Issue 21






Ian Gibbins





A rare form of narcolepsy characterised by a sudden transition into a deep dream-sleep state with total loss of muscle tone. It is often induced by stress or high emotion.




or in the garden eyes your eyes buttons :

on the ground and my shirt sodden :

shrink-wrapped around my torso my waist hips :

and buttons undone missing on the ground :

or maybe frogs giant toads eels that slither :

entwine my ankles left leg right and :


arrive with skeins hanks our bowlines the restaurant :

with tagliatelle in ink indecisive then roulade then sabayon :

again with sangiovese sparkling the heat until you laughed :

you said your :


map in my pocket with copper coins a docket :

my hands too deep too far from polar co-ordinates :

a falling star but now only jelly-jam and cake :

birthday candles when my grandmother an owl :

under the eaves sings coos for the moon to wax and wane :

the television static the television the television :


at the gate two dollars or one hundred or never sufficient :

bricks falling a falling star dust matting our hair :

lightning between our watch dials so we run and run :

so flares sparkling between our radios our telephones :

disconnected the cavernous space of :


phosphogenic the haze any longer did you ?

look into the setting sun driving drive me home mistyped :

the cavernous emptiness of did you read the headlines did ?


knees elbows in alluvial mud clay buttons blue buttons my shirt :

did you look into the sun ?


passionfruit sabayon or not :


candles alight is the snow you promised ?

or not did you ?


frogs and eels beyond my grasp your touch entangle :

receding still sodden so :


buttons blue buttons white and my hands are empty :

skin bare against :


driving away :


when we kiss an owl a blackbird somewhere :

near the homeward road golden braids and knots I cannot :

he you sleepless untied or else tadpoles giant toads :

cramp in your calves or else :


falling as now and now now altogether soundless :

what happens when tongue-tied this shoulder :

pain in the small of my back did you see you ?


or yesterday thereabouts the watch face the dial at a glance :

mistaken absolutely nothing buttons your buttons :

your blue buttons and I ask about the sky and the rain :

and lightning sparkles time undetermined sodden falling :


and you laugh laughter in the garden entwined around me :

or not and all your friends are looking at :




A video-poem version of this work can be seen at:











Ian Gibbins is online at IanGibbins.com.au and at vimeo.com/IanGibbins.



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