William Keener


In the mountain hall of Swiss creation, 
where mysterious chocolatiers worked 
their creamy magic, I stared down at giant 
shining steel paddles dipping in tandem, 
churning great vats, a thick molten brown 
river flowing beneath me. Smooth, raw 
liquid chocolate was pouring into itself, 
forever folding, beating the hot reek of 
roasted cocoa and sugar into fragrant air. 
This extravagant supply, the long-sought 
source of all that was good and warm and 
sweet and heavy in my twelve-year-old world, 
stirred endlessly, hypnotically as I leaped 
the rail, cast myself on the viscous rush 
to float in ecstasy, my small milk-skinned 
body a boat sucked up the dark river 
back to its beginnings, up the deep luscious 
current of chocolatey mud through a 
ferment of tropical aromas to forests of 
cacao flowering in dense steamy ranks, 
a rain-dripping Eden of rich ripening beans. 

And now so far from primal jungle, 
I stand in line to buy a polished ebony bar, 
tear the paper, tear the foil, hold the treasure 
on my tongue, feel the river flow and swallow 
the heart of darkness slowly once again. 

Copyright 2000, William Keener

William Keener has eaten chocolate on several continents, but mostly in
Northern California where he works as a writer and environmentalist. His poems appear in several literary magazines, and his chapbook Three Crows Yelling (authored in collaboration with two other poets) won the 1999 National Looking Glass Award sponsored by Pudding House Publications.

Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2