The Quotable

Robert Mitchum Returns to the Blue Haven Hotel

Mitchum returned to reminisce a few years before his
death in 1997, but, upset at seeing the ruin, told his driver
to turn around and went straight back to the airport.
-Jim Clark, The Daily Mail, January 28, 2004

“Men go to bed with Irena, but wake up with me.”
-Rita Hayworth


Mitchum lands in Tobago, says

“Blue Haven Hotel,” and the driver looks confused.

“Out the road to Bacolet Point,” Mitchum says,

springing from the car at a tin-shack bodega

for rum and some plastic cups.


Long-shot of a Cadillac, moving through the cane.

Mirror-shot—Mitchum hoists the cup to his lips. 


The road is pot-holed, edged with glass shards

and hibiscus; the final hundred yards—now,

he remembers—Royal Palms, those shabby old

sentinels, looming over the macadam.


He spies the pink shutters,

a few tossed chairs; can make out the edge

of the empty blue pool.


A green hummingbird—skimming an orchid

or guarding a nest—dives at his head.

Mitchum swats with the asp of his hand—

the left that staggered Toxie Hall,

speed-bag pal of Rocky Marciano.


Does he hear calypso music?

Mitchum forgets the broken bird,

the rolling azure sea.


Yes, he loved her here

a flaming torch that marked

the tangled path to the deck, that starry night

shot-reverse-shot—his hand pressed softly

along the small of her back.


End card—process shot of stars

cleaving against the sky.


Mitchum says “Let’s go.”

The petrels are screaming just beyond the point

out where the bonefish cruise,

and waves slap time against the craggy black rocks.

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The Quotable - Issue 5 "Place"