Thermodynamics

This poem won Honourable mention in the 2003 2-Day Poem Contest

Energy can be neither created nor destroyed.

A body at rest tends to stay at rest, a badger

wintering beneath the porch. A body in motion

tends to stay in motion; the badger breaks from

beneath the steps, humping fast for the dunes

like a platter on legs. Inertia is a dripping

faucet that needs a washer like you need

a drink. Inertia plays the mandolin, a slow

saraband with four drunken musicians in a bar

in Finisterre and you swear you will not leave

until he looks up and shows his bastard face.

He bends an elbow with the fullness of time,

knows Compostela and Kairo and Crete like he

thinks he knows you. Inertia sleeps with

the television on, can’t be bothered with

a haircut, eats but never cooks. Inertia loves you

to keep you from shouting. He huffs and turns

the litmus pink-grey of a pig’s neck. Energy

can be neither stolen nor given away. Inertia

did not beguile you; he seemed like

a good idea at the time. He hogs the bed

in your one-room apartment, sprawled

in the blankets, an accidental monarch. Energy

can be neither knitted or purled. Inertia waits

with your cold boots in a skating shelter,

that lean-to that breaks through the ice and

bobs on the half-thawed river. Inertia does not

believe in the geographical cure, but when you

light out for the coast, he drives the straight shot,

prairies through to ocean. He never fumbles;

he feels no pressure, peer or barometric. Energy

can be neither chewed up nor spat out. Inertia swans about

as though the inevitable heat death of the universe

has nothing to do with him. A body at best will stay

the rest is motion. Inertia has a tendency.

Published online June 01 2003.

This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.


Art of the Game cover image

This piece was published in ‘Art of the Game,’ the Summer 2003 issue of CV2.

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