The storyteller’s grandson in The Princess Bride famously says, “They’re kissing again. Do we have to read the kissing parts?”
Well, young grandson, good love stories are not only about kissing. Neither are good love poems. Sometimes, you see, they are not even about love. They are about chocolate (which is its own kind of love). When used properly, however, they might lead to kissing.*
Take, for example, this collection of rich, dark chocolate poems.
Try one out. Enjoy the results.
* individual results may vary
Hershey went looking
for his Peppermint Patty,
convinced only she could be
his LifeSaver. No Dum Dum,
he was ready, willing, and able
to go all the way to Mars and back
to bring home a little Bit-o-Honey.
He’d show her Good and Plenty,
climb the highest Almond Mounds,
gladly strip off a 100 Grand
to run a hand through her
Cotton Candy hair. He’d waited so
long, too long, to be her Atomic Fire Ball.
Patty’s tastes, alas, ran more
to 3 Musketeers and Lemonheads.
She loved them for their Whoppers,
the way their Chunky Singles’ bodies
would sway to the Charleston Chew nightly
at the Heath Bar. How they’d get down
and dirty doing Rolo’s famous Tootsie Roll!
But a Sugar Daddy Hershey refused
to be. He’d long ago tired of tending Peeps
After Eight, settling his Sweetarts’ Skittles,
giving his time to Smarties whose Snickers
behind his hard if hairy back left him a cold
and not so Jolly Rancher. To hit PayDay,
he’d have to dispense with these Hot Tamales.
Besides, it was true, what his mother
always said: You won’t find
your Mary Jane hanging with Mr. Goodbar!
So, no more Hot Lix at his side, Hershey
Jelly-Bellied up to the Symphony Bar,
ordered double Doves with a side of Twix,
noticed how even Junior Mints could mix
with Ghiradelli, their eyes intense, big
as DOTS, their figures slender as Twizzlers,
not one Sour Punch in the bunch.
No Airheads, no Goobers, no Nerds feeding
Nutrageous appetites. Just a room full
of sweet Almond Joys, cool Ricola singing her aria
to the sounds of Original Herb, and sunny-faced
Kit-Kat eyeing Nestle’s Crunch, his caramel arms
all rippling muscle. The Almond King himself
couldn’t want for more Amazin’ Fruit in one place.
Italian imports? They’re the best, Hershey overheard
her say, her voice dark as licorice. Turning, facing
her, feeling Perugina’s breathy, minty coolness
on his neck, he just knew. He couldn’t miss Starbursts
in her eyes, the way she wrapped herself around
his Butterfinger, covered him with Kisses,
all the while whispering, O Henry! Let’s just Take 5.
More hours making words,
more days finding
the things she loves—
people, art, a good font.
But she gives me
How can I say
Of Sugar Hill?
Cast your gims
On this sepia thrill:
Brown sugar lassie,
Sweet enough to eat.
Coffee and cream,
Out of a dream.
Or cocoa brown,
Pride of the town.
To plum-tinted black,
In Harlem’s no lack.
Glow of the quince
To blush of the rose.
To cinnamon toes.
Virginia Dare wine—
All those sweet colors
Flavor Harlem of mine!
Walnut or cocoa,
Let me repeat:
Caramel, brown sugar,
A chocolate treat.
Coffee and cream,
Licorice, clove, cinnamon
To a honey-brown dream.
All through the spectrum
Harlem girls vary—
So if you want to know beauty’s
Stroll down luscious,
Delicious, fine Sugar Hill.
—Langston Hughes, for more see The Collected Poems
On hearing of a book titled The Chocolate War
A war? Why
with bread and cheese
Break off a piece
along the smooth
line and savor
the lucky bar, was our place in the plot: stupid,
fat, competitive, spoiled—at a madman’s whim.
We were to make the blond kid look good
by comparison—he only had to top our
dubious virtue. Shooting fish in a stockpot!
There’s a special place in Hell reserved for
people who tempt small children with rivers
of chocolate and drown them while they drink.
Olympic cruelty—I am waiting for the irony
to stop: let us, the greedy brats, gather our spoils
to our chests. Let there be no correction tonight.
Let the good kid kneel beside his crippled elders
and massage their gouty legs, forgetting to remind
us all of his sacrifice. Let him bless their bunions.
The lazy, the conniving, the slow—we’ve gathered
outside the factory gates. The sweet-tart rejects
have come home, Wonka. We would like our reward.
—Erin Keane, author of Death Defying Acts
from the maws of the vending machines
that stood watch over the waiting
room of my stepfather’s Shell station.
Larry or Chubbs would fish out keys
with grimy fingers, swing open
the face of the machine, reveal its innards
stacked columns of soda or candy bars.
Outside the constant ding of the bell
as cars pulled in for gas, directions,
air in the tires, a clean windshield,
drivers impatient for destination,
and Chubbs or Larry would dash, leave
me to choose: Planter’s Peanut
Bar or Nestle’s Crunch, Coke
or orange or chocolate pop. Grit
covered that tiny room, layered
on maps in their laddered racks, dusting
the globe of the gumball machine,
sifted over neat rows of motor oil
in silver cans, smudging the white
pages of homework I filled with
painstaking script. I breathed
the stink of petroleum, kicked
at the legs of a yellow plastic
chair with my black and white
school oxfords, waiting for my stepfather
who was supposed to watch me till
my mother got off work. Nine was too
young, she thought, to stay at home alone.
But every day he’d disappear, banged-up
Chevy gone from the lot, the men
in oil-streaked uniforms shrugging excuses.
“Anything she wants,” he’d instructed them,
and I watched the clock as the sky
darkened and the bright shell glowed
against night. My new bra was too tight;
I hugged my three-ring binder to hide my roll
of belly from Larry, from Chubbs, and sucked
the dregs of chocolate pop or lemon-lime.
—Terry Wolverton, for more see Mystery Bruise
Ode to Chocolate
of cream diluting the dark night sky,
don’t want pralines or raisins, rubble
in this smooth plateau. I like my coffee
black, my beer from Germany, wine
from Burgundy, the darker, the better.
I like my heroes complicated and brooding,
James Dean in oiled leather, leaning
on a motorcycle. You know the color.
Oh, chocolate! From the spice bazaars
of Africa, hulled in mills, beaten,
pressed in bars. The cold slab of a cave’s
interior, when all the stars
have gone to sleep.
Chocolate strolls up to the microphone
and plays jazz at midnight, the low slow
notes of a bass clarinet. Chocolate saunters
down the runway, slouches in quaint
boutiques; its style is je ne sais quoi.
Chocolate stays up late and gambles,
likes roulette. Always bets
on the noir.
—Barbara Crooker, author of More
Photo by Chocolate Reviews. Creative Commons license via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland