Theater at the End of the World:
     A Hallucination in at Least 11 Parts

           by AM Ringwalt

the poem is like
Sweat in the night. Eucalyptus trees. Aloe cracked onto feet.
There is a bonfire. They are burning white flowers. Some people
have frogs crawling to their shoulders. Others drag their feet
through the dirt. Is this a ceremony--

i want ceramic
i want your heart
i want gusts of wind blowing
sand into spiraling tunnels

i want to spit on your darkness
i want to make you know
the topography of scabs
is the root of delight

when the caves begin to fall apart the voice of a toddler rings out

i’ve never really paid attention to your chin
but i’ve wanted to throw myself into the fire
with the white flowers

i’ve thought of bartending
before a religious career

if i were a nun i’d wear black velvet
and drink orangina and i’d say
this is algebra in a low voice
and i’d mean we are solving things

and when she, too, perishes, innocence will speak

if i say this now i’ll say it again
my hair is dirty and
i’ll dip my tongue into a tall
shot glass full of sugar
trees will snap
like necks
the way we interact
is a colonial woman
chanting into her navel
the word is lichen

(modeled after FLOWER by sonic youth
the song that makes wrists slit themselves)

an autobiography since no one will see it; a marriage proposal

when i die throw my ashes
into organ pipes i want
people to put red roses
through their pierced ears
like gauges i want a warm
and slender body to slide
like a worm under snow
and take root there let
that body live let it reap
abuse and rise now
even horses look into
mirrors and i’m telling
you there must be god
in fuscia drool i’m moving
like deep-sea kelp for you
enchanted by the way you
spiral down in death i imagine
banisters made of diamonds
banisters wrapped in crimson
velvet crushed apples in your
gut your thumbs up in defiance
put me in your world i destruct it

and some instructions for the next species

how to seduce:
decide when feverish

            i made a mask out of goat cheese
            i want you to lick it off

do it in the bathroom with the wrench
do it in the kitchen with your prom date
(in the limousine when you’re drunk)

the thoughtful teen queen on a toilet seat

i’m making a list of bitches in my head; i’ll be my own scribe

or full of sarcasm

a celebrity told me to sext lovingly

an elderly man

i had a fever dream about a golden enema

me in my worst state of being

when tumbling braids met my back and bath
water held me in my fatigue


they are waiting for me in prague
they want to break my cello on my back
and sing fugues into my hips

when the ritz hotels, too, fall

look at that gold

when the centered headings fall

            they look like this
            only indented
            the hands are weak

            and when the hymen bursts
            and when the umbilical cords make hangings in the womb
            and when the pulp of peaches becomes the tongue
            and when a person kisses like this
            and when a person knows this love        

let salvation ring
let salvation ring

            when even lennon doesn’t believe in tarot
            or magic or even elvis

a boat captain bellows: hold your sanctity, friends, this is the end