The first word prompt is: metal.

Due to unusual circumstances I haven’t been able to contact the original person who agreed to provide a word, so our first prompt comes from a teacher friend.  Please post your 200 words (no more!) by clicking the comments link at the bottom of this post, keeping in mind The Rules.  Next Sunday evening 5/26/13, our teacher friend will read the entries and select a winner.

Please invite anyone you know who enjoys writing.  The time commitment is minimal, the stakes are low, and every writer has a guaranteed audience (of competing writers!).  Best of all, it’s inspiring to see so many unique approaches.  The more the merrier!

Now – metal.


Hmm …

[Click the comments link below to read all 9 entries.]


16 thoughts on “metal

  1. An Alloy of Alliteration & Allusions

    I clang,
    grind, grate 
    against your countenance
    my will 

    I am 
    fractious metal;
    only friction
    can scrub, scrape
    sharpen me.

    I cannot
    be educated into 
    My feet of clay:
    I run the risk of rust
    if left unused.

    I long
    to be another iron improving,
    resting in Your loving,
    and inexorable

    1. You had me at the title! Love the wordplay throughout. Thoughtful turn at the end, with metal viewing fire as a loving force — very spiritual.

      “Educated” into gold — a reference to alchemy, funny!

  2. Metal: A Cyborg Ballad

    Make an armor that is impermeable, forge weapons that will not be broken. Deny the sun and wind, shout down all opposition, let every movement be Invasion. Wood has been blackened and pottery is dashed; paper and its parasitical words decay through lack of use. Bone is a curse and flesh is an evil. Even the sky hesitates before us. The limit on life spans has been abolished. Again the Stone Age recedes, and the era of silicon and glass means nothing; metal—glorious metal— alone remains.

  3. In Praise of Metal

    Folk music? Sleepy protest. Reggae, just a haze of hash. Country is good if you like maudlin tales and manicured cowboys. Punk is just bad poetry and two chords again and again. Even the best jazz has a whiff of the lounge about it. Everything I just said applies equally to the blues.

    Life is filled with dissonance, a shadow of distortion, a flash of anger or a spark of youth. Even the mundane nine-to-five conceals something epic, an earlier incarnation of ourselves that never left home without a spear and an amulet. If you haven’t screamed lately, you probably need to. Music that exists to comfort might have its place, I don’t know. Instead I extol Metal, the music that sounds like the world we have made.

  4. One Daffodil

    No gardens bloomed in Bay Head this spring.
    Surviving structures instead display an empty swathe of sand and debris.
    Crepe myrtle and lavender and boxwoods and cherry trees,
    Lynchpins that held the dunes in place, vanished.
    Chunks of errant concrete, broken glass, twisted metal
    Garnish blackened roots and brown brush.
    A place rubbish came to die.
    And yet, a fragment of yellow, a slender green stem, pushes from that rubble.
    One daffodil, alive and well.
    One bulb that somehow came to rest, took root, found nourishment.

    South of Bay Head most of Mantoloking disappeared,
    Steel beams holding a bridge buckled.
    In Seaside, the iconic latticed iron rollercoaster
    Twisted, snapped, swept away in minutes.
    Gone. All gone.

    Mayhem can be shockingly democratic.
    We, fraught with fear
    Of disease, Of death, Of deprivation
    Live our lives in panic mode, fixated upon

    Our reliance and attention
    So misdirected.
    The tensile strength underpinning a house
    Or bridge
    Or Twin Towers

    It lacks the mettle of one daffodil.

    There it sits, the sole survivor.
    One fragile flower, sprung from the rubble of Sandy.

    As if to offer the ghost of a memory,
    A whisper of what was.

    What can be again.

    by Elizabeth Robin

    1. What a beautiful poem, timely and reverent. Ever consider a term as Poet Laureate?

      “Errant concrete” — shudder. Perfect putting together of two words that should never need putting together.

      Nice blend of past/future in the last lines.

  5. There and Away

    “I’m sorry I called you fat yesterday,” she says.

    We’re bent over her pinkie, foreheads nearly touching, scrutinizing my work with the tweezers. The splinter’s really dug in there. My mind wanders to how long her pinkie is, how fast she’s growing, what a young lady she’s become, when she wallops me.

    “You did what?” I mutter.

    “I know you overheard. You did your silent thing last night.”

    “I was finishing a report.”

    And this morning.”

    It’s not coming. The tweezers press deeper; her face cranks away in a grimace. “Amber and Kayla,” she hisses, “started it.”

    “Okay …”

    “It’s just, Amber’s dad’s got such a six-pack. They said you,” her free hand pats my belly, “pack a few more there. So I told them how, when you ride the mower –”


    Ouch. I wave the tweezers. “I’d hold still if I were you.”

