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

The Path to my Fixed Purpose is Laid With Iron Rails

“Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

Downtown McKinney, Texas

Oblique Strategy:
Don’t be frightened of cliches

Are you making your plans for next year? Do you have fixed in your mind the exact person you want to become?

Your mind, though, is not of one voice – but of at least two. Do you hear the little voice already telling you that you will fail and you will never become the person you think of? “It is too late anyway,” the voice says.

Where will you fall? Who will win in the end? Does it even matter?

Moby Dada

“With the sound of gusting wind in the branches of the language trees of Babel, the words gave way like leaves, and every reader glimpsed another reality hidden in the foilage.”
― Andrei Codrescu, The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess



Dada Poetry

– – Moby Dada 1

All visible objects call my shadow
unreasoning mask, reasoning thing
from behind the sweep in my soul
grooved to run over unsounded gorges
except by tranquil beauty and brilliancy
of the ocean’s skin, angle to the iron way!




Call Me Ishmael



– – Moby Dada 2
We are too much like oysters
can ever be under torrents’ beds
the undoubted deed in looking at things spiritual,
I spit my last breath substance; from hell’s heart
they weary me, make me faint, I grapple with thee
–then, talk not to me of blasphemy and tow to pieces
To produce a methodically knocking
I’d strike the sun off from the comber of my death!
enveloped in topmost grief, not excluding its suburbs
though many there be who have tried it
Give me Vesuvius’ times of dreamy quietude
Ho, ho! for hate’s sake
as soon as I can. Towards thee I roll, from hell’s heart


I didn’t use random words as in the link above, of course… rather seperate lines and phrases from quotes from the book, sliced and reaarranged at random.

Racing the Wind

White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas

“hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”
― Van Morrison


“Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more? In what rapt ether sails the world, of which the weariest will never weary? Where is the foundling’s father hidden? Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.”
― Herman Melville, Moby Dick

What I learned this week, March 08, 2013

The True-Life Horror that Inspired Moby-Dick


Call Me Ishmael

What’s on Tap: Proposed laws good for beer – and Texas



10 biggest fast food failures

I remember looking at a bag of potato chips and seeing the warning “May cause anal leakage.” Yeah, right.

 11 Foods You Can’t Buy Anywhere Anymore

and not alltogether a bad thing.

Could the ancient Romans have built a digital computer?

The 10 best restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth

The 10 Best Gift Shops in Dallas
I would add La Mariposa to the list.

The 5 Best Theater Companies in Dallas

Stuff I want:

Titanium Escape Ring Packs a Shim and a Saw

Cube 3D Home Printer