Monday, September 15, 2014

Robert Sheppard: The Micropathology of the Sign Homage to Bob Cobbing (re Selected Poems History or Sleep)

Here's another poem that won't make it into my Selected Poems, History or Sleep, to be published by Shearsman Books in late 2015. It was originally the introduction to Bob Cobbing's splendid collection of pamphlets and texts in a box, Processual (1989), and then the first poem of my first collaboration with Bob, Codes and Diodes in 1991, published by Writers Forum in March of that year. One of the (shorter) homages will go in; like this one, it escaped the rapacious integrationism of Twentieth Century Blues. This is still an interesting reading of Bob's work and its effects, I feel.

The Micropathology of the Sign

homage to Bob Cobbing for his 67th birthday: Introduction to Processual

Spinning machines of eye-
Crystals imprecision tools of discovery
Re-arranged the fabric desires
Detailed spaces as objects sizzle
Grizzled light at the cliff edge
Somebody stirs under the draped moment
Becomes their own heat wood grain body fixed
Impression is being wingcapped
While no theoretical shift has
Shoals of dream fish in an ocean of
Satellite avalanche
They were significant signs
Orgiastic shadow play sperm trails
Dancing letter sex flesh
Printing on flesh looping
Language trails
Entitled Processual; he has
The microscopic birth
Turinshrouded in voiceprint drizzle
Tumbled black and space language dripped
Elevator ink clouds on multiple horizons
Claws of lightning fissure the black
Into sand-rippled sea-light
In decalomanic daybreak
Webbed message of a hangover
Pawprints the interference icicles
A narrow path to the narrow path
Twists of technology given eye
Microdot fished from the fluid music
For the whining of the nervous system
The dancing eye discovers a letter dancing
In a picture of perception
One person’s scrap paper is another’s poem
Reading you recognise: looking you look
Spatter eye showers jangled jungle tangles
You are invited to a shredding party
A larger structure is sensed at each point
Interference is the new message
A dialectic of exhaustion and expansion
It can’t be recognised when it re-appears
Sampler squinting focus out brain scans
Fingerprint charts V-mailed around the world
This is the largest – or the smallest –
By remaining sign inaudible frequencies
Desire flows into the matrix between
Biomorphic alphabets on stone desiring
Eye desires body constructs its music
Flaming hieroglyph in a burnt-out world
Each looking is a performance a reading
Of flash-cards spelling a new desire.  

Bob Cobbing (photo: the wondrous William Cobbing)

See more conventional readings of Cobbing here and here. And my account of first meeting Bob in 1973 here. Aset list for, and description of, the 2015 Chelsea symposium on Cobbing may be read here. Our second collaboration is online here. Both collaborations have been republished by Veer: Pages: COLLABORATIONS (Bob Cobbing - Robert Sheppard) published in a box by Veer - out now

Other de-selected poems may be read here:

 And an intro to my work here. And here. Selected Poems: History or Sleep may be bought here.