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Friday, February 02, 2007

Robert Sheppard: Corseted in his cross-hairs

‘September 12’ (the sequence) is made up of ‘sonnets’ written in 2003-4. Numbers one to 12 appeared in Shearsman magazine and numbers one to six may be read at the Shearsman site:

Number 7 was posted here on Page 526 (December 2006), but here’s the rest, and links to the rest:


Corseted in his cross-hairs for her caveman pockets,
something goes off in her hand and something
goes very dark. He’s a mission to come on her open
territory. She prays upside down as he plays God
away on business, fingering her laptop trigger

Done for a whore’s breakfast she loads herself into
his strip-search vest as he sprays his self with love

She’s fashioning his new long range out of her wide
world vagina flicked across her dead lover’s finger,
slapped on his goggles in the rubble action replay
and spilling generation funds on the saintly dust. He

pushes his Big Picture into her head. She blows it
away. Then he rewinds to the comic Big Bang:
blistering flesh bursts like a blown-up condom


Intervene in err… history impure terror full stop
incognito explodes his own cover at what
he plans to do thinking makes him happen stop
follow the line tightly packed hips sway the crowd

He’s a burnt-out f-f-f-fuck-box ah! you’ll waltz
across his set, the CCTV-free short-cut alley stop

His tongue tingles like a um fuse then onto
the triad his poisoned tube is pointing stop
fast-forward to where he fear-fucks a corpse

in a transfer-tube marked import stop
read in five or in the sand-pit he plays
with an imaginary uh friend no no enemy stop
like the ‘child he never was’ his pit-bull strung
up before the erm… next war started?


Spiked footsteps, pierced by sound,
push love, wheels turning, through his body

His stutter slot trips a new paw-print stage
of psychotic re-enactment, aloft with 9/11
footage on the scorched hooves of history

Heavenly transport hums on dirty wires.
Flecks drip onto his battery fan Look! flick
the stale sweat of his pre-emptive terror
breezing a brass tiger to his florid cheeks
(the shifting voice of my thumbnail pause

What am I err… for? Echoic c-c-c-cave-cell
or self, I splutter anti-matter, the deep mu-mu-mutter of auto-interrogation, self-torture. I am.
Useless to stop anything believe me leave me


The shutter-stop tricks a new poor print. Staged,
the evidence takes off a lie of your own, a bleachy
kiss that strips the warts too much
A chord and a whip? Behold your deformed back! In
the inflammatory century blown in promissory notes
rabid-eyed in a drama of primed monster photo-ops,
they option the past. Irony’s out with an old sunk ally,
tongs of love un-gripped by the sane divorce to sever

Several darts are lighter. They teach restrictions
to heavenly gaudy statesmen. They re-locate
a new sense shelved for their new wharf outing,
the extraordinary City, where they channel hate

calibrate consumption’s sub-limits on the caking of a
horlicks, the binding gossip of conscript kickers






This last one should be centred on the page. More or less the remainder of the 24 may be read on Jacket magazine at

The first 7 may also be heard on The Archive of the Now, at

The final group (17-24) will also be available on a CD of work by the Edge Hill University Poetry and Poetics Group.

The poetics of the September 12 project, ‘Rattling the Bones’, may be read at Softblow and

The second set of 24 from the project is entitled ‘Burying Bad News’ (but I am also considering ‘Burying Good News’ as a title) and the third, which I finished in December 2006, is called (for the moment at least) ‘Emergency Renditions 2006’. None of these has been published so far. The fourth set is in preparation. Arithmetically astute readers will have noted that that means there will be 96 poems. I have also written 4 floating sonnets (if they are sonnets) to round the number up. I believe this to be my best work to date. See Page 528 for Simon DeDeo’s take on September 12 (link), which encourages me in this, at:

Page 531