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.