July 26th, 2020

Why Charlie Can’t Leave The Factory

After a reveal of cotton candy sheep being
shorn for confectionery purposes in the
Burton Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film:
Willy Wonka – “I’d rather not talk about this one.”

You peer a possible pasture in a
pink corridor.  Perhaps peeking proves it?
Perchance a perpendicular door plays
with peripheral vision, pomegranate
sheep producing shorn candy floss piles pruned
to palatable heaps?  Panicked to peep
about portent you must presume —
how much sugared wool of pastel sheep
have you consumed? A pity you’re privy
to production details.  Pink candy floss
would plummet in sales if this factory’s
private practices were published; the loss
more than support of a small family.
It’s why Charlie can’t leave the factory.


art by Amy Suzanne

More about “Why Charlie Can’t Leave the Factory”:

On August 18th, Roaring Junior will be publishing my poetry chapbook Golden Ticket, sonnets inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the book and movies, too.  The sonnets in this book are divided into three sections named after chocolate varietals due to their intended audience:  milk, dark and hot.  The milk chocolate poems are meant for people of all ages and intended to be sweet and inspiring, comfort poetry.  An example of one of these, Luminous Lollies, was published in Punk Noir Magazine recently, and you can read it here.

Luminous Lollies is a good example of what I was trying to do with this collection — which was to take the source material of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and expand upon it.  This poem’s title is referenced in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl as an elevator button, but it’s a room we do not go to in the book.  We only hear of its possibilities.  I took a lot of elements like this from the text that are just hinted at and invented their internals, what those rooms looked, smelled and tasted like.

The poem that I feature in this special preview in Burning House Press is called Why Charlie Can’t Leave The Factory.  It belongs to the Dark Chocolate section of the book that takes a little bit more of an adult look at things and offers social critiques.  This poem is one of the few poems that references the Tim Burton film Charlie and the Factory specifically.  My Willy Wonka, personally, is Gene Wilder all the way, so I’m less familiar with this version of the movie though I have seen it mor.  We aren’t introduced to any of these spies by name or gender, only the names of Wonka’s competitors including Arthur Slugworth.

I wrote a love triangle in Hot Chocolate that involves Arthur Slugworth, the spy he employs named Anise (a former topless dancer who blackmailed Slugworth and smells like her favorite candy licorice) and Willy Wonka.  In a previous column included some poetry about the Hot Chocolate and included a couple of poems if you would like to get a flavor of these naughty fun pieces.

Creating these 30 pages of poetry, with spectacular art by Amy Suzanne, has been an absolute panacea to my soul in a pandemic to create and I know Amy feels the same way.  It combines so many things that I love:  candy, fantasies, rhyming, elevator sexual shenanigans, hope, lust, working at what you love, horror.  We are excited to bring its deliciousness into the world August 18th.

In the meantime, check out the Golden Ticket page at my website where you can also read about all my other books.