Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

South Austin Chili

Black beans, fresh rinsed
obsidian jewels,
drop through fingers
feeling for stones.

Pasilla chiles, toasting,
warm the air. Later,
ground and simmered in oil,
they seethe in a mild lava.

Chocolate softens,
flows into the chili—
an ebony swirl
rippling on a midnight sea.

This is for Read Write Poem’s What’s Eating You?.

One of my favorite things to cook is The Soup Peddler’s South Austin Chili recipe in his Slow and Difficult Soups. I like the end result, but I love the process of making this chili. The time spent in the kitchen working the ingredients and listening to music while enjoying a beer as the pasillas toast in the oven is sheer joy.

The chili itself is wonderfully rich with a slow chipotle burn, and with the chocolate added it comes off almost like a mole.


  1. This has inspired me to try the recipe, very nicely described..

  2. Thank you. It’s quite good, by the way.

  3. it is an amazing image , I was tempted (though I do not like chili…and I can not imagine it cooked with chocolate)…but it is appetizing in this poem, especially the beans as obsidian jewels…

  4. I must say this poem really engages the senses. I can smell the slowly-toasting chillies and reach to stir the chocolate swirl… lovely.

  5. Beautiful and visual. I’ll have to try adding chocolate the next time I make chili. Inspiring.

    The Nobleman


  6. This is such a sensual poem. It was fun getting lost in it. Mmmmmm…

  7. Thanks for you comments. It is a very good chili. It’s the only recipe I’ve come across that uses chocolate and while the finished product doesn’t taste like it has chocolate in it, it adds a richness to it that’s makes the chili unique.

  8. Liked the images of jewels, lava and sea. Amazing what can be done with a recipe.

  9. Thanks, Gordon. And, a good recipe is as enjoyable to make as it is to eat.

  10. I really like how you include all the senses, even in such a short poem, without seeming at all forced. Only taste is left out, and that is what leaves the reader salivating! 🙂

  11. throws his words, I hadn’t realized I had left taste out. Interesting.

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