchum

Wearing fins and a snorkel
I dive into the brine,
swim past opahs, mackerel,
and salmon-colored perch.

At an al fresco bar Mitchum drinks
with Charlotte Rampling at sunset.
He wears a tux and is laughing
at a man in a wet-suit
who rises from the surf shaking his fist.



Among the frozen wild rice and pickerel weed
red tags on Etationary fish lines jiggle.
We build a fire and brew coffee.
Bluish storm clouds tinge with sapphire.
Mitchum says that the ice frees him
from Hollywood, something he needs.
We catch a six pound pike.

Mitchum says he'll stay for the night.

Back at the cabin, reporters interview
"the actor of his generation."
He's whisked off in a helicopter
to lights, bourbon, and girls.
My bed is fish-cold.


Christmas with Mitchum

I masticate orange, scarlet
and mauve nasturtiums into a pulp
blent with flour into a paste.
I fashion twenty boy dolls wearing briefs
of many colors, with exposed genitals.
On each I paste Mitchum's face cut from
old magazines. A bent paper clip
means easy hanging from spruce boughs
among shiny blue and silver balls.
I won't, as I feared, spend Christmas alone.


Christmas Snow for Mitchum

I sit with Mitchum on bare cement
facing four plaster walls without doors
or windows. The walls loom like
threatening sexual potentates.

The only objects at hand
are piles of orangoutang turds
and a bleached tree branch.
From this an old truck tire depends.

"It's Christmas, Bob."
I point to the sky, to an old man
pulled by a reindeer. "Ho, Ho, Ho."

The sled when it reaches the floor
is about a foot long, of glass.

"There's gotta be some way out-a here,"
says Mitchum to the thief.

Santa dips his hand in ape shit
and draws a nativity scene on the wall:


Christmas Snow for Mitchum

I sit with Mitchum on bare cement
facing four plaster walls without doors
or windows. The walls loom like
threatening sexual potentates.

The only objects at hand
are piles of orangoutang turds
and a bleached tree branch.
From this an old truck tire depends.

"It's Christmas, Bob."
I point to the sky, to an old man
pulled by a reindeer. "Ho, Ho, Ho."

The sled when it reaches the floor
is about a foot long, of glass.

"There's gotta be some way out-a here,"
says Mitchum to the thief.

Santa dips his hand in ape shit
and draws a nativity scene on the wall:
a mouse nativity scene, Mary Mouse-da-lene,
Baby Cheesy Mouse, Joseph Mouse.

The Christmas star blazes.
A mad cerulean night.

"Fuck this claustrophobic turn,"
Mitchum snarls, jamming his hat
over his ears. He jumps
out of his tux and, wearing
sloppy boxer shorts covered with ants,
prepares to leap.

"Wait, Bob. Santa's on his way."

Mitchum crushes sleigh and deer
into a fine powder. He rolls a $20 bill
and sniffs up nostrils-ful.

We begin to crow.
Each of us develops a red comb, wings,
beak, spurs, and tail.
We eye the morning sky.

A rosy-fingered dawn!
Coke-a-doodle-doo. Coke-a-doodle-do.


Black Magic

"Every day is Christmas," I declare.
Bob's bundled in blankets.
"Here, Bob-"
I give him a boy kewpie doll with
birthday candy star eyes.
"The head's of marzipan. You'll feel better."
He coughs and grabs the doll.
He eats the nose. "It could be sweeter."
A groan of pleasure.
"If it seems right," Mitchum says.
"Bob, you've lost me."
"I'm no cannibal."
"It's only a toy, Bob."
"But it's me -- the eyelids, the sneer."
"Eat through the belly, Bob. Keep going."
Once he's past the thorax, the groans
turn to suck sounds, like a vacuum cleaner's,
if you know what I mean.
"Ugh," says Mitchum, flinging the doll's remains
into a corner. "Your phony symbolism
makes me retch. Where's my hat?"


Garden of Eden with Mitchum as Adam and Raquel Welch as Eve

First, I yank a cobra from a tree
and gas several gophers.
I chomp an apple crammed with blood
that tastes like a Winesap's,
which was how the man in the conical hat
said it would.

A limousine appears. Mitchum emerges
wearing a hamburger on his head.
"Greetings. I'm a hamburger come to see
your magical tree." "Have an apple, Bob."
Help yourself"

"Best fruit ever," he says, munching.
"Original Sin, etcetera."

"True, Bob. Human blood is as saline
as the seas from which life came."

He dashes back to the limo.
The tree shakes and quivers, bulges
with a rhythmic systole-diastole beat.
The cobra, resembling old William Blake
with an obscene smirk, coils the tree.
"Well," I surmise as Mitchum tears off.
"I've failed again."

Welch removes her roller skates,
moistens her lips,
and undresses.
"Raquel," I say, thrusting my face into hers.
"Mother will be pleased!"



Many of these poems, often in different versions and now much revised, appeared in my Celebrities: In Memory of Margaret Dumont (Sombre Reptiles Press, Berkeley, 1981) and in the privately printed Love Poems For Robert Mitchum. Poems also appeared in these journals: Gargoyle, Electrum, The James White Reuiew, Carnal Abuse, The Irregular Quarterly, and Baterio (Hamburg).

ISBN: 0-943795-20-6

Special thanks to Jane Hathaway for her help in the production of this book.

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