Mephisto in the Water

Spring song either driving in silver metal
Thru car crash thru catalytic converter sparking
Thru water or walking, my feet propelling on and


I started wearing earrings again
Brass hoops like doorknockers like halos
My skin got so tan I didn’t recognize
My forehead?

Just like dearest rockbottom / suddenly gone buoyant
That’s Alice Notley

That’s Jenny Hval, earlier
When I was walking thru Cambridge
Each piece of cobblestone I pictured a house
A street of miniature houses I walked over
Spilled coffee on

Not the chandeliers in the windows
No not the horses or limousines

How can I describe it to you?

Suddenly gone
What a phrase

I text it to Spain

When I was afraid of losing you
There was a tornado

I bought two of everything:
Red sweaters, canvas pants,
Black socks, lace

Then I was broke

A song plays now
I float and I find

Green glass, detritus
A lens for an eye

Would you believe
I don’t want anything?

Just time



There is always room if you can find it.
There is always space, glass, water, light,
Solitude, solitude, solitude, multitudinous
Vertiginous—there is always a vertebral ache.
I move ahead and then retreat, I sing on the
Beach with a bell. There is always a shell. It’s
April and I wonder what new kind of hell will
Befall me, what kind of prism I can enact and
Exist in. You tell me, tho, that there is also desire.
There is an expanse of skin untouched that wraps
Around me like a gown I can’t take off, like a map
To a country that doesn’t exist. I don’t speak the
Language. There was a boat on the sea that I slept
On; my friends pulled my back close to the center
When it tipped on the wave. They wouldn’t let me
Fall in. There was a boat on the sea that I slept on,
Lips sunburned, blistered, and others had sores
On their legs from some jellyfish or eel and others
Sat freely in the sun and others pissed in the water
Far away from us all but smiling. When I got to the
Shore, there was blood between my legs. I drank
Sparkling water at the restaurant and stuffed toilet
Paper in my velvet swimsuit and thought about
Flirting with you. Now I get to dream about this boat
And the ache comes back—this feeling of loss and
Propulsion, this knowledge that time is still turning
And the pool holds water and the sea is it too.



Peppermint, amber, brine
There is always a rock
Pressed between my palms
There is always already
An ache undoing this
Ancestral lace these pearls
On hilly landscapes these
Portals—why is the smell
Of mold nostalgic? Why
Is the violent hand still
Here? Something in me
Hasn’t opened yet I call it
Birth I place my lips up-
On the scar and drink light
Find a lock of my grand-
Mother’s hair my parents
As children cross distances
From the border of Mexico
And California to France
When it hits the ocean and
Coal billowing out exhaust
Kentucky sheep mirrors
Minnows weed salt so much
Salt I want cold water thru
Me when I feel close to you
Or to her it’s when I drink
Water and say this is it and
You already know what I’m
Saying even if we never speak
Again dreaming of coral and
Dark wood doors you have to
Push to pass thru and behind
Me the Indian Ocean in a glass
Ring in my lullaby in my cat’s
Fur in the lack of rain the wind
When it knocks down wires
In the candle in the
Flame of my desire


AM Ringwalt is a writer and musician whose work appears in Jacket2, Music & Literature, and Black Warrior Review. Called "rich with emotion" by Pitchfork, Summer Angel is out now on Dear Life Records. The Wheel, her hybrid memoir, was published by Spuyten Duyvil. What Floods is forthcoming from Inside the Castle.