hey bully

hey bully
you coward
you strange wasted slouch of humanity
screw your cheap revolution
stop pulverizing people smaller than you

spinning cracked ideas of power
weakens your granite façade

exile desperation to the streets
stomp on the disenchanting garbage
you spread like ash

cleanse the hollows of your soul
clear some space for light to shine

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School starts soon. That and this week’s wordle words at The Sunday Whirl, got me thinking about bullies, I always have at least one.  There is a big poster in my classroom that starts with “Bullies are sad little people inside….”  It engenders some interesting discussion with my seventh and eighth grade students.

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32 thoughts on “hey bully

  1. Brenda, thank you for this. I want a poster like that for my classroom. And your take on the psychology of bullies is right on target. I especially liked “the hollows of your soul” – that’s how I see bullies, trying to fill an emptiness that they have inside that they don’t know how to fill in positive ways.

    Richard

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  2. Tell it, Brenda! I like the hope at the end because I believe most bullies are / were probably mistreated and somehow the cycle needs to be broken without any more people being hurt.

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  3. You’ve said what we all would have liked to say to our bullies. I had one (a verbal bully) in 6th and 7th grades, and it wasn’t until I and a friend of mine stood up to her that she stopped. When I was bullied in 8th grade (different town, new bully), again it was standing up for myself that turned the tide. Later we were actually able to become friendly, but it took courage on my part and some effort from both of us.

    One thing that enabled me to get through all that was reading an article in a teen magazine the summer between 7th and 8th grade about the ways people show their insecurity. It said that shyness, vanity and bullying all come from the same root of insecurity, and knowing that can help you deal with it in yourself and others better. It definitely helped me, both to overcome my own innate shyness and to have compassion for the girl who seemed to have it in for me in 8th grade.

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    • Thank you, Viv. Adolescents are amazing beings…..you never know what to expect. I look forward to a two-period class (about 90 minutes) with a small group of 8th graders I had last year (crazy fun bunch). I’ll also have a couple classes of 7th graders I still get to meet. I love the kids, they are what keeps me coming back.

      I can look at the students’ names and pictures before I meet them. My gut tells me I have a class of seventh graders with some rough girls. Hopefully none of them are bullies….I connect fairly well with the rough kids, but bullies are hard to turn around. Can you tell I’m getting excited? I am. I love new school years….everything is so fresh, no mistakes are made yet. Usually by November, I’m wishing I could start over to make up for something stupid I did, or missed, or…. blah blah blah. Glad you stopped. 🙂

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  4. you’re my hero!I was bullied all through Jr and high school, and kids that are bullied truly need advocates no matter what media. Kudo’s for writing this and (((hugs))) from me personally!

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  5. This goes for the jugular in a great way. The words fit into that hollow. It seems schools and bullies/gangs go together. Thanks for addressing a real subject, Brenda.

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  6. You’ve done a great job of using the prompt words to write about a very timely topic. “Strange wasted slouch of humanity” and “cleanse the hollows of your soul” are first class! Very powerful piece, Brenda!

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  7. I start school again soon as well, but as a student! This is absolutely perfect. I will memorize it and shout it out in the hallways 🙂 It was at once elegant and captivating and just very, very good!

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  8. Wow, Brenda. This one looks like it struck a nerve. I guess it almost would have to when one’s life is children and teaching. I believe times have changed for the worse. In my day, bullies were single entities, they could be defeated, but today they travel in gangs. I don’t envy today’s children.

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    • I remember a gang of girl bullies when I was in middle school. They scared me, and I worked at staying out of their way. This was back in the 70s. Definitely they get more media coverage now…especially with the large number of teen/ pre-teen bully victims who are also suicide statistics.

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  9. As one teacher to another, this poem will work well with my middle-schoolers, both as a reminder to bullies and bullied that bullying is not OK, and as a way to build their vocabulary! 🙂

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  10. Chloe was bullied at her old school. I used to tell her that bullies are usually people with the biggest mouths and least courage. I know I shouldn’t have done it but I told her she had to show them she wasn’t scared and to try standing up for herself. One girl at her new school used to bully her, push her around until I convinced her that she is a very strong kid and one day she fought back. Grabbed the girls wrists tight and wouldn’t let her break free. The girl realised then that she wasn’t the push-over she’d always throught she was. She instantly stopped her bullying.
    Bullying shouldn’t happen but, it does and it’s so difficult to prevent, too. specially if the child being bullied won’t speak up and ask for help.
    Your prose hits home because it’s so real.

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  11. Great idea crafted with the prompt words!! The lines in the first half of the poem gives a perfect image of a school bully!! 🙂 Thank God he has options to salvage himself!! 🙂

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  12. Bullies do indeed have a granite facade, easily cracked. They ARE cowards inside. If only people would not give them the ‘power’ they seek, or if they would seek their power in a positive way! I like the ending. There is always hope.

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