Friday, January 1, 2021

4 Chthonic Praise-Chants & One Lament (in Mudlark)




has published 4 Praise-Chants (& One Lament),

from a new manuscript called

Tidal Flats,

for New Year’s Day 2021!



You can access the poems here.


A few words about how the praise-chants came about: 

These poems are from a section of the Tidal Flats manuscript called Twenty Chthonic Praise-Chants & One Lament (after Neruda’s first book: Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair).


I wrote the bulk of these praise-chants in the fall of 2019, when overwhelming fear and sorrow were constantly moving through me from news about the current mass extinction taking place across the planet.

At the same time, I realized that deep grief is a form of praise for those things we have deeply loved (See Martín Prechtel’s The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief & Praise. With this in mind, the “chants” developed out of my desire to record my own personal ecstasy in the presence of so many things (seemingly) outside the human realm.



That ecstasy includes the realm of death—the underworld, the depth of the earth itself, the chthonic, grief and praise—how they burst onto the senses together.

These are dark love poems to the natural world. You can find the ones recently published in Mudlark here.  


Other praise-chants have previously been published by Cholla Needles, or will appear in upcoming issues of The Banyan Review and The Bitter Oleander.


Here’s one that previously appeared in Cholla Needles 48:


Honeybee Creator of the Sun Chthonic Praise-Chant


Bees in catmint hollows of lamb’s ears pour from the sun’s heart

First there was the hive and then wings pumping the sun into being

The leaf shattered sun-veins slick with sacrificial viscous hemolymph

So many thorax muscles beating wings 230 times per second



Bees in the eyes nose face map the terrain in the brain

Ommatidia light detector that connects word to light connects fear to

            calm connects sight to insight

Ocelli-motion vibration detector of desert paintbrush

Firedark interior to embrace the fire-dark figures lurking inside the mind

My bee necklace folded into Broca’s Area


Bee creator of the sun bee alumni of the goldmother at the center

            of the hive

Fine-hair of the pollen-basket that cradles this world’s sex-dust

Tube-Proboscis taproot slips down plumb line to the center of the sun

Tarsal claws cling to hairy stems smooth stems to the narcotic language

            of Jimson Weed  to the Narcoleptic Black Cosmos to the haloed

            extravagance of Mexican Gold Poppies

Bee claws root in the petal’s slide leaving no trace and still able to bear

            the brutal torque of the earth’s turns


Dawn dawn and savory bee sound in waves rides the breeze

Antennae cleaners keeps bee-radio free of static

Radio to mars to planets that circle around the Orange Globe Mallow

            petals drooped open

Synesthesia-radio smelling the song of mites dying of old age inside

            a Datura trumpet hearing the mallow’s orange mouth speak

            to the moon


Bees the fire sewn into the lining of Pascal’s jacket

Bees the map of the field map of the brain

Bees longing for the sun for their mother

Bees the practicality of compound desire


Bee-shit animal smell of the hive of the belly of a creature asleep on

            the earth next to a stone shaped just like that animal


Twins in the sun



Happy New Year!


Four Chthonic Praise-Chants and One Lament