My friends, As it has been proven in the laboratory, An empty pair of dance shoes Will sit on the floor like a wart Until it is given a reason to move. Those of us who study inertia (Those of us covered with wild hair and sleep) Can state this without fear: The energy in a pair of shoes at rest Is about the same as that of a clown Knocked flat by a sandbag. This you can tell your friends with certainty: A clown, flat on his back, Is a lot like an empty pair of dancing shoes. An empty pair of dancing shoes Is also a lot like a leaf Pressed in a book. And now you know a simple truth: A leaf pressed in, say, The Colossus by Sylvia Plath, Is no different from an empty pair of dance shoes Even if those shoes are in the middle of the Stardust Ballroom With all the lights on, and hot music shakes the windows up and down the block. This is the secret of inertia: The shoes run on their own sense of the world. They are in sympathy with the rock the kid skips over the lake After it settles to the mud. Not with the ripples, But with the rock. A practical and personal application of inertia Can be found in the question: Whose Turn Is It To Take Out The Garbage? An empty pair of dance shoes Is a lot like the answer to this question, As well as book-length poems Set in the Midwest. To sum up: An empty pair of dance shoes Is a lot like the sand the 98-pound weakling brushes from his cheeks As the bully tows away his girlfriend. Later, When he spies the coupon at the back of the comic book, He is about to act upon a different set of scientific principles. He is ready to dance.