How Can I Tell You? By Ulrich Zachau

How Can I Tell You?

You hear me sing the Queen of the Night;
dark streets become my opera house.
Golden boy, angelic face,
Brilliant crystal voice, sky high.

When bullies beat me down, can you hear
my choir boy howls? Who wipes my tears?
Body screams! Torn pants spill red.
Real boys do cry! I sob.

You feel my touch on ivory keys
coax bliss from Chopin’s Funeral March.
Blue eyed, melancholy boy:
tender hands strike iris chords.

When homophobes hurl taunts, can you feel
their vicious scum stick? Who hugs me tight?
Faggot boy! Gay-bashing kills.
Muck black fingers play my grief.

You taste my thirst of youth. Growing up
is bittersweet, dark chocolate chips.
Mountain boy climbs sunny peaks.
Clouds send leaden feet downhill.

When machos call me fag, can you taste
the poison? Who cures not me, but them?
Boy, what boy? Check: boys are straight!
Brains, pink yearnings: Hide them well!

You smell the lilac blossoms I’ve picked.
I hunt the globe for beauteous things.
Flower boy. Matisse, Miró,
Kahlo cobalt for my soul.

When former friends heap scorn, can you smell
their acrid contempt? Who shares my joy?
Lonesome boy – must fight – gray mood.
Pals are scarce. My spirits flag.

You’ll see me shine in triumph one day:
when sun meets rain, my bow will be drawn!
Boy in paradise. Love paints
life with gorgeous colors there.

When silence shouts my name, can you see
my heart? Hear it beat the truth? You can!
Grateful boy. My world is whole.
It gets better every day.

By Ulrich Zachau


Ulrich Zachau has worked in international development on six continents for more than three decades. He enjoys writing, plays the piano, cares about education and LGBT+ inclusion, and likes blueberries and penguins. Originally German, he has family in Asia, Europe, and the US and is currently on his way from Bogotá to Munich and Bangkok.

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