I hate milk chocolate, don’t want clouds
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.

Reprinted by kind permission of Barbara Crooker from More: Poems. © C&R Press, 2010.

Photo by Alexander Stein

Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker

About the author

Barbara Crooker is an award-winning poet whose poems have been featured in various media outlets such as the BBC, in magazines, and in numerous anthologies. Her most recent books include Slow Wreckage (Grayson Books, 2024); Some Glad Morning (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2018, winner of the Best Poetry Book 2018 from Poetry by the Sea), and Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017). For more information, visit barbaracrooker.com.