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Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Far From This Tree

source
1977
Parkland Junior High
You were older and tougher
and to this day I don't have a clue why
you targeted me

You said it was because I had threatened
your friend's little sister
which was untrue and ridiculous
Maybe you believed it
or believed it enough
to justify

The taunts I could deal with
but the threats brought me low
with shame and fear
Usually vague
"I'm gonna get you"
but sometimes mind racingly specific
"I'm gonna tear your earrings outta your earlobes"

Of course, I stopped wearing earrings
Changed my route from school
Even faked illness to stay home 
and away from you

Friends were no help
They were scared too
even the boys

No adults knew

I hated you but
I hated myself more
for being afraid of you
for retreating
for writing poems
instead of standing up to you

Fast forward 20-odd years
another middle school
Bus ride
The cool clique of girls throwing paper
in my daughter's hair

Although I've taught her to use her words
she turns around
punches one of them
hard
 I smile with pride.

submitted for Poetry Jam, Bully

15 comments:

Daydreamertoo said...

I am so sorry you went through what you did because of a bully. They just have no idea what fear and also a lasting damage they cause with their bullying. So glad you taught your own daughter to stand up for herself. It's the only way to stop it in the end because others just simply seem to want to stand by and watch or, they encourage the bully in some way to continue doing it.
Not easy at all.

Brian Miller said...

hated myself more
for being afraid of you

ugh that is reality right there..a.nd how bullying can have a lasting impact...way to go to your daughter...smiles.

Mary said...

Two different ways of handling a situation! It truly was awful what that tormentor did to you, and the scars it undoubtedly leaves yet today.

And, though I don't believe in violence, I say good for your daughter as well! The others learned they could not mess with her; and sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do!

Thanks for the write!

Laurie Kolp said...

My husband and I tell our kids to do just that if they have to.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

YES!!!!! I am generally nonviolent. But your daughter just made the rest of her school years a whole lot easier! Good for her.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Pow! Wonderful - sometimes we do get to live out our lives through our kids. I thought this was great. Moskowitz

Grace said...

Yep, sometimes the way to deal with it is hit back hard too ~

Thanks for sharing this ~

Helen said...

I'm sorry this happened to you ... but I am glad you wrote poems at that tender age. I'm proud of your daughter too. My daughter had to punch someone once because a group of kids was picking on her special needs brother. We still laugh about that, even though it happened more than thirty years ago!

Ella said...

I love this ending! Let's stop this cycle, bam! lol I love it~ Wow...yes, I was bullied, too.
Well Done

darev2005 said...

As long as she stands up for herself, she's going to be fine.

You did good.

Margaret said...

So sad and then, POW! Oh, I love this.

Mary Mansfield said...

Also love the ending on this...sometimes standing strong is necessary. Kudos to your daughter!

Rinkly Rimes said...

You hated yourself more than you hated your attacker. A telling statement.

Helena said...

Good for her! I've never understood why anyone wants to be a bully in the first place but bad or lack of parental interest in the bullies' lives must be factors somewhere along the line.

Not long after starting high school, my younger son got some teasing being a redhead. Tried the ignoring method ect to no avail, then just lamped the bully one out of the blue. The end, basically.
He's proud of being a 'ginger' and it hasn't held him back one bit!

Christine said...

sorry to say, but sometimes a bully needs a good punch in the face...I know a story of a bully that got pummeled by his victim one day, and the two of them were good to go for the rest of the school year...