Short Story Of the Day – Laid With Iron Rails (found poetry) by Bill Chance

“…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale

Call Me Ishmael


I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#55) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

I wanted to try something different today – so I thought I’d give a shot at one version of FOUND POETRY – where you take a page of text and remove words until what is left is… well… something… something different.

I decided to use my favorite passage from Moby Dick – and then do some removal.

Laid With Iron Rails

I thought to find one cogged circle anthill of fire.

Wasting what I’ve dared.

Starbuck’s demoniac wild madness – that’s the prophecy.

I prophesy that great gods laugh and hoot at pugilists and bullies.

Come forth from behind your long gun.

Ye cannot swerve.

Man is grooved to run.

Unsounded gorges

Hearts of mountains

Torrents’ beds

An obstacle to the iron way.


Passage from Moby Dick, text marked out to form a found poem.

Get the Most Not the Lesser

“So generation after generation of men in love with pain and passivity serve out their time in the Zone, silent, redolent of faded sperm, terrified of dying, desperately addicted to the comforts others sell them, however useless, ugly or shallow, willing to have life defined for them by men whose only talent is for death.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas

Even Though They Soar

“…and there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.”
― Herman Melville

Poydras Street
New Orleans