The Chiles
by Bruce E. Stoker 2003

Chile Peppers, burning mouth,
In the dishes from the south.
What immortal tongue or hand
Dare touch the fire and yet stand?

From what burning pits of flame
Come thine searing heat untame?
On what ground did one dare tread?
To what piquant goal was led?

And what knife, and what steel,
Could render flavor one could feel?
When thy flesh reminds of fire,
What dread chef shared thy dread ire?

What the cauldron? Hell on earth?
In what furnace was thy birth?
What inferno? What dread grasp
Dared your scalding fruit to clasp?

When the sun cast its first rays,
Warming earth with temperate days,
Did He smile his work to see?
Did He who made the snow make thee?

Chile Peppers, burning mouth,
In the dishes from the south.
What immortal tongue or hand
Dare touch the fire and yet stand?


Chile Pepper 911
by Bruce E. Stoker 2003

Burning, searing, smoking hot,
Chile pepper takes a shot.
Sweating, swearing, eyes wince shut,
Hairs stand on my occiput.
Biting, blazing, choking heat,
Longing for a quick retreat.
Reaching, grabbing, snarfing cheese,
Casein hits; pain starts to ease.


When Daddy Tried the Sauce
by Bruce E. Stoker 2003

We all looked on with widened eyes
When Daddy tried the sauce.
And the room was filled with anxious sighs
When Daddy tried the sauce.
Then all of us prepared to run,
As if a madman pulled a gun,
Because it seemed he’d come undone
When Daddy tried the sauce.

He checked the labels for a score —
When Daddy tried the sauce —
Of Scoville units that would soar,
To boast, “I’ve tried that sauce!”
The cap he deftly threw aside,
His lips he quickly opened wide,
While fingers then were burning, dyed
By drops of dripping sauce.

And from the moment he first sipped —
When Daddy tried the sauce —
We knew he wished that he had dipped.
For he was at a loss
For words to utter in despair
As sweaty palms pulled at his hair,
Adding to his reddening glare,
When Daddy tried the sauce.

Since then we’ve learned to guide him fast
Away from spicy sauce,
Reminding him of the day, now passed,
He choked when trying sauce.
While Daddy bristles at our cause
And asks us, please, if we could pause
Our Mommy laughs at him because
He couldn’t take the sauce.