    “Actually, she’s jealous. Her dad’s never around. She wishes he was like you.”

    “How’s that?”

    “You know. Always there.”

    Suddenly there it is, out of the flesh, glinting in my palm. “Yeesh,” I say, “it was metal. I’m glad we didn’t leave it in.”

    “Me too.” And up she hops, kissing my cheek before hurrying away.

  6. simple circle of metal
    the jeweler said white gold
    would weather the years best
    or was it just what we could afford

    After so many years of wear,
    why do I feel its weight now?
    removed for cleaning and now
    so impossible to replace
    my knuckles to blame? swollen with age?

    And your ring, to avoid cutting it off,
    we had to pull so hard the joints popped
    To make it wearable, stretched it a quarter size larger

    I never did like the script
    with which our names are inscribed

    When our symbols fail to fit us–where are we?
    Hiding for fear of finding ourselves.

  7. Metal Mouth

    Maybe he was right. Maybe getting braces was a dumb idea. I’m in misery and I’ve only had this metal in my mouth 4 hours.

    We stopped at McDonald’s on the way home from the orthodontist and I could barely eat my fries. Thankfully I didn’t have to chew my strawberry milkshake. I didn’t even order a burger, I knew already I wasn’t going to be able to manage that much chewing.

    As I lay here I can taste the rubber and metal in my mouth. My treatment plan lays out 3 years of this torture. I don’t think I can bear this much pain for that long. Pain from the tightening and shifting of my teeth, but worse is the pain of my gummy flesh being clawed at as if an angry cat was let loose in my mouth. With each movement of my jaw the feline’s rage is renewed again. They gave me wax to keep the shrapnel from tearing into my gums but that leaves the taste of birthday candles in my mouth.

    This sucks. My dad was right, I am pretty as I am now, I don’t need these dumb braces!

  8. Recipe for a Supreme Leader

    Nukes? Sorry, friend, but no, you’re doing yourself no favors. Don’t make them fear you, make them recognize themselves! It’s frightfully easy. They, who have fouled air and spoiled seas in their reach for the heights, have left half the nations forgotten. Precarious! When a billion dollars can be erased by one false tweet, you need no uranium, no split atoms. All you need is metal.
    1. Take one rocket.
    2. Fill with a truckload of … anything, steel marbles or jacks or bolts.
    3. No special aim required, just up.
    4. Kaboom!
    O, the efforts of their supercomputers, desperately tracking twenty thousand pieces of orbital debris, that whirling spazz of shrapnel they’ve left clogging the heavens. They, who endanger their own purposes, claim authority? They, powerless to fix their own mess, squeeze you with sanctions? Poppycock. One tub of wrenches, and fzzt! go their spy cameras, fzzt! their GPS satellites, fzzt! their cellphones and their Hubbles and their Skylabs. The world notches back. Bloodless. Revolutionary. And irreversible – it would take a hundred years to undo. Imagine what your illustrious people could accomplish, with a hundred years of level field …
    5. For ironic zing, use the contents of a Detroit scrapyard.

  9. when I was 11, we moved
    into number 7 Balsam Street–
    an aluminum 70’s single-wide that
    welcomed us with

    corrugated metal rectangle
    enclosed an arrangement of shag carpet,
    paneled walls, and
    mustard brown linoleum.
    a temporary tin vessel–
    a ship without a mast.

    paper-thin partitions separating
    each tiny room muffled our voices
    with a degree of defeat.

    as a teenager, I wished on every
    candle and star and penny
    that we could retreat to a
    house made of brick or
    wood or
    siding in Westgate or Orchard Hills–
    Anywhere but Evergreen Village.
    there was something so confining and so
    thin about life there.

    when summers brought hail,
    the livingroom held its breath
    while the clanking roof feebly attempted
    to withstand the pelting wrath of
    indiscriminate tempests.

    I loathed that trailer.
    new friends would ask where I lived;
    I would fumble
    through a scroll of excuses for
    my family.
    it was all that embodied the sad
    truth that we were


    it wasn’t until
    we escaped from that
    metallic emptiness that
    i realized
    the magnetic enclosure
    i cursed through every
    adolescent turn
    was the benefactor
    of my humility,
    simple roots,
    and all that keeps
    my feet planted

    1. This is a lovely piece. Muffled voices with a degree of defeat, benefactor of my humility, fumble through a scroll of excuses for my family . . . just so many beautifully turned phrases. Captures perfectly how our difficult experiences shape us.

    2. Beautiful, thoughtful, exquisitely evocative of your adolescent anguish. The description in stanza 2 is properly painful (“corrugated” almost hurts to read). Nice turn of the meaning of “below” in the last two stanzas, with a striking call to attention with that single “though.” Thank you so much for sharing this.

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