Valentine’s Day comes but once a year, but the memory of a slimy, prolonged kiss is forever. If you missed it, revel in part one here.
1. The Overly Metaphorical Kiss from Neruda’s Early Poetry
Neruda wasn’t always the gorgeously direct poet of sand and sky that we now know him as. Like all of us, he really sucked once upon a time. Check out this tangle of metaphors from an early poem entitled “Apple Orchard and Moons”
Love, I kiss the succulent apple of your cheek
Which is also a moon, a round white moon,
But flushed like an apple. Pink and red, apple-colors,
Colors that remind me of your lips, those apples.
They are as cold as the moon. But pink like the inside
Of the belly of a dying snake.
2. The Unpleasant Surprise Kiss from Theseus and the Minotaur
In one of the many spin-off myths concerning Theseus and the Minotaur, Theseus rounds the corner of the dark labyrinth and gets a nasty shock…
He clutched at his sword, gasping in fear every time his shoes scraped the dank walls. The labyrinth was eerily silent. A sharp turn appeared before him—there was only one way to go. Heart pounding, Theseus leaped around the corner and suddenly his mouth was pressed against something large, hairy, and smelling vaguely of beef. The kiss went on for what seemed like years before the Minotaur sprang back with a bellow of disgust. “KILL YOU FOR THAT,” screamed the bull. Theseus pulled out his sword. “None kisseth me and liveth to tell the tale,” he said in a voice like iron.
3. Sauron’s Kiss from The Return of the King
Critics and Tolkien-ites alike often wonder why the following passage was deleted from the original draft of LOTR:
Sauron looked down at the vulnerable orc. For a moment, the Dark Lord saw himself in the fallen soldier—lost, alone, thrown onto the erratic winds of fate. His eyes stung. What was this emotion filling his soul? Weakness! Weakness! Still, Sauron lifted the orc’s bloodied hand, without meaning to, without wanting to, and placed his cold lips upon its palm. “It will all be okay,” he whispered. The orc twitched and died. Sauron dropped the lifeless hand in disgust. “Weak, sniveling creature,” he hissed.
4. The Awkwardly-Timed Kiss from The Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger’s debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, has been criticized for its trite plot and melodramatic style, so thank goodness her publishers decided to slash this passage just before the book went to the printer:
We were laughing, kissing, walking down the sidewalk and kissing and laughing and kissing some more. I didn’t look where I was going—I was too lost in his eyes. He kissed me again and I closed my eyes and took a step forward and then he time traveled and I crashed into a lamp post. My head throbbed for days. Later, he arrived with a poultice stinking of 1764. I said, ‘I thought you couldn’t travel outside of your lifetime?” and he looked guilty. Then he told me that he was really Thomas Jefferson.
5. The Oedipal Kiss from Oedipus Rex
Oedipus leaned forward to kiss his wife. SURPRISE! It was his mom.