Alone now I am
bullied, bruised, battered
crushed, crying, closed for love.
Don’t look at me.
Facebook friends are fiends.
Go away so I can
hurt myself. I hate myself—
I am an idiot, there is no
justice for me just
more menacing messages.
one, only one
quake my life
shove me into this shower of shame
threats, teasing, telling me I’m
ugly, useless. I’ve never been
what, when, how can I, they call whore
xpose and xterminate this hell I’m in? And
you said, “Why are you still here, you
zit on the face of the earth?”
© 2013 V. Nesdoly
I wrote this poem as a reflection on the too many bullying stories that have come out lately. The special appearance of Carol Todd, Amanda Todd’s mom, at the book launch of one of our poetry society members was the immediate occasion. I was planning to read the poem during the open mic portion of that program but then decided against it. This is, after all, second-hand. I’ve never been bullied like that so don’t really know how it feels and can only imagine.
What breaks my heart most about many of these stories is finding out that after these kids have called out for help (told teachers or parents about the bullying, attempted suicide, shown destructive behaviour) the bullying escalates in an almost animal-inspired way. It reminds me of when I was a kid and we got baby chicks. As those chicks grew, they tended to pick on the weaker, smaller ones, physically pecking at them till they drew blood. Daddy would put a special light bulb in the chick barn so that the red wouldn’t be visible and perhaps they would stop.
This poem is part of Poetry Friday hosted today by Sherry at Semicolon and Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme.
21 thoughts on “Bullied Abecedarium”
So sad, Violet. Do we know how to stop the bullying once it has already started? Of course, it’s better to stop it before it starts, but it seems like we also need to know how to defuse it once it is going (like your dad with the lightbulb).
It seems there is a great lack of empathy in these bullying kids. Perhaps it’s sometimes reaction from bullying of one kind or another that they’ve received. And it seems to be encouraged by the crowd psychology and anonymity of social media. I’m sure it’s complex. The daughter of some friends was bullied through high school (despite the fact her parents were both teachers). She’s coping fine now, but the bullying altered her in permanent ways.
What a noble poem. Great topic, excellently executed. Once again. your poetry really impresses me. Well done. More poems need to be written on this topic.
Thanks so much, Joy! I felt like a bit of a phoney writing this as I haven’t experienced it like these poor kids have. But it did force me to get into the head space of someone being bullied–if only for a bit. Imagining it is bad enough. I can’t comprehend how much a continuous barrage of negative talk would wear one down. So sad.
Violet, whether you’ve experienced it first hand or not, you’ve shown such sympathy for the feelings. I’m just in the middle of a book about bullying, Beholding Bee, by Kimberley Fusco, & have seen some of it through all my years of teaching. I didn’t know about this young woman, Amanda, so thank you for sharing her story. I feel so strongly that until parents know their kids, we won’t be able to stop the bullying behavior. Isn’t that an odd statement? Yet in my years of teaching, middle school aged children were allowed to do quite a lot without supervision. Makes me sad to think of young people out there who are so alone. Thank you for writing this & sharing!
Linda, I’m interested in your comment that the parents should be more involved or at least aware of what the kids are up to. So true. But these days, I wonder how much the kids would do anyway when they’re in the company of each other and no parents are around. I wonder too if some of their actions have become depersonalized because of their involvement with video games where violence and cruel behavior are part of winning.
Did you happen to see the YouTube video Amanda posted some months before she died? It will break your heart. It’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E
Wow, you have captured such a strong feeling here. I am hopeful that all the attention the subject of bullying is getting will help, not hinder, the phenomenon. Abecedarian was a new word for me, so I learned something. The rhythm of the poem cries out for spoken word. I hope you do find an audience for it. We must speak out for these lonely victims. I was bullied by a girl in my neighborhood. Luckily, I had a loving family and some other good friends who saw me through. Girls can be the worst. When I saw it in my classroom a few years ago, it tore my heart out. I was crying a lot. I didn’t like the way the administration handled it. Thanks for being a voice for the bullied girl.
I’m more of a ditso than I thought. Now I see that the lines of the poem start with each letter of the alphabet. Duh! I guess that goes to show that the poem was a good one. The form was sure lost on me. Now I’m even more impressed!
Thanks Margaret. Yes, abecedarium is just the technical word for ABC poem :).
As for an audience, I could have read it at our open mic, but somehow I didn’t want to in any way trivialize what the girl had gone through, or bring more pain to her mom. The day she (her mom) spoke to us was exactly 8 months from Amanda’s death.
So sorry that you were bullied and glad you came through!!
I am especially intrigued by the lines that seem to have internal resonance and significance–“alone now I am,” “hurt myself, I hate myself,”justice for me just,” “one only one,” “ugly, useless, I’ve never been.” These lines work by themselves and within the flow of the whole.
Thank you for this observation, Liz. I certainly hoped that the reader would not be distracted by the form, but would read the poem as realistic first-person telling–which seemed the best voice to use for this subject.
Violet, touching poem – one with which far too many kids (myself included) can identify. Speaking of this subject, have you ever seen or heard Shane Koyczan? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY
Wow, Matt, what a powerful video! (And Shane is a Canadian!) Thanks so much for sharing. And so sorry to hear that you too had a bullying experience. Glad you’ve triumphed.
Shane really is quite a fellow…his writing feels so casual and simple, yet packs quite the punch!
I agree with others that your poem is so powerfully written, that the form just about disappears. (x, y, z…whaddaya gonna do?!?!)
Thank you for writing and posting this deeply touching poem. You’ve inspired me to consider writing a poem in response to bullying I’ve witnessed in a family member’s life. Such a painful thing to go through…
Blessings ~ Wendy
Thanks for coming by, reading, and leaving a comment Greenlightlady! Yes, writing, especially writing poetry, can be a wonderful way of working through confusing feelings. The great thing is we can choose to share those writings later or keep them to ourselves if they’re too ‘honest’!
Wise words! I wrote one recently that sat for a few weeks before I could even imagine posting it. Poems need to be posted with peace. 🙂