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6646 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA, 90028
United States

(213) 223-6921

Stephanie Gibbs, a bookbinder in Los Angeles, CA, offers edition and fine binding, book conservation, custom boxes, and paper repair for contemporary and historic books, manuscripts, and documents to clients throughout California.

current studio projects

loose ends

Stephanie Gibbs

Litany

Light sleeper. Heavy sleeper.

Wake up to the sound of rain on the roof, the flash of lights from a truck, a neighbor on the stairs. Sleep through the pounding on the door downstairs, the knocking of the radiator, the cat curling up on the pillow. Wake up to the nightmare of a child in the next room, the panicked gasps of an infant with the stomach bug, the sudden memory of an extra item on the grocery list. Sleep through fireworks, television news, a burst pipe. Wake up to the smell of popcorn and someone smoking pot.

Sleep through surreal dreams where you wear all white and fly, hovering only two feet above ground, barely faster than your pursuers, men in business suits. Wake up to a dream about a litter of puppies, soft warm noses and floppy ears. Sleep through playing card games and working on the crossword puzzle while in your pajamas in church. Wake up to singing in a choir in Spanish with your family. You don't know Spanish.

Sleep through early morning trash pick up, the noise of civic snow removal. Wake up as horns honk in support of early morning voters for Hillary Clinton for president. Sleep through the evening tally of votes from across the nation. Wake up to read the midnight email sent by the Obama campaign. Sleep through another year of the Bush presidency. Wake up to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, in a country where everyone else is sleeping. Sleep through the bourbon cocktail that sent you into your dreams.

Wake up to a splitting headache fueled by the pain of a lost love. Sleep through the final days of a relationship as a lover turns into a stranger. Wake up on Christmas morning to a house full of promise and generosity and freshly made cinnamon rolls. Sleep through the cacophony of small children. Wake up to the dream of having a knife stabbed into your back as you climb the darkened staircase. Sleep through becoming lost in a foreign city where everyone stares at you malevolently and flashes their teeth in a gesture of intimidation.

Wake up to the smell of bacon. Sleep through the alarm clock.


"There is not a train. / There is no cricket. / Let's not panic." Margaret Atwood

Paralysis.

The stomach tightens and the palms shake and the mind skips skips skips skips and is unable to focus focus focus on any topic without falling back into the well of
should could would must.

Anxiety.
Repeat that: should could would must must.
Inexcusably. Indubitably. Inevitably. Must.
Panic.

Hear our prayer.

Paralysis. The inability to must.
Anxiety. The fear of must.
Panic. Failure in the face of must.

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done.

The clock ticks. Where are you? Your hands shake.
The clock ticks again. Did you? Did you forget to? Panic.
The clock ticks. The stove left on. The gas bill unpaid.

Passion.
Forgive us our trespasses.
Aggression.
Forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Intention.

Pulse speeds, eyes dilate. Anxiety.
Each hair turns grey, from the temple: the brain dies, one cell at a time.
The temple the signifier of the health of the body politic.

Politics. Panic. Passion. Panic.

Lord have mercy.
Missing the train. Missing the boat.
Missing the point. Missing the beat.
Lost. Long for what was never there.

Beat. The throbbing undercurrent of life uncataloged.
Heart beat. Ticking of a clock.
Panic. Hair greying. Palms tingle.

The letter from the doctor:
Anxiety. Death. Early death.
Death before calculating, cataloging. Death trumps taxes.

Lord have mercy.
Thoughts race.
Train of thoughts.
Train decoupled.

There are no more cabooses. No one to watch for decoupled cars.
Disconnect. Connect.
Couple. Passion.
Panic.
The loss of the caboose, the train derailed on its irrefutable journey
to to to to to

The train sloughing cars, meaning lost in progression:
Discharging love, passion, ambition; panic and worry embarking,
Carrying onward the seedlings of misery.

Lord have mercy.
Crescent moon. Lent. The fields lay fallow before sowing.
Thoughts skip, the clock ticks.
Weed out the invasive panic: flourish in an untended garden.
Beat.

We have done those things which we ought not to have done.



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