He spins backwards
words unraveling as he's
paddling through memory's
eddying waters.
The pen his ship that he
steers through the past
it's time to illuminate the truth and ruminate.
His hands shake.
The river empties into a lake and he'll take
to the shores and give himself to the stars that are
snatched by the wind and flung
to the city windows where they glitter
and decay.

He's sixteen and he plays the bass
chases his nightmares and reigns them in
but he doesn't like to get wet.
"Let me go let me go," he screams;
the golden beasts don't belong in this dream
but they're strong and he's wrong,
They rip his books from his hands and
rip his secrets till he can't stand; he's
curled on the ground; "Faggot! Faggot!"
the golden ones shout
like it's a bout of the flu and it's
catching.

He patches his soul
and his pen scratches on the paper.

He's fourteen and he wants to learn the guitar so he can
write his nightmares to music
and be a star.
"You'll go far" he's told; "be brave, be bold."
He staves off caution and whispers his secret
— He's shunned.
The golden beasts run to the site
of the fight
so he spites them all and changes from guitar
to bass.

Lines chase his pen across the paper.

He's twelve and he asks his mom
"When are feelings wrong?"

His ink is smearing behind the liquid curtain that
shields his eyes from the outside.

He's ten with a new bike and tickets to
a baseball game.
He's learning to tame his face and keep up
the pace. His dad calls him Ace even though
he knows he's Jack, and in three years
the golden beasts across the street
will call him Queen.

The pen slips and he lets the river
carry him deeper.
He's eight and he states that he's
a big boy now
No more toy cars, it's time to look to the
stars
because when he's grown up he'll fly away
in a pirate ship
to ever never foreverland.

The ink trails his pen like a game of
follow the leader but he's not a wide-eyed
dreamer any more.

Now he's six. He can count to ninety-nine
but mixes up sixty and seventy.
He likes tea parties and dolls
but don't tell Paul or Holden
the golden boys who live across the street.
Don't give them a reason to tease him
with the name Jackie-girl.

The memories swirl by and his
pen leaks his words.
He's four and he likes to color but
it's hard to stay inside the lines.
At night the hall light helps to keep
the monsters where they belong.

The pen glides along
the ride is almost at its end.

He's two:
two fingers and ten toes and a nose.
He chose Elmo as his hero;
he's never heard the word queer or homo
but he knows Elmo isn't a girl or a boy.

The paper curls as it burns and the river
churns below the rotting stars and the
reigning dreams have begun to snow.

He thinks as he steps onto the shores:
The golden ones don't know
that within each diamond star is a rainbow
that glows
and though its shell may crumble away
the imprismed light will never decay.

A/N: Do you like that last stanza or should I end it before that with "begun to snow"? Please critique this one harshly. Give me good advice on how it could be better. If any of the figurative language seems contradictory, tell me.