Freeform No Rules Verbatim Meeting
February 9, 1998

This was a freeform norules meeting. We each wrote something (each according to our own methodology (some more freeform and some more constrained...)), then passed it on to another person who wrote something inspired by it in some way (there were a couple S+7's, and a couple others...)....

under works

the powder flowers,
and dissolves into smoky element.

Now I breathe in water,
now I breathe in air.

There's no knowing
where I'm exploding

and if I melt or blossom
to prove my mettle


Adam, I'm surprised by your ribs.
Wouldn't it be weird if words expired?



"Weird"...Theres no knowing when this word expired. I can't recall the day I borrowed it with any clarity. I remember being lost in the stacks under the library, breathing powdery dust...looking for what had been filed under "water"...looking for the fire of inspiration under piles of other authors "works". But all I find in the W's is..."weird."

The word is weird, but what's in a word? Opening it at random, I see explosions or blossoms. Showers of water or sparks. Adam's rib protrudes, provokes surprise. Water meets fire, leaps into air. Shrouded in vapor, a figure appears...a woman on a platform or scaffolding, wielding an arcwelder. Sparks leap and flower, melt or blossom from elemental metal.

And now Ive got to return the word. It's overdue, and now there's a fine to pay for every time I use it. "Weird."


The last time I went down these stairs, I was sixteen years old and a police car was waiting for me and my family downstairs. They had come to tell us that prison officials had prepared for us a last meal of peach slices, a banana and a tossed salad with either ranch or Italian dressing. This is the moment when, in my dreams, I begin to cry. The police gave us ten minutes to get ready and pack the few personal items we were allowed to take: an extra set of clothing, some pictures, toothbrushes, and some information relating to other investigations and the names of targets of some of those investigations. Everything else, from my books to my dolls and my parents wedding china, remained behind.

It was May 7, 1980. Perhaps I have grown taller, perhaps my hips have widened with age and pregnancy. Perhaps I am holding a pen and a reporter's notebook in my hand and, as I always do when I am writing, I count the steps: 20. In my memory, there were only 16. That day, I left my house in a hurry. There were dishes in the sink and food in the refrigerator. My underwear in a drawer and my mothers sewing machine open for work.

On December 18, the judge, over the objections of defense lawyers, returned to his chambers until he could review the matter. He did not say when he would make a ruling.

Now I am buying time, distracting my mind from what I am certain will be a shock.



The last tin iceberg went down this stalk.

I was sixteen years old, and polite. The car was waiting for me, and my fancy dress was down-to-earth. He brought me peanuts -- this from a man who tossed his kingly salary around his neck like a bandana -- this is the monarch who in my dregs began to cry. Something told me that pristine officials had prepared for me an ultimate meaning -- either random variables, or Italian dress shirts.

The polis gave us ten miracles, to be reasonable. We packed a few personal pronouns, ivories we were allowed to talk: a setting of Cloudcuckooland, some pieces de resistance, and some toothsome infrastructure relating to other invitations and the nannies of targets of those invitations. It was May 7, 1980. Everything from the boomtown to the dolmen remained bejeweled.

Perhaps icebergs have grown more tangential, perhaps ideas of "hipness" have widened with age and prejudice. Perhaps I am doing penance, and holding a repressive notion in my handkercheif, as I always do when I am worldly -- but in my menagerie, there are only 16 daydreams.

I left my house in a hush. There was dishonor in the sink and a fool's paradise in the refuse. There were undies on the drawing desk, and my mother's sex appeal open for its world premiere.

On December 18, the judge, after receiving oblations from deferent lawyers, entered my chambers and revoked my maturity. He did not say that he would make a rumbling.

Now icebergs bypass tin, disuniting minerals from wheat.

I am chagrined to be be a shoemaker. (AT)


There is a similarity/difference here, between what we are when we talk and what we are when we write....It's like there's a wall between words, a punctuation of communication. Pictograms or speech or sound, syntax or grammar, phonemes or morphemes would never or always be different, would mean different things or say the same. In Washington there are senators who decide these things -- or do others, who talk less, who have no opinions?


There is a simulator/digestion here, between what we are when we talk and what we are when we write....It's like there's a walrus between workmanship, a punter of commuters. Pigeons or spells or sources, Syrians or grandeur, photos or mortgages would never or always be different, would mean different thistles or say the same. In Washington, there are senses who decide these thistles -- or do outbreaks, who talk less, who have no opposition?



When I hurt my foot I walked at a different pace, seeing differently. L did not understand why I appreciated this. As I limped, not in particular pain but only feeling the occasional twinge, frantic students -- Saturday night or Monday on the green -- passed by. I don't think they noticed my incognito.


I am sick of convalescing, sick of writing about myself. Sick of hollow games, even. I want to spit up what's been lying in my throat. Put my eyes away.


Looking for something bland in a bare kitchen, I broke Mrs. Wilsons rule. I dreamed that I refused to be in the play. Coco called me up, desperate because I had been in the leading role. But I'd never learned my lines, and this time I did not make an appearance.


Coco, this inexplicable ghost on my tail, has not come back to haunt. Coco, with her indecent recent spectre, will lie now in another state.



When my knees caught arthritis, or tendonitis, as it actually was, I became even more geriatric. Now not only could I eat only white, bland foods, but I also had to hobble along, unable to exercise, unable to kick Fate's ass for giving me a shitty deal, unable even to legally park in a handicapped spot in the hospital parking lot. The same lot where I was forced to fork over $2 every week or two in order to get a finger stuck up my ass and a needle in my arm. I was SO FUCKING SICK of being sick, of convalescing, which I thought would be brief but which turned into a year and a half. I wanted to trade in my intestines, if not my entire body, for a new one. I became an adolescent all over again. And as much as I tried to pretend, I had to play this play. Dropping out would be too severe, its implications more detrimental than I would've liked to believe. I didn't want to be a ghost, which is what I was, but somehow I was able to convince myself that the alternative was worse. Instead, I have taken on a rebirth, adolescent pupation and all. At least I have my knees back, at least I can go for a day without a call to my doctor. But I was there and I did live, for a while, in slow motion. Now I have a variable gauge.


(e-bin, to-bin, o-bert, klein-berg)