And it’s a fair bet your name
will never be the name on everyone’s lips,
but how rightly its shape may sit in the curves
of who knows how many authentic smiles.
Other names ringed — wrung? — with auras
of fame, of fashion, of magnetism, of prestige
are doomed to excite (like a foregone conclusion)
interest; yours, being “shapeless” in so many ways,
escapes that fate — so become as you please
to the bent of your inspiration.
Perhaps, now, you are raised to the raising of eyebrows,
still too young to get the begetting of your joke,
and so I wish you strength, Travis — how old
you will have to be to know
no snigger can ever remove your right
to laugh in your name at the world.
In the long run, as you crawl past the legs of Notice,
what matters are which stray dreams choose you
as their caretaker. Hopefully (I hope) heartfelt ones,
whose bottomless sun-beaming joy
melts off the plate like butter or chocolate or ice-cream
that never-ending line-up of po-faced boys and girls.
We never know what he’ll come up with next. The thinking hard written all over his face reduces us to painful helplessness every single time. “Simon says . . . ,” and he pauses wickedly in his grin, ‘ . . . be a spine tree!’” he shouts, knowing that none of us even has a clue until he demonstrates on one rickety leg, arms waving as crooked skin branches for balance and his idea of a bony evergreen look echoed somehow electrically in wry features. Defeated, we resume our waiting as Harrison ponders the monumental difficulties of his all-time favourite game. He screws down his eyes with his screw-driver fists — “Simon says, ‘Roar like a dandelion’” is what he’s likely to serve up then or, just to really show us who’s champ, “Simon says, ‘See with the eyes on a butterfly’s wings!’” or to catch us out, “Punch with the fists of a bashful boxer”. He’d go on like this all day if he could, unless there’s swimming to be had, and the sinking he loves: it’s there at the blue, true bottom of the pool where the body explores what the senses shut off that he gets all his best ideas, he reckons, before he comes back to us glistening and goggle-eyed for breath.