Poetry: Mg Roberts

Underanimal: an excerpt from Anemal, Uter Meck

A typo? The pressure of vertebrae marks thought, breathing a baby from the
before and the after exhausts.

                        a. The architecture doesn’t matter

My head is too small you say, I ask you to measure my vagina instead. I’ve given
birth to three children and aborted just as many if not more. To reperform time,
breathe through fused concepts of childhood etched in the activity of belonging to
peruse at a later date: human, chimpanzee, bonobo, mouse. Here sign and object
separate, how to differentiate between color, hue, proportion and the coveting of
color, hue, proportion in a succession of human forms?

                        b. Am I like you?

Red blood cells distend and burst. Bones press against adjectival arrangement. I
want to birth into your status update and take your pulse. Are you more human,
multi sensory— soft, pink, & fleshy? Am I offensive? I run my fingers inward,
across scalp, toward base of skull:


                        c. The real life wants to answer.

How will we say it?


A crown of honeysuckle is all thorn & saccharine & Lacan you wrote in a letter.

                                                                        homeomorphic identifications

Emails retract from the virtual when printed. Talk of pigeons, symmetry, dimensions of
body, protective layers of fat, glacial melt, and sunsets— orange hues discerned only by
eccentricities of shape.

                                                                        with those toes you could climb a tall
                                                                        tree how the self imagines itself

Sentences are like teeth you write, all teeth and hoof. Shall we say it with a comma, a limb, toe
arrangements & webbings, through the curve of your round face? In reverse all things seem

            important rocks
            significant rocks
            everything is straw/ is


The way objects arrange into plural: each “s” another and another. Then, no other. Ill-fitting
wings move in and out of continents as if undecided—searching for ways to mark—a question,
seven question marks: a fist.

                                                                        mark again
                                                                        mark into a life
                                                                        mark into
                                                                        standard flight pattern

Everything is gravity or the hallucination of presence

            geology of
            flag into
            such turbulence

Build me a sex so I can remember how. We’ll talk about shedding skin and scales later. Let’s
sing to one another or better yet howl. You are driving me to the crazy. Tell me when to
exhale, send me a picture of your_______________. Tell me more about myself:

            S (signifier)
            ____________________   = s

             s (signified)

The signified inevitably slips beneath the signifier, resisting our attempts to delimit it.
Are we but stout, short-necked birds with soft swellings at the base of our nostrils? Or the
inherent flexibility of composed dots? Pixels of atomized light bending and folding create
mirrored affect—the thru and blue of an iceberg—reconfiguring our selves into watermelt or

                                                                        to itself and anyone
                                                                        who looks like you or
                                                                        maybe too often we mistake our self

You can dance now or just look. How distance observes like something caged, a bonobo or the
earth in affliction. Open your lungs to all these stars, what light allows for being seen or not,
passes for reflection?

SOMEDAY, WE MAY come to regret this

all day, evaporating, body
where is the space of page of ocean?

crack spine of book until epigraph
opens, remembers or

splits figs into mouth
the heaviness of living signalsScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.05.33 PM

like stagnant water, the song of a kestrel, a choked throat
filmy plastic enters in edges to be itself

a grid of language, slats between
names   a different geology

what’s happening to winter?
its bare branches used to

pretend to reveal
everything: genitalia,

they say it is the ocean
this is where earthly thoughts never vanish

lucent plastic enter breasts
wondering who?

interrogate bones, question flag
it’s all exactly like this

The first two poems “Underanimal” and “Homing” are excerpted from my forthcoming manuscript from Black Radish Books entitled Anemal, Uter Meck. The book begins as an exercise in translation and misinterpretation, how the misplacement or ordering of things occur as affect—a typo, a misreading retracts from the scan, what is the source of trouble? A syllable? A consonant? My failing eyesight? It’s all very simple really how an “n” can insert itself or disappear from sight. Everything blurrs over time or becomes a smudge, a series of letters lining page or an overpass is no accident. Perception is an eye-roll where I mistake myself all the time: a good mother, a good wife? I’m not any of these things and more but yet perception is so painfully objective forcing thoughts of categorization, avatars–masks. Where is the space, instead of what space is? Define a thing. How poor my German becomes, a framework of missing leaves:

Mg.headshot.omniverseMg Roberts is revising her second poetry collection Anemal, Uter Meck and co-editing an anthology on the urgency of avant-garde writing written for and by writers of color both to be published in 2017. She lives in Oakland with her three daughters, two hens, Golden-doodle, and geologist husband.